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."

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Hello! It seems like it has been such a very long time since I've greeted you. As I've become busier the last few months, my times to write don't present themselves as easily as they used to. The last few days, however, I really started to have a desire to write. We haven't talked in awhile, so let me just say that I hope this finds you well.

I was working outside yesterday and as work occasionally will do it takes me to various cemeteries to help place memorial stones on graves. When I am able to do this, I enjoy looking around at the memorials already in place to see what people either wanted engraved on their stone, or what a family chose to have written about their loved one. Yesterday, there were two in particular that just reached out and grabbed me. The first one had been engraved above a man's name: I GLORY IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST. The second was above the names of a married couple. One of them having passed from this life just a few years ago. They had married in 1952 and at the top of their stone were the words: JESUS, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR.

In an age where we often look for new revelation and vision regarding the times in which we are living, sometimes the most basic, but strongest principles of foundations of faith can tend to be forgotten. Maybe at times we need to revisit some of the faith basics that were taught and developed years ago. One example would be how many of us can recite John 3:16 so easily and quickly that we forget to take time to think about the depth and power behind that verse. I've heard Psalm 23, or parts of that psalm read or recited at times in some very monotone voices. I'm not being critical; but contemplating.

The last handful of years of my life I've really become intrigued and captivated by how close I am to the kingdom of Jesus even as I live. It's easy for me to stay focused on that because for most of my soon to be 50 years I didn't realize how I actually could be a part of kingdom of heaven things activating into the earthly realm. In other words, heaven invading earth. Yesterday though, as I read, I GLORY IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST, there was a really sweet sense of stability and power that combined to stir my spirit. Even though it was very chilly outside there was a warmth that came all over me as I thought about the power of the cross of Christ!!!! Think on that. Think about how many principalities, rulers and even countries have fallen since the time of Christ, yet that power has stood for all time. Yes, I know that it often comes under attack, but no matter how hard a person or organization may try, the power that came from the cross at Calvary still penetrates into the darkest of places today. To glory in the cross of Christ. Something that brought familiarity from my faith basics back to me in a fresh and very alive way. The one whose body had been laid in that grave probably never realized how the words on his gravestone would one day warm the insides of a man he never knew on a chilly October afternoon. It made me wish I would have known that man. I wish I could have talked to him about his faith. One day I hope to do that.

JESUS, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR. For many of us, some of the very first words we learned in starting our journey of faith. A truth that can be sometimes taken for granted, like as if we earned the right to it. May that never happen, if it has, again. For a couple to choose to have those words placed on their gravestone, a couple that had married in 1952, they certainly had to realize the strength behind having a very personal belief in Jesus. I wondered how many times they had called upon the understanding of that basic truth to pour new cement to keep their foundation solid. For me on October 28 2011, that memorial stone stood as a living legacy to the saving power and grace of Jesus.

How long have you been a Christian? If you are like me and made a commitment to Jesus many years ago, what brought you to that place of time in your life? Take some time today to think back on those things. Were there some basic principles that kind of don't get thought of like they did back then? Make today a day of reflection. A day of renewing your love to Jesus. He was your first love you know. Not because you loved Him, but because He chose you! In fact God said through one of His prophets, even years before Jesus lived as a man, "FEAR NOT, FOR I HAVE REDEEMED YOU; I HAVE CALLED YOU BY YOUR NAME; YOU ARE MINE." I have some further thoughts on that verse, but they will come in "Back To Some Basics" (part 2). Thoughts that were stirred up as a result of a conversation with my very own beloved mother! For now though, let us think about what it means to have Jesus as our savior and the beauty of the cross. The beauty of the cross; what an interesting way to describe a place that carried with it horrendous pain and death. Paul the apostle spoke of that cross in his letter to the churches of Galatia.


Oh, and if you are reading this and don't know how to begin to have a personal relationship with Jesus and have wondered about it, you can find my email address when you click on my profile. If there is a burning sensation in your heart right now that is the Lord desiring you to come close to Him. Today is YOUR day! I would love to help you find a new beginning for an exciting next chapter of your life. Also, for the one reading this and for some reason you have found yourself drifting away from what once was a sweet time with Jesus, the video below is especially for you!

Peace and love,
Mark S.

(Don't forget to shut off the music from the mix-pod on the right of this post.)

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