Christmas 2018 the winter of our discontent. A winter made colder by cynical thin-skinned extremists. Socio-activists who need to hate everything, attach evil to everything, protest everything and dig up everything.
These cultural leeches suck the enjoyment and color out of every innocent and wonderful thing. They are eternally spoiling for a fight.
Can the song “Baby it’s cold outside” offend you unless you are truly cold inside? Why must you, on the night that a star athlete is winning the Heisman trophy, dredge up things he said as a 15-year-old? And why does USA Today publish that non-story as if it were a noble investigation?
The left seduces impressionable people. They dull their common sense. They disconnect their cord to reason. They radicalize them in the furnace of artificial outrage. This bacteria of easily triggered anger oozes from the swamp in Washington. When leaders believe government workers should go without pay at Christmas to prove a point! “We believe national security is racist!”
The same deranged fervor, drives them to ban Manger Scenes. This is convenient for Washington. Because where would they find 3 wise men anyway?
But these irritants are small compared to the convulsions in the world. The rumble of war in the distance. The threat to our way of life from economic uncertainty.
We don’t get a silent night this year…or do we? Should the child of God feel that evil has taken the high ground, the microphone, the power and everything good? Or is there a mighty secret we need to remember about this Holy Day?
The Holy Spirit just gave me a fresh meaning of Christmas. I needed it. I call this blog Silent Night because that is where this revelation hit me.
It was Christmas Eve 1818. The young priest of St. Nicholas parish church in Obendorf, Germany faced disaster. Mice had wrecked the church organ. There was no way to fix it before the service that night.
Father Joseph Mohr refused to give up. He pulled out a poem he had written several years before called “Stille Nacht.” He took that poem to Franz Xaver Gruber—a school master and organist in the next town. The priest asked Gruber to write a melody to go with the poem.
In a few hours it was done, and that night the carol Silent Night was played for the first time.
It hit me. How devastating it must have seemed to them that the organ was broken. But if the organ had been working, one of the greatest songs of all time—a song that has touched millions of souls—would never have been born.
In 1914, the Germans and French agreed to a Christmas truce. Yes, indeed they stopped fighting. They decided they needed to sing. The only Christmas song that both armies knew, was you guessed it, Silent Night.
It is easy for me to get frustrated. We have so many setbacks in soul winning. But I look back and see God making things out of those setbacks. I see breakthroughs that would never be if our original plans had not been ruined.
I look at America and see a moral decay that seems terminal. But millions are praying and have been praying. God will not forget those prayers. God haters beware—The Lord is a mighty warrior with shocking power and wisdom. He can rock this nation at any time. How do I know this?
One night my room grew unusually dark. A stench introduced the evil presence. “I will” the evil one said. “I will have them. I will addict them. I will pervert them. I will kill them.” Satan was talking about our children!
Just as suddenly, the presence of God flooded the room and swallowed the boasts of Satan, “But I will pour out of My Spirit on them and they shall prophesy.” I was awestruck but the presence and power of God. But what really impacted me was the ferocious zeal of the Lord to save America. He is not going let this nation go down without giving the devil the fight of his life. Never forget that on this Silent Night.
This song reminds us that a day that seems to spell disaster may be hiding a secret breakthrough. And, the seemingly insurmountable evil of a time still must bow and surrender to the mighty power of God. The world may sink into despair, but the child of God is upheld by the unseen but mighty hand of Almighty God.
Or as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
“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, good will to men
Then rang 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, good will to men.”
MECHELLE AND I WISH YOU, AND THOSE YOU LOVE, THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER
The leading newspaper in the nation has not mentioned Christmas in 10 years. Christmas is attacked by both God haters and religionists. It has fallen into great disfavor—accused of everything from paganism to materialism. It is socially unacceptable to celebrate Christmas. It is 1843 England. Also known as the hungry 40’s.
A young and gifted writer is deeply restless and can’t sleep. He asks an assistant to meet him in the middle of the night, “take me to see the worst of London. Do not spare me anything.”
What he saw horrified him and left a mark in his soul that would haunt his novels for the rest of his life. Children, living like stray dogs scavenged through garbage in sub-zero temperatures.
Charles Dickens had to do something. So, he mustered his considerable weapon: he marshalled the English language and sent it into war against child abuse. Vast corruption must be exposed! This nation-destroying curse must be lifted!
He set ink to paper with the force of a volcanic eruption and the skillful cuts of a surgeon. The result was a pamphlet entitled An Appeal on Behalf of the Poor Man’s Child. Then something happened:
He never released the pamphlet. Historians are divided about why. Usually, it does not fall upon facts but on anti-Christian bias. Here is my heart tells me happened: He heard the voice of God. “If you release this pamphlet it will bring good for a season, but if you write the story, I am about to give you, it will bring good for all time.”
It would be a story where the main character is the most uncompelling, and unsympathetic character to any audience: an old man—a wealthy miser! Even his name is off-putting: Ebeneezer Scrooge.
With only weeks left before Christmas how could he finish it and get it published? Astonishingly it was published on December 19, 1843. Not only that, it was made into a script and opened in 2 theaters that Christmas day.
This story is not only credited with saving Christmas, it has been synonymous with Christmas ever since. Outside the Bible, no written word about Christmas has been more influential and widespread in its power to evoke love for children and the poor.
Christmas has inspired the best music. Musical artist regardless of their fame are compelled to release a Christmas album. It has a power that no one can explain or predict. Opposing armies have stopped combat, met on neutral ground in the middle of a war to celebrate Christmas.
Here is Nephew Fred from A Christmas Carol: “I have always thought of Christmastime… as a good time: a kind forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
The supernatural power of Christmas is also seen in the creation of Silent Night. It was written because the organ broke and a song for a guitar was necessary. Christmas again showed its power with Handel’s Messiah. Handel wrote it in 24 days. When he finished the Hallelujah Chorus, he said it was as if the roof came off his room and he saw the great God Himself.
Christmas is a weapon! It brings proof of the Deity of Christ by its inexplicable effect on the world. Even when it offends it is doing God’s work. Even Scrooge screamed, “then let me leave it alone!” But Christmas won’t let us leave it alone.
But the message about Scrooge transcends even Christmas. It is about God’s power to create a weapon to combat evil through anointed artforms.
It is because of Scrooge, that I find much of some today’s Christian music formulaic, unimaginative, predictable, and even snowflake like. Bono from U-2 called some of those songs “dishonest.” How dare I make such a criticism? Because we didn’t use to scare so easily. We wrote songs of sacrifice and commitment; towering themes filled majestic hymns.
Somewhere in the mid to late 20th Century the church developed an insecurity complex and began to “do things almost as good as the world does.” Not just in music, but in all art forms. We even have green rooms which is a nod to Hollywood.
A great exception is Black Gospel Music. It was so original the world had to copy it for Motown and R and B. Black Gospel was so powerful the world kept trying to steal talent out of the church. Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and many others began in church.
The spark of divine creativity does not rest on those who surmise what might sell or what won’t offend. It comes on those who would sacrifice all to obey God.
However, there is another reason creativity is in short supply: We don’t recognize the multiple opportunities of service outside the pulpit. Not everyone is a preacher—nor should they be! The gifts of God fit in business, art, media, healthcare, education and yes, politics.
Because God came upon a famous novelist like Charles Dickens, the devil was blindsided. What if you are supposed to create something no one has seen before?
Finally, the idea that we need to tone anything down to win souls is hogwash. Johnny Cash comes to mind. It is truly amazing the influence he carried. Bob Dylan, Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones revered him. Yet, he never muted his faith or his witness. God gave him a sound the world couldn’t resist.
A heart filled with love for God and hatred for evil, who is willing to be completely open to do something new is our greatest need today. God is searching to drop original miracles on someone like you.
Now check out the video of the entire village. It’s one way Mechelle and I want to Merry Christmas and God bless you and yours.
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.
Giving thanks in this emotionally crushing time can seem deranged. We dare not ignore the fact that many of God’s children have endured trials that are unheard of from wild fires, sickness, persecution and the cares of life.
However, there is a way—even in these tribulations—to thank God that will excite Him and drive the enemy crazy.
It begins by taking those things that should discourage and even frighten us and force them to glorify God. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 12: 8 “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Paul took his suffering and shaped it into a catalyst for strength and victory. He is literally celebrating how his brutal attacks will be forced to do a great work in him, and miracle through him. Here is your confession: this is going to make me strong. This is going to release the power of God. Devil, you will pay dearly for attacking me and my family.
Thank you, God! This was a cruel attack, but the outcome is unstoppable. I am grateful for the power of Christ that comes out of persecution and tribulation.
The next act of thankfulness has to do with being born in this time. So many young and old are saying what a terrible time to be alive. Is it a cruel joke for you to live in these times? Or is an honor?
I say it is an honor! 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 doing amazing things 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.”
It is in the darkest times that the greatest Glory rises. Isaiah 60: 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.
It excites God to see his child trusting Him. But it releases misery on the devil. He threw his worst and you and God is turning it into your best. Now Satan knows he can never stop you.
Bold and mighty Thanksgiving to you and yours from Mechelle and me.
I am at a total loss for words to describe the California catastrophe. I was to preach Sunday in Marysville CA at the Bridge with our dear friends Jim and Kristine Carpenter. Marysville is 48 miles south of Paradise CA where the Camp Fire, as it is now called, began.
By the time we reached Roseville it was clear there would be no meeting. An air quality condition purple means you can’t be outside. For the few minutes we were outside, it became frightening.
The New York Times 3,000 miles away said this: PARADISE, Calif. — The inferno that ravaged the wooded town of Paradise in northern California became the deadliest wildfire in the state’s modern history on Monday when officials said they had discovered the remains of 13 more people, bringing the death toll to 42.
The Butte County sheriff, Kory L. Honea, has said more than 200 people remain missing in and around the town, which sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and was popular with retirees.
“My sincere hope is that I don’t have to come here each night and report a higher and higher number,” Sheriff Honea said at a news conference Monday night.
The fire, which continues to rage in the hills and ravines east of the city of Chico, is also the most destructive fire in California history, with more than 7,100 structures destroyed, most of them homes.”
My wife and I know Paradise CA. I have preached there. It is gone. Totally destroyed.
Then there’s the Woolsey fire burning in Los Angeles.170,000 people have evacuated.
There’s this chilling shot from space that shows the smoke from LA is about to meet the smoke from Northern California out at sea.
Many in this state are losing hope. They have lost houses they worked for all their lives, they have lost beloved pets, and they have lost loved ones—a loss that never goes away.
Everywhere you look there is a dazed stare. People wondering after drought and massive floods, and now apocalyptic fires, each one bigger and deadlier than the last. When Santa Rosa burned, when the Lake fire came, then Redding, then Santa Barbara, then Paradise, then Los Angeles. What on earth is going on? What can this all mean?
One thing it does not mean is politics. Please don’t talk about environmentalists or global warming. If you do it simply means there is nothing that can take your mind off of politics—I mean if this can’t, nothing can.
The body of Christ stands at a door of opportunity. I am reminded of another time in California history.
It’s 1906 in Los Angeles. William Seymore agrees to rent a dingy horse stable at 312 Azusa Street for $7 a month and begins revival meetings. A movement springs out those meetings. Today, it claims 650 million followers.
Wikipedia says “It began with a meeting on April 9, 1906 and continued until roughly 1915. The revival was characterized by spiritual experiences accompanied with testimonies of physical healing miracles, worship services and speaking in tongues. The participants were criticized by some secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at the time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 20th century.”
9 days after the Azusa Street revival began, an earthquake destroys San Francisco. It topples 24,000 buildings. 200,000 residents are instantly homeless. More than 3,000 people are killed.
People believe it’s the end of the world. 400 miles to the south in the Azusa Street mission people believe Jesus is about to return. It gripped them with soul-winning fervor. They papered Los Angeles with pamphlets because the whole city felt conviction. They took trains to San Francisco to minister to the victims of the quake.
That is exactly what we are seeing come out of Bethel Church in Redding. Their Global response team has raced into action. Many other ministries are also focused on expressing healing at this time.
They have it right. An awesome opportunity to express Christ has come! Let’s do it my fellow West Coast believers!
Mechelle and I are grieving for everyone who has been devastated by these fires. We are also praying that minds will turn toward the eternal. God please bless and comfort California today.
This is a new prayer alert. We are asking prayer for Mario Murillo. We are facing a fresh challenge. As we have reported to you, he was improving, but something happened two days ago.
The pain reappeared—not by any accident, but mysteriously—even though Mario followed a strict regimen required for recovery. The cause is unknown to doctors but not to God. That is why we are appealing to all of the friends of this ministry for fervent prayer. We need a miracle.
We will never give glory to the enemy but we do recognize when he attacks. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2: 18: “We wanted to come to you—I, Paul, tried over and over again—and Satan stopped us.”
This is a vicious attack to stop soul winning. In this dark time for our nation, Satan is fully aware of the historic doors to win the lost that have opened to Mario Murillo Ministries. Just as our voice was about to heard, he attacked.
We are asking for you to pray specifically. Mario is keen on finding the root cause of his condition so that he can prevent it in the future. If it is to be through a doctor—pray, we find the right doctor. We need a physician who is not focused on injections and surgery but on a wider understanding of the spine and hip.
Ask for an instantaneous healing so that God may be glorified in the immediate restoration of our momentum to win the lost.
We need special prayer for Mechelle Murillo. The constant care of her husband can be exhausting. We do not need the evil one to create anymore health issues. Pray for her strength. Pray protection over her. Pray she is able to rest.
Ministries that preach the Gospel with signs and wonders are often hesitant to report illness. That has never been Mario’s style. He believes in total transparency. If you can trust us to tell you the truth about attacks, you can also trust us when we tell you about miracles. After all, we are in a war and the Bible says, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels.”
Mario’s spirit is not broken. In fact, this attack is building a fire in his soul to take even greater vengeance on the devil by winning even more souls and seeing more miracles of healing.
Your prayers are far more urgent than you know. Paul said, “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:19. Through your prayers knitted with ours, we shall see a miracle. Thank you for praying and for sharing this alert with others. God bless you! -MMM
You take the victories God gives you. My primary care physician thought I had bursitis of the hip. “I am referring you to a sports medicine doctor to get a cortisone shot and you will feel better fast.”
So I went. Something bothered the next doctor. Why wasn’t I feeling pain when he pushed on the hip joint. But went he bent the leg outward I screamed. “This feels more like a stress fracture.” That meant 6 weeks of lying immobile and then rehab. So much for our World Convention.
He takes X-rays. X-rays can’t see many stress fractures. This one didn’t. “You need a cat-scan.”
Two more days of night and day pain. My wife and assistant take me in the car with seat almost flat. Wheelchairs and crutches increase my pain. I must walk slowly with my arm on somebody.
Mechelle goes in the hospital while we wait in the car. She explains to the front desk that I cannot stand or sit. I can only lie down. The front desk manager assures her I can walk directly to the cat-scan table. However, some devil got on her. When I finally made it inside seconds away from collapsing with pain. She insisted rudely that more signatures are required.
I dove to the floor in front of everybody. Somehow, doing that speeds things up. The two nicest nurses came to my rescue. I am on the hard table gritting my teeth during the scan and finally it is over. We go home with still no relief.
Someone suggested in a Facebook comment that I repent. Believe me, lying there in the dead of night with no position that relieves the agony—you repent of everything. I even repented for my ancestors—whoever they are.
Back to the sports medicine doctor with the cat-scan results. He looks and looks and says there is no fracture. That was yesterday. Where did it go? Was it there and the prayers of so many were answered? That would not surprise me. You take the victories God gives you and build on that.
He kept telling me this is good news. I can get a cortisone shot now. So give it to me! He can’t, he doesn’t have an ultra-sound machine. I am thinking, that’s why I was sent here in the first place!
“I am referring you to a doctor who is a specialist in these things.” Code for “we don’t know what’s wrong with you.” Back to square one.
I can walk better. There are even times now where the pain subsides to a dull ache. There you have it. You take the victories God gives you. You worship Him. You thank Him.
Mechelle and I want to thank the host of people who took time to tell us they are praying. As I said before…there is no version of this where the enemy wins.