THE REASON WHY FAITH SEEMS TO BE AT AN ALL TIME LOW

There is an increasing measure of unbelief in today’s churches. Weak faith, little faith, and no faith is at an all time high. Strong faith, exceedingly great faith, and the kind of faith that causes Jesus to marvel (Mt. 8:10) is at an all time low.

The first reason faith is now at an all time low is because many believers don’t read or hear the pure word of God. There’s a great mixture in our churches today. People put more faith in what the popular elevated teachers in the Christian culture say. They put more faith in man. They place their trust in logic, reasoning, and the wisdom of men.

Not only do many Christians no longer read their Bibles frequently, but they don’t bring their Bibles to church. Instead they use the Bible on their cell phones where they can be easily distracted and roam elsewhere.

For those Christians who do read their Bibles regularly many of them read diluted versions such as the NIV which has had over 600 verses removed. That’s equivalent to content from the book of Romans to Revelation. Other bastardized versions are common in modern Christendom such as The Message Bible and other such versions that have been greatly altered or are missing major original texts.

Additionally, there are many evangelical Christians who do not believe in some of the essential doctrines of the New Testament. For instance, the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues has been dumbed down by many. They don’t believe it is essential for every believer to have. Unbeknownst to them, they have forsaken one of the principle doctrines of Christ called the doctrine of baptisms (Heb. 6:2), and what the early apostles considered essential to every believer (Acts 19:2; 11:15). You cannot build yourself up on your most holy faith without praying in the Holy Ghost, which for the most part is praying in other tongues (Jude 19-20). Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17), but praying in tongues stimulates your faith.

Divine healing is another important topic that many so called Bible believing Christians no longer believe. Oh, they believe in a general way that God heals, but He doesn’t heal everyone, and not right now, and not all the time. Granted, there are reasons some do not get healed, but one of the biggest reasons is due to unbelief.

Unbelief. It is one of the greatest sins of the church. Jesus rebuked His own disciples for being faithless (Mt. 17:17), unbelieving and hard of heart (Mk. 16:14), slow to believe (Lk. 24:25), and of little faith (Mt. 14:31). There is a blatant unbelief and a subtle unbelief in the church today. There is a mental ascent that some confuse with real heart faith. There are subtle suggestions made even by godly preachers that are based on experience instead of the word of God that can erode and even ruin our faith.

One 28 year old father was told by a minister that God allowed his 4 year son to die so that the man could be saved. When the man heard that he walked away from God saying, “the hell with your God then.” I’d hate to have what that minister said to that man on my conscience in the day of judgment.

As a more subtle example, one popular preacher in explaining why his daughter died of a terrible disease at an early age, said before a large audience, that God told him that some believers are called to run a shorter race than others. That statement sounds real good, but where can you find scriptural proof for that? In the word of God you‘ll find quite the contrary – many scriptural references that promise health and long life.

Now I don’t claim to have all the answers for reasons people die young or prematurely, and we certainly are to have compassion on the sick and on the families of those who have lost family members at a young age, especially children. But our experience cannot change what the word of God explicitly establishes, and that is that health and long life are always the will of God. If we’re not getting answers it’s not because God needs to change, or His word is not good. It means we need to change. Hindrances to our faith need to be removed.

People make choices and those choices can shorten or extend their lives or bring disease, destruction, and death. I neither have time nor space to delve further into this most important subject. Perhaps another time.

When preachers, even godly ones, make erroneous statements based on experiences they’ve had that are not in line with the word of God, it can steal faith from people’s hearts and do them a great disservice.

Something as seemingly innocent as saying, “some Christians’ races are shorter than others” to prove that an early or untimely death is the will of God in some cases, will leave many wondering and wavering about their own sick and diseased friends and loved ones. How can one exercise faith in God for healing, believing such things?

Faith begins where the will of God is known. How can we exercise our faith when we’re not sure it’s His will? And no, the old traditional church prayer that so many good hearted but ignorant Christians have prayed for years such as, “Oh God, heal ‘so an so’ if it be thy will,” won’t ever work. You can’t pray the prayer of faith (James 5:14) with that kind of doubt and unbelief in your heart. The will of God to heal must be established first for you to pray with faith and confidence (1 Jn. 3:21).

You see, dear ones, It’s not what you think the Bible says that matters. It’s not what someone else told you the Bible says that matters. It’s what you know for yourself that makes the difference in your life.

Don’t listen to preachers who peddle doubt and unbelief. It will poison your spiritual life. It can keep you sick and even kill you. Watch your spiritual diet. You can listen to a holiness preacher who has no understanding of faith at all, and you will benefit from it, but don’t listen to him when he feeds you with doubt and unbelief concerning other things in the word of God that he may not understand at all. In matters of faith and holiness don’t ever compromise.

As an example of holiness being compromised, I heard another very popular American television preacher say that homosexuality is not sin, but brokenness. Do you realize when you make a statement like that before a national television audience how it will release deception on multitudes? Because many respect that preacher they will believe him instead of what the scriptures actually teach (Rom. 1:26-28, 32). It is very dangerous to place the word of a man above the word of God. Homosexuality may result from brokenness but the Bible calls it a shameful and abominable practice. It is sin. We must minister deliverance with love and compassion to such who are under this bondage and want to be free.

Let’s get back to the Bible and it’s doctrines and practices. If you’re not in a habit of reading the Bible on a regular basis, I challenge you to read several chapters of the New Testament every day for just a month. Then gauge your faith level at the end of that month. If you’re sick, go through the healing scriptures in the Bible for a good amount of time until your faith rises up and takes hold of God’s promises for healing and health.

Feed your faith on the word of God and from those who know something about faith, and starve your doubts to death. Praise God for His unchangeable word!

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COULD THIS HAPPEN IN A TRUMP PRESIDENCY?

This was written by the distinguished Bill Bennett about Donald Trump during the primaries. Much of it could still apply today. Although I endorsed Senator Ted Cruz and still believe he was the best choice for the Republican nominee due to his character and track record, this article gave me hope for a possible Trump presidency. I think you will find it very interesting and also alarming. You might want to take the time to read it.

William J. Bennett, host of Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Show, is one of America’s most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and educational issues. He has one of the strongest Christian world views of any writer in modern times.

WHAT I SEE HAPPENING IN A TRUMP PRESIDENCY

By Bill Bennett

They will kill him before they let him be president. It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.

Don’t be surprised if Trump has an accident. Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.

It’s about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it’s in all of their interests to protect one another. It’s one for all and all for one.

It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened.

Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

It’s no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It’s because most of the other politicians are part of the a good old boys club. They talk big, but they won’t change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors. They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations – like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.

These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there’s one man who isn’t beholden to anyone. There’s one man who doesn’t need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher’s union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters.

Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why John Boehner and Mitch McConnell talked a big game, but never actually tried to stop Obama? Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet has never tried to de-fund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal executive action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

First, I’d guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs, or secretly gay, or stealing taxpayer money, the National Security Agency knows everything.

Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money from his own bank account. The NSA, the SEC, the IRS, and all the other three-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader.

They surveil everything.

Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called racists, so they are scared to ever criticize Obama or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment. Fourth , why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a good old boy, you’ve got a $5 million-per-year lobbying job waiting. The big-money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose, they win.

But Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice, cozy relationship between big government, big media, and big business. All the rules are out the window if Trump wins the Presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides but not Trump.

Remember: Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama’s birth certificate. He questioned Obama’s college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university. Now, he’s doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He questioned our relationship with Mexico; he’s questioned why the border is wide open; he’s questioned why no wall has been built across the border; he’s questioned if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; he’s questioned why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes, yet are not deported; and he’s questioned why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question! I’m certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion. Trump will ask if Obamacare’s architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying.

Trump will investigate Obama’s widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama’s college records.

Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election. How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?

Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop Trump. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked, telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant. Trump’s election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the crooked books and Obama’s records, the game is over. The jig is up. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money. Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.

Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

Yes, it’s become open season on Donald Trump. The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses, and, if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can’t silence him. And they sure can’t intimidate him. The more they try, the more the public will realize that he’s the one telling the truth.

Is this wishful thinking?

THE SUGAR THAT KILLS

There’s a word for itching ears. There’s a diluted gospel for the sweet tooth. There’s a diet that breeds death. There’s a sugar that kills.

It results in false converts and shallow believers who are not willing to give up anything for the gospel. It results in a timidity in preachers who will continue to disperse a candy coated diet for the sake of members and mullah.

Conversely, when we follow God’s plan and the leading of the Spirit everything moves with eternal significance. When we honor the Lord and His true Word and the moving of His Spirit, all works right. Even in the challenges and the trials, from which we will never be excluded from, there is a power to overcome when what we are doing is born of God (1 Jn. 5:4).

The apostle Paul was shipwrecked, 276 passengers with him, as the ship was shattered to pieces, but their lives were spared. An angel came and spoke to Paul. Life on the island where they were shipwrecked brought forth eternal fruit as healing and miracles were manifest and great favor was given to Paul to minister to all those on the island. This is the way it is when we follow God’s Spirit and plan. There is power to overcome even in the trials (Acts 27 & 28).

Paul and Silas also went to Philippi by the leading of the Spirit of God, but again there was trouble and they were thrown in prison for preaching the gospel of power and casting a spirit of divination out of a woman (Acts 16). Moving in demonstration and power of the Spirit got them in trouble. Have you ever thought about that in the light of today’s politically-correct age of seducing spirits and doctrines of demons?

When we cooperate with the Spirit of God there is an overflow of blessings and protection upon our lives, our marriages, our children, our relationships, and our future.

Here’s the lesson: Follow the Savior and you’ll have the sugar, but not the kind that kills and makes you pay. Many today are paying tithes and offerings for a sugar that kills, for messages void of the life changing power of God, for a word that keeps you the same – in the world and of it.

When God poured out HIs Spirit in historic revivals such as Azusa St. and more recently Brownsville, entire families move into the blessing of God. When God pours out His Spirit, the old and the young are touched and moved by God. The body of Christ becomes engaged and involved in the harvest and pastors and ministers move in great grace and power. When you’re moving in the Spirit your life is Spirit empowered. You taste of His yoke that is easy and His burden that is light. You learn of Jesus. You fall in love with His beauty and heart.

I can tell you from personal experience even now as we move in the plan of God for our lives and travel and minister in the Spirit that the journey just becomes sweeter and sweeter as the days go by. Our love for the church grows, our love for the saints and ministers of God becomes more precious, our love for family, our love and bond in marriage keeps increasing, and the blessings of God flow.

When the Spirit is breathing life into you, when you stay full and fresh of the Spirit of God, it touches everything in our lives.

When you follow the sugar instead of the Spirit it kills. But when you follow the Spirit there is a sweetness like a honeycomb of a sugar that is constantly life-giving. There is a diet and a sugar that kills, but there is heavenly sugar that comes from obedience to God.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

A CRITICAL WORD TO LAUNCH US FORWARD IN 2017: MARIO MURILLO

Ours is not an obscure message that should be whispered in the secret places of society.

We see things differently at Mario Murillo Ministries, mostly because of the way we were born. While still in high school I preached in the Haight-Ashbury, ground zero for the love and peace movement in San Francisco. Moving to Berkeley sent us from the frying pan into the fire. We were planted there for the next ten years.

For most of our early ministry, I rarely stood before an audience that actually wanted to hear what I had to say. If this message had an iota of human origin, a speck of flaw in its nature or fantasy…the crucible of Berkeley would have blown it to smithereens.

Instead, unexplainable power appeared at each point where the ministry was threatened. Something out of this world would always step in…providing words, resources, ideas and miracles exactly when we needed them.

Not once in that cauldron of revolution, did we feel the need to rebrand Christ or present a new and improved gospel.

For years there has been a rising tide calling for Christians to “keep your faith to yourself.” Many modern pastors, including the Pope, have joined the chorus asking Christians, “to tone it down.”

Consequently, we have retreated into a cultural bubble where we do everything but preach the Gospel. We have entertained, amused, inspired and distracted, but we have not converted America. Because of this, the average Christian cannot defend their faith, marriage, or the Bible as the inspired word of God.

The original reason that the Church adopted this “indirect approach” was to get society to like us. What we got was just the opposite. Our compromised message has fueled greater contempt for the Church.

The media is now maligning the message of Jesus every day. Francis Spufford said, “They think we believe in a load of Bronze Age absurdities. We promise the oppressed ‘pie-in-the-sky’ when they die; we are too stupid to understand why what we believe is irrational, and we are savagely judgmental.”

Atheists call us a threat to human progress. Secular progressives condemn us as hating the poor, the homosexual and women.

How is it possible, that after all the work we put into removing the “offensive” parts of our message, that society is even more offended? The answer is that there is a small but loud faction that hates Christ. They are having their turn at the microphone because the hostility of the White House.

We violently, totally and utterly disagree with the notion that we should tone down the Gospel in America. There are millions of innocent bystanders, who have not rejected Christ. They are simply caught in the middle between haters telling lies, and the misfiring sermons of voices too timid to tell the truth. We must take our message to these millions trapped in the middle. This is why the answer is not to “tone it down,” but to turn it up!

The same Holy Spirit that outfitted us to face the city of Berkeley will equip us to mount a fresh invasion of our nation.

Now let me get to the goal of this letter. We have learned through every trial and breakthrough that God does not just give guidance, He also gives a plan.

We have a plan for 2017. I can say without apology, that this plan has come to us from the Holy Spirit. Again and again, the spirit of God has used events in the Bible as a model for what we should do. The verses below reveal a three-point plan that was given by an Angel to the disciples when the church was gravely threatened.

Acts 5: 17- 20 says, “But the high priest rose up and all who were his supporters, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and being filled with jealousy and indignation and rage, 18 They seized and arrested the apostles (special messengers) and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and, leading them out, said, 20 “Go, take your stand in the temple courts and declare to the people the whole doctrine concerning this Life” (the eternal life which Christ revealed.)

Embedded in those simple words, are our instructions for 2017. Follow me as I describe to you the plan for touching America this year.

1. Take a stand. We cannot judge other ministries. We can only answer for what God asks us to do. He has ordered us to take a stand. There is no confusion about what the Angel is asking the men of God to do. He is telling them to stake their ground in their nation. This is not just a physical act; it is also moral and spiritual. We must take a stand against Satan’s agenda for America and we must take a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We take a stand because we belong in the national conversation. America has a drug, divorce, suicide, anger, and atheism problem. Our voice needs to be heard because we carry the most immediate and effective cure for everything that is hurting America. The Angel is reinforcing to the disciples that their message is valid and urgent.

2. Take your stand in the temple courts. Ours is not an obscure message that should be whispered in the secret places of society. The temple courts were the heart of Jerusalem. The Angel is blatantly instructing them to raise their voice in the very center of their culture.

In that same way we must go where the people are and where the biggest lies are being told. The angel gave them an exact location to take their stand and that location spoke volumes to the Apostles. God is serious about making a difference in the culture.

3. Tell all of the words of this life. What a scathing rebuke to popular Christianity. While Christian celebrities scurry to and fro to find buzzwords to replace the core doctrines of the Bible, here is an Angel telling the disciples that they must tell all the words of life. They cannot leave out a single benefit or demand of the message of Jesus Christ.

How right that Angel was. There is life in those words. There is life in the blood of Christ, the cross and the resurrection. There is life in them so amazing that no mountain of eloquence or cunningly devised sermon can begin to match.

If only we would learn to brave the offense of the Cross in our preaching! We would find that very soon the supernatural life of God would overtake our preaching and create miracles in people that infinitely surpassed the results of popular preaching. Society would not care about the demands in our message because of the changes they would see in their souls, minds and bodies.

This is what we will do in 2017. In city after city, we will take a stand in the heart of that city and tell all the words of this life.

MARIO MURILLO

BITS AND PIECES OF WISDOM FOR LOVE AND LIFE

“Do not judge according to appearance but judge with righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24).

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Mt. 18:12-14).

JUDGE NOT BY OUTWARD APPEARANCE

God sees everything. He knows the beginning and end of every person. Man looks on the outward appearance and misjudges so many things about a person. Mere man sees all the imperfections of a person but God sees the totality of a man’s life and what he has already overcome and what he is yet to become. God sees the beauty of the work He is doing and completing in that man.

One prophet of God was judged by his fellow ministers because of a failed marriage and yet he had done everything he could in his power to save the marriage. Yet there are other ministers and men whom God has spoken to concerning adjustments they need to make to improve their own marriages, but they’re hard-hearted and won’t do it. The prophet was judged as a failure, but the others are judged as successes in their marriage. God does not see as man sees, nor judge as men judge. He sees beyond the surface of outward appearances. This is the reason why we often judge unrighteously. Most of the time we don’t know what people have gone through nor do we have full understanding of their current circumstances. The safe way is to always lean to the side of forbearance and mercy with others.

We see people laugh, but God sees the pain. We see people strut with confidence and pride, but God sees the insecurities. We see the super people skills and leadership abilities in a man, but God sees their remorse and regret for past mistakes. We see a man that seems to have it all together, but God sees them wretched, poor, blind, and naked. It has been said, “don’t judge a man until you’ve been in his shoes.”

On the other hand, we can see a person who seems needy but God sees a person who is irresponsible and won’t help themselves – who want pity, attention, and prey on others for provision. We can look at a person who appears humble outwardly, but God sees one who is full of pride and arrogance inwardly. We see a person who appears to love God with his words, but God sees a person who won’t obey Him and do the things He’s asked him to do.

BEING SENSITIVE IN AN INSENSITIVE WORLD

We need the Spirit’s discernment to judge righteously and see accurately, and we need to be sensitive to the ones God is calling us to pay attention to and help. It is easy to miss that in a world so full of hype and celebrity, and one where we are often consumed with our own affairs. Unplug from that world and plug yourself into the world of helping those God is leading you to help.

I remember years ago when I was invited to be the graduation speaker of a Bible school we had started and released to national leadership in Gambia, West Africa. At this graduation everyone was dressed in their Sunday best and were in a happy festive mood. There was lots of excitement and a sense of pride and appreciation for the graduates’ accomplishments. As people were greeting me and thanking me for coming, and wanting to snap pictures with me, my eyes landed upon a young woman in a wheelchair, whom years earlier when I lived in the country, I had known as one of the happiest girls. I saw her and looked beyond her outward smile and knew she was now a woman of  a broken spirit. The Spirit of God moved me with compassion and I ministered to her and encouraged her. Amidst all the pomp and pageantry that a graduation affords there were a couple of other people the Lord directed me to minister to who were hurting and oppressed, almost veiled by the celebratory spirit present there. Once again, sometimes in the midst of such a celebratory event it is easy to miss the needs of hurting people, especially the unlovely and the plain that are hardly noticeable when alone, much less in a crowd. Such is so also in the busy-ness of life.

IS GOD UNFAIR?

I also have great admiration for parents who have disabled, handicapped, mentally unstable, or diseased children. The level of sacrifice and suffering they experience is beyond what most of us will ever experience. Thank God for His abounding grace, but it’s difficult. I know some of them personally, and the decisions they have to make as these types of children grow into adults is painful and heart rendering – like putting them in a group home away from the love of family. God’s heart is so moved for such people that sometimes His deafening silence makes it hard to believe that He even cares for the one. But God is otherworldly and His wisdom is higher than ours. There is a sovereignty concerning the Lord’s ways that we will never understand on this side of heaven. Yet His written Word and will is always one of health and healing provided through His atoning work on the cross. We are to exercise our faith and believe God for healing and miracles promised us in His Word. Nevertheless, believers who live with unanswered questions and yet continue to serve the Lord with a pure heart are heroes of mine. They’ve learned to make peace with the unknown and unresolved mysteries in life and trust God with everything.

For me personally, my wife and I always wanted more children. We have one beautiful godly son, whom we are so thankful for, but we’ve never known why we didn’t have more when we had agreed and asked the Lord for more. We’ve not suffered, but it’s still a mystery to us. There is much revealed wisdom and answers to so many of life’s issues in the Bible, but there are also certain things in life that are secrets and remain mysteries unless the Lord reveals it.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law” (Deut. 29:29).

Many people wrestle with life issues that are hard to understand – things that seem unfair, unjust, or unexplainable. But here are some answers:

For example, did you know that in 1 Kings 14 God allowed a child born into a wicked family to die because he found some good in him? There is one Scriptural reason some children may die young. What about the murder of unborn children? Did you know that every aborted child is now in heaven fulfilling God’s plan for their lives for all of eternity? That’s the good news. Every aborted embryo is with Jesus. Did you also know that disabled and mentally or physically handicapped children and their loving parents have a great reward in heaven that is above and beyond what we can think or imagine? They will live throughout eternity with that reward and honor. Eternity is a lot longer than this life. Here is more wisdom to another one of life’s mysteries: Did you know that the greater the hardship some people are born into, the greater the grace is for them to overcome it as they seek God? God is just and God is fair. We must never forget that.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE ONE

A few days ago my wife and I went to prayer for the West Coast trip we are currently on, and the Spirit of God interrupted us and had us spend a majority of our time praying for one person. He showed us the past, present, and even parts of this brother’s future in Him. He showed us all he’s had to overcome and how faithful he has been. And yet because of this brother’s unassuming nature, and vanilla personality no one ever pays much attention to him. But the Lord sees a covenant man and all the small ways (yet large in God’s sight) of how he shows his love for God every day.

It was truly a precious time of prayer where the Lord once again revealed His love for the one. I love His heart, His ways, and His love for the individual.

It’s as if the whole world stops for His love to be made manifest to the one. In our busyness lets not miss opportunities to love the one. Pay attention to who is in front of you or who He is putting on your heart. And let us continue to encourage the less fortunate, the weak, and the suffering.

A good shepherd leaves the 99 and goes after the one who has strayed or who needs immediate attention.

Oh, how I love Him. And how He loves us! Lovely Jesus. I find no fault in Him.

DRUNK WITH LOVE

Somebody is praying for me. Perhaps many are. My heart has been enlarged. The Heavenly Father’s love is moving strong in me, which is a direct manifestation of the following prayer.

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Eph. 3:17-19 – NLT).

When we are born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). Right after I gave my life to Jesus Christ (my life, not a compartment of my life) immediately I noticed something moving on the inside of me. It wasn’t loud like an earthquake or the winds of a tornado. It wasn’t flashy or notably visible like the flame of a fire. It was a deep peace that flowed like a calm river. It was a love that cast out fear and comforted me and assured me of God the Father’s care – like an orphan who suddenly had the feeling of belonging to a family and having a father (Rom. 8:15-16).

It was this love that called me and made God irresistible to me. It was the presence of this love that melted my heart and made it easy to love Him in return and to want to please Him and obey Him. It is this love that causes grown men to fall to their knees and cry like a baby – something I’ve witnessed so many times in my life and ministry. This is a love that caused the early Christians to share all they had (Acts 2 & 4). It is a love that caused the disciples to fall on Paul’s neck and kiss him once he told them farewell and parted from them for good (Acts 21).

It is this love that leads to a consecrated lifestyle and makes it so easy to walk away from a sinful lifestyle. This is the love of our Father God – a love that is so individualistic and personal that it can sometimes seem as if you are the only one He loves. Nothing and no one can ever separate us from this love. It should fuel us every day.

This love when in mature manifestation will even allow a wicked person to kill you for the Name of Jesus Christ, as Christ allowed His persecutors to kill Him. This love will turn the other cheek and walk another mile for the glory of God and the good of others.

It is a love that constantly seeks expression, not only in word, but especially in deed and in truth (1 Jn. 3:18). When this love grows in you, you will care less and less about serving yourself and more and more about serving others. This love will willingly pour itself out for the salvation of sinners and addict you to the ministry of the saints. This love will make you weep tenderly with those who mourn and laugh heartily with those who rejoice. This love is nothing less than the unfathomable love of Jesus that laid down His life for us. When His love rules your heart you will find yourself doing the same for others.

Lately this love, wrapped up in God’s Spirit, has made me reel like a drunk man in near silly delight. This love released in the bowels of my heart has lifted me to new heights in God and given me an undeniably clean high. Haha! This eternal love has me in its grips and won’t let me go.

I believe there is some kind of mystery behind this deeper level of love that I’ve been experiencing that has to do with my earthly Daddy’s departure last month. For example, the desire to see my family and my unsaved loved ones receive this love has increased in me. The love for sinners has increased in me. I know when departed saints arrive in that heavenly city and become a part of that great cloud of witnesses their desire for the world’s salvation increases manifold. There is great rejoicing in heaven over every sinner who repents.

Some of my earthly Daddy’s last words on the earth were on love and forgiveness. God brought him out of a semi-conscious state to prophesy those words in his final hours. Besides the prayers of the saints that have contributed to a greater revelation of God’s love in me, I believe there was some kind of transaction made in heaven upon my Daddy’s arrival that released a greater deposit of that love into my own heart here on the earth – similar to Elijah leaving a double portion of his spirit upon Elisha, his predecessor (2 Kings 2). Just a thought that needs to be searched out in the Scriptures.

Notice again the Spirit-inspired prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21, especially v. 19. “Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”  The results of knowing the width and length and depth and height of the love of Christ which passes knowledge is that we will be made complete with all the fulness of life and power that comes from God. The NKJ version says that we may be “filled with all the fulness of God”. Wow! That is where we are headed, folks – whether on this earth we receive that revelation, early or later in life, or in heaven, we are to grow in this love and make it our aim to know it, pursue it, and walk in more of it every single day.  

I’d encourage you to pray that Ephesians prayer for others and for yourself that you might have the effectual working of His power that will reveal His personal love to you in greater measure.

Abundant grace and peace from our Father be multiplied to each of you.

ARE YOU BEING PUFFED UP, ENTERTAINED, OR EDIFIED?

“Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1).

  • There she was – a young college age girl standing at the altar with her hands raised after having received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Her two friends giddy with girlish excitement were about to tap her on the shoulder so they could leave and go have some fun. I immediately stopped them saying, “don’t touch her; she’s in another world.”
  • As I was preaching and ministering in the Spirit at a church meeting I noticed a tiny woman in the second row who was being touched by God. Once the meeting was over she stayed in her seat. I kept observing her and knew she was in the Spirit. God was working deeply in her. She was in a Holy Ghost bubble and didn’t want to engage in any trivial or carnal conversation with anyone.
  • While ministering in the nation of Colombia I began a meeting by asking who was sick. A young woman raised her hand and came forward. She had burned her arm in a working accident and couldn’t move it. As soon as I laid hands on her in the Name of Jesus she was healed – no more pain and mobility restored. She was glowing like a neon sign in the dark. She returned the following night still glowing. She felt the love of God and the nearness of Jesus.

These are all examples of true edification.

PUFFED UP

These three examples serve to remind us of what it means to be truly edified and equipped. Love edifies, but knowledge alone puffs us up and makes us proud. There is a harmful level of increased pride I am seeing in Christianity today due to the availability of so much knowledge. Sermonizing is popular, but moving in the Spirit and speaking forth as an oracle of God is rare. There is more division over doctrine in the Church today than any time in recent history. People have gotten puffed up.

Ask yourself, “Why am I wanting to amass knowledge?” Is it really to grow personally and love and serve others, or is it to display it for self-aggrandizement? Why do most preachers love to preach and disburse so much knowledge? Do people really need to hear 1,000 sermons a year that are not producing life change in them? Is it the anointing of the Holy Spirit they are receiving or just words and mere knowledge? Certainly teaching is very important and Jesus did a lot of it, but He taught with wisdom, love, power, and authority and not as the sermonizing scribes. And the common people heard Him gladly. Most of all, He demonstrated what He taught (Acts 1:1).

Remember that knowledge puffs up but love edifies.

ENTERTAINED

There is now a dangerous “new” mind-set being spawned from a “new” gospel that is flourishing in America. Mega churches are being grown from this gospel in virtually every major city in America and other nations as well. It is the “seeker friendly” model of reaching sinners on a natural level with a social gospel lacking substance and power, along with a philosophy of fun and entertainment.

Here’s an example I heard the late David Wilkerson share years ago: During one Sunday night gathering in a seeker-friendly church where thousands attended, the pastor got up and said: “This is a fun night, a David Letterman night.”

Then the youth pastor came out and did a monologue as David Letterman. He showed 10 of the most boring things teenagers do during preaching. Three of the ten were throwing spitballs, yawning, and picking their noses. The people in attendance went wild with laughter and great applause. As the church service was closing the pastor shamelessly announced, “We’re not here to offend anyone, but to make church comfortable for everybody.”

This methodology of reaching people and increasing our numbers has become popular, but does real edification ever occur? Are people’s lives really changed for the long term? Or are we just tickling ears and entertaining minds?

It’s time for some serious evaluation? Are we being puffed up, entertained, or edified?

THIS IS WHAT FREQUENTLY HAPPENS WHEN WE MINISTER IN CHURCHES

FROM A PASTOR:

“We cannot begin to put into words the gratitude that we feel in our hearts for you both. Thank you so much for seeing the beauty in our “baby” (the church), for embracing her, and for feeding her! Not everyone has the eyes to see and the desire to embrace her. We have all felt the embrace in the natural as well as the spiritual.

“We love you both, your son, and your entire family. We know that God brought you here to tie our hearts together. We pray that God continues to bless you and use you in a mighty way. We know the Lord is going to reward you both greatly.

“We love, love, love you both and shall miss you. But we know we shall meet up again. And we praise God we shall be friends and family for eternity. What God has joined together let no man put asunder!

“It was an honor to have you come. We believe next time you come the child will be too big to carry. Haha!”

Let me explain the backdrop to this narrative. This is a church in Florida pastored by a precious couple that has about 20-30 people. The husband also has a full time job to supplement their ministry finances. They lay their lives down each and every day for their church and people, whom they refer to as their “baby”.

Often when we travel to churches the Lord gives us a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge concerning the church. In the case of this church, it was no different. My wife Carolyn received a dream the night before we were to minister here. In this dream was a baby girl who was feeding from her mother’s left breast. There was not much milk coming from that breast, and the baby girl was having trouble feeding, but then when switched to the right breast she began to suck ravenously with such intensity. The Holy Spirit shared some other precious things with us concerning this local body, but this dream was the nucleus of it.

This was a three day meeting, and we did not feel led to share this dream until the second or third day, I can’t remember now. At first the dream did not seem that significant until the pastors told us that they have always referred to their church as their “baby” girl. When we shared the dream the couple started crying and then laughing with great joy and gratitude. Then they shared with us this clincher.

You see, when they took over the pastorate of this rag-tag group of precious people they had been under some false heretical teaching. That was the reason the baby girl was having trouble feeding from the left breast. But this pastoral couple has been faithful to feed her the sincere milk of the Word, when others did not see any beauty in her at all. At times visitors would come to the church and because it had no outward glitter or glamour and the small building was not one to be desired, they wouldn’t return and would even criticize the building and the people. It was then that we recognized the significance of the dream and the revelation contained within it. It was so meaningful to the pastors and the church.

This sort of spiritual operation has been happening frequently with us in the last 3-4 years. It seems the Lord is sending us to more places with a specific assignment, a word of wisdom and revelation for the people, along with a genuine move of the Holy Ghost and fire.

While we were at this aforementioned church in Florida, the Lord also touched Carolyn and I very deeply as we recognized once again the importance of simple obedience to go where God sends us and to obey Him in what He shows us and tells us to do and to say. We also realized that many traveling ministers miss God because they are looking for the biggest church to go to and one that can bless them with a large offering to meet their budget. When we do this we show partiality and actually become judges of evil thoughts (Jam. 2:1-4). We make distinctions among the body of Christ based on people’s rank, status, and influence. To give preference to the big, the rich, and the outwardly beautiful and glamorous is gross sin and transgression. God is impartial and shows and shares the same love, grace, and benefits of salvation with all His people.

Think also of all the thousands of small churches who cannot afford to have any big name speakers or guest ministers. This is the reason Carolyn and I will go anywhere the Lord sends us regardless of the size of the crowd or offering. If they can help us get there we will prayerfully consider going if we know the Lord is in it. In this particular church because they were small in number the pastors put us in the home of one of their members, and her car to use, as well as $100 for groceries for the weekend we were there.

Traveling internationally is more of a challenge because of the greater expense. There are poor nations we have invitations to that we just cannot get to unless God’s people and partners help us. This was the reason for my last blog and the appeal I made for travel funds. Asking for funds is something I don’t like to do, but only as a final measure that could potentially produce tremendous fruit.

God’s ways are not man’s ways. Because of the large expense of sending a minister to preach in a foreign nation many people think it to be a waste of money. And it could well be! It depends on the calling and commission of that minister and what he is carrying. I’ve lived overseas and have received many guest ministers from America over the years, and I can tell you that most of them were not effective and left no lasting spiritual deposit or made any considerable spiritual impartation to the people. It really depends on whether they were “sent” or just “went”.

Carolyn and I have always been people of assignments, and have for the major part of our lives and ministry, operated as “sent” ones. Will you prayerfully consider being a partner with us for our assignment to the nations, smaller churches, and undesirable people? So far a handful of people have responded with either one time gifts or monthly support, and we are grateful.

Thanks for your time today and thank you for your encouragement!

“Whoever goes to war at his own expense?” (1 Cor. 9:7)

“And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:15)

“And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” (Acts 15:41)

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart …” (2 Cor. 9:7)

God bless you for your obedience and cause you to partake of the fellowship of this grace for the churches, cities, nations the Lord sends us to.

FROM MY HEART: CAN YOU HELP US?

Dear Friends,

Most ministries, when writing a financial appeal letter, will wait until the end before stating their real purpose. I will spare you from reading the rest of this blog, or at least give you a choice not to, by getting right to the point. Without any guile and subtle manipulation so common in ministry today, Carolyn and I are asking you to prayerfully consider being a partner to this ministry to help us with our increasing travel expenses, especially internationally.

Here are two scriptures that will help support our appeal for support.

“And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:15)

 Dear friend, you are doing a good work for God in taking care of the traveling teachers and missionaries who are passing through. They have told the church here of your friendship and your loving deeds. I am glad when you send them on their way with a generous gift. For they are traveling for the Lord and take neither food, clothing, shelter, nor money from those who are not Christians, even though they have preached to them. So we ourselves should take care of them in order that we may become partners with them in the Lord’s work” (3 Jn. 5-8 – LB).

We are not asking for more partners so we can accumulate more of this world’s wealth and carnal things. Instead, we are wanting to honor more invitations to the nations so that we can reach more people and fulfill our calling to carry the Spirit of God and the fire of God, and to draw forth provision of the wisdom of God for the places God sends us. Our last trip to West Africa in June/July produced profound change, not only in the hearts of the leaders and people we ministered to, but in the nation as well Encouragement To The Nation.

Financial stewardship in the ministry is a public trust. I can’t relate to people and ministers who are believing God just for more things. I’m also mindful of how the early apostles did not manipulate people for their money nor live above those they ministered to, which is a common problem today. I really can’t relate to ministers who think God’s stamp of approval is to live like royalty. It is disturbing to even think someone could place us in that category.

We do not live on a fixed salary like most pastors do. Pastors can be on vacation or attending a conference or some other function away from the pulpit, and most still receive their weekly salary.  That is not so with us. Due to budgetary reasons we’re not usually able to do those things. Barring unexpected offerings, we don’t make it unless we are on the road ministering on a regular basis. Because most of the church world operates on a tithes and offering system many pastors have other amenities and benefits that are covered by their churches that we don’t have privilege of. This is not a plea for pity but sharing from an honest heart of the real needs that face this ministry.

To supplement our road offerings we do have a core of partners who support us monthly, or with occasional gifts for which we are so grateful for. When we travel overseas it is even more demanding financially, as we are not guaranteed offerings and often we’ve had to pay our own expenses.

For example, right now we have an invitation to the Azores in Portugal to minister in January that we need to at least cover the airfare for. We also have one to Liberia for January/February 2018. We are not backed by any denomination or a single church that pays these expenses for us. Some pastors can travel overseas any time they want to or need to because their church pays for it. Yet, most of them are not even called to travel in the same way we are – by divine commission. After agonizing over our travel expenses for years and beating the bushes to try and raise the funds, especially for international travel, I felt the Lord gave me an idea.

About three years ago I asked 30 churches whom we have some level of relationship with to each commit to a monthly amount to cover our international expenses on an annual basis, so that we could already have it in our budget and plan things in advance. Only two churches responded to that request, and one was our home church who committed to paying for one trip per year. Usually we have to raise funds for Carolyn when she travels with me, which is almost always now, except when I go to rough places not fit for her.

Think about this: If just 20 churches or 20 people would commit to $50 per month or whatever amount God would lay on your heart for our travel fund, that would add up to $1000 per month or $12,000 per year. We are called to America and to the nations as well. Depending on geographic location and total trip expense the both of us could easily travel to 3-4 nations per year on that amount. This would help us plan ahead instead of crediting our expenses and risk running behind on our finances, which is not preferable nor is it good stewardship.

As an example, we traveled to West Africa this summer and the total trip expense for us both was over $4000 conservatively (airfare alone was about $1700 each and visas were $160 each – n0t cheap). Most of that amount was covered by one American church and our overseas hosts, but if we could spread that out and have a broader base of partnership for it, it would make the load lighter for everybody, and help us plan well in advance.

If you do not feel led to give monthly, would you prayerfully consider sowing into our Azores, Portugal trip in January?

You can donate here using our DONATE button or give by check to:

Holy Fire Ministries
PO Box 4527
Windham, NH 03087

To express our appreciation to each new partner who commits to one year of monthly support for our international travel we will send you one of our books of your choice Holy Fire Books. Just let us know which one and email us your name and shipping address to: holyfiremin@comcast.net

Please make a note that you are partnering with us for travel to the nations. Just mark your check ‘missions’.

Thanks for your understanding and God bless you for your obedience.

A PROPHETIC UTTERANCE: IS THE COMING ELECTION AS IMPORTANT TO GOD AS IT IS TO US?

You care about these elections, but the Lord is saying that you are not to care. You are not to care as you have cared. For your care must now be in these things – in the advancement of my kingdom and things of My Spirit that I have spoken even unto you this day. Your care must now be about the kingdom of God. For I tell you now that it doesn’t even matter even to Me…oh, it seems hard to believe even as I speak that it doesn’t matter even to Me who is the next president of the United States. For My eyes are on the Church now and My eyes behold the glory that is to be and that is to come on My Church and My eyes behold My bride and My glorified ones who are moving with me now. My concern is for them and for My kingdom to continue to advance in these last hours.

For there is a harvest yet to be reaped and there is a manifold wisdom of God yet to be displayed in and through the Church to the world, and that is where My heart and My will is touching even now. And all those who are walking close to Me are seeing and sensing the same thing and the burdens of My heart and My desire to have a Church and a bride that would be clean and pure and shine bright and display My wisdom and My power in the earth. For many will not come into My kingdom until they see the great demonstration and display of My Spirit and of My power in these days. And it is waiting and available for My Church and My body to tap into, but they are distracted with the things of the world, even these things that are happening in the political scene in your nation now have become a distraction.

But I would have you fix your eyes now on that which is important to Me, for it is My kingdom and it is My Church that must rise in this hour. It is My ministers that must move now in the demonstration of My Spirit and in My power in this hour. For I am jealous over My people and I am jealous over My Church and I am jealous over My Spirit that I have put within them whose been limited and confined and held back. Oh, for He must come forward and He must speak and He must show forth that which has been in the plan of God and in the mind of God for My Church and My people.

Bring forth My mind. Bring forth My will. Bring forth My plan. It is only those who are in the Spirit and understand the mystery of My Church that can come forth in this hour and show forth My will in the earth. For many others will not understand, for there will be a division even among My people and even now it has already begun – division between spirit and soul, and a division between those who understand and those who do not, a division indeed between those born of the Spirit and who understand the ways of My Spirit and those that do not. Do not let this division sway you for it must be and has always been from the beginning. For those who are of the flesh cannot walk with those who are of the Spirit.

So stay in the Spirit and lead the way for it’s a new day.