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."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


"I will cry for the desert
When He's bleeding from His heart and soul
Die for the desert
And remove my hands from what I hold

Deeper in my heart I will hear Him call
Deeper in my heart I will give it all
Deeper in my heart

I will cry for the desert"

I was in Christian radio when Twila Paris released the album "Cry for the Desert" somewhere around 1990. I was instantly drawn to the title song. I can't remember what inspired Twila to write the song, nor if there was a specific scripture that she took it from, but I can tell you how it spoke to me. Besides being able to feel the passion that went into the song, it caused me to think of how the Father must feel at times as He watches His children run after temporary pleasures. Seeking them for fulfillment while very seldom seeking Him. I would wonder if God would bleed from His heart at all the corruption, hate and crime in the world, too. His beautiful creation. Think of how a good earthly father or mother feels when they pour their heart and soul into their children, loving them with everything they have, only to see that child in constant trouble or making painful mistakes. Like it or not, it happens a lot in society. It's gut wrenching and heart breaking. It will rip into your deepest places.

I'm not trying to be a downer today, but I do think that we need to consider God's feelings more than we do. We don't like to have our feelings hurt. Do you think with God that's different? Is it possible to break God's heart? Is it? People in general are pretty self centered. Here in the states it's the American way. When people get hurt, they take it very personally, sometimes wanting to inflict pain right back. When bad things happen we want an explanation. "If God is such a loving God then why did (you can fill in the rest) happen?" Today isn't the day for me to get into some theological debate about that, but God doesn't like it when horrible things happen anymore than we do. In fact it probably bothers God even more.

What exactly am I trying to say? I'm not even sure to be honest other than this:

I think we should consider God's feelings a whole lot more than we do while we are alive on the earth. I'm 49 and I still want my dad to be proud of me. I want him to be able to say, "That's my boy!" To this day I still hate knowing of times in my life, especially when I was younger, when I ripped dad and mom's heart out. It's made me never to want to do that again. How much more should I feel that way about ABBA? (That's not the singing group either!!!!!!!!!!!)

I've been reading the book of Ezekiel which isn't the easiest book to read, but I keep finding golden nuggets to hold on to as I work my way through. I came across this verse that reminded me of that Twila Paris song. In regards to His beloved chosen people who constantly found ways to be unfaithful to Him, God says "I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from me............." When I read that word "crushed" it really made me ponder how we are capable of actually hurting God by our choices. Another verse, which would seem to tie in with that song by Twila Paris is Psalm 78:40: "How often they provoked Him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert."

(In case you have never heard it, I will embed the song and video at the end of today's writing. If the instrumental music is playing don't forget to pause the mix-pod on the right side of the blog.)

I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad or convicted. I am simply saying that we need to consider God's heart  before we make certain choices. Relationship with God shouldn't be one sided with us always wondering what more God can do for us, even though it is His heart's desire to constantly bless us. We should want to also do things for God and desire to please Him and to do it with purpose and passion. That's what makes for a great relationship. The best kind of relationship. That, my friend, will help us to do an even better job of bringing heaven to earth, because we will have captured the Father's heart.

Even before Jesus came to earth the Father allowed His heart strings to be exposed in many different ways, many of which we can find in the scriptures. One of my new favorites is also in the book of Ezekiel. If your one of those tough guys who squirms a lot when someone talks about intimacy and tenderness, well............tough. Just remember what it is like for a 3 year old to want to climb up into a parent's lap of safety. Put your guard down a bit. That's exactly what God wants to do in relation to His children. Hear the richness and intimacy of God's love.................


When I read that verse it reminds me of one of my favorite lines in that Twila Paris song: "Deeper in my heart I will hear Him call; Deeper in my heart I will give it all."

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I want you to know that as you read this blog that you are being prayed for!  Not only do I pray for you, but the scriptures teach that there is One much greater than I who also intercedes for you.  His name is Jesus and he sits at the right hand of God.  (Romans 8:34)  Pretty awesome when you think about it.  There is nothing more mighty than those Throne Room prayers.

I've been wanting to share a song/video with you that is very near to my heart.  Not only because it is a song that can help bring you to a place of worship and reverence  for the Lord, but it was also written by my son, Andrew.  Actually, Andrew, who is the lead singer on this song,  told me that he and God wrote it together.  Because I'm "dad" I suppose there was some instant bias towards the song, but I do sincerely believe that there is a special anointing over it.  I hope you will enjoy, "Love Like no Other," by The Lesser Ones.   Because this blog is viewed in so many other countries, I will also include the lyrics below the video, so they can be translated.  (Don't forget to pause the music playing  on the mix-pod to the right of the screen.)  Remember, God loves you and so do I.
Be blessed,
Mark S.

You are the captor of my heart
You are the center of my praise
You are the calmer of my storms
And I am Yours the rest of my days
And when I feel my strength deplete
You are my everything

You are creator of my life
You are my shepherd in the night
You are the fortress of my heart
And I will tell the world of your life
And when my soul begins to sing
You are my melody

Oh, oh, oh, You are the holy Father ... Your love is like no other ... I live to shout Your praise
Oh, oh, oh, Your name be lifted higher ... You are our hearts desire ... We long to seek your face

You took the wrath of God for all
When You were nailed upon the cross
You ransomed all our sins away
When all the world seemed to be lost
And when I feel I've reached defeat
You are my victory

Oh, oh, oh, You are the holy Father ... Your love is like no other ... I live to shout Your praise
Oh, oh, oh, Your name be lifted higher ... You are our hearts desire ... We long to seek your face

Your children will be strong
You're calling us to love
And to show Your grace
Into the world we'll go
We'll offer up our lives
And give You all our praise

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I spent a good amount of time over the last couple of weeks thinking about my recent birthday. Not out of vanity, or wanting to be recognized, but completely for reflection. Fifty truly is a milestone in one's life. I honestly feel that it's something to be proud of. Turning fifty hasn't bothered me either. Hey, I'm looking forward to saving 20 percent at Denny's between 4 and 8pm (or whenever those hours are!) The only thing that I want to concentrate on at this point in my life is where I am in my walk with the Lord. Do I love the way that Jesus loved when He walked here? Jesus was a compelling person to most of the people He came in contact with. Am I? Do people sense peace and are they encouraged when they encounter me? When the Father thinks of me, do I touch His heart?

Even though I first told Jesus that I wanted Him to take control over my life when I was in high school, much of my Christian walk has had it's share of peaks and valleys. There were times when I would be red hot for Christ only to gradually allow a lukewarm sense to set in. I am not proud of that. About ten years ago, though, something changed. Our family discovered a Vineyard church in Cleveland. There was something different about that church. You could sense a desire to passionately pursue Jesus and I wanted my life to be filled with that passion. I'll never forget Pastor Rick standing up to preach, looking over the congregation and saying something like, "I want you to know that I am madly in love with Jesus Christ." That always impacted me. Along with that "mad" love for Jesus, I saw the power of Christ in that man's life. It was something that I wanted. Quickly I became very serious about my walk with the Lord and the journey has been amazing. Yes I've had some downs, but not like before. It took awhile, but little by little I learned to give everything about me over to God. God has dealt with areas of sin that were rooted pretty deeply in me and while I am not perfect, there is a deep and sincere desire for holiness everyday. I want to walk just as Jesus walked. I've learned to walk in the power of God and want to do so for the rest of my days.

Here is the amazing thing that I want to leave with you and encourage you with. I've admitted to you that it has only been over the last ten years or so that I've allowed this fire, this passion to burn within me. Ten years out of fifty. But it feels like much, much longer. In fact, the memories of the lukewarm days seem to keep fading into the shadows where they belong. I know that I will always be aware that they were there, but any time my mind goes there I find the Holy Spirit whisking them away. I understand the truth behind Joel 2:25 completely. "I WILL RESTORE TO YOU THE YEARS THAT THE SWARMING LOCUST HAS EATEN." God has done that for me. The ten years that I've spoken of have been so rich and warm. The explosion of love, grace and growth has almost been overwhelming at times. Those ten years seem like so many more. I seldom ever think about, nor do I want to remember, the days of a watered down spiritual life.

The only thing that is important to me now is to continue this walk with God and even though I am a man, I have no issues of telling you of my deep love for Christ. I love Jesus and desire His intimate love. I want to be like the disciple who rested his head on Jesus. I want to touch His heart.

Now what about you? If your walk with Christ is deep and rich, good for you! Let's keep it that way. Discouraged people around you need you to have that more than ever. If, however, you find yourself in that lukewarm place that I spoke of, I encourage you to turn your gaze to God like you never have before. If you are disheartened by mistakes and sins, today dawns new. Let God drive out the locust and what it has eaten. He will now restore, repair and strengthen. He is about to show you a greater love, and teach you how to walk in His favor and power. Your life will become life changing for others who need Jesus.

Let God restore the years. The past will fade. Step into a new and great adventure.

Much love,
Mark S.
(Now how do I get rid of all this gray?)