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."

Sunday, May 13, 2012


"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."  (Matthew 11: 12, niv)

That verse excites me.  It tends to get my adrenaline flowing.  Especially during the last few years.  I have seen men and women developing a pursuit of God; to become more Christ-like in deeds, not just in word and the result has been watching more of heaven beginning to flow on the earth.  When people carry the fragrance of Jesus with them, people who have never had much desire for God are suddenly being drawn to Him.  That is good, good stuff.  Among the true followers of Jesus, momentum is gained.  With this momentum we need to


I am a huge hockey fan.  I've watched the game close enough and long enough that I can almost predict how some games will be played out  after only 5-10 minutes are played, especially if a team comes out with a high level of adrenaline.  I've watched a lot of games where a team will start the game with such adrenaline and emotion that they seemed determined to completely dominate and destroy the opposition, but then gradually something begins to suddenly happen.  If that flow of adrenaline is not tempered and even controlled, it eventually burns down.  When that happens the game often quickly turns.  I've watched teams play invincible hockey for a solid 10 minutes.  Problem is there is another 50 minutes to go and when that burn out hits, the ice level begins to tilt the other way.

There is an expanding number of people who are becoming more excited about the Lord.  A lot of energy is being renewed.  Spiritual battles between good and evil; light and darkness are being played out right before our eyes on both the local and national fronts.  It's as if we have suddenly been inserted right into the middle of a Frank Peretti book.  People are seeking miracles, signs and wonders like I've never experienced before in my lifetime.  For those who are really after the heart of Jesus it is very easy right now to experience that extra rush of energy and passion.  We are really wanting to make a strong push to make sure that others will see the powerful love of God and in itself that is a good thing. But also in the middle of all this I believe God is bringing a warning.   We need to make sure that before we move and act, even if something appears to be logical, or even of common sense, time needs to be allowed to hear plainly from the Lord.

"There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 14:12)

In other words let us make sure that our thoughts, plans and actions are endorsed by the Lord.  Last Sunday morning as I was contemplating how a certain situation needed to be handled, I felt the Lord reminding me to wait on Him and to rest in Him.  We need to give the Lord time to make it plain to us if the paths that we think we should take, are the paths that He wants us to take.  We need to follow the example of Jesus and take the time to spend time alone with the Father, seeking His guidance and strength.  If we forget, or refuse to do this we will end up like in the hockey team scenario that I described above.  We can't forget to "selah," as the psalmist would often instruct.

Within the last 5 minutes and while writing this, I believe the Lord just revealed something else to me.  In these days there will be times for many of us when God's path doesn't make sense to us, but He will ask us to do it anyway.  When we have an idea, a thought which seems right, we hope for confirmation from Lord that we are hearing correctly.  If we get it then it becomes easy and maybe even fun to do.  Now what if God shows us a way that doesn't seem right, or doesn't make sense?  That's a bit more difficult.  If we want the full blessing of God in our lives then we better be obedient.  In this case it may even have a cost to it, but the reward will be great.  It is only in finding times of waiting and meditating on the Lord that we will have that strength and peace to be obedient and to have peace that we are indeed hearing correctly from the Lord.  I will never forget something that I heard Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding say:  "Show me somebody who will earnestly pray without a crisis and I'll show you someone who will solve the crisis when it comes."  We need to earnestly pray BEFORE critical situations arise and then we will be fully equipped to face them when they come.

 While talking to a friend this week on the phone about the frustration and hurt of dealing with a really tough situation, the Lord reminded me of a time where He cautioned Israel, but they would not listen.  Let me take you for a moment to Isaiah 30:15.

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: "Only in returning to Me and resting in Me will you be saved.  In quietness and confidence is your strength."  (God was letting Israel know what they needed to do so that they would come out on top of a difficult situation.  Israel, however, had their own plans, which I'm sure at the time seemed like common sense ideas to them.  Let's find out what the Lord said next.)

"......But you would have none of it.  You said, 'No, we will get our help from Egypt.  They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.'  But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!  One of them will chase a thousand of you.  Five of them will make all of you flee.  You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill, or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop."  (And then the Lord concludes with this bit of understanding, showing His patience and grace.)  "So the Lord must wait for you to come to Him so He can show you His love and compassion.  For the Lord is a faithful God.  Blessed are those who WAIT for His help."

It's so easy to get excited about the times we are in.  On another extreme, people can get so excited about going after the miracles that they forget to spend time seeking the ONE that makes the miracle possible.   It's so easy to want to make things happen.  But even if our intentions are good, if we forget to wait and hear from the Lord; if we forget to spend time in the Word, meditating on the scriptures and the Lord, then we will find that many of our labors will be in vain.  I remember one time telling the Lord that I wanted to see and experience great  miracles and healings.  I wanted to see them so badly.  I  remember the answer that the Lord came back to me with.  "If you concern yourself with the things of My heart and the things that  matter most to Me; the rest will follow."  I took that message from the Lord to heart and have tried to do as the Lord instructed me.  As a result, I have seen more of my prayers answered quickly and in many cases the intervention from the Lord has been even  more than I expected.

I believe this is a timely message from the Lord that He wants many to hear.  Many who read this are relating right now to the struggle of not knowing what to do while in the middle of a difficult situation.  Go back and meditate on the scriptures above and let me encourage you with this well loved passage of scripture:

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to [those who have] no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Be encouraged!

Waiting with you,
Mark S.