THE FORGOTTEN POWER

No matter how thin you slice baloney, it’s still baloney.  And, almost everything pastors are told about church growth is baloney. Most of it leads to frustration and disillusionment. Think about it.  Most pastors have taken those trendy courses on church growth. If that is true, then why are so few churches growing?

Here’s the big lie: Fix your organization, your brand, and your staff, if you want your church to grow.  And, hasn’t this worked in many cases?  In many cases? No.  But has it worked in some cases?   Yes, but only because even a blind dog finds a bone once in a while.

How then can we explain the overnight success of some church-plants? If what you mean is more like a franchise then, yeah, that’ll work—because they pour millions into establishing a franchise copy of an existing mega church.   Hello?  Is anyone offering you millions of dollars and vast expertise to help you build your church?

Given enough marketing money, I could get a thousand people to come watch yogurt mature. But is it a crowd you want, or is it a Holy Spirit-built army of Christ-following converts?  To paraphrase Paul, “If I master all the tricks in the how-to-fill-a-church seminar, but do not have a congregation who deeply loves Jesus, I am just another mega-church. If I have a room full of a thousand spoiled spectators, it profits me nothing.”

Some of our good friends shake their heads at the advertising we use for our tent crusades. Our cards say, “Come and experience the love and power of Jesus Christ.” Our friends almost feel sorry for our lack of salesmanship and seem embarrassed that we are being so obvious about our intentions. What they don’t see is what kind of crowd we want. We want people who are hungry for a miracle.  We are not trying to hide anything, and people are weary of being tricked. But more importantly, our cards are soaked in prayer. The crowds come for the right reason—because they have been drawn by the Holy Spirit.

I have many things to say about how churches can grow, but I am going to focus on my favorite factor in growth—one that is greatly underrated: THE EXCITEMENT OF THE PASTOR. Here are the reasons an excited leader is both powerful and crucial.

 

1. Excitement is infectious. A sincerely excited leader has an amazing impact on people. The electricity of a leader who is genuinely excited will draw the crowds without any gimmicks or hype.

Here is an example: Transit authorities in the Northeast have spent a lot of money on advertising, begging people to use their services, and they still can’t get commuters to use public transportation. Meanwhile, millions pour into Disneyland to ride trains that don’t go anywhere. The difference is excitement.

Fresh vision chases away depression. Even eloquence is at the mercy of excitement.  We don’t need more teaching seminars. I fear we’ve been taught to death. We need to pour gasoline on our sermons, and light them on fire.

2. Excitement finds a way. The changes in culture are dizzying. The challenge to build great works for God today is daunting. However, if you leave the challenge in the hands of genuinely excited vessels of God, they will find a way. They have the relentless will to conquer by the simple use of prayer and obedience.

3. Excitement doesn’t care about things that don’t matter. The excited leader is not just living their dream, they are a walking miracle. Imagine Lazarus the day after he was raised from the dead. You couldn’t offend him. You couldn’t scare him and you couldn’t make him feel insecure.

Beloved brother and sister in the ministry, we are not far from being a Lazarus! The truly excited pastor doesn’t care about criticism—doesn’t need the approval of men—doesn’t dread a lack of funds. Paul wrote, “Yea, in all these things we are more than conquerors…”

If an excited pastor is a boon to a church, then there is nothing more devastating than a discouraged and broken hearted shepherd. The last thing that leader ever needs to do is go to a church growth seminar. Any pastor who is wounded and broken from the thankless task of ministering to a fickle generation takes a terrible risk by going to a church growth seminar. Even if they get some growth from the shallow advice being given, it will gravely disappoint them because a wounded heart won’t feel any joy in success.  And, if they don’t see any growth, it could be devastating since it reinforces hopelessness and can lead to despair.

Have you ever broken a pastor’s heart? If so, the damage went far beyond what you realize.

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” Unprofitable to say the least!

If I could blend the fresh fire that is in the heart of a first year Bible college student with the wisdom of a pastor who has been forged in the crucible of battle, I would have a weapon that is guaranteed to shake the very timbers of hell!  Get your excitement back—by the power of the Holy Spirit—and church growth will happen!

Mario’s new book will awaken you to your assignment in God’s greatest work in the Earth. It’s $15 each or $12 for ten or more. Get a signed copy plus free shipping by clicking here.  https://mariomurillo.org/product/vessels-of-fire-glory/ 

 

WHY WE DON’T COMPROMISE

At Mario Murillo Ministries we see things differently because we were born different.  From the very first we faced persecution.   While I was still in high school I preached in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco—ground zero for the ‘love and peace’ movement.  Moving across the Bay to Berkeley meant going from the frying pan into the fire. 

The instant we hit Berkeley we had to decide:  What we would preach?  How would we preach it?  Then, as now, people were trying to create a Godless utopia.

If our message was of human origin, or if there were even a speck or a flaw in its nature, the crucible of Berkeley would have blown it to smithereens.  Instead, unexplainable power appeared at each point where the ministry was threatened.  Something out of this world would always step in and provide words, resources, ideas and miracles, exactly when we needed them.

Not once in that cauldron of revolution, did we feel the need to rebrand Christ, or present a ‘new and improved’ Gospel.

For years, there has been a rising tide calling for Christians to “keep your faith to yourself.”  Many modern pastors—and even the Pope—have joined the chorus asking Christians to ‘tone it down.’ Yet our tent is packed with the very people who are supposed to be turned off by a direct approach.

Consequently, many churches have retreated into a cultural bubble where they do everything but preach the Gospel.  We have entertained, amused, inspired and distracted, but we have not converted America.  Because of this, the average Christian can defend neither their faith, nor marriage, and cannot even state why the Bible is the inspired word of God.

The original reason that the Church adopted this “indirect approach” was to get society to like us.  What we got was just the opposite.  Our compromised message has fueled greater contempt for the Church.

The media is now maligning the message of Jesus every day.  Francis Spufford said, “They think we believe in a load of Bronze Age absurdities. We promise the oppressed ‘pie-in-the-sky’ when they die; we are too stupid to understand why what we believe is irrational, and we are savagely judgmental.”

Atheists call us a threat to human progress.  Secular progressives condemn us as hating the poor, homosexuals, and women.

How is it possible, that after all the work we have put into removing the “offensive” parts of our message, that society is even more offended?  The answer is that there is a small but loud faction that hates Christ. 

We at Mario Murillo Ministries violently, totally, and utterly disagree with the notion that we should ‘tone down’ the Gospel in America.  There are millions of innocent bystanders who have not rejected Christ.  They are simply caught in the middle between haters telling lies and the misfiring sermons of voices that are too timid to tell the truth.  We must take our message to these millions who are trapped in the middle. This is why the answer is not to ‘tone it down’ but to turn it up!

The same Holy Spirit that outfitted our ministry to face the city of Berkeley will equip us to mount a fresh invasion of our nation.

Now let me get to the goal of this letter.  We have learned through every trial and breakthrough that God does not just give guidance, He also gives a plan.

We have a plan.  I can say without apology that this plan has come to us from the Holy Spirit.  Again and again, the Spirit of God has used events in the Bible as a model for what we should do. The verses below reveal a three-point plan that was given by an angel to the disciples when the church was gravely threatened.

17 “But the high priest rose up and all who were his supporters, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and being filled with jealousy and indignation and rage, 18 they seized and arrested the apostles (special messengers) and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and, leading them out, said, 20 “Go, take your stand in the temple courts and declare to the people all the words of this Life.” (Acts 5:17-20)

Embedded in those simple words, are our instructions for facing the onslaught of the current leftist revolution in America.

1.Take a stand. We cannot judge other ministries. We can only answer for what God asks us to do. He has ordered us to take a stand.  There is no confusion about what the angel was asking the men of God to do.  He was telling them to stand their ground in their nation.  This is not just a physical act, it is also moral and spiritual. We must take a stand against Satan’s agenda for America and we must take a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We take a stand because we belong in the national conversation.  America has a drug, divorce, suicide, anger, and atheism problem.  Our voice needs to be heard because we carry the most immediate and effective cure for everything that is hurting America.  The angel was reinforcing to the apostles that their message was valid and urgent. And so is ours today.

2. Take your stand in the temple courts. Ours is not an obscure message that should be whispered in the secret places of society. The temple courts were the heart of Jerusalem. The angel was clearly instructing them to raise their voices in the very center of their culture.

In that same way we must go where the people are and where the biggest lies are being told.  The angel gave them an exact location to take their stand and that location spoke volumes to the apostles.  God is serious about making a difference in the culture.

This is why the tent is perfect. It is a movable miracle that can be pitched in the areas where pain and misery are unchallenged.

3.Tell all of the words of this Life. What a scathing rebuke to ‘popular’ Christianity. While Christian celebrities scurry to and fro to find buzzwords to replace the core doctrines of the Bible, here is an angel telling the apostles that they must tell all the words of this Life. They cannot leave out a single benefit or a single one of the demands of the message of Jesus Christ.

How right that angel was.  There is life in those words.  There is life in the blood of Christ, the cross and the resurrection.  There is such powerful and amazing life in them that no mountain of eloquence or cunningly devised sermon can begin to match.

If only we would learn to brave the offense of the cross in our preaching!  We would find that very soon the supernatural life of God would overtake our preaching and create miracles in people that infinitely surpassed the results of the current ‘seeker-friendly’ preaching.  Society would not care about the demands in our message because of the changes they would see in their souls, minds and bodies.

In city after city, we will take a stand in the heart of that city and tell all the words of this Life! NO COMPROMISE!

 

JOIN US ON SUNDAY NIGHT OCTOBER 20TH AT 6 PM AT CHUKCHANSI STADIUM. ALL SEATS ARE FREE FOR THIS HISTORIC NIGHT OF PRAYER.

 

Healing the most devastating emotional problem of Christians

Hebrews 12:9: “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live.”

In a popular movie from some years ago, the main character described the horrors of war:

“I have seen, boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there is nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit; there is no prosthetic for that.”                 

What on earth does that movie quote have to do with this letter? It has everything to do with this letter! In fact, it touches on every social ill, including self-destructing starlets, young men who commit murder, and a vast unnamed generation tormented by the bitter failure to find self-worth.

Something unseen is feeding on the American spirit. Colleges scramble to deal with a surge of “mental illness.” People go to anger management and come out enraged. Miracle diets have made their victims fatter. People go into rehab addicted to drugs and come out addicted to rehab.

It is no longer the heinous acts of criminals that stun police as much as the mindless acceptance of these acts by society. Entire neighborhoods concede the future of their children to crack houses, gangs, and pimps.  An entire generation is conceding their future to government control because they feel helpless to face the future.

We were tasked to reach and disciple students at the University of California during the campus revolutions of the 1970’s.   We labored amid tear gas, riots, hedonism, and suicide.

We saw that those students had the heart of an Orphan, and they had an amputated spirit. They came from homes where performance was everything.  At Berkeley they faced a double edged sword—pressure to get good grades and pressure to join the demonstrations. Neither side showed them any mercy.

This is a widespread crippling condition among Americans today.  It is as rampant in the Church as it is outside the church.  The orphan-hearted feel they are on the bottom even when they are on top. No matter how lofty their success, they cannot savor it. Nothing removes their insecurity because hidden software running in their spirits keeps them desperate for the approval of some vague ‘someone.’ They can never please this phantom, but they cannot stop trying.

The last verse of the Old Testament predicts this and names the cure. Malachi 4:5-6 says, “Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

To be free of an orphan heart, learn these truths.

1. Transfer your search for approval from an earthly father to your Heavenly Father. Let Him provide the missing nutrients in your past and present. God will heal your devastated childhood.  Hebrews 12:9 says it so clearly: “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!”

2. Remember, important people may do important things, but it is wrong to assume that if we accomplish important things, we will feel important.   Again, even after success, orphans feel worthless.

3. Let the Holy Spirit flood your heart with the Spirit of Adoption!   Lord, let us see how the death of Jesus on the Cross destroyed the curse of sin that separated us from God our Father and made us orphans.  Show us how You yearn to saturate our hearts with the unshakable knowledge that we are Your beloved children.  When we know that through Christ we have Your approval, no one else’s approval will ever matter. And no one will ever be able to make us feel worthless.  Amen.

 

A SPIRIT-FILLED RESPONSE TO CALIFORNIA MADNESS

California is now beyond words. The insanity coming out of their state government boggles the mind and it can be totally disheartening to the believers who live here.

It is never safe to make sweeping statements or try to gauge the mood of all Californians.  No matter how hard you try, you will generalize. But no one can deny that California is pagan, addicted, digitally distracted, angry, skeptical, depressed, and demonically oppressed.

California has for decades been paganized by a media tsunami of filth, the tyranny of secular progressives, and the silence of the Shepherds.

-Poverty is spreading rapidly there and many are victimized by the greatest income inequality in America.  California is now dead last among the 50 states.

-California is the magnet that is pulling the popular votes of fifteen states and the District of Columbia into the Nation Popular Vote Interstate Compact. This movement is an attempt to make an end-run around the Constitutional Electoral College. The purpose of the NPVC is to make the Left-wing politics of the largest population centers the law of the land, and disenfranchise the smaller states and rural communities.

-Californians are over-medicated by misguided doctors and laser-focused drug dealers.

-Californians are bitterly divided by politics. There are the large blue cities which are dominated by Socialist-Democrat politicians and there are the smaller rural communities that are bright red, Republican, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, who are disgusted by the insane laws pouring out of their state Legislature.

Take a look at some of the demonic insanity taking place in California:

-California Senate Passes Resolution Telling Pastors to Embrace LGBTQ Beliefs. Not content with drag queen story time in public libraries and forced instruction on gay lifestyles in public schools, legislators are going even further and violating the First Amendment by making it a crime for the clergy to state from the pulpit what the Bible clearly says, that God will punish all sexual sin.

 –CA Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing ‘Free’ Chemical Abortions For College Students  Students for Life of America (SFLA) President Kristan Hawkins said,” California legislators are recklessly experimenting with students’ lives and health by advancing a plan to force school health centers to become abortion vendors, pushing chemical abortion pills to force an intentional miscarriage.  These Toilet Bowl Abortions would create havoc on campuses, as girls are sent to their dorm bathrooms to bleed and pass an aborted infant in a toilet, without medical supervision or assistance,” Hawkins added.”

-California has decided to effectively separate their state from the rest of America, declaring themselves to be a sanctuary for illegal aliens, protecting them from ICE raids.

-The prison system is a revolving door for dangerous criminals and pedophiles. Currently, there are 100,000 sex offenders registered in the state. This means that 1 in 400 Californians are on the list, living near schools, and mostly unmonitored. California passed a bill that will go into effect in 2021 that will allow most sex offenders to petition to be removed from registries, as long as they have not committed another serious or violent felony or sex crime, allowing them to go undetected and unsupervised.

-California is anti-Second Amendment. They have banned nearly every firearm and any magazine over 10 rounds, blocked citizens from obtaining carry permits, prosecuted those who have defended their families, and added an expensive background check that is required when anyone buys ammunition.

-Worst of all, many feel no hope for the future and are taking their own lives in record numbers. In short, California is in a condition that is beyond words.

-Many more Californians than you realize are saddened by the general defeatism coming from Sacramento. They are fed up with the fake news media, and appalled at the demented teaching being employed by a sick university system.

While that description sounds like I cannot find much good in Californians the opposite is the case. There is much good left here.  In fact, I believe this state conceals a vast number of warriors of faith, generosity, and courage.

When I say California is beyond words, I mean California can no longer be reached by mere words. We must have something new…or, something so old it is new.

What do we do now?  There is a clue in something Billy Graham once said.  When a reporter accused him of setting the Church back 50 years, Billy said, “I was trying to set it back 2,000 years!” In the third decade of the first century A.D., the world lived in a similar swampland of despair, perversion and anger.  Christianity emerged from that morass.  But how did she do it?

The church verified the resurrection of Christ with signs, wonders, and miracles.  The church infused the gospel with their infectious joy, their irresistible love for one another, and their golden service to the poor and the forgotten of society.  These things provided the Christian clout.  This is why Saint Francis—for whom San Francisco is named, by the way—ministered to the poor and operated in the gifts of divine healing, said, “By all means preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

What Californians need is what I call The Blatant Attempt.  The Blatant Attempt is drawing a line in the sand that alerts the public and defies Satan. It consists of four clear steps.

 1. A highly public and powerful invitation:We have been guilty of asking people to attend meetings and conferences that are not compelling and do not stir the heart. Moreover, we have been afraid to make that invitation a matter of public knowledge. We must be brutally honest as to exactly what the purpose of the meeting is: to encounter the living God, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

 2. Thus, we must invite them to encounter the power of God in California. We must spell out that God cares for people and has healing power for those who suffer.  Think about it! Don’t you believe that when people brought the lame, the blind and the lepers to Christ there must have been a conversation about what could happen if they came to the event!  That kind of expectation is a must if The Blatant Attempt is to be effective.

3. We must alter the service to meet the challenge. Nothing is worse than selfish Christians. Dismantling and rebuilding our meetings so that they are an event where compassionate Christians lead those who are sick and hurting to a miracle. It should not be another tired event where over-fed, bored saints are further lulled to sleep. If we can still cling to ‘business as usual’ in this dark and desperate hour, it proves how misguided and deceived we truly are. These powerful and anointed new meetings must include fasting and intercession.  The format of these new meetings must be based on surrender to the Holy Spirit.

4. We must contend to make revival permanent. When the Glory blasts through, keep going!  There should be no return to normal, this should be the new normal.  Trust God to give you strategies to host His presence from now on! Maintain the fire, and channel the fire into a sustainable way of life.

This is my exhortation to every ministry in the State. I would love to work with you, but whether we work together or not these truths are for all Spirit-filled leaders in California. But what I have just described to you is what we will continue to do, until the raging river of God’s Glory floods the Central Valley!

P.S. Our tent crusades are a blatant attempt to declare the Gospel that is beyond words.  I have an absolute assurance in my spirit that we are about to see the greatest demonstrations of healing power California has ever witnessed!

Click here to read more about what we are doing in California   https://wp.me/p1vrzp-6vJ

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WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?

A MANIFESTO FOR MY BLOG. Some have told me that when they see my posts that rebuke and warn, they wonder, “Mario, what is your problem?”  I do have a problem, but it is not what they think.  I am not negative, nor am I fearful.   I have not given up or given in.  None of those things are my problem.  My problem is of a different nature.

My problem is that I serve a God Who is limitless in power and wisdom, and His excellence infuses me with zeal to declare that we can be better, and we can do better, as a church and as a nation.

I see no place for compromise.  There is no reason to accept the slavery of the God-haters.  We are not supposed to sit down and shut up.   A weaker church with a smaller voice is not the new normal—it is blasphemy.

I believe Satan doesn’t stand a chance.  An amoeba would have a better chance of surviving on the surface of the sun than Satan has of surviving against God.  I believe that prayer and worship kills the devil’s lies.  I oppose any decision, by any leader, that is based on fear or unbelief.

Back in the day, we didn’t scare as easily.  Formerly, pastors didn’t have to seduce people into serving God.  We didn’t back down and we didn’t let ourselves starve on the table scraps of watered-down preaching.

I miss the days when the church was not the court jester to America, but was the conscience of the nation.  The church was a firewall against intellectual dishonesty, injustice, and depravity.  I miss those days.

But I am not railing because I am afraid those days are gone forever—it’s just the opposite.  I see no reason why we can’t have them back.  My resolve to bring those days back fuels my rebuke of pastors and secular officials alike.

Speaking of rebukes—let me clarify why I rebuke our leaders.  My rebukes are rooted in my conviction that America is a miracle.   We did not make ourselves great.  God made us great.  When you try to “fundamentally change America” and make her pro-late term abortion, pro-Islam, anti-Israel, anti-marriage, and anti-Christ, you are messing with God, and you need to know it.  You need to be rebuked.

When I rebuke our elected officials, I am not abandoning my call to the Gospel, I am preaching the true Gospel.   Look at Acts 3:14-15: “But you denied the Holy and Just One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of Life, Whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.”

Peter unleashes a stinging charge that includes rebellion, because they denied the Holy One; perversion, because they chose Barabbas; and murder because they killed Christ when He was innocent.  Peter did all of this in the middle of a soul-winning sermon!

Don’t tell me, “Well, that was different.”  How can it be different?  Peter was giving the public and their leaders a tongue lashing for committing state sponsored murder, for engaging in tyranny, and for lying about it.  There is no difference.

But there is a big difference between Peter and many American preachers.  He did not worry that he would look hateful or unloving by leveling these charges.   He was not preaching to ‘make nice’—he was preaching to make disciples.   That is the ultimate love.

Peter also knew that the fate of Israel hung in the balance.  He was calling his nation back from disaster.  That is the same duty of every vessel of God in America: To call America back from disaster.

So let me ask you a question: What do you preach when you see history repeating itself?  No nation has ever done what we are doing right now that did not end in either a dictatorship or a totalitarian state.  Should I be silent?

Can you deny that Islamists are murdering Christians?  Can you deny that Democrats don’t care?  Do you see the Deep State cancelling our freedoms illegally?  Do you deny that our Constitution is being trampled upon?

The accusations of anger and extremism aimed at my writings begin to evaporate when you answer those questions honestly.   If anything, I am being too tame in confronting this disaster.

So the next time you wonder what is wrong with Mario, remember this:  My writing is driven by equal parts urgency and faith.  I cannot hold back because the fate of this nation hangs in the balance, and I cannot hold back because I know that my God loves America and is mighty to save.

BREAK THE HEAVINESS

The constant barrage of terrifying headlines and mainstreaming of perversion vexes the child of God.  These verses from Second Peter have never been more relevant than now: “and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…” 2 Peter 2:7-9

Angry debates, violent rioting, filth paraded in the streets, Christian leaders renouncing their faith, persecution, and constant bad news can drain the sanity from our souls.

Not only this, but we are forced to keep all our enormous frustrations inside of us. While stupidity and wickedness get a megaphone—wisdom and righteousness get duct tape over their mouths.

These are the times that rob inner peace—that bring intense restlessness—that drain all the color and enjoyment from our life.

These are the times Jesus warned us of—and that He gave us direction for.

First He said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.” – Luke 21:17-19

Talk about mindless hate! Both the liberals and the feminists have incredible bias for Islam and sheer hatred for Christ and Christianity. It is mind-bending.  It makes zero sense.  Yet that is exactly the kind of irrational hatred our Lord predicted. It is weariness to believers who share their faith openly.

Then Jesus said, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” (Luke 21:34)

The dumbest thing anyone ever said to me was, “When you come to Jesus, your problems are over.”  I never had problems until I met Jesus!  I kept wondering, “Why am I being attacked?  Why am I being shot at from all directions?  Why do I meet stiff resistance every time I try to do something meaningful for Jesus?”

Does this sound familiar? You walk through life, minding your own business and wham!  A co-worker rages at you for no reason. Money evaporates.  Your health fails.  Loved ones abandon God.  Someone makes an irrational defense for wickedness. A confluence of demonic attacks falls on you.  Life has never felt so cruel and unfair.

At the apex of one of these attacks, something happened to me.  A terrifying thought became a glorious thought, “SOMEBODY IS MAD AT JESUS, AND THEY ARE TAKING IT OUT ON ME!”  Suddenly, I felt qualified to fight back. And I felt profoundly honored.

Think about it!  A soldier does not go to war because he has a personal grudge against the enemy.  He didn’t declare war—his nation did.  He is not responsible for the battle plan—the military is.  He is not paying his own way to the war—his government is.

Let’s take a look at the things that are not the soldier’s responsibility:  The training he needs; the weapons he uses; the food and shelter he requires; the assignments he receives—these, and a host of other things, are not his responsibility.

“What soldier ever serves at his own expense?” (1 Cor. 9:7) “…No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (2 Tim. 2:4)

The soldier does not create the organized army.  He does not carry the weight of how the war will be won. If he sits in the foxhole feeling alone and unfairly attacked, it is because he has forgotten who he is and why he is being attacked.  He has taken the battle into his own hands!

But when he remembers that he was recruited—when he recalls that he is not alone, but part of a victorious army, and all he is called to do is obey orders, it changes everything!

When we take the attack personally, we lose hope.  But, when we say, “The battle is not mine, it’s God’s,” we cannot be defeated.  Let’s stay out of things that do not concern us.  Let’s keep our conflict in the hands of God.  We must discern when we are operating in our own strength and by our own wits.

Remembering your attacks are not personal is plainly seen in these verses where Jesus speaks about conditions in the last days:  Luke 21:12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of special persecution, and you will be dragged into synagogues and prisons and before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 But as a result, the Messiah will be widely known and honored.  14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

newspaper headlines

When they were arrested, it felt personal. When they were dragged to court, it felt personal.  But when they were asked to speak, it became God’s battle and Christ was glorified!  He gave them the words and the courage to speak.  He even told them not to prepare words beforehand.  That means that we are not to devise ways of fighting back.  It means we will get what we need, when we need it.

Paul experienced the same thing: Philippians 1:12 “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel…”

Right now we have a presidential election that embodies everything that is wrong with our nation.  It is a hair-pulling, maddening, terrifying, and draining moment for believers. We must put the battle back in God’s hands and let Him replenish our peace and our joy.

Never forget! We have the best message humanity has ever heard, and the best Book ever written.   We have the best Captain in the universe!  We have the all-powerful Holy Spirit, Who has been sent to aid us.   We have access to power, strategy, and wisdom.  All of this, and more, will direct our fighting.

Is someone mad at Jesus, and are they taking it out on you?  What an honor!  What an opportunity!  Whenever Satan comes at you, let Jesus come at him!

The first time an angel stares at you in heaven with wonder and admiration for your service to Christ, you will know why your trials were worth it all.  The first time you hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” you won’t remember the suffering, the trials, or the battles.

No wonder Paul said, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  -Romans 8:18

Hallelujah!  –