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."

Monday, July 4, 2011



I realize that many of you who read this blog on a regular basis do not live in the United States. I praise the Lord for you and bless you as I write tonight. I speak spiritual and physical healing over you when you may need it most. May the Lord prosper you and keep you all the days of your life. May He grant you His peace and may you experience the freedom that comes in knowing the Lord.

Tonight, however, I wish to say how blessed I also feel to live in the United States of America. I am moving up on 50 years of age and the older I get the more sentimental I become when I find myself in the presence of a United States veteran. Often when I gaze at an American flag I love the chills that sometimes come over me. I often am moved to tears as I have watched my boys, one who is now a young man and one who is well on his way, automatically place their hand over their heart during the national anthem. I have tried to teach them to love and respect this country. I now have a son in law who is currently serving this country overseas. I am free to live as I choose, to worship as I choose and to speak as I choose because of the men and women like him who have served this nation well. Over the past several years I have been able to take part in many funerals where military honors have saluted the life of one who served this nation. I never take watching and listening to those being so honored for granted.

I am proud to be an American.

My heart longs for this nation to once again become a Christian nation. I believe that at one time we once were, but we are not now. Many will take offense at that and say that we are when they don't even really know what it means to be a Christian. That word has become so watered down that I rarely will tell someone that I am a Christian when I am asked about my faith or what I believe. I choose instead to say I am a follower of Jesus. If the United States is a Christian nation why have we tried to push God out of our schools and out of our government? "In God we trust" and "One nation under God" has been challenged one too many times. I run into people all the time who would say they are Christian, but yet don't believe in praying in public lest they offend someone. If I offend be it.

During church this morning it was God who was reminding me that when people living in America celebrate their freedoms and mix that with the freedom that is granted by Christ, only then is there a power that can never be defeated. It is a power that brings light into even the darkest of places. This power which lives inside of us is explosive enough to turn impossible situations into probable ones because they are seen through heavens eyes. This power is never to be flaunted, though, or paraded around arrogantly. This power is best served when it is expressed through love and compassion. This then becomes a power that can even transform a life. This power can bring freedom even into places where freedom is not recognized.

I am so encouraged that there are people awakening everywhere to an understanding that if this nation is to continue to be blessed by God that there needs to be an abrupt and about face to return to the principles of God. Then and only then will the course that has been taking place in this country be reversed and I don't need to go into a long discourse to get you to understand what I am talking about. We are all aware of the economy and disasters that many are facing on a daily basis. One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in Jeremiah 18.

"The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down and destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it."

Maybe from our president all the way down to our local government leaders a reminder of Psalm 33:12 is needed: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance."

Maybe then we could fully realize the beauty of another passage in Psalm 144. Read these words and adapt them to this modern era:

"That our sons may be as plants gown up in their youth;
That our daughters may be as pillars sculpted in palace style;
That our barns may be full, supplying all kinds of produce;
That our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
That our oxen may be well laden;
That there be no breaking in or going out;
That there be no outcry in our streets.
Happy are the people who are in such a state;
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!"

And for those reading this who don't live in the United States? The good news is that these scriptures of truth can be applied to your life and your family, too. After all, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom and the Spirit of the Lord is resting on you!

Your Brother,
Mark S.

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