HE MAKES THE NATIONS PROVE

Evil men rage madly.  Tyrants and rogue nations taunt the civilized world.  Societies are unhinged by lust and addiction.  Because of villains, the candle of peace, joy, and hope flickers in the wind.

Villains come in all shapes in sizes.  They may hurl test missiles to taunt the nations.  They may hire terrorists to destabilize the world.  They may run factories to kill the unborn.  They may profit from drug addiction.  They may run a social media lie machine.  They may poison young minds in university lecture halls.  They may be the grasping, soulless politicians who will do anything to stay in power.

And they assume nothing can stop them.  They believe they shape the world.   Psalm 73: 6-9 says, “therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment.  Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; They speak loftily.  They set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue walks through the earth.”

Arrogance is the hallmark of evil.  Believing you are in control is the quintessential delusion of oppressors.  How, oh man, can you believe you decide the outcome?

The boasts and actions of today’s evildoers are strangely familiar.  They remind me of that day the Wise Men arrived in Jerusalem.  The entire city was in an uproar—without invitation and warning—heads of state, kings, and potentates arrive, with a bustling entourage, and treasure.  What could this mean?

Satan had taken every precaution to prevent the Christ catastrophe.  This baby will not be born.  This light will never shine in darkness.  Yet, all the hordes of hell, and their earthly minions could not stop the arrival—the desire of ages had come.  A baby imposed its will on the whole disapproving world.

Herod oozes with hate.  He fakes homage to the new born king.  He asks the Magi to come back with the location of the child, “that I may come and worship him also.”

Angels intervene, and the Wise Men escape.  Still, Herod orders the massacre of all baby boys in Bethlehem.

What kind of insanity makes you believe you can kill God incarnate?  And how deep a hate is this, that the angel must tell Joseph “Herod will never recover from this—you must not return until he is dead.”  What madness!

It’s the madness of today.  It’s the madness of the United Nations—who do not even understand why they hate Israel.  It’s the insanity of those who want to erase the teachings and values of Christ—as if they were a disease.  It’s the petty, insufferable thinking that turned Merry Christmas into a hate crime.  It’s all the same witch’s brew that brought us the destruction of marriage, free speech, and faith.

How did Herod’s story end?  A fitting end: He died during a lunar eclipse.  God switched off Herod’s night light shortly after the birth of Christ.

The Psalmist who despaired that evil men would win saw the truth at last:  “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me—Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.  Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.   Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!  They are utterly consumed with terrors.”  Psalm 73:16-19

But, stars, and angels are not the only miracles of Christmas.  Classic Christmas Carols are also miracles.  How else can we explain such enduring, and beautiful songs?  Profound truth, and unequaled poetry lives in them.  We sing them so often their miraculous eloquence flies right past us.  Take for example these words from Joy to the World: “He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove, The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love.”

Let every evil doer who exalts themselves against God take heed.   He makes the nations prove!  He will make you, evil man, prove His Glory.  Not only when every knee will bow.  Long before then.  Every plan will backfire.  Every wicked plot will be confiscated, reworked, and morph into something that advances God’s plan.

Beware God hater.  The Lord of Lords is mounting a response to the madness of the world.  Your schemes will fail fantastically.

Rejoice beloved child of God.  Something big is coming.  Prepare for impossible breakthroughs.

If you battle despair take heart:  He makes the nations prove.  If darkness has weighed you down with care, let Christmas—the real Christmas—do its mighty work in your soul.

This is not just the birthday of Jesus, it is the yearly reminder that evil cannot win.

I leave you with the words of another Carol, I heard the bells of Christmas day:

And in despair I bowed my head There is no peace on earth I said

For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth goodwill to men

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep God is not dead, nor does He sleep

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail With peace on earth goodwill to men

 

Mechelle, our entire ministry family, and I, wish you all

of the glory, and love of Christmas   

Are You a Wounded Healer?  

They have messed up and then gotten back up.  Trampled and left for dead, God restored them! They have no image to protect or ego to wound.  They are the most dangerous people that Satan will ever face!

It is clear that a new breed of weapon is about to emerge.  They are the wounded healers.  Who are these people?  Well, they do not have every hair in place or a clean record.  They are not the sanitized, prissy version of the Body of Christ.

They gained all new appetites in the furnace of affliction. They do not need the glory and they eschew titles and awards.  Their unswerving passion is to show compassion and take prisoners of love.  You cannot get them to fight over doctrine because they have been to the Cross.  They know the Blood that bought and then brought them back to life.

They are like Peter at Pentecost.  Only a soul handed another chance after denying the Lord three times will understand the inner fire of a wounded healer.  Who could write such a dangerous song as Amazing Grace but John Newton whose plaque says “Once an infidel and libertine A servant of slaves in Africa, Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the Gospel which he had long laboured to destroy.

 You cannot find such zeal in religious do-gooders who never brave beyond ivied halls of respectability.  You will not find this flame in the bleachers where the cold souls sit and keep score but will never take the field.

Wounded healers do not boast of clean uniforms and of battles evaded, but of scars and gates of hell invaded.  They have no preaching pedigree but a song that sets the captive free.

We all know of the verse in Daniel 11:32 that says,” Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. “    What we tend to overlook is the verse that comes later that speaks of the wounded healers.  Daniel 11:35 says,” And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

 This is a word for you my friend!  Your attack is not to destroy you but to refine you!  Your rejection and your abandonment are not meant for shame but for purity.   It does not matter how your garments appear to Pharisees when they are white before God.

The most incredible news is this… though religious voices have disqualified you; your destiny is yet for an appointed time!   The door that God holds open stays open!

Now let us look at another aspect of the Wounded Healer.  They are able to reach the masses that the regular church cannot.  Therefore, they are the perfect weapon for this moment in the end of all things. If only these special ops believers could see who they are and lose their need for the approval of cookie cutter Christians then they will become God’s tractor beam for lost souls.

Getting rid of the fear of man was the principal prize that so many of you gained in adversity.   So many of you wrote to me about the horrific events of your life and in the face of everything else, it became so real, how much God meant everything and the approval of your judges meant nothing.  Truly, you shouted, “If God is for us, who can be against us!”

Many wrote of the life of power that rose out of the ashes of despair. They felt equipped to do more than ever. They felt useful and lethal!! AMEN!!    This has to be the purest meaning of  2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

 Look around you and you will see how a new generation of leader is coming to the fore.  They do not wait for committee approval.  They rent a school auditorium in a bad area and just start preaching.  They preach raw sermons with an open heart and crowds come from everywhere.

 

Their frontline ministry is unlisted in the who’s who of the council of Churches but Jesus feels just fine showing up every time they meet! Look again and see others who carry “unlicensed weapons”.  They open their homes to youth.  They send out food, clothes and love in the most unconventional ways imaginable all with the smile of God.

Wounded healers may not wear denominational labels.  They do not schmooze in the right rooms but they carry the fight to where it matters the most.  They operate under direct orders of the King of Kings!

When you see one you will know them.  They will not judge you and no matter how far gone you feel they will see you through the lens of the Holy Spirit.  They will see you as you will look after your miracle has come.  You will feel welcome in their presence and you will look priceless in their eyes.  They do not view the sinner as a commodity but as kidnapped royalty.

Someone told me that a certain section of the church would never listen to me again.  I did the math, subtracted that group, and found that there were still another 240 million souls in the United States alone.  I fully intend to go after every one.  I also call them the Lazarus Generation.

 

What about you?  What will you do with your adversity, pain and shame?  All I can do is tell you what I did.  At the lowest point of my life, God was waiting for me to make a choice.  My choice is to minister wherever the door opens and preach from now time on as if each message is my last.

Deciding to go on when you feel nothing but agony is the greatest victory that you will ever win.   Not caring who gets the credit will rip the lid off your limits.

What are you and I waiting for?  We have loved ones to snatch back!  We have miracles to unleash on lost souls.   There is a whole world out there that has never even heard of church fights or legalistic regulations.

When Elijah told the widow to go and get as many containers as she could and God would fill them with oil, she realized that the condition of the cans, bottle, pails, or pots was not important.  God put oil in all of them.   Wounded healers are not perfect containers, they are simply full of oil and that is all that truly matters.

 

 

God knows what he is doing.  Saul of Tarsus was the wounded healer of all of the twelve disciples.  He felt unworthy to be a disciple and said so in no uncertain terms.  Yet, he attributed his surpassing labor for Christ to a sense that he was a broken vessel.

Jesus showed another power of the wounded healer in Luke 7:44- 47 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

Therefore, to all you wounded healers I say you will not get credit from the religious peanut gallery so you will have to be content with accomplishing more than any of them will for Christ and loving the Lord more than they can ever imagine.

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THANK GOD FOR THE HONOR OF LIVING IN THESE TIMES

Today, millions of God’s children will gather around tables to give thanks for many things.  However, there is one thing we might never think to thank God for. When I tell you what it is, you may find it hard to believe you should be thankful.   Especially since the times are dark, evil, angry, and dangerous.  And, these are the most terrible days of attack ever on marriage, families, churches, and society as a whole.    Nevertheless…

Today, we should thank God for the honor of living in these times.

First, it is an honor because of what you will see God do.   These are times God will do special things, through special people.  He gives grace that is not available in “normal” times.  He grants extraordinary power, wisdom and courage.

A life of knowing God and serving God is available to you that was not available in other times.  Daniel 11: 32 “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”

Next, it is in the darkest times that the greatest Glory rises.  Isaiah 60: “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 Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.”

Then, there is the unspeakable 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 Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Jesus will declare your heroism to the Father before the entire host of heaven.  For endless ages, you will be able to tell the story of how God’s grace held you through impossible circumstances.

You were born for this time.  It is not punishment, it is not an accident, it is an honor.  There is a design in the timing of your life.  We all yearn for the simpler times—but the rewards are greater—much greater, in our time.

All the Saints who have gone before us would give almost anything to be in our shoes.  Jesus said, “Luke 10: 24 for 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, thank God for the honor of living in these times.

God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving day.  

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AMERICAN CHURCHES STILL THINK THIS IS A GAME

 

Soul-sucking disaster upon disaster, and yet America does not pray. But, I get why. The word of God says, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God…”1 Corinthians 2: 14.   What I don’t get is how the American church can still think this is a game.

The world is on fire.   Because of man, and nature—Earth is ready to explode.   Meanwhile the church—like a party on the deck of the Titanic—pats herself on the back for her “big events.”

Nothing has stopped—or even slowed down—America’s depravity.   We have spent more money, time, and talent than ever—yet the church never asks, why we keep doing things that don’t work?

When the church

-Feeds a sick nation, a sick gospel, that does not deliver from evil, and worse, makes the already converted weaker, we must think it is a game.

-Our kid preachers’ highest aspiration today is to preach in tight shirts with bulging biceps, live in a mansion, strut like a rooster, and be adored as a celebrity life coach. They must think it is a game.

-When the enemy is no longer the works of Satan, but the unsuccessful life—we are playing a game.   We must return to the Bible.  The Bible needs to set fire to our sermons.

Many of my Spirit-filled acquaintances are also playing games.  Facebook is like a Petri dish for Pentecostals.  In one compressed medium, you witness the banal bacteria that excites Charismatics today. Witness the games:

-Titles like Prophet and Apostle are flung around indiscriminately.  Every garish emotional experience is hawked as being from God.  One “prophet” says he went back in time and visited Moses.  Who of us has not scratched our heads at preachers, in ill-fitting jeans, live-streaming from a near-empty church, that they are the vessel of the hour?

– “Prophetic” conferences promise that you will get “a word of knowledge” as if the Holy Spirit was On Demand.  Or they offer formulas to “activate” gifts of the Spirit.  This is New Age philosophy.  God is not a force to manipulate—He is an awesome person to be adored and obeyed.  Gift arrive, as the Spirit wills, to hearts broken—emptied of self—for the lost, the poor, and the forsaken.

-Everything seems based on angelic visitations, dreams, visions and trips to heaven.  Most of our time is spent on these “experiences” and not on rock-solid instruction from the Word of God.

I believe in dreams, prophecy, healing, angels and visions.   But if they are from God they will drive us to the front line of the culture and not into emotional safe zones.   “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to the tearing down of strongholds.” -2 Corinthians 10:4    We are nowhere near strongholds because we think it’s a game.

Beloved, this is not a game.  Christians toying with materialism, celebrity, alcohol, compromise and carnality spell doom for America.   Google, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and the rest of Silicon Valley threaten to pull the plug on churches.  Every day they inch closer to censorship.  Will your zany videos matter if no one can see them?

Our preaching ricochets off a culture careening into indescribable debauchery.  Soon it will illegal to preach the doctrines you are now ignoring.  What a horror!  Pastor you wake up one day with remorse over the truths you ignored—but now they’re banned.

Mario is there any hope?  My hope in God’s fierce love for America.  He will not let this nation go without a fierce fight.  My hope is in some of the last people you’d expect.

My hope is in the discouraged preacher.  Honest-to-God preachers who feel like fools when they see the runaway success of compromise.  Psalm 73:12 says, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; They increase in riches. 13 Surely, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning.”

My hope is in those who chose to fail honestly rather than succeed artificially.

Are you struggling with decreasing numbers and falling finances, even as you present a Christ-centered, Bible based pulpit?   God sees you! Hold on just a little longer.  Fire is coming that will cause a stampede and you won’t know where to put the crowds.

My hope is in the Christian nobodies.  Have you failed?  Did man take away your pulpit?  Get ready…your brokenness is a key to the fire of God in this hour.  A nationwide hunger for reality is about to make shallowness obsolete.

Are you a teacher, business person, police officer or stay at home mom?  Do you burn with a passion for your community?  Get ready for vision and anointing right where you live!

The hour is so dangerous that God must bring down religious empires and promote others to great power and influence.  Satan is also playing games.  I believe that God—through the last people we expect—is about to teach Satan what war really looks like.

STRIKING AT THE HEART OF EVIL AND DESPAIR

When Josh and I drove to the tent, we passed a junkyard.  We saw police with guns drawn.  We knew then we were in the right place—our place.  We are in Stockton, California—one of the nation’s hardest hit cities for violence, poverty and addiction.  We are partnering with Frank Saldana and Inner-City Action.

What God is doing in Stockton is awesome.  The crowds are seeing proof of the power of Jesus.  The miracles are compelling.  Many souls are saved and bodies healed.  However, this blog is about something  way beyond  Stockton.

The real message of this letter is epitomized by this phrase: Striking at the heart of evil and despair.  A great urgency grips me.  I believe our nation teeters on the edge.  Satan wants to blow out the flickering candle of the Gospel here at home.  The Body of Christ is almost totally unprepared for a coming storm because they are feeding on fluff.  The denial that most believers live in today is horrifying.

The signs and wonders revival with Inner-City Action continues until May 27.  Check out the poster for more information about guest speakers and details.

I thank God that this letter is going out to believers who do get it—who want to broom away religious cobwebs and obey God.  The American church needs a dynamic reeducation.

American Christianity needs electrode paddles to the chest.  But you cannot wait for that!  You, right where you are, need to become a weapon that strikes at the heart of evil.  To strike at the heart of evil and despair, do these things:

  1. Face reality! American Christians assume the problem will stay in the inner city. The fire that rages in our inner cities is not going to stay there. This fire is burning its way towards your house right now.  Unchecked, this fire will burn down the whole nation.

A straight-A high school student—with no ties to gangs or drugs—walks out of a convenience store into a hail of bullets.  When I found out about this senseless killing, I asked how it could happen.  The answer was, “He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Then it hit me like a Mack truck:  Satan is turning entire cities into THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME.

  1. Wake up to the work: We are not doing a good work—we are doing the work. A well-meaning Christian said, “Mario, you are doing a good work.” I gently corrected him by showing him how other Christians misuse that phrase.

If someone says, “You are doing a good work,” it is often code for, “I am glad I don’t have to do what you are doing.”  The connotation is: this is a special work and not for everyone.  But it is for everyone.  Saving America is every believer’s business.  Getting filled with the Holy Ghost to serve is the mandate for every child of God.  We are not doing a good work—we are doing THE WORK.

Years of bad teaching coaxed the church away from the real work.  The self-entitlement gospel changed the focus to self-fulfillment instead of fulfilling the great commission.  That is one big reason we woke up to an America we can’t recognize.

What do we have to show for this compromise?  We gained a system that harmlessly herds thousands of Christians into impressive campuses but we lost an entire generation, our values and soon—without a miracle, our freedom.

Jesus said in John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”

  1. God is forging us—you and me—to be the people He has been looking for.

If Church history teaches us anything, it teaches us that God waits for someone to rise in the Name of Jesus and thrust a spear into the heart of evil.  God is always on the hunt for people who will heed His call to action:

Ezekiel 22:30 — So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

Isaiah 63:5 — I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.

1 Samuel 14: 6 — Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

Too many servants of God are powerless—sitting out this great battle—because they refuse to pay the price for a miracle-working anointing.  They circle around the problem but never strike it directly.  They have no heart for war.

  1. Paying the price means you don’t stop no matter what. Remember I told you we would target 10 cities? We targeted them alright, but we were shocked by the blow- back from the enemy.

In one city, we walked into a firestorm of divided churches, violent gangs, and massive apathy among the Christians.  The result was a disappointing event.

This setback hit me hard, but it points out a reality of spiritual warfare: perseverance.   Are we willing to learn from our errors, get back up and attack again with greater force than ever?  Are we ready to keep going no matter what?  The thought of backing off when a nation and lost souls hang in the balance is too terrible to consider.

Evangelists are supposed to give glowing reports filled with pictures that make donors feel their money is well invested.  Are you also willing to weep with us in our disappointments?  Will you stay with me if the vision takes a little longer than we first imagined?  Will you trust my honesty about our progress?

Are you willing to see how some important victories can’t be quantified in numbers and pictures?   After we work with a church, young pastors become permanent revivalists—our workshops jettison hundreds of Christians out of apathy and mediocrity—we mentor other outreach ministries to make them bolder and more effective.

I am not saying we won’t see massive outreaches…those are in the works.  What I am saying is that the battle is fierce—we must be fiercer than the battle.  I never told you this would be easy…but I know it will be glorious.

Now I want to offer one last question.  It is a question that means the world to me:

  1. Are we doing what we say we do? Every ministry should continually ask itself, “Are we doing what we say we do?” If I write you a letter, can I say without hesitation, we are doing what we say we do?

A ministry must always manage itself toward an outcome.  What is the outcome of our efforts?  Why are we doing this?  Do our actions take us to the goal God gave us?  Are we willing to cast everything aside—even good things—if it does not take us to our goal?

When it comes to conviction—when it comes to dedication and hard work—I will put my staff ahead of anyone.  Are we doing enough?  We are desperate to do much, much more. Are we as effective as we want to be?  Not nearly, but we will be.  The answer is summed up this way: We will strike at the heart of evil and despair.

HEAVEN IN THE HALLWAY

When God closes one door He opens another but it can be hell in the hallway.   What good is failure and frustration?  Why has God closed every door to you?   Why has the Lord devised this divine interruption?  It can seem cruel and everything in you can rail against it.

HEAVEN IN THE HALLWAY

By Mario Murillo

When God closes one door He opens another but it can be hell in the hallway.   You are stuck in the hallway! What are you doing here?  What good is failure and frustration?  Why has God closed every door to you?   Why has the Lord devised this divine interruption?  It can seem cruel and everything in you can rail against it.

God will trap you in the hallway.  Jeremiah screamed, “He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.” -Lamentations 3: 7

Hannah’s hell looked like this: “And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb”- 1 Samuel 1: 6. Why would a loving God intensify her shame and pain by closing her womb?

Elijah was sent to the wilderness only to have God cut off his water supply: “And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.” – 1 Kings 17:7 How does any of this make sense?

Paul had doors slammed in his face by the Holy Spirit: Acts 16: 6 “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.”

Not only this, Paul was put in prison at the very moment his physical presence in the churches was desperately needed. What gives?

The hallway seems like hell but if you calm your raging spirit and quell your fears and worries you can turn it into heaven.

The hallway is trying to save you.  Paul indeed had doors closed but then this happened in his hallway:  Acts 16: 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

You have gotten good at doing things you are not supposed to be doing.  You are off course.  The hallway is waking you up to the fact that you are busy but not effective. The hallway is where you end the tyranny of unimportant things.

The hallway is trying to teach you once and for all that God is your source: 1 Kings 17:8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.’”

Elijah’s welfare was never in doubt.  Even in drought and famine he was safe.  God was trying to show him that whether it is brooks, ravens, or starving widows, God will take care of you.

This forced interruption serves to slay your deepest fears.  The world did not end. The bills got paid.  No threat prospered against you.  The hallway shows you God is your only source.  Outward sources of provision are mirages.  Your heart is fixed trusting in the Lord.

The Hallway deepens right desires and kills selfish motives.  God closes Hannah’s womb to deepen her desire for children.  In the hallway, she became willing to offer her first child to God.  That child became Samuel the prophet.  He saved Israel and is considered second only to Moses in Judaism.   But it gets way better: God remembered Hannah:  1 Samuel 2: 21 says, “And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.”  What an amazing outcome!  Not only does she get 5 more children—a prophet comes to save a nation.

The Hallway is a slingshot to unimagined momentum.  You seem immobilized and even like you are going backwards.  You are going backwards…for good reason!  Mighty elastic bands are being stretched to blast you forward.

Paul learned this lesson from his jail cell:  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, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

He writes triumphantly to Timothy from the hallway: “for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. -2 Timothy 2:9

The Hallway is where you find out that just knowing God is everything.  I have—for reasons I will never know till I get to heaven—been privileged to know some of the most honored Christians in our lifetime.  At first, I notice the massive ministries they built.  Soon that fades and all you see is their intimate relationship with Jesus—their practical dependency on the Holy Spirit, and their passion to obey.

Jesus said, “John 15: 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”  That is it!  These giants abide in Christ and everything else is secondary.  Until God frustrates your life and pulls the plug on your charade, you can’t know that.   Whatever you need to do will be done if you abide in Christ and His words abide in you.

These last days are horrible.  Within the church we have false doctrine, carnal leaders and a divided church.  Without, we have a world that is complicated and anti-Christian…it is a world that can blow up at any moment.  Don’t look for crisis to end but for God to work in you to make crisis lose its power to terrorize you.

The temptation to take matters into our own hands—to be obsessed with self-preservation and self-promotion—is greater than ever.  That is why there are hallways.

Daniel 11: 32 describes end time people.  It says, “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”   Why are they strong?  Why do they do great exploits?  Because they know God.

Knowing God in the hallway—losing all your fear—being completely overtaken by Him can not only bring heaven in the hallway…you may not want to leave.

I leave you with these words from the book God Calling: “The world has always seen service for me to be activity.  Only those near to me have seen that a life apart, of prayer, may, and does so often, accomplish more that all of the service man can offer me. If man lived apart with Me and only went out to serve at My direct command My Spirit could operate more and accomplish truly mighty things.”

 

 

 

Billy Graham at his best

 

 

LA Coliseum 1963
Billy Graham Crusade in the Los Angeles Coliseum 1963

America liked us better back when we told the truth.

By Mario Murillo

This is written with deep love for and loyalty to the local church. There is no desire to take a cheap shot at anyone or to divide the church.  I have to write this because love does not lie or withhold needed correction.

America has abandoned God, Christian values, Israel and is racing toward disaster.  Evil festers when good men do nothing.  Denying it will not change it or make it go away.  Its effect on you and those you love will not be stopped by delusional teachings of spiritual entitlement.

So how do we turn the American Church around?  That is the question I posed in a previous post.  Now I continue to answer that burning question by saying this:  in order to turn the church around we must face the fact that America liked us better back when we told the truth.

Here is an illustration from the Bible.  Jonah ran from his calling.  This brought a great storm.  The captain had a gut feeling that nature was angry about something. They found Jonah sleeping and asked him who are you?   When he admitted he was a runaway prophet.   Jonah 1:10 tells us, “Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord because he had told them.”

Americans feel a psychic resentment toward the church.  I say psychic because it is intuitive and subconscious.  They really cannot explain why they are angry with us. They may claim it is our politics, or falsely accuse us of racism or even rightly point out our flaws but this present dislike of the church stems from something much deeper.  They are asking us “why have you done this?”

When the outside world observes our illustrated electronic happy talks they get a gut feeling that we are hiding something.   They also suspect that our nation’s storm is partly because preachers are not confronting sin anymore.  As one non-Christian pundit put it “if there was more hell in the pulpit there would be less hell in the ghetto.”

At this point in our national disaster a mega church can be like having the best party going on the deck of the Titanic.  You are having a great time but you will not save America from the frigid angry sea.

Here is the real rub…if numbers matter so much then why are we ignoring the most important statistic? Overall church attendance in America has fallen dramatically.

They liked us better when we were not trying to be liked.  There was a day when men of God stood in pulpits as free men.  They were free of any need to be liked or successful.  A. W. Tozer said, “These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary.  They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.”

We are impressed by churches that can draw 15,000 people.  But that is nothing compared to back in the day when America liked us better…a whole lot better.

Look at the picture of Billy Graham in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1963.  120,000 are inside, and another 30,000, could not get in.  On the scoreboard it says “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.  No man comes unto the Father but my Me.” -John 14:6.   Not one person was offered a door prize.   No one was in the dark about the purpose of the meeting.  Billy stood there and simply told them that they had to come to Christ or be lost for all eternity.

Look at this picture below of Billy preaching in Times Square in New York City.  We cannot even imagine anything like this happening today.

times square

When Billy prayed for sermons he focused on hearing what the Holy Spirit wanted him to say.  He wanted a message that God could use and not words that would dazzle the audience.  Billy died to his private opinions in the pulpit.  He got out of the way so that the Holy Spirit could work on the audience.

We bought into the lie that if we made nice and took out the scary parts of our message we would be liked but we ended up more despised than ever.  Proverbs 28: 23 He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.

Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas said 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.”