About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to encourage your personal, daily walk with Jesus Christ, by seeing Him through the eyes of Mark Rodriguez. Updates will be made regularly so please subscribe. Most posts are taken from Mark's private journals or written by his mother unless otherwise noted.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Love to the Point of Death, by Mark Rodriguez

(re-post from 8/19/2014)

Psalm 29
The voice of the Lord...
Is over the Waters...
Is Powerful...
Is full of Majesty...
Flashes forth flames of fire...
Makes the deer give birth...
Strips the forests bare...
I love your Voice.
When you speak to me clearly, either through people or creation, my heart leaps.  There's something I sometimes forget, though.  You are always being presented to me.  All Creation shouts in praise of your glory.  When it does, if I'm paying attention, I won't be able to help but to join in the song.  And I should not forget that that Beauty I love, be it in creation or a friendship or a song, is a gift and an "I love you!" from you.  I may not always be running giddy all over the place, but I want to live my life through the perspective that someone so much more powerful than I loved me to the point of death.  That's worth more than I know.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sin Sneaks Up, by Mark Rodriguez

courtesy pexels.com

(re-post from 8/18/2014)


Dear God, 

Today I heard that I must throw off any sin that hinders my walk with you.  However, I still gave in to temptations today.  I still sinned.

God, sin is a tricky thing.  It sneaks up on you, making you unsure of when to flee.  

Lord, I pray that when the very beginning of temptation enters my head, I would flee.  Give me strength to push the thought away, and if it pursues, give me the strength to flee.  When I am tempted, remind me why that sin is wrong.  Remind me why I don't want to do that sin.

Lord, I am not bound by sin.  I have been crucified with Christ; sin's chains have been cast off.  Help me, Father.  Please pull me away from returning to those chains.  

I will not, must not, put those chains back on.  Take control, Father.  Please stop the temptations that keep chasing me by screaming why they are bad.


Monday, February 15, 2016

I'm Going To Live Forever, by Mark Rodriguez

(re-post from 8/12/14)


Your Love never Fails
Never Gives Up
Never Gives up on Me

And on and on and on it goes...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus.  You are limitless, boundless, endless.  You paint the skies with love day and night.  I swear I deserve none of it.  But you surround me constantly with wonder, with newness, with sights and sounds that I've never known.  Smile after smile escapes from my lips at the blessings in front of me.  And Lord, these blessings are far from temporary.  I'm going to live forever.  With you.  No person, no thing, can take that from me.  To live is Christ and to die is gain.  I have learned how to be content in any and every situation.  You are with me in all I do, I need not be afraid.  Write that on my heart Lord, let me never forget it. 


Note: The song Mark quoted at the beginning is written by Chris Quilala of Jesus Culture, I think.  The verses he references are from Philippians 1:21, and Philippians 4:11

If you would like to read Mark's journal in its entirety please visit Amazon.com and purchase
 The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of Mark Rodriguez

Friday, February 12, 2016

Don't miss the Best Part (for you to play)

by Leigh Ellen Rodriguez
“You have a great voice for the chorus,” the director of my high school musical said.  I should have taken it a compliment, I guess. But I didn’t.  To me it meant my voice wasn’t good enough to stand alone.  My voice was a filler, not unique, and certainly not lead role worthy. 

One of my best friends had the soprano voice of an angel, and the looks to go with it.  She was petite and blond with sparkling blue eyes. I felt tall and gawky with my untamable frizzy brown hair and braces. And my nondescript chorus voice. An alto voice I desperately wanted to force to be a soprano.

My adorable friend got the lead of every musical (at least that is how I remember it) while I got to be girl #2 or part of the crowd.  I remember one time I got to sing a short one line solo and the director told me to watch out because I was a little “flat.”  I remember thinking “Flat as in the note? Or flat as in my enthusiasm while performing?”  I was too embarrassed to ask so I tried to fix both. 

It is hard playing a role we don’t want, isn’t it?  Don’t we all secretly long for the life of a main character? Many of us don't really want the spotlight on us, but we desire at least a defined place in the story. We want to know that we are special, unique and have a voice worth hearing.

For years I thought that meant there was always one best role, one special position.  Yet I was destined for the small part, the supporting role on stage and often in life. 

My claim to fame...in 9th grade I played a bit part in our community theater and got beaten up by actor, Nada Despotivich, who later was in Jerry Maguire and Moonstruck

If I wasn’t The One, I was no one.  You could say I was ambitious, but it was much uglier than that. I was prideful. Somewhere along the way I had come to believe that if I wasn’t what I defined to be the best, I wasn’t as valuable.  And the scary thing is that if you aren’t careful you start applying that to other people too. And you really miss out on the experiences along the way.

A turning point for me was at a women’s conference I attended many years ago. I remember the worship leader’s voice just amazed me. I actually prayed that God would give me a voice like hers when I got to heaven.  

A few years later I was asked to sing back up for this person at a worship service. I no longer had illusions of grandeur. I knew I didn’t have near the talent she had and was thrilled to be part of the small “crowd” backing her up. My role required that I be completely tuned in to her voice, her movements and the cues she gave. I had to compliment her voice. My job was to make her sound amazing while blending with her, not competing for her role. 

I was happy to be in the background.  In fact, if I stood out, something would be terribly wrong.  For the first time I experienced how important my role of back up singer could be.  My job was to set her up, fill in the gaps and get out of the way.  And if I did that, I got to be a part of something amazingly beautiful. 

I have realized this applies to many areas of my life.  Especially when I am trying to tune in to God’s voice. What is He saying and doing all around me?  How is He moving? How can I accompany Him and not compete for the attention, glory or the control? How can I get out of the way and set the atmosphere for Him to show Himself as Beautiful? How amazing that He wants me to participate in this Story with Him!  I no longer feel like "no one" when I am not "The One."  The One, the Only One, has bestowed favor on me and you, and has asked us to join Him in the song. 

What does that look like today?

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Cords of Death, by Mark Rodriguez

(re-post from 8/10/14)


I love you Lord; you heard my voice and my cry for mercy.  You turned your ear to me; I will call on you as long as I live.  When I was entangled in the cords of death, when I was overwhelmed by the anguish of the grave, You saved me.  Not because I was good enough, not because I went to church, not because I prayed before eating.  No, you rescued me because of your mercy, because of your compassion.  Because of your love that transcends all understanding.  I love you, Father.  


Friday, February 5, 2016

I don't want to and You can't make me

by Leigh Ellen Rodriguez 

courtesy of Pexels.com
“Gratitude is…” she pauses to find the right word, “a FORCE.” 

I have asked her how she handles the limbo of her serious and ongoing medical issues.  How does one do the day-to-day life when all the time in the back of their mind they are wondering if this might be their last winter?  I ask her questions like this because I want to know her and be with her in the experience as she has been with me in mine. That was several days ago but I haven't been able to get that simply sentence out of my mind.

I remember what she said this morning when I am in no mood to be grateful.  I promised myself when I began to share my experience with others that I would never fake it.  So I tell you today that I don’t feel like fighting for joy today.  

I want to be sad.  Do you have days like that? When it seems everywhere you look there is pain.  Even the overcast rainy day agrees with me.  Gloom abounds. 

If you are hoping I might have a secret way out of a dark mood, I don’t.  My usual tricks aren’t working today. I don’t feel like distracting myself, or writing a list of what I am thankful for, or helping someone else. I don’t even feel like being encouraged by my husband, in fact encouragement just makes me more grouchy. I want to watch the Gilmore Girls, and wander aimlessly around my kitchen, and be unproductive. I want to stay in my pajamas and hide from the world that seems to get more mean by the minute. Actually, I am getting more mean by the minute. 

So I start talking to God as I go through the motions. I imagine the dialogue, but is it imagining or is He speaking into my heart?

“I just can’t be thankful today,” I say.
“Okay? Aren’t I supposed to be thankful? I have all these things, and loved ones and blessings.  But I am not thankful today, and you can’t make me be.”
“OKAY,” God whispers.
“Seriously? How can you be okay with that? Aren’t I like disrespecting you? Isn’t that like throwing your gifts back in your face?” I am aware that I am provoking God, feeling a little irritable.  I think I hear him chuckle.
“Sad.” I say, and tears start to well up.
“I really tried to fight for joy today, God.  I just couldn’t get it.That’s a lie (I guess you know that already). I didn’t fight.  I didn’t even have the fight.”

Whew. What a relief.  I have learned this before.  Heck, I have taught this before.  I am reminded today that it is not my job to create the “AHA” moment.  If I fight for anything, it simply needs to be fighting the lie that I can supply what I need by myself. What a joke. 

Gratitude is a force.  And that FORCE comes from God’s Spirit in me as it stirs in my sadness.  When I stop fighting and just let the comfort of God envelope me, I find myself saying “Thank you for your presence, thank you for your comfort, thank you for your rest.” And the list begins.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Monday, February 1, 2016

I have Captured His Heart

courtesy of Pexels.com

(re-post from Mark's journal)


I need not stem the flow of rejoicing that springs from being God's beloved.  Yes, there is a war he wants me to fight, but first and foremost I am to bask in and enjoy his presence, love and blessings.  This is a love relationship, not a commander-soldier relationship. 

He has redeemed my soul from going
down into the pit, 
and my life shall look upon the 
Job 33:28

I love this image in Job 33 of the "light of life."  I think that that light's the joy and fire of living with God.  To be passionately in relationship with him is the greatest thing.  The one who causes the sun to rise beautifully and the moon to glow subtly; I have captured his heart with a glance. 

He is my love, my joy, my peace :)