Here is the miracle God wants to do for you this Christmas season

 Christmas

Here is the miracle God wants to do for you this Christmas season.

By Mario Murillo

It is the darkest time in American History.  We yearn for peace, wisdom and safety.  We wonder about our children’s and grandchildren’s future. Our bodies succumb to weakness and pain from the raging stress of this age.

We cannot find the words for what we yearn for.  What is that miracle?  It is a work of unshakable emotional well-being.  We want an uninterrupted flow of God’s power, grace and love. How do we get this?

I want you to see three things God did and one thing you must do.  We begin with the meaning of Christmas.

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This year, defining Christmas is an emergency!  I do not fear for Christmas.  On the contrary, only the Gospel has as much power as Christmas.  Christmas will endure and impose its wonder on an angry world.  All of the rocks thrown at Christmas, all of the railing against it and all of the intellectual assaults on it, will bounce off and only reinforce its supernatural nature.

Christmas must be defined for our sake. As I surveyed the Word of God, three verses captured me and told me the clear meaning of Christmas.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given. 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

These verses should weaken our knees beneath a weight of eternal gratitude.  Christmas means this: God the Father gave His Son.

The human race was beyond helpless; cursed with an unlimited tendency for evil.  Human history horrifies.  Our story of one unending night of agony, ages of nothing but darkness.

There was only one who pierced the blackness.  His words came and they came to stay.  He kicked Satan’s teeth in and chained him to a twilight existence.  Left with only partial use of his powers, Lucifer awaits the certain doom sealed by the Cross and the Resurrection.

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How do I make the miracle of Christmas my daily strength? These three verses tell us something of unimaginable wonder: Christmas is first and last God the Father giving His Son.  He is the ultimate giver.  Eternity cannot calculate the depth, width or height of His supreme sacrifice.

Let me repeat what I said before.  There are three things God did and one thing you must do.

1. Jesus is a gift to you from the Father. “For unto us a Son is given.” Isaiah 9:6 begins not by telling us what was given but to whom it was given.  Jesus is a gift to you from the Father.  You must personalize the miracle of this gift.

Religion says God only rewards those who always do right.  That leaves us out.  But Christmas says, “He is a gift to you in all of your failings and the gift is given without condition.  You will never be without Him.”

My friend Lionel Rodriguera once sold a house in Southern California to a working class family.  He helped them find a loan; he closed escrow and gave them the keys.  A few days later he went to check on them.  He found them living in the garage.  They told him that they did not believe the house was theirs and huddled in the garage out of fear that the real owner would show up.  The hardness of life had given them a permanent sense of unworthiness.

How many of us are emotionally living in the garage because we do not accept that we are the owners of a great salvation? You are free to roam in all of the rooms of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus is a permanent gift to you.  In a world where things are constantly being taken away, how amazing is it to know Jesus will always be there.

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2. You were worth the sacrifice. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Jesus said this about the value of a soul: “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” 

A Giacometti sculpture sold for $101 million at an auction in New York City.  To me it is ugly.  I wouldn’t have given a hundred bucks for it. The point is that no one knew its value until the auction.

Likewise, the angels did not know the price of a single human soul until the Father gave his Son.  The darling of the universe crucified?  Heaven bankrupted for humanity? The value that God placed on the human soul stunned and baffled the angels.

Psychiatrists say we need to feel valuable to someone.  It is one of the deepest needs of mankind.  Christmas is booming to you, “Look at how valuable you are to the Father!”

3. How will He not? Once there was a millionaire widower who only had a son. With all of his wealth and power he still could not prevent his son from going to war in Korea.

His son was killed and the father could not be comforted.  He began a downward spiral until he lived in the shadows.  A year later a package arrived at his mansion.  It contained a perfect portrait of his son in uniform.   With it was this note:  “I am a young painter from Korea who befriended your son.  I painted this so that it might bring you some degree of comfort.  Thank you for your sacrifice to my country.”

That portrait hung over the mantle of the great hall of his estate until the day he died.

Soon the massive home was the site of a great auction.  Art treasures, antiques and vintage cars drew collectors from everywhere.  Two items were auctioned off.  The third item was the painting of the son.  No one bid on the painting because the painter and subject were unknown.

The silence is broken by the long time gardener of the estate who happened to be there as a bystander.  “I only have a hundred dollars to my name, but that boy was like my own son.”

With that the auctioneer began to pound the podium with his gavel. “This auction is over!” The stunned audience demanded to know why.  The auctioneer announced, “The Will states that whoever buys this painting gets the entire estate.”

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Likewise, whoever gets the Son of God gets the entire estate.  Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?   How will God withhold anything you need?

So what do you do for your miracle?  Psalm 116:12, 13 says. “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? 13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. 14 I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.”

Drink deeply from the well of salvation and call on God from a heart full of confidence of the mighty Christmas gift.

Make this the Christmas where the miracle of what God the Father gave us and gives us every day sinks into our soul so deeply that it neutralizes the power of fear and dread completely.

Mechelle and I want to wish you and those you love the merriest of all Christmases!

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Before you let this Christmas end learn to handle the supernatural extremes.

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December 26, 2012:  Before You Let This Christmas End.  Before you let this Christmas end learn to handle the supernatural extremes.

Twenty children killed.  There is a strange connection between Newtown and Bethlehem.   Brian C. Stiller said, it is a similar refrain to the early life of Jesus. King Herod ordered children under two killed in the Judean village of Bethlehem when he heard from the Persian travelers that a “king of the Jews” was to be born. Historians estimate that in this tiny village some twenty were hacked to death by the mad man, subservient to Rome and insecure in his kingship.  The death of children, innocent and vulnerable, is cast in the very beginnings of the Gospel and Christmas story.”

The tragedy brought forth soul-searching and grief around the globe. Families as far away as Puerto Rico began to plan funerals for victims who still had their baby teeth, world leaders extended condolences, and vigils were held around the U.S.

The lesson in this strange connection is that we are in a world of supernatural extremes.  Joseph, Mary and every other character in that first Christmas had to stay on course in an explosive situation.  Imagine how strange it must have felt to have amazing miracles and amazing danger coming at you all at once.  It must have been confusing that even though there were angels, wise men and a star, their life was still a mine field that they had to navigate with extreme caution.

Today, the realities that were muted by our festivities may be returning with a vengeance.  We live in a world of extremes.  Evil is doing more than ever and yet, God is moving strongly.   Deny either one of those realities and you will be victimized.

The angels understood the intense paradox of the spiritual warfare.  That is why they said “fear not.”  Fear will bring panic and cause you to make mistakes in the new year.  Learn from Christmas to stay on course with the angelic “fear nots”

1. The “fear not” of salvation: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings…which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10,11).

2. The “fear not” of the humanly impossible: “Fear not, Mary:… the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:…For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:30, 35, 37).

3. The “fear not” of unanswered prayer: “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John” (Luke 1:13).

4. The “fear not” of immediate obedience: “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife :.. Then Joseph … did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him” (Matthew 1:20,24).

The greatest threats you have ever faced may come at you.  The most vile, wicked acts of violence of all time may be on their way.   However, the greatest miracles you have ever seen and the most powerful anointing to face life is also on its way.   Stay the course!

The Lion In the window

Lion blogAustralia has asked people to stop using Apple Maps because it was leading motorists to a remote wilderness.  Likewise, stop using maps offered by some teachers today.  We are not to panic or be complacent.  God is working in a way we may not understand.

A therapist once asked a juvenile delinquent a question that was meant to reveal his personality.   He asked, “What would you do if a lion jumped through that window?”  The youth said, “I would raise my rifle and shoot!”  The therapist said, “But where did you get the rifle?”  The youth replied, “Where did you get the lion?”

Today, lions are jumping through windows.  We have never seen stress like this and we have never felt so much of our strength sapped by everyday life.  There have never been attacks like this and there has never been so much intense strife.

It seems that we are constantly in need of a miracle.  Daily, we see more and more instances of where life is a cliff hanger.  We see frequent times where no human solution will do.

Right now we are seeing our broken government at work.  Capitol Hill is a trash heap of confusion, disarray and paralysis.  However, that same drama is being replayed in the kitchens of millions of Americans.  Many believers and in a vast number of churches are not exempt from this onslaught.

This morning, December 10, 2012 the voice of the Lord said, “the kingdom of God is not what you think.”  Of course I asked what that meant.  Immediately, I saw some scenes in the New Testament.  That explained what I had just heard.

The disciples were devastated by misunderstanding the Kingdom of God.  The Cross dashed their hopes for a temporal kingdom.  The disciples saw themselves on thrones beside Jesus, using supernatural miracles to run Israel.  When it did not happen they were scattered and terrified.

The same disappointment and shock is touching Christians who made assumptions based on hysterical teachings and trendy doctrine. What we forget is that the Kingdom comes out of nowhere and flattens its adversary when we least expect it.

The resurrection of Christ exploded the church into existence.  Now the 12 saw that they were global not local.  They saw that the mission was not to build a regional paradise but to destroy the worldwide curse of Satan.  The Kingdom was not what they thought.

Not long after that they huddled in an upper room once again feeling abandoned and disappointed.  That is why their numbers dwindled from 500 to 120.  Once again, the Kingdom had other things in mind.  Tongues of fire, a mighty boldness and the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit transformed them into an unstoppable force.  The future was not what they thought.

It did not take long for massive persecution to come and now they felt helpless again.  They were slandered, maligned and driven underground.  They felt they had no voice, to retort to the angry, sophisticated society that God had plunged them into.

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Suddenly, a light flashes down onto an angry intellectual, religious terrorist…the Bin Laden of the Jews if you will.  Saul becomes Paul and the church gains a voice that Jesus predicted.  “I will give you a mouth and wisdom that no man can gainsay nor resist.

Today, you must not be disappointed or despairing.  The Kingdom does not always let us see our true resources or know the stunning breakthroughs that are just ahead.  What we do know is that the Kingdom we have received is unshakable.   For every lion there will be a rifle.

Why You Are Here

It is hard  for us to fight feelings of anger and helplessness in a world that seems to ignore our voice and disregard our concerns.  It is easy to feel that life is random and we have no power to control but if you can answer the question that I am going to ask in this blog you can become unstoppable.

Why are you here?

The hope of His calling:  There is not only a hope of His calling; there is hope in His calling.  There is a great hope in knowing that you are called to be here at this time in order to do a special work.  You are not abandoned, forgotten, misplaced or marooned on earth, you are on assignment!

It is no accident that words like purpose and destiny are all over the landscape of the church.  We all sense intuitively the urgency of these words.  Life must have meaning! It is the depth of meaning that we find in life that determines our level of endurance.  The bigger the sense of WHY we are here, the greater our power to face WHAT is here. The more value that we place on our life, the more we will expect from our life.  ourselves and what we are doing.  It is a profound sense of mission that makes people productive.

The atheist and the agnostic face an unrelenting sense of meaninglessness.  To them, life is a cruel accident.  This is why I want to impress upon you one very great fact: it is not ease and comfort that make life bearable and it is not trials and tribulations that make life unbearable.

Suicide is pandemic among the rich and idle. But the joy of the Lord saturates missionaries fulfilling their calling in the most horrendous circumstances. You are not seeking the easy life, you are seeking the life you were born to live.  You seek that life that unmistakable stamp of divine approval.

You are an ambassador of God and that makes your home an embassy.  That means that you are here to do something that no one else can do and to do in a way that no one has ever done before.  It means that all of the authority of heaven stands ready to defend and strengthen your efforts.  That means that any anger or resentment you see is directed at God and not at you because the battle is not yours.

The call of God on your life must be more real than anything else about you. Everyday is your defining moment.  Let me say it another way: The life that lacks destiny, though it boasts of everything else is but a leaf in the wind. The life that knows it is here on purpose and for a destiny cannot be stopped by anything.

When you feel helpless and overwhelmed

What to do when you feel helpless and overwhelmed.

Psalm 55 Psalm 55, verses 4-8 could have been written by anyone who is navigating the insane stress of today.  

4 My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. 6 So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. 7 Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.  8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”

The writer KNOWS his situation is out of control. He can’t fix it. He can’t even stand to think about it. The only hope is to flee.  Have you felt like that?  So what do you do?

 

1. The first step is to realize that you are not alone.  You are not unspiritual.  Your attack is not strange.

1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

Your problem is not unique. King David — described in Scripture as “a man after God’s own heart” — frequently felt anxiety, judging by the number of Psalms that speak of terror, grief and fear.

Many believe that if they were strong in God that they would not suffer severe attacks.  They believe the devil should leave them alone.   Assuming that the devil will not attack you because you are spiritual is like assuming the bull will not charge you because you are a vegetarian.

 

2. Cry out for higher ground and get to higher ground.

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.

We can’t get there unless the Lord LEADS us there. Contrary to what some contemporary religions teach, the solution is NOT inside yourself.   You need a Rock (Jesus) for shelter from the storm — a sheltered place HIGHER than the flood waters. A safe place higher and stronger than ourselves.

The guidance you get after you cry out may be exotic, strange and lack any logic or potential…do not dismiss it, it is the road to safety and victory.

3.  Look at your past victories and your future victory.  Tell the giant: You will be like all the rest of my past threats.

Psalm 119: 95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me,  But I will consider Your testimonies.  David said I have been in these helpless places before and God won every time.

Hebrews12: 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus gazed at both at the past (He knew who He was and where He came from)  and the future for His resolve to win on the cross.

1 Samuel 17: 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”  34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”

Tell your crisis right now…you are going to be like everyother attack!  You will be defeated and become another trophy of God’s grace!

 

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!

Disaster-Proof your life these 4 ways.

 

Disaster-Proof your Life these 4 ways

No, you are not crazy; your life has gotten brutally intense.  In fact, you are up against more that you ever imagined.  Things are coming at you from all directions and they are affecting you in ways not seen before in human history.  It is more than understandable if you are overwhelmed!

 What on Earth is going on?  Is there victory over this?  What do we do about our emotions, our children, our jobs and our future?  Are there steps we can take to disaster proof our life?

 I went to the most regarded spiritual leaders inAmerica.  I wanted to hear their views about this present darkness and to see if there were any common denominators in their advice, I found 4.

 Before I give you these four treasures there are two things, I must require from you, the reader.  First, you must make a deep commitment to get to the root of what is attacking you.  Nothing could be worse than applying a half cure to your crisis because you did not get the whole picture first.  A partial cure will leave you worse off than ever.  Second, I want you to read this with a total confidence and certainty that God is going to give you the victory you need.

 Jesus said there would be days like this.  “But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.”  (John 16:4)  This pre-warning is encouraging because it calms us to know that since God knew all of this was coming, He must have made special provision for our victory over it.

 Open your eyes and spirit to what is really going on.  The Bible speaks of a bonfire that the nations are forced to feed.  “Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the peoples labor to feed the fire, and nations weary themselves in vain?”(Habakkuk 2:13

 The average person is carrying their precious life to the fiery altar of  technology, which was supposed to end the drudgery of our jobs and give us more free time, has done the exact opposite.  Technology gave us an overwhelming addiction to producing.  The bonfire of productivity wipes out your free time by allowing you to work from your house, your car and your vacation.  Instead of bringing a sense of accomplishment, technology drives people to endless work, and youth to endless robotic computer slavery.  That dark prophecy of family members sitting in separate rooms staring with glazed eyes at computer monitors is here now.

 Whether you are beeped, paged, faxed, emailed or walkie-talkied, you are never out of range of doing work.  This is why your clients can get your attention but your children cannot.  You cannot stop because a techno-geek who has no life is competing with you for a promotion.  We sit at these computer altars and pour the fuel of our lives in the great Babylonian fire.  Then there came the cruel surprise.  None of this “workaholicism” saved us from financial ruin.  Stock options evaporated and our once comfortable nest egg was scrambled.

 Radical change is a part of modern life, but now we have a new phenomenon – instant radical change!  You can arrive at work to find they sold your company, many coworkers are gone, and so is your job. One of the main features of the end times is persecution.  The liberal social engineers are racing to take away the rights of believers. 

The secular thought police want to erase all references to God. They bully parents into allowing the new age socialists to raise their children.    But they will not raise your child to eschew Biblical morality.  They will instill in them the values of the emerging world order.  Look around you.  Do you see the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that our faith is being squeezed out of the American mainstream?

 So here is the big picture.  We are vexed like Lot in Sodom.  The toxic waters of immorality rise turning our home into a shrinking island.  Less and less movies are safe; ever increasing lust, perversion and grisly violence force us to filter out more and more to protect our children.  We work longer hours and sleep shorter ones.  We battle traffic; we struggle to keep our head above water. Our lives, like a cruel treadmill, move faster and faster forcing to us to race with all of our might just to stay even! Worst of all this rat-in-a-maze life is being lived under the canopy of world wide dread of Armageddon. The potential for disaster seems to be everywhere.  So, what do we do? We do these four things:

 1. Win the Emotional War First.

Here’s a simple experiment that speaks volumes.  You tell someone to close their eyes, raise their arm to their side and then tell them to resist having their arm pushed down.  Have them repeat the phrases like “I am unworthy”, “I am a victim”, “and I am weak” ten times.  You’ll find that their arm can be pushed down easily.  Now have them repeat phrases like “I am strong”, “I am able”, and “I am a victor”.  This time their arm is very difficult to push down. Messages have a powerful effect on our mind body and emotions.

 If you want a simple description of the End Times the Bible says,” Men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”  (Luke 21:26) The end times then are a battlefield of toxic messages, images of dread that produce fatigue and crippling emotions.  In this battlefield emotions can kill!

 Your first order is to intercept these toxic messages and replace them with powerful new ones from the Bible and your own spirit.  Control your emotions by talking back to them. The proof of this is in what Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  This command cannot be obeyed unless we the power to tell our heart what to do.

 David directly challenged his emotions in Psalm 42:5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Here you see David challenging the credibility of his feelings and commanding them to hope in God.

 Flood your soul with victorious messages.  Your inner child’s tantrums must be stopped. Don’t allow voices of dread to go unanswered.  Put them in their place!  Remind yourself of how many times God pulled you out of seemingly impossible crisis. Take a statement like, “I can’t believe I’ve lost everything and I have to start over at this age” and replace it with, “This is my chance to start anew and do better than before because I am smarter and stronger now”.  Replace questions of dread: “why did I have to be born in such an evil time as this?” with questions of hope like, “Isn’t it an unspeakable honor to be on earth for God’ greatest acts?”

2.  Ask For a Big Life

 The reason the little book The Prayer of Jabez received such wild acceptance is because it is a book about asking for a big life.  Happiness has nothing to do with removing problems and challenges.  It has everything to do with being fully alive. When your life is big enough the trials don’t count!

 We cannot be sissies and crybabies who seek crisis avoidance instead of life involvement.  If appeasing life and escaping its din is happiness, then the cemetery is the happiest place on Earth!

Jesus had walked with His twelve for sixteen chapters before He told them “Until now you have asked nothing, ask and receive that your joy may be full.”  (John 16:24)  Our goal is not a painless, easy life; but a life invested in adventures against evil. Our joy comes from being fully deployed, firing on all cylinders and preoccupied with loving, giving, planning, and executing divinely imparted orders.  This divine preoccupation will act like tank treads rolling over and crushing the problems of your life.

The final two ways later today!