EMBRACE THE HONOR

What I am about to I tell you may be hard to believe.  Especially in these times that are dark, evil, angry and dangerous. There is no question that they are the most challenging days ever: in which to be married, have children, own a business, or lead a ministry.

Paul waged war for the Lord in the perilous times in which he lived, and he told Timothy to “fight the good fight.” A warrior shines best in the hottest battle. We must put on the armor of God, and learn to use the sword of the spirit.

Why should you learn to fight? Until you face the fact that you are locked in mortal combat, you will never stop being confused and you will never take adequate measures to arm yourself. Some even coddle the notion that if they remain a commonplace Christian, Satan will not attack them. But the warrior understands that it is the unarmed who are taken out first.

Rejoice in the honor of being born in these times!

 First, it is an honor because of what you get to see God do.   These are times when you will witness the power of God working miracles and doing special things through special people.  He gives grace that is not available in other, less chaotic times.  It is in times of crisis that He grants extraordinary power, wisdom, and courage. A life of knowing God and serving God is available to you—a life that was not available to prior generations.  Daniel wrote about dangerous times: “…but the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.” [Daniel 11:32b]

It is in the darkest times that the greatest glory rises.  Isaiah 60:1: “And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you and His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

It is God’s grand finale. It is the time when He will at last reveal the mystery of His work in the world, and He will release all the provisions He has been storing up.

 Then there is the matchless honor of suffering shame for Christ.   Acts 5:41 says, “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

Jesus said in Luke 6:22: “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they excommunicate you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! Indeed, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same things to the prophets.”

 You were born for this time.  It is not punishment, it is not an accident, and it is an honor—because there is a glorious plan!  There is a holy design, and God in His perfect timing has placed you here on earth right now. We might yearn for simpler times, but the rewards are much greater in this time in which we are living.

But there are consequences for not participating… 

Let me take you back to another dangerous time, and urge you to embrace this, your hour of destiny.

Moses had sent out twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to do reconnaissance and then report back on the status of the land Jehovah promised to give them. They were at war, but only two of them were eager and ready to enter the land and fight to take it.

Here are the highlights of the story from the book of Numbers:

13:30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are. 33 There we saw the giants…and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight.”

14:1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. But Joshua and Caleb, tore their clothes; 7 and said: “The land we passed through is an exceedingly good land. 8 Since Jehovah delights in us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us. Only do not rebel against Jehovah, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and Jehovah is with us. Do not fear them.” 10Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. 30Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 36 The men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and brought a bad report of the land 37died by the plague before Jehovah. 38 But Joshua and Caleb remained alive, of the (twelve) men who went to spy out the land.

The great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us and who are, at this very moment watching from the grandstands of heaven, would give almost anything to be in your shoes!  Jesus said, “I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.” [Luke 10:24].

Today you can terrify the enemy and glorify God by turning the tables. Instead of withdrawing out of fear and feeling like you are victims for being born in these times, like Joshua and Caleb, fully embrace this moment.

See it as a great opportunity. Embrace your destiny, and thank God for the honor of being born in these times!

Listen to what Pastor John Kilpatrick, who led the Pensacola Revival, said about Mario’s new book:
“As I read the manuscript for Mario Murillo’s new book, Vessels of Fire and Glory, I said to myself, “Finally!” Mario has measured the church and the nation in this season and did not hold anything back. His honesty is like the sun rising inside a dark cave. This release is a paradox—it is sobering and refreshing; it is symptoms and the cure. I believe this revivalist has penned a treatise that should be in the hands of all who lead the work of God.”
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Boldness

It is hard to convince many Christians that they are rapidly losing their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  They either don’t believe it is happening, or they chalk it up to ‘fake news’ or ‘politics.’  But the erosion of liberty is not only real—it is the greatest threat American Christians have ever faced.

If I listed everything the church was allowed to say ten years ago that she can’t say today, you would be horrified.  Without a miracle, your children and grandchildren will have to survive in a world that will totally ban their faith—and what is even scarier: they will have to face it without you.

The doctrines of our faith that offend are: the Cross, the Blood of Jesus, the reality of Hell, sexual purity, and marriage.  Preachers who feel the heat from government censorship are already deleting these doctrines from their sermons.  They’ll tell you it’s to reach a bigger audience—but, trust me, it’s the heat.

What can we do to stop the church from being driven underground?   No one who is truly a man or woman of God can seriously entertain the idea that we should stop preaching these truths.  That is not even an option.  What then can we do to reverse this pernicious loss of liberty?

An even better question is: What does God do when a nation tries to silence His church?  The answer came to me suddenly.   Hear me out, it is not what you think.  It is way beyond petitions, or elections.  The revelation I am about to relate to you, struck me with paralyzing clarity. I am amazed I never saw it before.

However, nothing I am about to say will help you, not one point I am making will have its intended impact, unless you have a heart for it.  If you are still in denial about what is happening, I can’t help you—this message can’t help you.  If you think I am dispensing alarmist extremism, then you are just another part of the threat.

But, if you want to hear God’s heart on this crisis—if you hunger for more than half-answers, then you have come to the right place.  You can ask the Holy Spirit the most important question you could ever ask: “What do You do when a nation tries to silence Your church?”

Here it comes:

When the leaders of Jerusalem arrested Peter, they didn’t know what to charge him with or how to punish him.  They knew they had to silence the church.  There was no doubt about their intention.  They were prepared to do anything to stop the Gospel—so what was stopping them?  Answer that, and you will know what the exact marching orders are, that the church needs today.

What was hindering the council members was the glaring presence of the man who came with Peter and John.  This was the crippled beggar who used to sit at the Gate Beautiful.  A spectacular miracle had occurred!  He had occupied the most visible and lucrative begging station in Jerusalem.  Everyone knew him.  Word of his miraculous healing filled Jerusalem, and a mad chorus of praise was rising over the Eternal City.

Their deep consternation is vividly described in these verses: Acts 4:14 “And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded (Peter and John) to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.””

Their profound dilemma was not lost on Peter.  The Holy Spirit had revealed to him the divine solution to government censorship.  Peter had clearly settled on a course of action—the very action we need to take today. It is the action we take in our tent. He left with a battle plan. He was armed with critical information.

He gathered the people of God, and ordered them to pray.  He was about to pray a prayer that is the precise model for our crisis. He faced the same threat we face.  Remember that word: “threat.”

You will recall I told you that nothing good can come to you from my message, unless you see how urgent the hour has become?  Peter began his prayer by calling the situation ‘a threat.’  We must do this, also.

In Acts chapter 4, Peter prayed: 29 “Now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”

Peter is showing us that boldness is essential.  Only boldness will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Not only this, he is forever settling the question of preaching.  Preaching must not leave anything out.  It is by sharing the whole counsel of God, that the church is protected, and able to continue her work.

Next, Peter is admitting that the vehicle for that boldness is signs and wonders.  God must stretch His hand over an angry culture, perform supernatural healings, and overrule the agenda of man.  Such is the case today.  Look at how God answered:

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Not only were they filled with the Holy Spirit and boldness, but God answered their prayer for miracles.  In the next chapter, the very shadow of Peter was healing the masses. (Acts 5:15-16)

Ignore those who aren’t willing.  Set the time and place to go to homes, houses of worship, schools, offices—anywhere where true prayer can be raised up to God.  Prove this promise and see: the Spirit will fall; you will receive a tongue of fire, and miracles will come.  I am not talking about self-absorbed emotional light touches.  I am talking about undeniable, medically verified, city-shaking divine healings.

And you will see that now, as in that day, no law, no argument, and no politician will be able to silence the church!

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STAND!

Evangelical leaders hailed Trump as a type of King Cyrus.  Now they are bailing on him because they can’t take the heat.   Just when he needs the church the most they abandon ship.

Fellow preachers, do we need to be reminded about the miracle we saw on election night?  For weeks, we were told he had no chance to win.  Have you forgotten how close we came to a nuclear winter called Hillary?

Do we need to be reintroduced to the obvious?  Look at who hates him, and you will find every reason to stand with him.  The same people that hate Israel, hate Trump.  The same people who want to kill Trump, want to kill the unborn.  The same people that want to silence Trump, want to silence the church.

Pastor, his enemies are your enemies.  Those who want to stop his policies, also want to stop your vision.

He tweets.  Get over it!  When virtually every news outlet lies about him…how else will he get the truth out?

He is rough and crude.  So, what?  Draining the swamp in Washington is not the job for your breathy voiced yoga instructor.   Trump is the strong medicine God chose.

He has enraged all the usual suspects:  Teacher’s unions, socialist hippies, gas bag college professors, and all the cuckoo caucuses infesting our halls of government.

I want to remind my esteemed yet timid colleagues our children are getting a nutty education.  Life doesn’t hand out participation trophies.  Life won’t let you retreat to your safe place.  Do you honestly believe that the drivel doled by leftists in the name of “education” will teach hard work, perseverance, and character?

Trump’s determination to make us strong in a hostile world is condemned as “nationalism.”  His campaign to make education rational is condemned as “out of date.”  Only drug addled moonbeams can find fault with common sense.

Our morally bankrupt leaders don’t know how to solve problems.  My generation put a man on the moon—this generation put a man in the girl’s bathroom.   I am not attacking transgender people. I am illustrating how—when it comes to priorities—liberalism rots the brain.  With the life-threatening problems we face they focus on this?

In the next 90 days we will see the most blatant attack—in our history—on everything we value as believers.

The last thing President Trump should feel right now is that he is alone.  He must feel the fervent prayers of the Body of Christ.  He must hear your voice supporting his valiant moves to unwind the snake Obama wrapped around the throat of our democracy.

Dear preacher did you support Trump because of a fad fever?  Are you silent because of the backlash?  If you believe Trump is a miracle, and a type of King Cyrus, then act like it!  Seize this divine opportunity to stand with policies that best reflect our values.  Don’t chicken out now that the heat is on.

I never voted for Trump because I heard some goose-bump prophecy.  I came to my decision in prayer.  I studied history.  I saw us sinking into the same quicksand that ended prior nations.  I looked at our choices and it was crystal clear that Trump was not just the best choice—he was the only choice.  He still is.

NOW THAT

Truth is the new hate speech.  Light has become darkness, lies have become truth, villains have become heroes, and love is now hate.  What do we do, especially now that the teachings of Jesus Christ are being intricately and essentially banned in the United States?  This censorship is designed to weaken the nation, centralize control, and bring down America.  Many believe it is already too late.

What is even worse is that much modern preaching is setting believers up to crash and burn when they face persecution.  Instead of arming the church to push back on the onslaught of censorship, some sermons are actually weakening the resistance of Christians.

I do not often drop the God card.  I never claim to hear from the Holy Spirit unless I have heard from Him in a clear and undeniable way.  Today, I heard from Him!  My spirit jumped at what He revealed about the very hour we are living in.   To begin with, I felt deep hope and a high sense of urgency.

I believe that the Lord is telling me to say, “It is not too late—but there is work to do.” This was reinforced by the verse He gave me, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day;  the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4)

Immediately after that, these next verses were branded into my soul:

Acts 14: 2 “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. 3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.”

I am going to offer four specific steps derived from these verses.  I believe that they hold a powerful key to understanding the moment we are in and the exact direction we must take.  Read it with great openness.  Let the lukewarm Christian take heed.  Let leaders and preachers give serious heed to these words of direction.  I do not believe they are my words.

1. Ask God to show you by the Holy Spirit what you are doing—and then abandon everything you are doing by your own power—no matter how ‘sacred’ it seems.  

Let us begin by repenting of our greatest mistake.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to run the Church and grow the Church.  He was sent to make us effective and relevant to the culture.

We are guilty of taking away His authority and running the church by our own wits, and by the methods of the world.  We have failed miserably.  Sadly, even failure has not stopped men from controlling the things of God.

In every generation hell belches out a new weapon of mass destruction.  But heaven is neither passive nor taken by surprise.  God creates a weapon of choice by the anointing.  Then He seeks for the person who will take up that weapon in the Name of Jesus and thrust it into the heart of darkness.

The American death-march does not surprise the Holy Spirit.  He already foresaw it, and He is driving us to our knees in prayer to seek His effective counter-attack.

It is all summed up in the words Samuel spoke to Saul: 1 Samuel 10: 6 “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands, for God is with you.”

Waiting on God for power is the highest duty of a preacher.  Prayer must saturate us before we go forth. Those who believe that God must instantly honor our prayers are deluded by modern church entitlement.   We must seek—being utterly convinced that power is coming—but at the same time we must be fervently committed to wait as long as it takes.

This first step will cost you friends and church members, and it will impact your lifestyle.  But this is nothing compared to the disaster you will avoid.

2.Do not abuse prayer! In Numbers 22 it says, 18 “Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, ‘Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.’”

Balaam sounded noble, yet greed was in his heart.  He totally contradicted himself.  First he says, “Keep your money. God said, No.”  Then he asks the money people to spend the night to see if God might change His mind.

The classic reaction to my blogs on America’s disaster is, “All we need to do is pray.”  Nobody believes in the power of prayer more than I do.  However, there is a widespread abuse of prayer.  Prayer is being used as an excuse for delaying, remaining silent and escaping responsibility.

The key to the Lord’s Prayer is, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Prayer is going to give you direction.  But, if you pray until you get the direction you like, you have the spirit of Balaam.

This abuse of prayer even hit Moses.  He knew that he was supposed to lead the people through the Red Sea.  Yet he hesitated, and God got angry!  Exodus 14:15 “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!’”

Disobedience is a prime reason we have lost this generation.   Many were told what to do about the nation and simply ignored it.  True intercession will never become a substitute for soul-winning.

God has been offering wisdom, direction, and power during the entire Obama regime.  We are at the point of destruction because few leaders have listened and obeyed.

If God sees that you want no part of the warfare, that you refuse to touch the unlovely, and you simply do not want to deal with your local human tragedy, then He will skip over you and find someone else.  Mordecai warned Esther about remaining silent:  14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

 3. Ignore the accusations of hate. When Christians address gay marriage, they often begin with a disclaimer: “I am not trying to be hateful.” Quit wasting time with misnomers. There is no widespread hatred of gays in the church. The hate is not coming from us; it is coming at us! The slander, smearing, obscene language, and death threats are spewing out of radical feminists, gay activists, and radical Islamists, not the Christians.

Simply speak the truth in love.  Do not apologize or condemn.  Offending people is unavoidable.  Save your energy, tell the truth, and leave the results in God’s hands.

4: We must make way for signs and wonders and supernatural acts of God like never before.   Jesus knows they are the only way we will get our message across in this toxic atmosphere. The miracles of Jesus not only continue today, they will accelerate more and more.  The phrase, “speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3) speaks loud and clear to our time.

History teaches us something important: When the Word of God is summarily rejected and immorality has spiked, the Holy Spirit has more than met the challenge with increased power to preach, and towering miracles to confirm the message.

Finally, all four of these actions are summed up in the reality that we are at war.  We did not pick this fight but, with God, we are going to finish it!