November 2018: The fire is consuming the equivalent of 10 Costco warehouses per minute.  14,000 homes are destroyed along with over 6,000 other structures. 88 people die.
Paradise, California is reduced to ashes.
Months later, thousands of the people of Paradise are still waiting in temporary housing in surrounding cities.  Experts say this town cannot be rebuilt.
Then God began to speak to us. He told us to get ready to go to Paradise. Honestly, I did not want to go. To begin with, I had no idea if anyone was still in Paradise. What about water and electricity? And how could we ever get a fire permit for a tent in Paradise?
Then I felt a strange relief. We could never go to Paradise unless we were invited. I was off the hook.  That is until a few days later when Miriam—a prominent resident of Paradise—called us to ask us to bring the tent. Now we had to proceed, not knowing how it could work out.
I must skip ahead to the point of this blog.  Beauty for Ashes was the theme that overshadowed us as we labored to make this miracle happen in Paradise. Through Miriam’s prayers and efforts, we got the tent site and the permit.
Then I had lunch with 40 Christian leaders from the Paradise area. They erased any doubt I had about Paradise being rebuilt. There was a holy resolve in the room. The date was set for Living Proof Paradise.  Then the next miracle happened.

God has gathered an army of love to bring hope and comfort.
Right now, many people feel a great expectation for these upcoming nights in Paradise.
What is the gift that we bring to this city of ashes?  I was at a loss to answer that question. Then it struck me: EZRA WENT IN FIRST.  Before the city of Jerusalem could be physically rebuilt by Nehemiah, God sent in a team to rebuild the people. That’s it! We are partnering with God and with many believers to lay a spiritual foundation before the physical one is laid.
Then I realized what the Word of God meant by Beauty for Ashes. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the  captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable     year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes…
After Jesus quoted these verses, He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” –Luke 4:21 Beauty for Ashes is an integral part of the Gospel. I believe that it speaks of a literal trade. “Give me your ashes in exchange for my beauty.”
This means the world to me because of the single greatest fear I had about this tent meeting. I didn’t want to be trite, offensive or rude. I could never say to these people, “I know how you feel.” You and I may never know how they feel.  To lose everything. To have nights of unimaginable horror. To lose loved ones.
But God is not sending us in there to give intellectual or philosophical remedies. Jesus just wants them to feel His presence in the tent. It is not for us to carry the burden of what these people need. They need peace that passes understanding. They need healing from the Great Physician.
There were people in the audience facing untold misery when Jesus said those famous words. He knew that His Gospel could set them free.
We go to Paradise to set up a tent. We are praying and working hard. But the gift we bring is not just water, food, and clothing. It is something money can never buy. It is something that comes to stay—for eternity. We provide the tent. God will provide His presence…and that my friend is a healing agent far beyond our intellect.


P.S. I need your prayers now more than ever. Help me by inviting those you know from anywhere in the Paradise area including Chico, Oroville or any other location nearby.  Call us at 775 238 3473. Do not be surprised if the Lord speaks to you to come all the way to Paradise to see this amazing miracle of love and receive the miracle you need. MM

11 thoughts on “BEAUTY FOR ASHES

  1. Shalom!

    It will be a successful meeting with many coming to Jesus. Expect it

    Warner Rivière

    Expect your miracle this day

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  2. How wonderful Mario and Team…That our Lord Christ would bring you back to the place of devastation to reignite the Burning Bush of God’s Presence in the hearts and minds of all who were harmed by such an event.
    Beauty in exchange for Ashes is what the promise is and oh how I would attach that promise and pin it onto my Brother right now. His name is Teren, and only 3 weeks after his 60th B-day he had a life altering Stroke. He is now paralyzed on the right side of his body and his brain is damaged so that he cannot speak properly nor reason adequately enough to continue onto physical therapy. To say that I’ve been in the fire for the last 3 weeks would be such an understatement that it’s useless to say. I have only one sibling and he’s is that. I’m older than my Brother and have always viewed him more like my own son though he is not. To say I love my Brother would also be a gross understatement. He was a handsome young fella, sought after by many friends and colleagues. His wife abandoned him 4 years ago and he gave her everything that they had because he loved her so much. My Brother was literally left with a broken heart and nothing else, and now he lost his health too, his life is literally ashes. BUT he is still beautiful, and he calls out to Jesus and I KNOW that Christ hears and will respond…with Beauty in exchange for these ashes.
    I’m heartbroken BUT filled with Faith, Hope and Love these 3 remain in me. Would you please pray for my Bro?… he, like the people in Paradise, are worth it, Thank You.

  3. We use Isaiah 61 regularly in drug and alcohol recovery and in prison ministry. God give you great success in returning hope to Paradise! Prayers!

  4. amen the need for Jesus and what he can give is far better than anything else the world has to offer, peace, healing, comfort, joy, mending of broken hearts, hope restored, and Jesus is the only one who can do that, [ hope deferred makes the heart sick] when it seems all hope is gone, he is the only one who can give beauty for ashes. praying be blessed

  5. Perfect! Timing is awesome! God is so good and you are so obedient. Thank God for on fire obedience. I anticipate, the inevitable, supernatural intervention of God!

  6. My wife, Pam, a dear friend and I met for coffee and fellowship this morning and both of these women of God said almost the same thing in discussing Mario’s blog about the tent coming to Paradise. They said that MMM was bringing another kind of fire to Paradise, a fire that does not destroy but instead builds up. I added it will be a fire as Moses saw, that does not consume but brings the revelation and power of God into every life that sees it. Paradise, CA : get ready to walk onto holy ground!

  7. Dear Mario,

    My name is Jenny REDMAN and I am Australian. My husband Tony and I Survived the Black Saturday Bushfires 10 years ago that almost entirely wiped out our community in Kinglake Victoria. 173 people died, 2000+ homes were raised to the ground including ours and 20+ people (unofficially but known) subsequently committed suicide in the following 5 years.

    What these people need is HOPE. We could never have come out victorious without Jesus. He was there during the fire storm in which we experienced perfect peace, after in the desolation and despair and in the rebuilding process physically and in our lives. Some people have never recovered. We were offered counselling but THE COUNSELLOR JESUS was our rock.

    You are right that there is nothing that you can say to these people that could help, especially that you understand – because you don’t and can’t. It’s only Jesus and The Comforter and your love from Father and your sincere presence that will help. These people need to know that you are there for the LONG HAUL because so many come with offers of help and then they are gone, having satisfied their own need to give and help.

    We escaped the fire storm because God showed us the way to get out – it was the only road not cut by fire and it burnt up directly after we passed through. That left everyone still on that mountain trapped there. We had cell phone coverage all the time and didn’t know that nobody else did at that time until months later because the phone towers had burnt down. Why did our house burn down? Why didn’t God protect it? Why couldn’t my faith stop the fire? I don’t know. These are questions that those lovely Christian people there will be asking. They may never know either.

    We had people saying that it was God’s judgement on gays and sinners etc. Rubbish! That’s not my Father at work! God gave my husband and I the same verse re beauty for ashes. Our lives were forever changed that day. As the people there will also know, one’s priorities for life changed then. What seemed important is now petty. Life is important.

    Our blessings and prayers are with you and your team! Be Jesus to them. Give out God’s love to them. Embrace them and be there for them. Allow them to grieve without advice. Give them life giving words from the Holy Spirit as led for each individual. And yes, God gave us beauty for ashes – beauty in our lives lived for Jesus.

    Jenny REDMAN

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