HOPE FOR OUR BATTERED PRESIDENT

There is no disrespect intended in the title.  No one can deny he is being battered.  This is about why there is hope for our president.  But, true hope is anchored in truth.  There’ll be no Pollyanna pep rally here.  It looks bad, real bad. We begin by facing facts:

-We know that Obama and Hillary loyalists—deeply embedded in Washington—are working feverishly to destroy president Trump.  They are using their dark arts, not just on him, but on you.

-We know that a soulless media has discarded all pretense of objectivity.  They are minions of a mindless coup.  They are no longer capable of even thinking a decent thought toward Trump.

-We know that Trump is struggling to drain the swamp because some Republican Congressmen have stuck a hose back in it, recycling the swamp water.

-We know that Trump make-believers who once supported him abandoned ship at the first sign of trouble.

-We know that the forces behind Mueller and Comey will witch hunt Trump for concocted crimes and refuse to try Hillary for actual crimes.

-We also know that during this overthrow of freedom much of the Church naps under the influence of melatonin ministers.

And yet there is great hope for our president.  I am shouting this question in your ear: HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THAT POWERFUL FRIEND?

Once before evil rose, with its bloody talons on the throat of America, and relief came from an unexpected source: This plea from Benjamin Franklin:

In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in this struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend?

Here is our powerful friend: Prayer, real prayer, sincere prayer, fervent prayer, unceasing prayer.  Prayer will expose the lies.  Prayer will defeat the traps laid before Trump.  Prayer will shut the mouth of the lion, topple the Washington walls of Jericho, split the Red Sea of fake news, and raise the Lazarus church from the dead.

Our powerful friend is waiting to bring unimaginable help and shocking breakthroughs.

Can I reintroduce you to our powerful friend?  Consider these points:

1. Even if you are the only one praying, it can change everything.  “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  James 5:16

When Israel languished in Babylon under the lash of Nebuchadnezzar only Daniel engaged that powerful friend.  He set himself to pray and fast.  His prayer, his solitary prayer, moved Cyrus to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah and release the Jews after 70 years of slavery.

The angel told Daniel it was his prayer that did it.  Daniel 10:12 “Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.”

In the New Testament, one man’s prayer brought the Holy Spirit to the gentiles.  Acts 10: 1 “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!’ 4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, ‘What is it, lord?’ So he said to him, ‘Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.'”

2. Even if you do not know how to ask, the Holy Spirit will pray through you.  Romans 8: 26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Think of that!  We don’t know how to pray for this national disaster, but the Holy Spirit does.  Our prayer language carries untold power to interrupt, and alter the affairs of man.  He, the Holy Spirit carries all power and wisdom.  He possesses the precision of prayer that totally escapes us.  He will commandeer our requests to the very throne of God.

3. My final point is the most powerful and encouraging: God told us to pray for our leaders.  1 Timothy 2: 1 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”

Why would we expend energy on worry when we can pray?  Why would we sit paralyzed watching the news instead of utilizing prayer to make news?  You, by yourself, have the power to ask and receive, why would you delay praying?  God told us that He is pleased when we pray for our leaders.  Isn’t that the most powerful motivation of all.  Remember our powerful friend.

What I am thankful for today

I have as much to be thankful for as any man that ever lived.  But today I am gripped, stunned and collapsing beneath a weight of gratitude.   I am thunderstruck with thankfulness over this one thing: God’s mercy on America.  Seven times in our history when we would have been destroyed, and by all accounts should have been destroyed, God intervened.  Read on.

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Seven Miracles that Saved America

 “In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine protection — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. … I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs the affairs of men!”

—Benjamin Franklin, 1787

“There is no overwhelming proof, but deep inside we know. And to those who believe, it also seems clear that these events took place with the direction and purpose. Despite our weaknesses, which are many, and our failings, which have existed since our inception, God has been willing to intervene so that this nation might survive.”

– Chris and Ted Stewart, 2009

The Founding Fathers regularly wrote that they considered themselves to be doing God’s work in establishing the United States. This habit was not just confined to the conspicuously devout, such as Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams but also to such secular saints as Jefferson and Franklin, the so-called Deists.  More to the point, they fervently believed — and often asserted — that God in his Providence actively intervened in events to make their efforts successful.

Today, we often dismiss such rhetoric as “just the way people talked back then” and explain how politicians of a certain era used it to rally an overwhelmingly religious populace behind them.

In their terrific new book, Seven Miracles that Saved America: Why they Matter, Why We Should Have Hope, former Air Force officer Chris Stewart and his brother, U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart, argue forcefully that the Founders not only meant what they said, but they were right.

The Stewarts look at seven instances in which overwhelming odds had to be beaten for the United States to exist in its current form. While some might argue over their meaning or the significance of some of their “miracles,” the unlikely circumstances that saved the day in several cases will have even a hardcore secularist taking a second look:

  • The extraordinary unlikelihood that America was colonized due to the efforts of an ambitious navigator with humble beginnings  – rather than perhaps the greatest fleet ever assembled for just such a purpose– which “discovered” North America about 70 years before Columbus.
  • The million-to-one odds that saved the English colonization of America as a fleet crossing the Atlantic arrives in Jamestown minutes before it was to be abandoned.
  • The fortuitous fog that saved Washington’s army that was as well-timed — and accurate — as any artillery smokescreen.
  • The discovery of the Japanese fleet heading toward Midway in the vastness of the Pacific during World War II by an American reconnaissance airplane extending its search well beyond its operational range.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While this book makes a theological and political point, the emphasis in Seven Miracles that Saved America is on storytelling. The Stewarts employ an unusual device — novelizing part of each chapter, much like the Shaaras or Alan Eckert — while sticking to known facts and actual quotes. This makes for an extremely engaging, if rather quirky, narrative.

The authors open with the fascinating — and not well known account — of how America should have been colonized by the Chinese, rather than by Western Europeans.  Even if the Chinese did not discover the American continents, though it seems likely they should have, with their massive fleet and more advanced technology.

However, the glorious fleet that was sent on a mission of discovery, returned to a China that had changed and become inward-focused and xenophobic. The records of the exploration were burned, and the fabled fleet was left to rot, along with China’s expansionist ambitions.  (For more on this, check out last year’s interesting, if flawed, book, 1421.)

The next chapter, The Miracle at Jamestown, continues the discussion of the religious and cultural nature of those who colonized America and why it was important. While the Stewarts propose the obvious, that those who followed Columbus were culturally very different than the navy of Zheng He, the authors assert it was also very important that a Protestant presence be established in America. They contend the competition among Christian sects led to the religious diversity and tolerance that formed the basis of the United States.

Their story of how close Jamestown came to failure and abandonment is gripping reading.  How it was saved is one of the more convincing cases for the word “miracle” in the book—along with the “mysterious fog” that saved Washington’s army in New York in the Revolutionary War, allowing him to pull off a Dunkirk-like evacuation and live to fight another day.

Many might put the circumstances of extraordinary events down to the American character that results from free men, for the first time in history, being allowed to operate on principles of liberty.  It’s not unusual, for instance, to hear the term “the miracle of the Constitution.”  It’s just unusual — today, at least — for it to be meant as literally as the Stewarts’ assert.

This is particularly true in the chapters in which the authors see the hand of God in the timing of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan assuming the presidency in times of crisis.

Easily the most controversial chapter — and the most likely to raise the ire of some country club Republicans, much less Democrats — is the chapter saying that Ronald Reagan not only won the Cold War but also saved America.

The Stewarts, however, point out that George H.W. Bush, while a good man, did call the Reagan economic agenda “voodoo economics” during the Republican primaries. Even if Bush 41 truly was aboard, he would not have had the political oomph to push it through a Democrat-controlled Congress.GodBlessAmerica

More importantly, Bush was from the “realist” foreign policy tradition, which would have looked for “stability” and détente over real change. The most persuasive point the authors make here is to remind us that, after all of Reagan’s successes in putting the USSR on the ropes, Bush ordered a “reassessment” of U.S. relations with the Soviets upon taking office.

While the first Bush administration was “reassessing,” communism collapsed, and 41 was too surprised to even celebrate the Berlin Wall coming down, as Reagan had predicted.

Of course, such pivotal battles as Gettysburg and Midway had hundreds of little moments that one could argue “changed the course of history.” In the case of Midway, for example, the authors are persuasive in their argument that nearly every one of those moments miraculously went the Americans’ way.

In the case of Gettysburg, for instance, they could easily have titled the chapter, “The Miracle of Friendly Fire.”  Had Stonewall Jackson, the South’s best tactician and Lee’s greatest commander been with him at Gettysburg … who knows?  Jackson was easily the most important figure in American military history to be mistakenly shot by his own troops.

Those of a determinedly secular mindset may be apt to dismiss this book too quickly.  Even if you reject the premise out of hand and prefer to think of it as “Seven Statistically Wildly Improbable Coincidences that Saved America,”this book is worth your time.

In each case, the Stewarts do a masterful job of setting the stage of not only why the odds were stacked against the outcome we take for granted but also in reminding us of what was at stake.  Each chapter, it could be argued, is as good a one-chapter treatment of a momentous time as you are likely to find anywhere—particularly setting the stage for the Civil War, and demolishing the notion that slavery was a side issue.

Which brings us to the authors’ ultimate point. As bad as things seem now, America has been much closer to the precipice in its history. The Stewarts write that if God did not let the nation fail, or fall to its enemies then, there is no reason to suppose he is done with America yet.

The end may not be near after all.

P.S.  I am gripped by hope but equally sobered by the fact that today is unique in our history.  This is the first time that America has been led by God haters.  That hatred extends to every vestige of Christian influence on America.  Our leaders are, in fact, shaking their fists at God.

We are in desperate need of a new mercy, a mercy unlike any that we have ever known.  Today I am stunned by the fact that we will be shown mercy.  It will not be easy, it will be costly and we can certainly expect that God will even allow crisis that will, in the end, save the Republic.  It begins today with hearts full of gratitude for past mercy and a new passion to repent and pray.  Your prayers are powerful.  We must cease with lukewarm intercession and graduate into prevailing prayer for America.  MM

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A TIME TO STAND

July 2014 cover mock up A Time to Stand July 4th 2014,  By Mario Murillo

 

They had money, education and prestige so why would they sign a letter that promised to turn them into hunted animals for the rest of their lives? Five of them were captured and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons in the war; another two had sons captured. Nine died from wounds in battle.

I am talking about the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. They signed it because, while they valued their homes, their businesses and their prestige, they valued liberty even more. But did you know that nearly half of the pastors in America today would not have supported the Declaration of Independence?  Think of it, if it had rested with these modern preachers there would be no United States today.  Wait until you hear why.

This letter has two burning goals.  The first is to clear the air about why I speak out against our president and our congress and the second is to call for a general resistance by the preachers in America to the policies that are destroying the nation.

These 56 were godly, successful, and wise men were driven to an inescapable conclusion and it is urgent that we realize that history is repeating itself.  “When in the Course of human events” The word WHEN is the key word in the opening phrase of the Declaration of Independence. The entire document rests on that single word.  It means that something changed so drastically that they broke with deep connections and long standing traditions.  It means that after agonizing prayer and deliberation their course of action became undeniable and inescapable.

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The Church in America has just had her WHEN moment:

-When the president becomes lawless and the Congress becomes clueless, when unstoppable crime and poverty are the direct result of government gridlock, when the church and law-abiding citizens are targeted by the FBI, the IRS and the NSA for their religious or political beliefs.

-When Americans owe 60 trillion dollars in personal debt which means we are literally living on borrowed time. When the middle class is 25% of what it was in the 1950s, and about to vanish. When even youth, Obama’s last bastion of support have awakened to him and rejected him. 

-When they are calling him out for his disastrous plunge into socialism and removing their medical rights, violating their privacy and stealing their future.

-When our borders are broken down and when the world has become dangerous because our foreign policy is in shambles and when the destruction of the Republic is at hand, then it is time for the Church to intervene and stand with the Bible first and then the Constitution.

Listen to further words from the Declaration: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

This is exactly where we are right now.   Half of all of our pastors would not have supported the Declaration of Independence? How is this possible?  It is possible because a noxious wind of doctrine is blowing through the church that cheapens words like Grace, Honor and Love and engenders complacency.  Many leaders even now openly teach that repentance is unnecessary and that confronting government is never right.

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We have seen this all before. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor and theologian was asked in 1943 how it was possible for the church to sit back and let Hitler seize absolute power.  His answer was very direct; he said “it was the teaching of cheap grace.”

Is it just a coincidence that the same spiritual emphasis that lulled Lutherans to sleep has reappeared at the time when our freedom is in mortal danger?  No it is not a coincidence, it is Satan. For the devil, this doctrine of passivity could not have come at a better time.

Consider what a satanic masterstroke it is to prevent us from doing two things:

1. Provoke us to silence at the very moment that the nation needs to hear righteous voices.              

2. Downplay the need for repentance when repentance is most urgently required.

When asked why pastors don’t speak out Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas said,  “I think one reason is a lot of Christian leaders have the wrong idea about Jesus,” Jeffress replied “They see Jesus as this little, wimpy guy who walked around plucking daisies and eating birdseed and saying nice things, but never doing anything controversial. The fact is, Jesus did confront his culture with truth — and he ended up being crucified because of it.”  “I believe it’s time for pastors to say, you know, I don’t care about controversy, I don’t care whether I’m going to lose church members, I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for truth regardless of what happens.”

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Here are the two portions of scripture that are often misused to silence the church:

 1. Matthew 7: 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

2. Romans 13:1  “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.    2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not terrors to good works, but to evil.”

The signers of the Declaration of Independence knew the Bible better than 90% of our ordained ministers today.  They grappled with the same issues we face today and asked the same questions we ask today.  Twenty four of them were lawyers and jurists and almost half had been to Bible school or seminary.  In the process, they must have confronted those two portions of scripture. They also prayed fervently and believed that they had heard from God.  Years later Benjamin Franklin when they were working on the Constitution reminded them of their daily prayer for wisdom on the Declaration: “In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.”

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This is what I believe they concluded:

1. Matthew 7: 1   When Jesus condemned judging, he wasn’t at all implying we should never make judgments about anyone. After all, a few verses later, Jesus himself calls certain people “pigs” and “dogs” (Matt 7:6) and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (7:15). … What Jesus condemns is a critical and judgmental spirit, an unholy sense of superiority. Jesus commanded us to examine ourselves first for the problems we so easily see in others. Only then can we help remove the speck in another’s eye – which, incidentally, assumes that a problem exists and must be confronted.

2. Romans 13:1-2 Many Christians interpret this passage of Scripture to mean that we should offer unquestioning obedience to government, even if it’s an evil and corrupt government.  This is simply not true.  Most people fail to consider verse 3, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.”  Clearly, God is speaking about GOOD government in Romans 13… Because they are a terror to evil works, i.e., crimes.

But these 56 men are also proof of the power of God to help us right now! I am speaking out because I know that we still have time for a miracle.  Here is my 5 declarations to you:

1.  We must rise up as an outspoken unified, cross denominational firewall against the destruction of America. Whether you believe in tongues or not; whether you believe in total immersion baptism or spot removing, regardless of your view of how the world will end we must find common ground at the foot of the Cross.  When it comes to the preservation of our liberty our doctrinal nuances must take a backseat to unified action.

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2. We must not think that telling the truth is unloving.  Paul said, “Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth.”  We must sacrifice short-term acceptance for long-term results.  In the long run, when the nation is spared the masses will see that repentance and prayer saved the day… and that my friend is real love.  Politicians must feel the force of our convictions. We must, in no uncertain terms, remind the denizens on both sides of the aisle of the Washington swamp that they work for us or we will fire them.

3. Let your convictions rule you and not theological trends.  Find your assignment and vow to execute it. Listen to me! Servant of God:your best friend is your destiny and your mortal enemy is the intoxication of prevailing opinion.

4. Preach Bible truth from the pulpit.  Let me put it to you plainly: It all starts with the preaching.  If American preaching returns to the Bible and our sermons are thundered from burning hearts full of the Holy Spirit we have more than a good chance to save America. If preaching stays as is, there is no chance…period. Pastors were dispensing new age goobly gook when they should have been training the people in biblical morality.  This is one big reason that 6 million Christians voted for their pocketbooks instead their convictions. Remember the words of Dr. Jeffress “I’m going to lose church members; I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for truth regardless of what happens.”

5. Let us pray!  Call that fellow minister that you haven’t spoken to in 20 years.  Meet for prayer, not mystical prayer, not tepid prayer, and not complicated prayer just heart felt prayer.  Pray like those 56 men prayed in Independence Hall.  Pray Psalm 119:126 “It is time for You oh God to act for they have nullified Your law.”

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We will never speak out against the government unless the Holy Spirit prompts us.  And it will never be something we do instead of the Gospel but because of it.  Those who believe we should remain silent will get a lot more silence than they bargained for if we lose our freedom of speech. To say that will never happen is to forget all of the things that have happened in 6 years that we never thought could happen. Moreover, we’ve always had a prophetic calling to warn the nation.

It only seems like we have changed but it is the White House that has changed. It actively opposes the Gospel.  One of the campaign officials even boasted that in winning the election, “we defeated Christianity.” Let me ask you one final question: If not now, at what point will it feel right for the ministers of America to drop their petty disagreements and provide a unified opposition to the destruction of our Constitution, our Judeo Christian traditions, marriage and the future of our children? Many ministers lash out at those who out speak against the president.

This is so strange!  No pastors ever questioned us when were outspoken about the damage that heroin, crack cocaine or gang violence did to inner city neighborhoods.  But now that the government has become the most dangerous gang in the hood and government dependency has become the most addictive drug we supposed to remain silent? However, I am overcome by hope for America and here is why:

It was 1972. I stood in the rain outside Pauley Ballroom on the Berkeley Campus. Inside, Jane Fonda led a loud chorus of obscenities.  A thousand students were cursing God and America. Instinctively, I raised my Bible it pointed it at the hall.  I confessed that one day I would lead a bigger and louder crowd in shouts of praise to God and blessing to America.  That miracle came to pass in vivid detail in less than three years.  1,200 students raised a deafening shout of praise to God and blessing to America and as a part of the larger Jesus Movement it changed the mood of the nation.

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I stand in awe of the towering miracle that is the Declaration of Independence. I weep because I know that I am not worthy of its courage and truth.  It haunts me. It stalks me. It exposes me, and it comforts me. It is the quintessential moral compass of a nation that has lost its way. I feel my knees buckling beneath me in prayer for I feel that evil has touched something precious to Jesus.  This grand document proves God’s amazing ways and that He is waiting in the wings to answer prayer and heal the land.  Admit it!  We don’t know what to do but we know who does know what to do.  If they could, those 56 men would say it with all of their strength: A MIRACLE IS COMING IF WE PRAY AND THEN OBEY.

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P.S.

It would be a thrill for me to hear from those of you who are taking a stand with us against the demise of our nation and believe  ministers should not be silent as America is destroyed.  I value your comments and support.