Saturday, March 30, 2024

Happy Easter: He Is Risen!

Praise God! Jesus died on the cross and rose again victorious over sin and death! "God credits righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:23-25 NIV) He died to give us eternal life through simply believing upon Him as our Savior and Lord and He also gives us his Holy Spirit freely! 

Road Adventures: Signs, Wonders and Resurrection


We were venturing out on the road recently, and just headed out seeking to be led by the Holy Spirit. We knew that the Lord had something He was leading us to… but we weren’t sure what yet. On the way, after being on the road for a bit and stopping for some adventures, with nothing set up, the Lord suddenly opened the door to minister in Colorado, which we responded with: “Well, we are in range to make it over there so we will be there!”

 

We had a powerful move of the Holy Spirit in Colorado Springs at Iglesia Arbol de Vida on Missionary Sunday which we just happened to be there on that date—where we shared about some historical missionaries and we also had a bunch of teenagers, as well as others, getting filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit! Then in Denver at the YWAM Base, we shared about some of our own missionary adventures and prayed over those getting ready to depart on a mission trip themselves, all of it planned by the Holy Spirit…we just had to follow the Lord’s plan as it unfolded!

 

One of the adventures we felt led to take on the way was to go through Death Valley.

 

Death Valley Days

 

Death Valley is the lowest point in North America, as well as having the hottest recorded temperature on earth, and as we went through, we came upon an unusual phenomenon there at a place called Badwater Basin: This ancient dry basin, once a lake in ages past, was presently filled with water!

 

As we pondered this highly unusual phenomenon, the Holy Spirit fell on me with this verse: For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) And the Literal International Translation for this same verse reads: “Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs up, Do you not know it? Indeed, I put a way in a wilderness, In a desolate place—floods.”

 

Badwater Basin filled with water!

The reason behind this unusual occurrence was due to another rare event that took place some months back: when the first tropical storm to land in Southern California in 84 years, the remnants of Hurricane Hilary—originally a category 4 Hurricane—came ashore in Southern California. After dumping a truckload of rain in Southern California, the tropical storm blew out into the desert and stalled over Death Valley, dumping a whole year’s worth of rain in just one day. Death Valley was heavily flooded, and many parts experienced a lot of damage, causing it to be closed for repairs for months afterward, the longest closure in its history.

 

It was wild to see such a dry desert place like Badwater filled with all that water! In fact, we have visited here together a number of times over the years, and it has always been 100 percent bone dry… never even so much as a drop in it…it was so surreal to see it full of water! We felt it was a sign from the Lord of what His plans are to come, for His word declares:

 

“This is what God says will happen in the last days:I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.Your young men will see visions.Your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women,I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth below…  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:16-21

 

We were blessed to be friends as well as be mentored by two people who were used to reach unlikely groups that many saw as resistant: one was Harald Bredesen who led many people, such as mainline believers who had formerly rejected and resisted the work of the Holy Spirit, into the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as well as lead many people to Christ. The other one was Lonnie Frisbee, who was also used by God to reach an unlikely group, far-out hippies, who most of society, as well as the body of Christ, had written off, and he led them into salvation and the filling of the Holy Spirit as well. 

 

The Water of Life

 

There is an implication in the above-mentioned verse from Acts 2:16-21 that as the days become more last, we shall see more of the work of the Holy Spirit! Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as living water, we cannot live without water in the natural, and we need the living water in our spiritual lives as well.

 

When Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again, He made the way for our salvation, as well as for His Spirit to be in and with us. His disciples were indwelt with the Holy Spirit (John 20:22) right after His resurrection, and all who receive Christ are also automatically indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19). Even though His disciples were indwelt, they also needed the empowering of the Holy Spirit. This took place on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out in power.

 

Billy Graham, one of America's greatest evangelists, said we need to understand that Paul made a command in Ephesians 5:17 that we are to seek to be regularly filled with the Holy Spirit, on an ongoing basis. The Reformer Martin Luther also said: “You need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit for the rest of your life, on an ongoing basis, lest we fall back to the world and unbelief.” We need to be like the wise virgins who kept their lamps full of oil and burning. Christ holds out an open offer to freely receive of His Spirit, all we have to do is ask.

 

The Cross Has Made the Way

 

Jesus went to the cross and paid the price for our redemption, a price I could not pay, one you could not pay, He paid it once for all! He also gives the Holy Spirit freely just as he gives salvation freely. There is, however, a barrier that must be overcome in the human mind and human way of thinking. Everything has to be paid for in this fallen world: you have to pay for gasoline, you gotta pay for your car, gotta pay your bills, gotta pay this and that and the other thing, pay pay pay pay! However, God gives us salvation and His blessings freely. 

 

This is thus something that is antithetical to the human mind and thus the word of God must be dwelt upon to let the Holy Spirit bring revelation so we can grasp this truth. Human teaching that does not line up with the Word of God and His grace only muddies the water and makes it difficult for people to receive. Trying to earn His blessings often becomes a barrier to being able to freely receive.

 

No matter how good a life one might live, nor how many good works one might do, no matter how much one may fast, or pray, or seek to do good works… it can never be sufficient in itself nor supersede the work Christ has already done for us. There is only one sacrifice that is sufficient, and Jesus made it for us when He, as God's spotless, unblemished, lamb of God, who was without sin or stain, laid his life down freely for us on the cross, to redeem us. Jesus went to the cross and died for us because we cannot do it for ourselves; we cannot pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps or be good enough, and we can never do enough good works. We are sinners who need a redeemer and redemption. 

 

Praise God Jesus is the redeemer who wrought that redemption on the cross, and through simple faith in Him alone He freely gives us that redemption, as well as by that same grace gives us His blessings.

 

The Bible says: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.” Romans 8:32. God, in offering up His own Son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, has already given us the best. Thus, by that same grace, He will give us His blessings when we ask in faith and humbly rely on His grace.

 

Understanding Christ’s Payment and Redemption 

 

Paul in his most systematic and comprehensive epistle, lays out clearly in Romans 3:21 – 25 Christ’s payment for us:

 

“But now, completely apart from the law, a righteousness from God has been made known. The Law and the Prophets testify to it.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and over all who believe. In fact, there is no difference,  because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God but are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

 

Righteousness only comes through faith in Jesus Christ. 


The Bible says righteousness is credited to us when we believe upon and receive Christ. We cannot create a righteousness of our own to recommend ourselves to God as justification. 


God justifies us Himself through the sacrifice of His son on the cross and through faith in that sacrifice and receiving it by grace. Jesus offered himself up as God's once for all sacrifice for our sins on the cross.

 

It is apart from the law: Paul uses the law and works often interchangeably, and is saying no attempts to keep the law on your own, nor seeking to be without sin on one’s own terms, can ever suffice, we must look to Christ alone as our redemption.

 

Paul goes on to say “all have sinned” and as he states earlier in Romans 3:10: “There is no one righteous, no not even one.”  One cannot make themselves righteous through their works, law-keeping, prayers or fasting. All have sinned therefore they must find redemption outside of themselves. As Paul, a man who was a Pharisee and religious person, yet whose heart was dark, realized when he encountered Christ: all his religious works and religiosity were a pile of dung and worthless (Philippians 3:1-9).

 

Paul is emphatic in his teaching: “It is by grace we are saved, through faith, it is the gift of God, not by our works, so no one can boast!” Ephesians 2:8-10

 

It is by grace, and grace alone, meaning unmerited favor is given us through faith, thus it is not by our works, not by our striving, nor our good lives, but by God’s grace through Christ’s redemption are we saved and by that alone. We are called to do good works of course as believers, but those good works do not merit salvation, they should be a result of knowing and walking with the Lord and being led by His Spirit.

 

The Subtle Deception of Familiarity 

 

Some will no doubt say: Well, I'm familiar with all this, this is nothing new. And in their zeal to find some fringe new secret revelation, they go off into the weeds and soon they don't see the forest for the trees. As Luther declared: We can never know, understand, teach enough, preach enough, on this great truth of Christ’s great redemption for us. Its depths can never be fully mined. 

 

We must therefore as the Scripture says: Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. And let his Word and his Spirit continually open our eyes more clearly unto the magnificence of all He has done for us through His death and resurrection.

 

The Holy Spirit and God’s Peace

 

Romans 5 says: Now that we understand this justification that comes by faith through grace, we have peace with God. Though we may have trials, tribulations, difficulties and spiritual warfare in this life, we must understand that we have a relationship with God that is solid, secure, and nothing can separate us if we are in Christ. 

 

Peace with God is the longing of every human heart: Though people may not understand it, it is what they are longing for, it is what the heart seeks. Praise God, we have it through Jesus Christ, who paid the full price when He died on the cross for us and rose again to give us life. Not only that, but Romans 5 goes on to say that He gives us the Holy Spirit, and it is in the infinitive form when he says “gives” meaning He has, He does, He will! We need to learn to live in and walk in the Spirit. The Scripture declares that the Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing.

 

Times of Refreshing

 

There are epochs in history where the Holy Spirit is poured out corporately in great measure. Personally you can always have as much as you want,  all you need to do is ask and believe and receive: “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13) In these corporate outpourings, however, there is typically a heightened understanding of the great redemption of Christ, His work on the cross, and the righteousness that comes by faith. This is something that has been altogether missing in many modern attempts people have had to whip up a revival on their own.

 

The Reformation was a return to a focus on Christ and his work on the cross for us and His grace given freely to all who believe: A return to the righteousness that comes FROM God and is by grace! This became the foundation for the revivals that followed in its wake: in England, in the early American colonies, and on and on!

 

George Whitfield, known as the Grand Itinerant, who was one of the main leaders of the mass revival in the early American Colonies known as the Great Awakening, regularly preached on: “The righteousness that comes from God.” As Nathan Hale came into a meeting Whitfield was about to preach in, he walked into the Holy Spirit’s atmosphere and was touched by the presence of God and a word came to him: “Are you trying to create a righteousness of your own by your own works?” He was convicted and surrendered his life to Christ and was born again on the spot without a word even having been preached yet.

 

We are told that the Lord will bring times of refreshing. We thus must turn and fix our eyes on Jesus who did it all for us on the cross. It is Him, Jesus Christ, whom we are to glorify and lift up, Christ whom we exalt! 

 

As we celebrate Easter, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and receive freely the abundance of his Spirit, letting Him pour out on us, bringing refreshing, renewal, and filling every dry empty place in our hearts and making them full! Hallelujah, He is Risen!


Connect to Grace World Mission: https://linktr.ee/graceworldmission

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Year in Review

A Milestone 


2023 was a unique time in that our son Patrick got married. We were stoked to celebrate with friends and family as Patrick and Emily were joined together. The Lord blessed Patrick with a beautiful godly bride in Emily who also grew up involved in missionary adventures herself. We tend to have our own little ideas, thinking that maybe this person or that would be good to introduce our son to, none of that human effort ever went anywhere though.

It was, however, an unexpected word that the Lord gave me, which at the time seemed to have nothing to do with what happened later—meeting a young lady—that actually connected Patrick and Emily.

 


We had recently connected with Dave and Natalie Hess on the coast for some lunch after years of emailing one another but never being here in the US at the same time. 

 

However, the Lord’s timing is so different than our own and He knows what needs to happen and when.

 

After connecting with them and getting to know each other, we were getting ready to leave to go to a meeting they were hosting, when I saw Patrick getting ready to do something else and I told him: “I just got an impression from the Lord, and I think you are supposed to come to this meeting with us tonight.”  

 

We celebrated 10 years of ministry in Canada on our latest trip there last year. This video shares about the supernatural way the Holy Spirit led us and opened the doors to begin ministry there!

Direct link: https://youtu.be/OD_-ve4G81s?si=KhUqPmUo1JqPuyJo


We were actually going to dinner with Dave and Natalie first, and Patrick wasn't even invited…but I just brought him along because the Lord gave me that word! It was important to listen to the Lord versus following social decorum.

 

I figured Patrick was just supposed to come with us and help pray for people at the meeting after dinner… 

 

Instead, the Lord had a different plan and he met Emily who wasn't even supposed to be there at that meeting that night either. They connected at that meeting and went to an evangelistic outreach down on the coast together shortly after that.

 

Mercedes and I actually ran into them down there at the outreach and we also had a divine appointment with an old friend down there. As we were all talking with them, I got a leading from the Holy Spirit to have us all pray together in our own little circle of about 8 of us, off to the side, over by the beach. As we joined hands to pray, the Holy Spirit just fell on all of us in this little prayer circle with power and grace and we all ended up down on the ground as the Holy Spirit moved on us all with His presence, hallelujah! 

 

The police actually showed up and started giving the guys leading the outreach over on their platform a hard time and they were just staring over at us as not knowing what to think of this strange little group off to the side and down on the ground getting hammered by the Holy Spirit! While the Holy Spirit touched us, I got an impression from the Lord that He was doing something significant in this relationship that was forming. That was quite a wild night being their first outing together.

 

After about a year later of them going surfing and to ministry outreaches etc, Patrick proposed, and they began making wedding plans. They are now married and leading worship together regularly! The worship leading thing was another word I had for Patrick early on. However, the Lord had to bring it to pass himself in his own way! 

 

I had a word while on a trip that Patrick would lead worship later—this was in his early teens. I tried to help that word get going in my own way—which met a lot of resistance—but the Lord had his own plan, which he worked out in His own way, in his own time, that I didn’t foresee. Praise the Lord! His ways and thoughts are higher than ours!

 

Divine Appointments 

 

We have had numerous divine appointments over the last year. Each unique in its own way, here’s a couple highlights:

 

There was a recent divine appointment that took place just a few weeks ago: We started conversing with a young lady up in the mountains. One thing led to another, and we began sharing the Gospel with her and as we did, the Holy Spirit began to visibly move upon her heart, and she began tearing up! She then shared that she was a believer who had drifted away from the Lord in the last year. She knew that the Lord had arranged this moment of us sharing with her. We prayed together with her as she re-surrendered her heart to Christ while tears fell down her face! Praise the Lord she was a prodigal that has come back home! 

 


It was one of those moments that required us to slow down and pay attention to what the Lord had in store, something that requires constant learning in this go go go world!

We also had a divine appointment with a security guard at a beach mall. We ended up in a conversation with him and it turned out he was a believer. We shared and then prayed with him about the filling of the Holy Spirit, and he was greatly touched and encouraged as the presence of the Lord filled and renewed him, hallelujah!

 

We had another divine appointment driving along the coast on our way north on a ministry trip. I was about to get off the coast route and get on the freeway…when I sensed a check and felt I should stay on the coast route at the moment. We finally stayed in a place where we ended up ministering to one of the Hispanic housekeepers the next day who we ended up talking with and then prayed for! She responded to a word I had “about a burden she was dealing with” turned out she was a believer who had an estranged son that was weighing heavily on her heart… the Lord touched her with His presence and buoyed her heart…the maid ministry continues on 😎!

 

Ministering Our Way Up The Pacific Coast Trail

 

We were blessed to minister our way along the coast in 2023 all the way from San Diego up to the northern tip of Vancouver Island in Canada at Port Hardy.


We experienced the power of God being poured out as many were baptized in the Holy Spirit, others received Christ into their lives, along with many others who received healing and breakthroughs along the way.

 

A few moments that stand out: A man in Port Hardy receiving Christ as his Savior and also getting empowered with the Holy Spirit right after he was so overcome, he had tears and snot just flooding down his face as he was getting so touched by the presence of the Lord! 

 

There was also a First Nations lady there who had received Christ as we ministered on a previous trip and shared how she now regularly attends Bible Studies and is serving the Lord! A woman in Salinas who received tongues finally after many years of praying and seeking the Lord for a breakthrough in that area, she along with many others was overcome by the presence of the Lord and impacted powerfully. 

 

There was an old friend who was just radically overcome by the presence of the Lord as we prayed for her while she experienced a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit and healing that was releasing her from some heavy burdens, this along with others who surrendered their hearts to Christ as well rededicated themselves to the Lord, along with numerous others who were touched and filled as the Holy Spirit was poured out in power at the CDO Church in Downtown San Diego just recently as we preached and ministered there. Many were also touched by God’s presence and filled with the Holy Spirit, along with others who received healing, as well as some who received Christ in North County San Diego, Santa Barbara, Costa Mesa, Orange, and San Clemente and down in the Southern Border Region, as we ministered in those areas. 

 

Deeper Healing 

 

Looking back at the last few years 2023 is actually the first full year where things were not hampered by lingering Covid restrictions. It was only the latter half of 2022 when a lot of the restrictions were finally done. It is an unusual time we have all lived through that still requires some reflections and processing. On our end we are thankful of how the Lord can: “Work everything together for good.” (Romans 8:28)

 

That unusual season of Covid was actually something where the Holy Spirit began to take things to a whole deeper level in the area of healing of past things that involved growing up in broken situations in both of our lives. 

 

This felt unusual at first since we have both already experienced healing like that before, however, this was on a much deeper level. Moreover, He’s God and we are not, and the fruit has shown the wisdom from on high that surpasses the weakness of our puny little human minds.

 

One thing needed on this journey was a surrendering of the will and human reasoning—possibly some of the hardest things we can ever lay down—the path did not make sense at first, but the Lord knew the end from the beginning.

 

His infinite divine wisdom surpasses our lowly human intelligence. While there may always be some things still to walk through in life, that season of intense healing has brought forth divine fruit that continues to bless us! Hallelujah, He is able to work everything together for good!

 

After walking through that season where the Lord did so much deep stuff, we have both been blessed to experience new levels of freedom and peace in certain areas of our lives and there has been a definite strengthening in our marriage—things just went from good—to even better. 

 

This involves some of the mystery of the divine grace of God. He has taken us both on a journey that may have been a bit tough at first to embark on and walk through, but in the end, things have gone from good… to even better! Praise the Lord!

 

We pray that the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ refresh and renew you as you walk with him into this New Year and beyond! 

 

We thank the Lord for each and every one of you and always really appreciate all your prayers and support. 

 

Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name!

Bryan and Mercedes Marleaux


Connect to Grace World Mission: https://linktr.ee/graceworldmission

Friday, December 22, 2023

Merry Christmas 2023



Direct link to YouTube video: 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… 

The Word became flesh and dwelled among us. We have seen His glory, the glory He has as the Only Begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

John 1:1 & 1:14


Hallelujah, the Word became flesh! He who was, and is, fully God, became fully man, to reach out to us. 

 

Born in a manger to signify He will meet us in even our most humble and broken situations and conditions and dying on a cross to take our sin and give us eternal life through that grace by faith.

 

His grace is immeasurable, and He gives it free for the asking, and that grace heals and frees us when we receive it.

 

The Truth, who is the answer to the inner longing of the human heart, is seen lying in the feed box of a manger, veiled to the world but revealed to those whose hearts open up by faith. 

 

The Living Word gives life and that more abundantly! We pray that abundant life, grace, and peace, touches you this Christmas!


Merry Christmas and may God’s richest blessings be with you in the New Year!


Bryan and Mercedes Marleaux

www.graceworldmission.org


Connect to Grace World Mission: https://linktr.ee/graceworldmission

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Ministry Update: Fall 2023

We have been blessed to be experiencing the presence of the Lord moving amongst us in power as we have been ministering in various places recently!

 

Canada Mission Trip

 


We recently returned from a month-long mission trip ministering in Canada.

 

We had a blessed time celebrating the 10-Year Anniversary at the House of Shiloh, one of the churches we have been connected with in Victoria, B.C., Canada.

 

Pastor Dan invited us to share at their anniversary service, and we realized after he invited us that it was also our 10-year anniversary of ministering in Canada!

 

We shared about how the Lord brought us up to Canada through divine guidance and intervention and connected us with them through a series of divine appointments.

 

We continued ministering in different meetings throughout the island after that initial ministry at the anniversary service, including some midweek meetings and other services.

 

While doing different meetings in the Victoria area, we experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit move in an awesome way! We did some house meetings on a Native Land Reservation where we experienced an unusual outpouring in a particular meeting. It was quite unexpected as it was a very hot day, and the heat was overwhelming inside the small mobile home we were to meet in, so we moved the meeting outdoors in front of the place.

 

There were a lot of distractions outside: acorns were falling out of the trees and pelting people, people were walking by and gawking, so it took a long time to get around to sharing, but as we shared some Holy Ghost stories and then finally began to pray over others in the meeting, the Holy Spirit fell in unexpected power, and holy laughter ripped across the meeting and people began falling over. It was completely unexpected after all the distractions, and it ended up being one of the most powerful meetings in the Victoria area the whole time: His power is made perfect in our weakness! Sometimes when we're least expecting it, the Lord shows up in the most powerful way! We had some powerful testimonies we received, including some people who said: No ministers ever make me cry, but I couldn't stop feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit the whole time! Hallelujah!

 

We also joined up with our friends Lance and Sarah, joining in on the guitar to do some worship with them and outreach in the town of Duncan a few times where they meet out in an open-air venue and minister to various communities in the town. We shared and gave some words of encouragement and prayed for lots of people in those areas and saw some people get significantly ministered to, including a couple who just came out from the east coast of Canada and had a powerful encounter with the Lord when we prayed for them!

 

We also had an awesome time ministering up island in Port Hardy Christian Fellowship where we did a number of meetings, as well as joining in on the guitar for some of the worship. Port Hardy is an isolated little port town up at the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island, “going out to the ends of the earth.”

 

The Holy Spirit was pouring out in all of the consecutive meetings that we did up there and we received lots of testimonies of people blessed and ministered to and lives touched and transformed: 

 

In fact, a woman from a First Nations Tribe who got saved and set free when we were ministering there last year shared with us how she reads the Bible every day now and goes to church meetings regularly now too. It was so great to hear about fruit that sustains and remains like that! 

 

A woman named Alex got hit by the Holy Spirit Friday night and said she has never felt anything like that in her life: she felt electricity volts from the top of her head to the tips of her feet and shared how she felt renewed and on fire for the Lord now! She had just started coming to this church a couple of weeks ago. She was being courted by Jehovah’s Witnesses just recently but now she knows after this—her eyes have been opened—that she has found her true tribe and her family. 

 

Michael had an experience with God Sunday night and got saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit then too! Michael said the power of God hit him and he had tears and snot running down his face. He felt weak in the knees and could not stand. Eventually he managed to sit on the stage, but he said he could feel something happening on the inside of him that he couldn't explain. He shared how he now has hope for the first time in a long time. 

 

Michael came to Tuesday night prayer afterwards and brought his girlfriend who is finding God again, after struggling with a very legalistic abusive past, because of what happened with Michael. He had anger issues and she shared how God is taking all that out of him. 

 

There was also a fisherman who we prayed for and ministered to who surrendered his life to Christ at the very end of the last meeting. He said he was tired of resisting the Lord and surrendered his heart fully to God as we prayed for him … many tears streamed down his face as we prayed, not the thing you see every day with a tough fisherman like that! Reminded us of fishermen way down south of the other border that we experienced the same thing with some years back!

 

“Thanks so much for all you gave and deposited here!” wrote Pastor George. 

 

It was also great to get out to the coast and get in a little Canadian cold-water surf! We got some fun surf with great sunny conditions in Tofino, which is Canada’s surf central destination with a number of spots to surf—we’ve had many witnessing opportunities there over the years! Also got to have a fun adventure with friends Laurie and Jodi who took us out from Port Hardy roughly 50 km in their heavy-duty truck on dirt roads out to the Island’s Northern Coast to San Josef Bay where we got in some awesome scenery and hiking, as well as a bit of surfing too in the wild and stormy conditions up there!

 

Back in the day we learned from our friend Lonnie Frisbee, who shared the good, the bad, and the ugly with us when we were with him for 3 1/2 years of discipleship: Learn to incorporate fun with your mission and ministry work and that way you can avoid burnout! Take your time and pace yourself and smell the roses too. He attributed burnout as one of the things that made him stumble along the way. However, the Lord picked him up and got him back on track again with full power flowing to the very end! We are regularly seeking the Lord to continue to incorporate that wisdom!

 

PrayerFests and House Meetings 

 


We have done some Prayerfest-type meetings and House meetings recently in some different places:  

 

We had a blessed one in Hemet with our old friends Jeff and Jeanette. We had a powerful refreshing time praying for one another just as we returned from Canada, which was a good way to refill our tanks after ministering and giving out on a long mission trip.

 

Some other missionary friends also got refreshed as well, and the wife shared afterwards that she woke up energized and praying in the Spirit the day after the meeting! They were also stoked to hear us share about Harald Bredesen, one of Jeff’s and our mutual mentors, who was a Lutheran that got filled with the Holy Spirit and became a founder and leader in the Charismatic Renewal. Unbeknownst to us, the missionary couple were going to be ministering in a Lutheran Church that very next week! 

 

We have had other Prayerfest type meetings also, working together with our friend Lauren down on the coast in Encinitas. The Holy Spirit touched and ministered to pretty much everyone that came including ourselves, who also got some refreshing! 

 

We were also recently sharing and ministering in Costa Mesa at a House Church Meeting with our friend John Ruttkay, who was also a mutual friend of Lonnie’s. John invited our son Patrick and Emily and me to do the worship there and we also got to see old friends like Stan, Diane and Jacob Frisbee. We were also blessed to get out to see a C.S. Lewis play recently together with John, Patrick, and Emily too after a board meeting, which was just amazing…the play was sold out with a line around the block to get in!

 

Speaking of Costa Mesa, it was a fun time recently sharing about the early days of the Jesus People Revival in the very church where Chuck Smith first opened the doors to Lonnie Frisbee. We shared how Lonnie not only evangelized the Hippies, which eventually led to a wave of Hippies getting saved, but how he also regularly led others into the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, equipping and empowering others to minister and reach out with the Gospel as well. This was actually one of the underlying factors and keys of the Jesus People Revival that reproduced others to reach out and minister as well, and similarly in the Vineyard movement proceeding on afterwards too. We have a few different videos on Lonnie and the Jesus People Revival, which you can check out at this link: https://www.graceworldmission.org/Jesus_ppl_revival.html

 

We also shared about the Reformation on an online meeting which had over 100 people on the call with our friend Meri. We also published a new video and blog on the Reformation as well as a new blog we did on America’s Roots in the English Reformation at Thanksgiving time. These are great resources to aid in understanding the history of America’s development, as it covers the Reformation’s trajectory of unleashing renewal and revival, which eventually led to the coming of the Pilgrims and the birthing of America. (You can check it out at this link: https://gwmgracenotes.blogspot.com/2023/11/americas-founding-and-its-ties-to.html

 

We encourage you to like and share these videos and blogs with others as it helps in spreading the important history of our roots, especially in the light of recent statements like this by a Christian education group:

 

Misinformation about America’s founding is spreading across our country like wildfire. Unfortunately, that is true in the public education system as well. But America is an exceptional nation, and every citizen should know about its unique history…which is steeped in and influenced by the Christian faith…

 

Our recent videos on “Martin Luther’s Revelation: Foundation For Revival” and “The Reformation and Revival and America’s Roots” give important and unique perspectives of the Christian faith’s influence on this nation’s founding and development, which are important reflections during this season. You can check them out at this link: https://youtu.be/9ROTGU2dWfc or by going to our YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/@graceworldmission.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! We celebrated a little extra this year with a “Friendsgiving” our friend Lauren put together that turned into something of another “Prayerfest” which turned into a time of us leading some worship and praying for one another! It was a blessed time! 

 

We pray the Lord’s richest blessings be with you in Jesus’ Name!

 

We greatly appreciate all your prayers and support! 

Love and blessings!

Bryan and Mercedes Marleaux

 

Connect to Grace World Mission: https://linktr.ee/graceworldmission

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

America’s Founding and Its Ties to The English Reformation


Not too long ago, the bones of the English King Richard III were found and dug up under a Walmart in Leicestershire, England. That they should be found under a Walmart—an American superstore—is ironically prophetic as it ties into a historical shift that eventually brought the coming forth of a new nation called America.


It was Richard the III’s demise and defeat at Leicestershire that led to the rise of the Tudors and Henry VII taking the throne. In turn, he would father the notorious King Henry VIII, who would usher in radical changes that would alter the course of history. All this, over time, would eventually lead to the birth of America.


To understand all of this in context, it is necessary to first understand a little of the English Reformation:


The stark reality was that King Henry VIII wanted out of his marriage, as he had been betrothed at only 13 years of age to his dead brother's widow. When his older brother died, tradition had required him to take Catherine of Aragon, his older brother’s bride, as his own.

 

King Henry VIII

However, Henry had been studying to be a priest, and he became convinced while reading the Book of Leviticus, that his marriage to Catherine was improper according to the Scriptures.

 

Henry demanded a divorce but was refused by the Pope. Charles the V, King of Spain and ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, was related to Catherine of Aragon, and the Pope didn’t want to upset him.

 

When he did not get his way, Henry chose to break away from the Catholic Church. He used the Reformation as his basis to do so, but Henry actually had no real interest himself in reform at all. While Henry's act may have brought a break from Rome to the forefront of the scene, this is hardly the whole picture of what was taking place under the radar. 


There was actually an undercurrent of reform that was already moving through England. 

 

Cambridge University, in fact, had so much Reformation discussion and thought going through it that it was being called “Little Wittenberg” as well as “little Germany.” These reform-minded ideas, which were coming across the Channel from Martin Luther, Germany, were being heavily adopted there in Cambridge as well as beginning to spread in many other places around the British Isles and throughout Europe.

 


While Henry may have used the idea of Reform and the Reformation for his own ends, the winds were already blowing in that direction. When he opened the door, he found out that it couldn't be so easily shut.


 The Rise of the Puritan Movement


Reform was in the air and new movements like the Puritans eventually began to arise. The name Puritan was a pejorative that originally had sprung from a desire to purify the church from unbiblical ideas adopted in Medieval Catholicism. The Puritans wanted a full Reformation, so the milder Anglican reforms that were put in place over time were falling short of what they had hoped for. As time passed, the Puritans continued to increase in numbers as well as prominence, even garnering seats in Parliament. 

 

Cambridge University

Things went back and forth in England with cataclysmic swings: Edward, who was Henry’s only male heir and was raised by Protestant tutors, took things in a more Protestant direction once he became king, but had a short reign because of his ill health and early death.

 

Bloody Mary, Henry's daughter with Catherine of Aragon, had ascended to the throne when Edward died. Full of bitterness and rage, Mary killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 Protestant Christians, imprisoning and persecuting countless more during her reign as she sought to purge England of Reformation influences. This included the execution of Thomas Cramner, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had embraced the Bible and salvation by grace, and was taking reforms in that direction until he was deposed and later killed.

 

Then came Elizabeth, Henry VIII’s daughter with second wife Anne Boleyn, who was raised by Protestant tutors that taught her the New Testament, causing her to embrace reform once she took the throne. 

 

Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth’s mother was a Protestant and known to keep a contraband copy of the Tyndale Bible that she faithfully read, secretly hiding it from the King. Some have speculated that this could have been the actual reason behind her demise when she was set up by Catholic spies and was subsequently executed.

 

After Bloody Mary’s short chaotic reign, Queen Elizabeth’s forty-year reign brought forth in England a time of prosperity, general stability, growth, and expansion like never before.

 

During her reign, the Spanish Armada, which was on its way to invade England and force it back into Catholicism, was miraculously defeated at sea by a sudden and miraculous shift in the direction of the wind at one of the most crucial points in the battle. This thrusted England into the forefront as a major world power.

 

Elizabeth, however, never married and thus had no heir to carry on her legacy. A new king was sought and found in James VI of Scotland, who was crowned King James I of England. 

 

Many Puritans hoped King James would embrace full reform, the kind the Puritans idealized. The fact that he was from Scotland and raised Protestant, and that Scotland had had its own Reformation with John Knox as one of its principal leaders, gave some hope to that idea.

 

King James, however, was quite the unusual fellow: he sputtered and slobbered when he spoke, had his own theological ideas, and didn't have much tolerance for Puritans. He was a bit paranoid of his kingship being threatened and viewed the Puritans with suspicion, fearful of their increasing numbers and power.

 

Some time after taking the throne, the Puritans presented King James with a “Millenary Petition,” meaning one thousand Puritan leaders had signed it, requesting more reforms. 

 

All the requests presented by the Puritans were flatly denied by the king, and instead many suffered persecution. But there was one request King James would “authorize,” and one only: an official translation of the Bible.

 


William Tyndale had made a translation of the entire New Testament as well as a  substantial portion of the Old Testament, when he was hunted down and killed for his effort. His Bibles had been smuggled into England for some time and were embraced and read by many throughout the land. Coverdale had made a few revisions later resulting in what was called the Geneva Bible. These illegal Bibles were hugely popular but remained as contraband. 

 

Tower of London

The Puritans now wanted an Authorized Version of the Bible that would be fully legal. The scholars assembled by King James used Tyndale’s version as their basis and thus, according to David Daniell, scholar from Oxford, nine-tenths of the New Testament and much of the Old Testament in the King James Bible was actually Tyndale’s work. In reality, according to David Daniell, “It was Tyndale who gave us our English Bible.”

 

With the exception of a new Authorized Version of the Bible, things were not getting better for the Puritans in jolly ole England. Eventually, some chose to leave as the persecution and difficulties continued for Puritans in England. After an unsuccessful attempt to settle in Holland, a group of Puritans, including Puritans of a more radical bent called Separatists, made a go for the New World. They would venture to cross the raging sea seeking a free place to worship as they saw fit.

 

They were taking a huge risk as they sailed across the Atlantic upon the Mayflower and founded Plymouth, the first colony to endure and sustain in North America. Other colonies, like Jamestown, had been attempted before them but had failed as most everyone had died of starvation or exposure to the freezing weather. 

 

The pilgrims made a Compact upon the Mayflower before coming ashore that their endeavor should be: “For the glory of God and the Advancement of the Christian faith...” The centrality of spreading the Gospel was rooted in the very foundation of the nation as it all began.

 

Furthermore, contrary to popular revisionism and according to numerous sources, including the History Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the first settlers had good relations with the Native Peoples for several decades. In fact, it was the Native Peoples who actually helped them survive that first grueling winter.

 

More English Puritans would continue to come across the ocean in their wake as well, and with them came their trusted copies of the King James Bible. The Puritan preachers in England were inspiring their followers to come across the sea in obedience to the Great Commission and plant the Gospel in the New World. They thus laid a foundation of faith and promise in the New World.

 

In fact, historian Sydney Ahlstrom points out that it is quite the anomaly that the early North American colonies should be made up of so many English Puritans, when the New World had been first discovered by the Spanish. Furthermore, the French, the Dutch, and many others were here before, but it was the English Puritans inspired by the Great Commission, who comprised the majority of the early North American colonies, giving them a specific foundation of Reformation-influenced faith.

 

Furthermore, by the time independence came around, seventy-five percent of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Puritan stock. In fact, Benjamin Franklin himself was baptized in a Puritan church in the city of Boston.

 

The strong foundation of faith was absolutely part of the beginnings of this country's origins, as God shed His grace upon the land. As the old hymn declares: “His Grace has led us safe thus far and Grace will lead us on.”

 

Luther first experienced that grace via the Word of God and the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit fill you today and fill your heart with Thanksgiving to God for the awesome blessing of giving us grace through His Son Jesus Christ!

 

Postscript:           

We encourage you to “like” and “share” this blog and the following videos with others, helping spread the important history of our roots, especially in the light of recent statements like this by a Christian Education group:  “Misinformation about our America’s founding is spreading across our country like wildfire. Unfortunately, that is true in the public education system as well. But America is an exceptional nation and every citizen should know about its unique history…which is steeped in, and influenced by, the Christian Faith…”


Videos:

·      The Reformation Revelation

·      Thanksgiving and Its Ties to The Reformation and Revival

·      Plymouths Pilgrims and Their Christian faith

·      The Great Awakening


Connect to Grace World Mission: https://linktr.ee/graceworldmission