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, March 9, 2013


I hope things are well, my friend.  I trust that you have been faithful to the Lord and listening for His voice.  In these days and times we need to keep our minds pure and on the Lord for even if a troubled time comes He will be faithful to lead us through it.  I truly believe we are in a time when God wants to speak clearly to us, even in such a way that we can hear His voice.  For each person it might be in a different way, but make no mistake that God desires a deeper interaction with His people.

Last Sunday morning my spirit was restless.  I wasn't sure why, so after some wasted minutes of pacing and thinking I realized that I needed to just go to a quiet place and pray.  Not long after I began to seek the Lord some scriptures from John 14 came to my mind very clearly.  As I thought about them, it was as if the Lord said to me, "The next time you preach, this is what I want you to talk about."  There have been a handful of times in my life where I heard the Lord so clearly that it seemed like it was almost audible.  This time it was more like the Holy Spirit was just allowing His thoughts to become my thoughts and to soak into my spirit.  God has many ways of speaking to us, but make no mistake that if you have a heart after His, He will indeed speak to you and you will know when it is Him speaking.

The scripture that  the Lord brought to me were words of Jesus.  Chances are you have heard them before.  "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.  If you love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper."  (John 14: 13-15)

I'm not going to go into the message that the Lord downloaded to me regarding these scriptures and others that followed soon after.  Instead, I think this will become almost like a two part post and I will look into that in my next writing.  For now, I want to tell you what happened within the next 45 minutes after initially hearing the Lord's voice.  I do this in hopes that I may encourage you that God loves us so much that we should EXPECT to hear him connect with us in this way.  It's not some "special" connection that I have, but it is a special connection that the Lord wants His faithful.  (It you've been hot and cold in your walk with God, it's time to get hot and stay hot.  It's time for faithfulness.)

Upon hearing, "The next time you preach this is what I want you to talk about,"  I kind of chuckled.  It reminds me now of how Sarah laughed upon hearing that she would have a child in her old age.  You see, other then officiating some funeral services it has been a while since I've really had a chance to preach, or teach.  I remember saying to the Lord, "Well, I don't know when that will be, but okay."  I continued to pray and meditate for awhile longer and began to feel much more peace.  

Now this is when it got really fun for me.  After praying I walked into the kitchen and saw my cell phone.  I picked it up and saw that I had a text message which had been sent at 11:10, approximately 45 minutes after I began to pray.  I began to get what I call Holy Spirit goose bumps as soon as I began to check the message.  "Mark, would you consider teaching this Tuesday.......," were the first words that I read.  Different emotions hit me all at once.  Excitement, laughter and my insides started shaking, too.  Shaking because I realized that I had just heard clearly from the Creator of the universe.

My wife Kay, Matt (our youngest son) and me have been attending for a little over 4 months a Tuesday night Bible study which is growing into a church called The City.  Suddenly, on this particular Sunday morning I was hearing from God and being asked by Pastor Tony to speak at The City all within a 45 minute time span.  Even as I write this there is a song that is running through my head where some of the words are, "Lord, I'm amazed by You."  (A good version is by Phillips, Craig and Dean and it is called "Amazed.)

I believe that God desires to speak to us in this way often.  The more we meditate on Him, spend time with Him and live like Jesus lived, the more we will understand God's desires for us and understand His ways.  The only problem I keep seeing is that too many Christians view God as this far away God who sometimes will surprise us by intervening in our lives in some divine way.  I hate to say this, but I believe that most churches have allowed this type of thinking to occur because many of our leaders either don't know how to teach on it, or have never experienced this kind of interaction with God for themselves.  I also see our Christian culture as one who is more excited about the next episode of their favorite reality show then they are about spending time with God.  Then we wonder why we struggle to understand God's will for our lives.

Take the scriptures to heart in a more literal way.  We read verses and they sound so nice, but we don't really take time to draw out the richness from them.  I think of James instructing us to "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."  In doing this he tells us to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts.  The Greek word for the phrase "draw near" is eggizo (pronounced en-gee-zo), meaning to bring near, or to join one thing with another.  That's what God wants.  For us to be joined with Him through Christ where His thoughts become our thoughts.  His ways become our ways.  In doing so we how can we not EXPECT to hear His voice?  It should become natural and a desirable thing to hear the voice of God instead of something that just happens every now and then.  We need to get back to the discipline of Psalm 1:2.  "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night."

Jesus said it this way in John 14.  "If you love Me, keep my commandments," (verse 15) and "If anyone loves me , he will keep My word."  (verse 23)  This is then followed by this awesome promise, "And my Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home with him."  

If someone is living in my home, then I am surely able to hear him when he speaks.  How much more then should we hear God when He speaks!

Thanking God for the heart that He is giving you!
Mark S.