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/ 

 

Mary Magdalene on the day Jesus died

One of the greatest cruelties—if not the greatest cruelty in history—was done to Mary Magdalene.  She was once sold on the streets. She knew the special insanity of demon possession.  She knew the yawning blackness of total despair.

Jesus rescued her.  Jesus cast out 7 vicious devils—devils she thought would never leave.  Once deemed human garbage she is now redeemed, and rooted into a family of indescribable love.  Things would never be the same.  Her nights of remorse, her days of futility, her shame, her emptiness were all distant memories.

For 3 years, she lived a life she could have never imagined.  Crisscrossing Judea, hanging on Jesus’ every word, weeping gloriously over every miracle.  Each morning she awakened a more powerful and joyous woman of God!  She thought that this would go on forever.

People use the phrase “nothing could be worse…”  They use it before describing something unimaginably terrible.  I will use it this way: Nothing could be worse than to be in hell, and then taste heaven, only to return to hell.

Then on that fateful Friday it all went horribly, horribly wrong.  How could the one who called the dead back to life, and silenced a storm at sea be arrested?  How could one who gave words of exquisite beauty, love and wisdom, be tortured and killed.  No one wanted to save Jesus more than Mary.  No one felt more horror and helplessness than she.

That night, profound hope had given way to even deeper bitterness and disappointment.  If only I had never met him.  If only he had left me to die in the streets.  She slept only after exhaustion became more powerful than sorrow.   Too wounded to go on living.  Maybe too tired to commit suicide.

Mary matters to me today because her testimony is the best one I can think of on this Good Friday in such a dark time.  Mary’s miracle is the one America needs now!  Here’s why…

When the first shafts of Sunday morning light stirred her awake, she dreaded it.  If ever a heart was broken beyond repair—if ever a soul would rage against the approach of hope—if ever a woman just wanted to go back to sleep and never wake up, it was Mary.

That is why she was shocked when she felt an odd energy.  She soon felt an even stranger impulse… to go to the grave of Jesus?  How could she return to the only spot on earth that could open her wound wider?

What overruled her despair?  What fuel is driving her so completely against her common sense and her broken heart?  Paul answers that emphatically! “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”- Romans 8:11

Do you know any therapist capable of rebuilding the ashes and rubble in her soul?  Can any drug, any teaching, any relationship, reassemble her heart the way this gentle but powerful influence could?

We all know about the power of the resurrection.  It was the greatest display of power the universe has ever known; even greater than the alleged “big bang” that birthed the universe. It sent shock waves through the principalities and powers of darkness.  It shattered hell and stripped Satan of the keys of death.  Jesus set the captives free in the bowels of the earth and “led captivity captive.”

But the first burst of resurrection power was much gentler. She was the first human to feel the power of the resurrection.  Her eyes which were red and sore from sobbing are now refreshed and clear.  Her arms which hung limp from heartsick lethargy were now responsive, strong, and full of purpose. She sat up and found hope pumping through her veins. She did not know why!

A notion gently but firmly seizes her.  She was to go to the grave.  She got going!  Washing up, brushing her hair, and quickly getting dressed; all the while the expectancy of some indescribable something is building in her soul.  Before she knows it she is out the door and charging toward her worst fear.  Only she is not afraid.

She found the tomb vacant.  She turned and saw Him whom her soul loved.  Many awesome things happened that Easter but none more wonderful than Mary reunited with her Savior.

In the genetically altered, politically charged, drug addicted, violent purgatory that is America, Mary Magdalene stands as a poignant figure.   She is the best testimony I can think of for our national dreams that have gone up in smoke.  Our culture has wearied itself with perversion…hunted everything natural and replaced it with a disfigured counterfeit… it has marched, protested, boycotted the very color and life out of everything—everything is a cause to take offense.

What happened to Mary is why there is nothing better than the Gospel.  America!  This is what you need!

Mark 16:9, “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.” HE APPEARED FIRST TO HER!  He never forgot her. He knew she was suffering the most so He healed this precious soul first!

Before you give up and quit listen to this

final world convention facebook shot

The church in America has been struck by an iceberg.  Over one thousand preachers a month are leaving the ministry defeated by the open hostility of our culture and the draining effect of lukewarm believers.  We cannot go on this way.  There must be an answer.

What if we had a convention designed to confront the threat against the American Church?  What if we had a convention that brushed aside all of the frills and distractions and instead focused on receiving power and fresh direction?

The American Church will not be turned around by supermen but by supernatural men. We do not need better equipment, new organizations, novel methods, but vessels that the Holy Ghost can use—vessels who pray with prevailing might.  God does not flow through religious machinery but through human beings, he does not anoint plans, but people—people of prayer.

It is our conviction that there is a life available, set apart in prayer that only goes out to serve at the direct command of God.  That life can accomplish truly mighty things, things mighty enough to change the course of America.

Do not sit back and watch dark clouds gather.  Sweep away the cobwebs, underbrush and weeds of despair and take action!  It is high time for you to operate in gifts of power.

This prayer of Peter embodies this convention:  Acts 4: 29  Now, Lord, look on 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.” 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.

As important as the day of Pentecost was to the Book of Acts Church, the outpouring that happened two chapters later was equally crucial.  Pentecost proved that God could pour out His Spirit on the Earth.  The miracle in Acts 4 proved God could do it again.

Join us in the mountains with the firm conviction that God can and will do it again.

living proof flag

Please make your plans now to be at the Living Proof World Convention.  We are gathering in Reno in the Boomtown Hotel and Casino.  This site was carefully chosen because it is a much more peaceful setting than the downtown strip plus there is  plenty of easy free parking.

The convention is free but you must register to attend the Living Proof World Convention, 

Plus, we can get you hotel rooms for amazing prices.   For a regular room the convention price is…get this $25 a night.  In their new North Tower a larger room is only $40!   Let us give you the special code to reserve these amazing rates.

Click here to be a part of this historic event :   http://mariomurillo.net/contact-us/

boomtown-reno_54_990x660

The Number One Emotional Problem both outside and inside the Church.

marriage blog

What is the greatest emotional healing that we need?

                                                                          

 The Orphan Heart

“I’ve been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And 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.” -Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman.

What on earth does that movie quote have to do with this letter?  It has everything to do with this letter!  In fact it has everything to do with everything including self-destructing starlets, young men who kill and a vast unnamed generation that has bitterly failed 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 wholesale acceptance of these acts by society. Entire neighborhoods have conceded their children’s future to crack houses, gangs and pimps.  Why do we feel so helpless to find final solutions to crime, immigration, and the Iraq war?  Why have so many of the psychotherapy remedies failed.  More importantly why do we deny it?  Millions of Americans have an amputated spirit that’s why; and as the Colonel rightly observed there are no artificial limbs for the human spirit.

There is great anxiety in the Church of Oprah.  After all of the books that have told us to “feel better and get over it” nothing stuck.   We remain a nation of victims.  In a desperation move a new book called The Secret touts laws of attraction. Instead of facing reality this book asks the reader to delve even further into self absorption!  The Secret will find its place beside other false cures of the human potential movement.  The billion dollar celebrity therapy circuit is feeling the backlash of anger and disappointment of an entgeneration.

You simply cannot layer happy thoughts and affirmation onto an amputated spirit.  The groovy feelings will not last.  Without the power to heal the human spirit no guru, medium or life coach can remove the pain.  You will never feel better about yourself unless you can heal your spirit, and that is like asking the human body to regrow a limb.

This letter means to show you that the American spirit was amputated by THE ORPHAN HEART. The orphan heart is not my concept.  It is in the Bible.  It is also verified by the experiences of millions. It is this heart of an orphan that plunges people into despair and evil.

 What is the orphan heart?  It is an inner emptiness.  It is a profound sense of loneliness.

It is a vague suspicion that no one wants me and that I am a tolerated guest on earth. The orphan hearted feel like they are on the bottom even when they are on top.  They feel like a failure even after a great achievement.  No matter how lofty their success they cannot savor it.  Even when they have finally made it nothing removes their insecurity. They have hidden software running in their spirit that keeps them desperate for the approval of some vague someone.  They can never please this phantom but they cannot stop trying. They cannot work with creative or equally talented people without feeling threatened. They jump from one project to another and from one circle of friends to another.  They do not believe the compliments that people give them. They are so sure that good things will not last that they will often sabotage good relationships and good careers.  They feel that their good life is secretly a trap and they feel the need to set off the trap themselves.

So where does the Orphan Heart come from?  This quote from M. Scott Peck gives us a clue: “If a child does not acquire self confidence from their parents it is unlikely that they will ever possess self confidence as adults.  Conversely, if a child does gain it in childhood it is unlikely that anything in adulthood will discourage them.”  When children are deprived of a their father’s approval they live in an unspoken grief

Think about it.  How could we have expected anything but an orphan heart?  Our society has bashed fatherhood from all directions.  Good fathers have been oppressed in the family court system while the player and the pimp are exalted in the movies.  Lesbian couples want babies without fathers.  Few if any even understand fatherhood and even less know how to mentor it.  The blind pursuit of wealth by mothers and fathers has orphaned an entire generation.  Studies have proved again and again that the father is essential to building self esteem in their children.   This nutrient has been removed. The recent meltdown of Alec Baldwin only highlights the crisis of fatherhood in our nation.

The last verse of the Old Testament is a strange prediction of the orphan heart and its cure.  Malachi 4:5,6 says “Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming ofthe 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 earthwith a curse.”  Indeed the curse of an orphaned heart is on our land!

My next jolt came while working with gang members.   7,000 youth mostly gang members sat in rapt silence during an outreach play depicting a home in the ghetto.  The father walked into the set and the whole crowd began booing!  This character had done nothing but walk in the door. This affected me so deeply that in my next outreach I targeted those who felt fatherless.   The results stunned me.  Like nitro and glycerin the mixture of Holy Spirit power and the vast hunger for a father exploded and en masse they came to Christ.

I still had no idea what I was onto.  Soon it was clear that this is not just a ghetto condition but in fact the single greatest emotional and mental health issue in America!

I cannot write the next part of this letter without exploding.  Here we are in the most devastating moment in American history where we are threatened from without and beingeaten alive from within.   Never and I mean never has the Gospel looked so right!  Nothing works like the Gospel on the Orphan Heart!  Every other prescription fails bitterly. The message of Jesus is the quintessential solution to this emotional AIDS virus.

Now comes the part that makes me want to explode.  We have a golden opportunity and what have we done with it?  When preachers should have stepped up to thunder the answer to the Orphan Heart they instead echoed the failed and bankrupt motivational speeches of the house of self help.  We are literally watering down the cure in order to keep pace with a dying movement!  Beyond this there is another crisis.  While many are indeed born again they have not yet been healed of this orphan heart!

What do you do if you have an orphan heart?  You need the Spirit of Adoption!  You need a miracle where God completes your nature and you are free at last of all sense of insecurity and isolation.   To be free of an orphan heart learn these truths.

1. Transfer your fatherhood from your human parent to God and let Him provide the missing nutrients in your past and present. Understand that the approval of God your Father will supersede the effects of a 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!”

 I wrote Scott Peck a letter to respond to his view regarding self confidence. Though hewas right about parents giving their children self confidence he limited God by sayingthat unless you got the confidence as a child it is unlikely you can get it as an adult.It told him that if a human being can give their child confidence then imagine what Godcan give his children even as adults!

Even Jesus would not begin His earthly ministry without the infusion of His Father’sBlessing!  When he was baptized by John the heavens opened and a voice said,“This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!”

2. Important people do important things.   If ever a Bible character embodied modern inadequacy it was Joshua.  If ever a man lived that needed a formula for success it was Joshua.  Moses was the hardest act to follow in history!   Joshua was a slave and the son of a slave.  He had an orphan heart!

It is a great misnomer to assume that if we accomplish important things we will feel important.  But as I have said before even after success orphans feel worthless.  People do not feel important because they do important things; they do important things because they feel important.

Before Joshua could launch out God had to give him this inner sense of security and worth and that is why He said in Joshua 1:5 “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

3. Let the Holy Spirit flood your heart with the Spirit of adoption. The death of Jesus on the Cross paid for the curse that made us orphans.  There awaits you an experience where God saturates your heart with an unshakable sense that you are his beloved child.  By surrendering to Him you go way beyond the limits of self esteem to a seal of approval from your heavenly father.  No one else’s approval will ever matter.  No one will ever beable to make you feel inferior.

When Paul answered the call to build a church out of rank pagans in the Roman Empirehe knew the brokenness and perversion that they would exit.  He knew the baggage theywould bring into the Kingdom.  Paul understood that the work of the Holy Spirit wouldmake royal sons and daughters out of the wrecked and ruined raw material out of thewicked and wretched cities of Corinth and Rome.  Yet God used Paul to build giants of God in these cities.

The key was the spirit of adoption!   Romans 8: 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God!”

Special attacks on believers since the reelection of Obama.

 

The reelection of Obama has unleashed a very special attack of Satan.  I am getting a flood of emails messages about strange things that are happening to people’s emotions.  After I prayed I say three categories of attacks on people.  I liken them to a three headed dragon. You must take immediate action against these attacks.

 The first attack I see is like a poisonous bite, the second is like suffocating squeeze and the last is like claws tearing lives apart.  This is the trifecta of tribulation!

1. The serpent’s bite.  You feel toxic. Something has bitten you.  You feel that you are gradually losing control of your body and mind.  Your heart races and fearful images flood your mind. You reel under a cloud of confusion. You jump from one solution to another trying to get the upper hand but all the while feeling that something outside you has taken control of your life.  You are exhausted. The least demand of your day can drain you.  You find yourself alone and crying and unable to explain your emotions to even your closest friend.  The people you love are drifting away.  You are gripped with paralyzing feelings of dread.  You feel helpless to make important decisions. You sense disaster is just around the corner.

2. The serpent’s squeeze.  This attack is sudden and crippling. Something came out of nowhere and changed your life in an instant. Your crisis is mummifying you.  You want to run but you cannot move.  You want to scream but your voice is trapped within you.  This attack often strikes at a time when all is going well.  It feels as if everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and there is no way out.  You cannot breathe.  The point of this attack is panic.  The enemy wants you to do something rash.  The devil wants you to abandon your place in God.  He wants to do permanent damage.

 

3. The serpent’s claws:  This attack is designed to tear people apart.

For silly reasons, people take offense. Disagreements that should be settled easily escalate into name calling, abuse of power, and end in incurable breaches.  Marriages are breaking up over trivial matters.  Churches are splitting over inane issues.  Children are turning on their parents without provocation or prior history of problems. Friends who once walked together suddenly become worst enemies bent on each other’s destruction. A disgusting wave of believer on believer hatred is spreading.

However, the worst of this is among Christian leaders who should most strive for unity! I experienced this attack recently. I was to speak at a minister’s luncheon to recruit workers to help us win gang members to Christ.

An emergency made me late to this luncheon. I sent a representative on ahead to warn them and I followed up with a phone call.

When I got there the leader of the event was ranting and having an emotional meltdown. I did not get angry at his railings against me because the whole thing seemed so surreal.  I apologized and tried to reason with him during a song but he refused and chose instead to twist my private remarks. He yelled, “I am going to tell everyone what you said,” and then proceeded to outright lie to the crowd.  He banned me from speaking and abruptly ended the meeting! A world renowned pastor tried to gently reason with this younger leader. Instead of accepting correction he verbally abused the man of God!

Yes, these three shocking attacks are everywhere.  Not a day passes where I do not hear of each and every one.  From all quarters I am getting desperate prayer requests.  People say, “Please pray I am so down I cannot get out of bed,” or “I am drowning in fear,” or “I do not know what is going on, friends and family are tearing each other apart!”

There is no doubt that we must take drastic action!  We must not panic or cave into the trap of Satan.  We must not forget our God and the power of His word.  So please take a deep breath and listen to this strategy to neutralize your satanic attack!

The word react kept coming back to me again and again.  The Holy Spirit kept saying, “Learn how to react to your attack.” Victory and defeat are not decided by what happens to me. I choose the result. It kept coming over and over…react, react, and react. Then it turned into REACT, REACT, and REACT!  Finally, it was R.E.A.C.T.   An acronym for: Remember Enforce Abandon Continue Train. Here is a 5 step strategy to stop these vicious new attacks and launch a withering counterattack!

Remember!  You must remember the amazing victories of your past and how you won those battles.  Psalm 20 “some trust in chariots but we will remember the Lord our God.”

You must remember your God.  Nehemiah 4:14 says “remember the awesomeness of God and fight…”

You must remember who you are and what your future is. Abigail reminded David that he was a king and to judge himself against 1Sam:25:29 his future.  Finally Paul said, in Romans 8:18 “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us!”   The thing you want to do most now is to get relief from the pain of raging storm.  The devil would gladly give you peace.  You simply have to give up on what you were born to do.

Enforce! Things are not what they seem.  You know that Satan is the master of disguise.  If you leave it to Lucifer to define your reality defeat is certain. The devil relies on your weakness of mind to keep the lie going.  Our enemy kills through special effects.  Bending reality is his stock and trade. The goal of his smoke and mirrors is to get you to accept disaster.  He cannot kill you but he can get you to kill yourself through a fatal panic attack.  (insert Luke 21) It is up to you to impose reality on the evil one.  He must know that he cannot win. He must suffer the results of 2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they are mighty to the tearing down of strongholds . You must put your foot where it rightfully belongs; on the small of his neck!  No matter how out of control your crisis feels the truth is that God is in control and you are His enforcer!

Abandon:  In every attack there is something you must abandon, something that you are holding onto that is actually holding onto you.  2Tim 2:24 (insert).  You may want something bad to happen to someone else.  You may be fantasizing about a destructive relationship.  You may be entertaining suicidal images.  You cannot hold these and gain victory.  Forgive your enemy; cut of the parasites, lighten your load so that you can attack with speed and clarity.  There may be someone that is no longer supposed to be in your life. As T.D. Jakes said, “their part of the story is over, let them go.”

Continue: You were doing something that forced the devil to attack you.  Some harbor the illusion that Satan will let up if we stop doing what riled him up in the first place.  The opposite is true.  You must redouble your efforts to do whatever you did that made Satan mad.  If you cave in, it will embolden him to do this to you again.  On the other hand, if you press on, it will show him that future attacks are futile.  The secret to your victory is to declare your intention to do more than you did before.  Look at Peter.  He was beaten for the healing of the man at the gate beautiful and ordered not to preach about Jesus.  What was his reaction? To pray for boldness to preach and for more miracles! Acts 4:29 (insert)

At the moment that you least want to you must get up and rage against the dragon.  He must understand that you are not going to back down, back up or back out of your marriage, ministry, family, career and your life.  Figure out what it is that you were doing that this dragon hated most.  Tell him you will to do it again, do it more and better do it than ever.  The humiliation that Satan hurled at me through the pastor’s lunch only forged a deeper determination to get workers to win souls.

Train:  Yes, you will see victory.  However, victory is no time to let up. It is the scourge of our flesh that we do not like to get ready for future attacks.  Our flesh takes no thought for intense prayer or setting in place a strategy for future attacks.  George Barna said that the majority of pastors today preach motivational sermons but they do not teach strategy.  When Paul said in 2Cor 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices,” he was training the Corinthians to fight and to be ready for the next fight.

When General Patton said, “no amount of courage will avail against an educated bullet,” he was talking about the urgency of training.  Spirit-filled bravado is useless unless it is backed up by a life that is an educated bullet.

After every attack every believer needs to go through a debriefing! Now is the time to ask urgent questions. What did you learn from your last attack?  What were the mistakes and pitfalls you will avoid next time?  What weakness in me does the enemy use to get in and disrupt my life? What will I do now to keep friendships strong, my body healthy, my children safe, my marriage loving and my money secure against future assaults?

So here is the bottom-line.  You are not crazy.  Your attacks are vicious, intense, and completely unfair.  The essence of your crisis is supernatural. This is why your counterattack must be supernatural! These 5 steps are not human wisdom, or soothing psycho-gooblygook.  You can rest in the power of God and the Word of God for victory if you will REACT!!

Designed for living behind enemy lines!

 

Designed for living behind enemy lines!

Do you feel that a great evil has shrouded America?  Has your disappointment over this election left you downcast and weakened? Do you believe that the mood of the nation since the reelection of Obama is a growing hostility toward Christians?  Have the recent gains in legalizing gay marriage, marijuana and abortion left you feeling that all is lost?  In short, do you believe that you are now living behind enemy lines?   GOOD!  Because that is precisely what you are designed to do.

Many secret powers of the believer do not kick in until times like these.  God’s beloved have always been clothed with special graces in times of great opposition.   This is when we shine!

Our unique power to thrive in times like these comes from a simple prayer that Jesus prayed, and continues to pray for you and me.  Jesus said, “I pray not that you take them out of the world but that You keep them from the evil one. John 17:15.  This simple prayer is why we are different from all of the world’s religions!  Our faith is the only one that is designed for live behind enemy lines!

The religions of the world build hiding places.  You will find them replete with monasteries rituals of escape and endless disciplines for maintaining contact with their God. WE ARE THE ONES WHO ARE NEVER FORSAKEN.  WE ARE THE ONES WHO NEED NOT HIDE IN A TEMPLE BECAUSE WE ARE A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GOD. We are the ones with the indwelling Spirit of God who can give power, guidance, joy and peace through any storm.  We are the ones who are hard wired to transform adversity into even greater victory!

Today we face the uncertain power of an American president who believes he has a mandate to alter our way of life.   This is a terrible and fearful possibility.  However, our Christian soul uniquely qualified to stifle fear and find guidance that will navigate the coming storms.

The experts say it was the young who got Obama back in the Whitehouse.  They were seduced by a harem of Hollywood operatives.  They were lied to about values and human rights.

Now experts say that we cannot reach the young anymore or give them our values. They are supposedly a lost cause to Christianity.  How can we expect to counter the onslaught of modern evil and win the young?  How can we expect to compete with such monstrous power?

Youth are the most vulnerable to Christ of any demographic.  Many setbacks have come to Mario Murillo Ministries but winning youth has never been one of them.  History shows that Christianity has always been a youth movement.   What we need is to display a winsome message, without apology.  Jesus is poised to grant us that skill right now!

Consider these secret powers of the believer:

1. We live by someone else’s faith and not our own.

Galatians 2:20   have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

2. Nothing can separate us from His love for us.   

Romans 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

3.  Even though everyone around you is pressured to live by destructive ways, you live by a completely different script.

1 Corinthians 7: 22,23  For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.  

 Psalm 39: 6,7 Surely every man walks in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heaps up riches, and knows not who shall gather them.   7And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in You.

4. Whatever weapon the devil designs to destroy you will backfire because of the the way God designed you.

Isaiah 54:17  No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.

Now you need to laugh and here are two short videos that are guaranteed to do the job!    The first  is a hilarious joke from Ronald Reagan   and the second is the best line ever about…well let it surprise you!  

Dangerous new attacks on our emotions and our health. Here is what to do now!

The Stockdale Paradox states that in every circumstance, you must retain faith that you will prevail in the end regardless of the difficulties – and at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. 

During his eight years as a POW, Stockdale looked the reality of his situation squarely in the face each day, yet he never lost faith that he would eventually prevail.  And he did.  After the war, Stockdale became the first 3-Star officer in the Navy’s history to earn both Aviator Wings and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

This letter will practice the Stockdale Paradox.  First the facts: Stress is now constant, grinding and toxic.  You are facing intense battles and it is more draining than ever in history.  You are being threatened!  You have to face the brutal facts and you must have the unshakable conviction that God will bring you out of crisis.

You must face your crisis honestly and squarely.  Today’s talk shows and news channels constantly analyze the evil done by leaders and rage against. But there is nothing you can do about them.  This can agitate your spirit, use up vital time and energy, and as roil your spirit like a barrage of mosquito bites.

At the same time you cannot entertain even the smallest doubt of your deliverance and breakthrough.  We will look for this in Psalm 37 which is an emphatic promise of victory upon victory. There is no possibility of God forsaking you.  It is beyond impossible for your story to end in tragedy.  You must believe that with all of your heart. David said, 25 “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” 

When my life was totally changed about crisis:  It is 5 A.M. The phone rings.  The voice says, “We are on the air with Mario Murillo.”  The call is from a popular radio talk show in Miami.  The host hits me with this question: “Why did God allow Hurricane Andrew to destroy the homes of faithful Christians as a well as rank sinners? I am too groggy to give a clear answer. I try to stall; begging God for wisdom. I hear, “Tell them that the foolish man built his house on the sand.”  I argued with God complaining that this statement seemed heartless and that the D.J. would not like it. He did not like it.  In a panic I pray, “Lord you have to give me more!”  Now I was told to say, “The wise man built his house on the rock.”  I did and this too irked the radio host.  Then something amazing happened right while I was on the radio.

Then revelation hit me.  Now I knew why Jesus gave us this parable of the storm. I immediately said to the radio host, “I know now why you asked me this question, it is a trick question to try and discredit Christianity.  So now I will answer you. Why would Jesus say to build on the rock?  Because storms are coming!  I did not become a Christian because it meant the end of storms, but because storms are inevitable.  Since storms are inevitable, the only way to go through a storm is with Jesus and not without Him!

 Listen to more from Psalm 37: 1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.  5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.”-Psalm 37:1-9.

 

King David wrote these words late in his life after he had faced every storm imaginable and had seen God’s deliverance out of all of them!  Then he explains why these commands make sense.  Then he lists the special miracles, protection, provision, and direction from God that will come to those who obey these commands.  Above all, he guarantees a profound peace and comfort in the storm.  Take these steps now!

Step One:  Do not fret because of evil doers.  Stop worrying, analyzing, and fretting.  We watch helplessly as an ongoing financial firestorm caused by criminals and politicians plunder our jobs, savings, and our homes.  What makes it so enraging is that they seem to have gotten away with it!

In verse one he orders us not to fret and then repeats it several times throughout the Psalm.  In verse 8 he says, “Do not fret—it only causes harm.”  Why do something that only does damage?  Since the storm is already doing damage why add to it with worry?  You may not know where your next job will come from.  You may not have the money to save your home, but do not fret!

Step Two: Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.   We must make God our one and only hope.  It is our duty to do this and only by doing this can we find the way through the hurricanes of life.  We are to believe fervently in our God’s good intentions for us.

We must still do good deeds!  We still pray, witness, and carry on our duty leaving every crisis in His hands.  We must feed our soul on the testimonies of past breakthroughs and in the exhortations of friends, Godly leaders, and the Word of God. 

David breaks up this command to trust into two smaller commands:

 A. “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heartWe must make God our heart’s delight and then we shall have our heart’s desire.  We must be satisfied with His loving-kindness, and make that our exceeding joy.  He will not give us everything we crave, but He will give all of the fondest desires of a sanctified heart!

 B. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass:  We must make God our guide, and surrender everything to His guidance and disposal; and then all our affairs, even those that seem to be the most tangled and perplexing will reach a satisfying outcome. We must trust Him with every outcome of our crisis.  He may do it in a way that we never thought of.  We need not get into a frenzy of speculation of how we will get out of this mess. All we need to know is that He will do it!

Step Three: Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land:

A. Wait on the Lord: This is where you take your stand.  This is the stand that will stand against every storm.  You wait on God; you learn what to do and what not to do.  You do not fret.  You do not try to carry the weight of you crisis. You do not try to figure out solutions.  You wait on God.  Every saint in history has done this and has found final victory!   Take every care, every weight, every hurt and pour onto God.  Pray in exacting detail about what you want and what you need.  If you need a specific answer, why would you pray a general prayer?

Keep His way and He will exalt you to inherit the land: Obey every impulse of the Holy Spirit instantly, without hesitation or doubt.  Obey it even if it seems totally out of the blue and seems to have nothing to do with your situation. Our Father cannot resist the cry of His child.  He also cannot but bless a suffering vessel when he sees them obeying in baby steps!

What is guaranteed to us if we obey the directive of Psalm 37?

1. That we shall have the blessing of God, and that blessing will be a constant source of delight and security for all of our needs and Godly pleasure. (v. 22)

2. That God will direct our actions and guide our affairs in the way that brings Him the most Glory.  (v. 23): The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.

3. That God will keep us from being destroyed when we stumble and fall. (v. 24): Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down.

4. That we shall not lack and the necessities of this life. (v. 25)

5. That God will never desert us, but will aggressively protect us in every calamity and against any enemy. (v. 28)

6. That we shall be beyond defeat in this world and blessed in the world to come. That we will live forever with Jesus (v. 27), and not be cut off as the seed of the wicked.(v. 28)

7. That we shall never be a prey to our adversaries and those who seek our life. (v. 32, 33)

Hallelujah!