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, August 30, 2011


I was listening recently to the beautiful song, "Love Came Down." Have you heard it?

"Love came down and rescued me;
love came down and set me free,
I am Yours, I am forever Yours.
Mountain high, or valley low,
I sing out to remind my soul,
I am Yours, I am forever Yours."

I started to focus on Jesus and His love. As always, Jesus sets the best examples. Look with me if you will at a very familiar story from scripture, but with the emphasis on the story going in a little different direction. I'll start out by paraphrasing.

A rich, you man sees Jesus, is excited and comes running to Him. He falls to his knees and asks Jesus what must be done to inherit eternal life. Jesus responds by reminding the man that he knows the commandments and lists some of them. He reminds the man that he is not to murder, commit adultery, steal, testify falsely, or defraud people, but He is to honor his mother and father. I can almost hear the young man reply proudly............

"Teacher," he declares, "all these things I have kept since I was a boy."

Mark 10:21 "Jesus looked at him and LOVED HIM."

I love that! Time and time again Jesus knew what the pharisees or disciples were talking about or thinking before they even spoke to him, so there had to be a pretty good chance that Jesus already knew that this guy was going to walk away sadly when Jesus spoke to him about selling his processions. Yet Jesus, "looked at him and LOVED HIM." It didn't matter how this rich, young man was going to react. Jesus just loved him.

The example that Jesus sets tells me how I should react to people no matter what is going on. If someone is rude or short with me; I need to love them. Someone who hurries to get in front of me so that they can beat me to the checkout line, I need to look at them and love them. Someone cuts me off in traffic, I should look at them and love them.

Even on the cross, Jesus loved. Does that encourage you as much as it does me? If you really want to make a difference in this world, love like Jesus. That love crushes ugly strongholds.

It's easy to love people who like or love us, but to look with love on those who are indifferent to us is following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Come, close your eyes and feel the warmth as Jesus is looking at you with an incredible love right now!

"Love came down and rescued me." (Don't forget to turn off the mixpod to the right)

Loving you like Jesus,
Mark S.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I had a glimpse of something yesterday that has left me pondering the full meaning of it ever since I left church yesterday. The worship team had just began the second song during worship when suddenly I had quick vision of a treasure chest. It appeared to be made of gold and was very bright to look at. I could also see various gems and bright stones arrayed on the outside of the chest. What came to my mind next during this revelation was that this chest appeared to be embedded in a breast; the left breast of Jesus. I think there was significance that it was on His left side and around the heart area. You've maybe seen a picture of Jesus where the artist shows His heart being visible and illuminated brightly. It was something like that. This all triggered a conversation in my spirit as I thinking about what I was seeing.

Thinking I immediately knew what the Lord was showing me I said, "Oh I get it. You're reminding me that we are a treasure to You." I remember thinking how nice that was. The reply that came back to me surprised me very much, however. "No you don't quite get it. Even though you are a treasure, that is not what this is about. This treasure belongs to you."

That stopped everything.

I was kind of stunned at this and waited for the Lord to put the pieces of what He was saying in place. At the same time I knew that this was a corporate word that He was giving me. Something He wanted shared. God was showing me that as we desire to please Him that He has already prepared "treasure chests" for any that are ready to receive them. Even today I am still trying to wrap my hands around the full meaning of what God was wanting to express. I don't think we have an inkling of an idea as to the richness and beauty of what God has prepared.

Last night I spent a good amount of time pondering; wanting to grasp the full meaning of what I saw and what I also shared in church. I kept meditating and asking the Lord what was really inside that treasure chest. Some of my thoughts as I searched the scripture were:

Was that treasure chest the Kingdom of Heaven? I read the parable of the hidden treasure in Matthew 13:44. Was it showing that we have unlimited and complete access to the things of the kingdom while we are still on earth? If so, I believe we are to realize that we haven't even come close to tapping into the glories of God that are available as heaven continues to invade earth.

Was the treasure in that chest complete wisdom? As I was searching out the scriptures last night I came upon this beautiful passage penned by Paul: "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:2-3) Was God expressing that truth to us yesterday? I began to think about Solomon and how he could have asked for anything in the world. How instead of asking for riches and material possession he instead asked for wisdom. God was so pleased with that request that Solomon was also given treasures and wealth that were most likely beyond even his comprehension. To ask for wisdom from God is a great treasure in itself.

So often things that happen in the natural seem to coincide with what God is doing in the super natural. Should we also take that treasure chest as containing literal treasure and provision? We often think that when it comes to God's grace and supply for our needs in our lives that it is just enough to get by with. We often expect to receive the minimal when it comes to that. Maybe God no longer wants us to think that way. Maybe God wants us to start expecting beyond our wildest dreams. If we are maturing in Christ and God knows that He can trust us, do you not think that the Father who owns it all anyway would want to bless His children? I've believed for some time now, along with many others, that God is going to take the wealth of the nations and give it back to His church, as His church which for a long now has been a sleeping giant, is being reawakened.

What do you think? Honestly, I think it's all of the above and even more. I don't believe that our human minds can fully comprehend everything that God has placed in that treasure chest. It's mind blowing.

What I do know is this. You need to hold out your hands and open them. Really, you do need to do this. God is about to give you treasure beyond compare. What I do know is that you need to be in the receiving mode, because the FATHER WANTS TO BLAST YOU WITH HIS LOVE!!!!!

Much love,
Mark S.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Somewhere along the way and many years ago I think the church forgot how to teach people as to what their position in Christ should look like or be like. Things started to somehow get watered down. Even I have lived most of my life not realizing just how involved Jesus really wanted to be in my life. I never realized the full potential I have in Christ. Actually I still haven't fully realized it, but I keep growing, stretching and experiencing more of that potential. I never want to stop, either. At one time I never understood the authority that God wants to give us when we go deep in the Word, absorb the Word and live by His Word. To realize the benefits of a deep desire to experience God. I never understood the power that is supposed to come with a life that is lived for Christ. I used to believe that God wanted to just help us Christians along in this life, finding ways to just make it through our simple lives until one day we would reach glory. Don't get upset. I'm not mocking. Jesus is there; Holy Spirit is there to help us get through this life. To make it through our trials. BUT............there is so much more than that!

Over the last several years and especially over the last 4, I've decided to take the Bible more literally. Now when I think of how Christ lives in me, I think of how Jesus could command demons to obey Him. How He was compelling to the broken and weak and how they were captivated by His love and compassion. I think of Jesus was moved with compassion when a very diseased man knelt before Him, poured out his heart to Him with hope beyond hope. "If You are willing, You can make me clean." Jesus reaction was not to stop and pray. It was not to ask the Father if it was His will to make the man clean or to leave him in his current state. No, Jesus, immediately moved with compassion answered, "I am willing; be cleansed." (Mark 1:40-42)

It is that Jesus who lives in me. And if you have determined to follow the Christ, it is that Jesus who lives in you. Understand with me also that we have the Spirit; the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead living inside of us. (Romans 8:11) That Spirit didn't bring about just some feel good with milk on corn flakes in the morning to satisfy the belly kind of a moment. When Jesus was raised from the dead there was an indescribable explosion of power. It is THAT Spirit which lives in us. When those two things add up, our lives should be much more than just making it through the day. Life passes quickly. With Christ in us we should never underestimate the power of a single day. We can't afford to. There needs to be boldness and strength that we present to the world around us. I didn't say cockiness and arrogance, but instead a controlled meekness just like Jesus carried.

Jesus also found favor with God. Do you understand what it means to find favor with God? And once you have it how God desires to maintain and wants to keep His favor upon you? How you can ask God for favor when you are about to buy a car, a house, or when you are about to go to the hospital to pray over the sick, or even just make an important decision? Maybe you begin to understand that it's okay to pray for favor when say...... you are praying with your son while on your way to a hockey game and then suddenly add to your prayer, "Lord, I really felt a desire to surprise my son in this way, but you know that we just paid rent, so it sure would be nice if when we get to the arena that there would be someone who would just happen to be there who would offer us tickets." (Yes, that did happen and yes I did add that to my prayers on the way to the game and YES, when we walked inside Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland there was a lady suddenly asking me how many were in my party. When I pointed to my son and said, "Just me and my son," YES, she looked at me and said, "Here you go," with a smile. Those seats were much better than I would have paid for, by the way.)

The favor of God when your heart is sold out to Him. I don't abuse that favor, but I know that in certain instances it is more than okay with God to ask for it and to simply expect it. A Father who wants to simply bless and do special things for His kids just because He can. I am reminded of how recently Father timed it out for me to run into special friends who live 730 miles away in North Carolina at a small gas station/convenience store. How they had just arrived in town and how the wife wanted to stop and get a coffee from a place where she would often stop when she lived here. How I had suddenly decided to stop and get gas at a place where I seldom stop. How when pumping gas, I was reminded how thirsty I was and that maybe I would go ahead and get a cold fountain drink. Something that I would never normally do at that location. Sure enough, as I was about to walk in that store there were two beeps from a horn and after the second I turned around and with wide eyes and a leaping spirit was suddenly looking at my two friends. Friends that I love with a passion and share a kindred spirit with. What a most excellent gift from God that day.

God doing things like that just because He can. "For His anger is but for a moment, His FAVOR is for life.................." (Psalm 30:5) We are reminded in Proverbs that "He who earnestly seeks good will find favor" and "a good man obtains favor from the Lord."

If you are feeling that I have some special connection to God and you don't, it may simply be that you have just not discovered or understood the potential that God is trying to develop in you. Maybe you just haven't understood how intimate God wants to be in your life. How He longs to be involved in even the smallest details of your day. Maybe you just haven't realized the favor that God wants to shower you with. God desires to dance over you when you aren't even aware of His presence. (Zephaniah 3:17)

And walk according to your position in Christ. You are His disciple, His friend and His chosen one. Under the title of my blog I have Matthew 10:8 written out as a reminder. "HEAL THE SICK, CLEANSE THE LEPERS, RAISE THE DEAD, CAST OUT DEMONS. FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE."

Just do it! According to scripture we are already viewed as being made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Should we therefore not be bringing more of heaven to earth? So, just do it!!!! Or start practicing doing it. It's like anything else. The more you practice the more you understand and the better you will get at just doing it. Remember, it's not really you, though. It's Christ in you. He gets the credit. He gets the glory.

And that part about raising the dead? Well, let's just say................I'm working on it!!!!! Care to join me?

Blessings, love and everything that goes with it,

Mark S.