Author: Guest Post

Quit Comparing Yourself to Others

By Rick Renner …But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.— 2 Corinthians 10:12 Earlier in life, I struggled terribly with an inferiority complex. Inadequacy, insufficiency, incompetence, and deficiency are just a few words to express the feelings that tried to master my self-image. Today I want to share what I learned from that experience, as well as a great truth I found in my studies of Second Corinthians 10:12, which says, “…They measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” I believe that the principle I discovered in this verse will help you if you’ve faced a similar struggle and you long to be free. When our teaching ministry was first getting started, I wondered, Who will ever want to have us minister in their church or conference? Denise and I had been living in a small city and had very few contacts beyond our little circle, so it seemed like a logical question. On one hand, I knew that God had called us …

2021: The Year of Mistrust and Suspicion

Although there are many things that characterize the year 2021, perhaps nothing is more conspicuous than the deep lack of trust that Americans currently have in their national leadership. From the president to the CDC, from Dr. Fauci to the media, almost everyone is viewed with suspicion and mistrust. Of course, it would be all too easy for those on the left to blame this on former president Trump. After all, wasn’t he the one driving the “stop the steal” movement? And didn’t he make clear that, not even the Supreme Court could be trusted? But to blame the current situation on Trump would be both shallow and naive. Plenty of clearheaded, fair-minded, thinking Americans have good reason to question what they are hearing and seeing and reading. Can anyone really be trusted? Both leftwing and rightwing media have become so politicized that much of the reporting is often more sensationalistic than sound. Endless internet headlines (which people often run with, at face value) are mere clickbait, with the article linked having nothing to do …

Use what influence you have!

By Rick Renner But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. — 1 Peter 3:15 Several years ago my heart was stirred to pray for a method to reach the elderly population in the city of Moscow. The majority of them grew up under Communism and therefore lived a life devoid of God. Although the rule of Communism is gone, that ideological system still pervades much of the thinking of the older generation. This makes them one of the most difficult groups to reach with the Gospel. My heart has been burdened for this older segment of Russian society for several reasons, but the most important reason is that multitudes of these senior citizens will soon leave this world and pass into eternity without Christ unless we first reach them with the Good News of Jesus Christ. As I prayed for these seniors, I wanted to know how …

No Open Doors

By Rick Renner Neither give place to the devil. — Ephesians 4:27 Have you ever felt like you were under spiritual attack or that the devil was trying to wage a vicious warfare against your very existence? Today I want to talk to you about doing all you can to keep every door shut to the enemy so he is unable to find easy access into your life. I can personally testify to many attacks that have come against our ministry and family as we have pressed forward to take new territory for the Kingdom of God over the years. I have learned that the enemy is always looking for ways to sabotage anything that is of significance to the overall plan of God. Therefore, we have had to stand our ground and fight many times. Part of a long-term protection plan against the enemy’s attacks has been making sure that we left no open doors for the enemy to find easy access to us or our ministry. Believe me when I tell you that …

Is It True That the Book of Revelation Indicts Big Pharma?

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Speaking of the fall of “Babylon the Great” in the 18th chapter of the Book of Revelation, verse 23 states that “all nations were deceived by your sorcery,” but the Greek word for “sorcery” here is pharmakia. Was it possible, a caller asked me on Friday, that this was speaking of the large pharmaceutical companies? My answer was absolutely, categorically not. Allow me to explain. What Does Pharmakia Mean: Drugs or Sorcery? The caller was sharp enough to realize that we cannot determine the meaning of an ancient word from the modern word derived from it. For example, we get the English word “dynamite” from the Greek word dunamis, which means “power,” and in the New Testament in particular, “miraculous power.” It was with that dunamis that Jesus healed the sick — not blew them up. So, the fact that English “dynamite” is derived from dunamis tells us nothing about the meaning of that ancient Greek word. In the same way, the fact that our English words for “pharmacy” and …

The power of believing

By Rick Renner When our TV program was broadcast on Channel One in Belarus, every home in the entire nation had the ability to watch it. The proof of how many people watched our program was the mountains of mail we received every week from Belarus. The impact we had was simply phenomenal. So at the urging of a pastor in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, we took the train to that city and held a three-day meeting for our television viewers. People came from all over Belarus, to the point that the auditorium could not hold everyone who tried to get into the meeting. It blessed us to see such a response to the Gospel message delivered through our TV program. However, the first night of the meeting was a real struggle because they gave me an interpreter who knew almost no English. All night he and I wrestled back and forth on the stage, trying to understand each other, and I knew that the crowd was missing what God wanted to say to …

Get Used to the Heat and Get in the Kitchen

By Dr. Michael L. Brown You’ve heard the saying, “If you don’t like the heat, then get out of the kitchen.” Well, that only works if you’re not called to be in the kitchen. For those of us who are called to be there, it would be better to say, “Get used to the heat and get in the kitchen.” When it comes to the conflicts and controversies of our day, if we love God and we love our neighbor, do we really have a choice? On a daily basis, often from many different sides, I get blasted for positions I take in writing or on the air. Should I have a pity party? Feel sorry for myself? Throw in the towel? How utterly ridiculous. If I’m going to address controversial issues or take controversial stands, the disagreements and counterattacks are sure to come. That’s the nature of the game, and that’s part of the process of public discourse, however messy it may be. I’m just glad that people take the time to read and …

The Solution to Offense

By Rick Renner I was once offended by a missionary who lied to me and led me into a web of deceit that hurt me deeply. What really hurt was that I had trusted this man and had such a high regard for him. But when I discovered what he had done — and that he had done it deliberately — it was like a knife had been plunged into the depth of my soul. Every time I saw that brother and how casually and unrepentant he behaved about what he had done, the devil twisted that knife in my back another turn and caused that deeply intense pain to be inflicted all over again. I really didn’t know what to do to resolve the situation. I felt the missionary should be held accountable for what he had done to Denise and me and to our ministry — but there was no way to hold him accountable that we could find. So he just drifted away freely, facing no consequences for the deep wound he …

A Holy Jealousy for the Reputation of the Lord

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Revival is often birthed when we get to a place of spiritual desperation, when we are sick and tired of the way we are living, when we have had it with our halfhearted commitments, when we cannot live any longer without a breakthrough. Revival can also come when we are grieved and burdened over the state of the society, when the sins of our generation mount up to heaven and we know that judgment is near. That also drives us to our knees in intercession and repentance, leading to an outpouring of mercy from on high. But there is something else that can spark revival, something else that moves us to prayer and grips us with deep travail: jealousy for the reputation of the Lord. Our hearts are broken because our Master’s name is maligned. Our souls are grieved because the people of the world despise their Creator. And it is all because of us. When We Make Him Look Bad The Lord’s name is mocked because of our failures, …

Danger

The difficulty of travel when we first moved to the Soviet Union cannot be exaggerated. For example, because the whole USSR was gripped with deficits multiple decades ago, people never knew if they’d be able to find gasoline for their car. In the town where Denise and I lived, there was rarely gasoline at the gas station.

Riches Are Not Always Measured in Dollars and Cents

By Rick Renner When the renowned theologian St. Thomas Aquinas visited the Vatican in the Thirteenth Century AD, Pope Innocent IV invited him to view the breathtaking treasures that had been amassed by the Church. With great pride, the pope told him, “No longer can the Church say, ‘Silver and gold have we none’!” To this, St. Thomas Aquinas answered, “Holy Father, that is very true indeed. But neither can we say to the poor and afflicted, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk!’” It is good for us to remember that some of the poorest churches in history have been spiritually rich and some of the wealthiest churches in history have been spiritually poor. Church buildings may be adorned with gold, silver, and treasures, but they are often vacant of the true riches of the Holy Spirit. A church’s coffers may be filled and its congregation may include many wealthy people, but that is no guarantee that the church is truly rich. In God’s eyes, many financially prosperous churches are actually spiritually famished, while …

I Refuse to Accept the Current State of the Church

By Dr. Michael L. Brown I refuse to accept that the Church as we know it in America and the West is the very best the Church will ever be. I refuse to accept that the anemic, divided, often powerless version of the Church that we are so accustomed to seeing here is the only version we will ever see in this world. Not if the Bible is true. Not if Jesus is Lord. Not if the Holy Spirit has been poured out. Not if God’s promises are real. To the contrary, because the Bible is true. And because Jesus is Lord. And because the Holy Spirit has been poured out. And because God’s promises are real. We will see a glorious Church, walking in grace and victory and purity and power. We will see a bride fit for her Groom. We will see the Messianic community that He Himself is building. And the very gates of Hades will not overcome that Church. That is God’s vision and that is God’s promise, because of which …

Healing

By Rick Renner How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil….— Acts 10:38 During our early years in the former USSR, I preached a series of meetings in Riga, Latvia. Several thousand people showed up for these special services — many of whom were first exposed to our ministry through our TV program — and our team witnessed thousands of people come forward to surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It was absolutely thrilling to see people’s response to the Gospel message. After all the meetings were concluded, the local church leader who organized the event came to me and asked me to pray for his disabled teenage son. His boy had suffered severe, permanent injuries after being physically beaten by a gang of hoodlums. In fact, they smashed his head into the concrete street so many times with such force that his brain had become dislodged from his skull. He was literally …

If God Does Not Exist Then Injustice Does Not Exist

By Dr. Michael L. Brown I recently had a friendly online debate with a former Muslim known as Apostate Prophet (called AP for short). The subject was, “Does God Exist?” In my opening comments, I stated that I did not specialize in debating this issue and that I realized that arguments that seemed compelling to me would be mocked by many atheists. Conversely, I stated that I have listened to the best arguments of atheists and said to myself, “Are you kidding me? Is this the best you have to offer?” (For similar reflections from a Christian apologist on the weakness of atheistic arguments, see Tom Gilson’s recent article here.) So, I made clear from the start that my goal was not to convince the viewers that my view was right. Rather, it was to explain to them why I was 100 percent sure that God is real, especially since so much of my faith is based on my own life experiences rather than on abstract philosophical arguments . To make my case, I gave a …

 Do Not Budge From Your Post 

By Rick Renner Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season… — 2 Timothy 4:2 In the book of Second Timothy, the apostle Paul gave a long, detailed description of the things that would become more and more prevalent in the last of the last days. Later in that same letter, Paul gave this charge to the younger minister: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season…” (2 Timothy 4:2). The word “instant” is from the Greek word ephistemi, and it means to stand at your post. The word ephistemi is a military term. That’s important because standing at your post entails engaging in spiritual warfare. I won’t delve into a deep study of the subject of spiritual warfare here, but I will say that declaring the Word of God in faith is the highest level of spiritual warfare there is. That’s why it’s especially important for a preacher, or any believer who has God’s Word planted deeply in his heart, to stand and to keep on standing at his post …

Analyzing the Election Results in California and Canada, and the Attitude of Faith vs Fear

by Dr. Michael L. Brown Americans are not happy. We do not like all the COVID restrictions. We resent the latest lockdowns. We plan to resist the mandate. We are beyond the breaking point. At least that’s the impression I get as I read reports on conservative websites and interact with friends and colleagues. But exit poll results from California tell a very different story, with confirmation from Canada as well. I’m talking about the rejection of the efforts to recall Gov. Newsom in California and the reelection of Prime Minister Trudeau in Canada, where the COVID restrictions have been much more comprehensive and oppressive. Yet in both cases, it appears that a majority of voters affirmed the way COVID was being handled in their state and nation, respectively. According to ABC News, “Just about 3 in 10 said Newsom’s pandemic control measures are too strict, countering a key argument in the recall drive against him. A broad 70% supported the state’s student mask mandate and 63% sided with the governor in seeing vaccination as …

Be wise as a serpent

By Rick Renner …be ye therefore wise as serpents. — Matthew 10:16 Over the years in our ministry, I have discovered timing to be extremely important. I have certainly found it to be true that we need to act when favor is obviously on our side. But let me also say that wonderful opportunities can also come packaged with difficult challenges. Knowing exactly which opportunities to take — and which ones to let pass us by — has been one of my personal challenges in the former Soviet Union. One day I was seeking the Lord about several opportunities that were presenting themselves. The Lord said to me, “If you’re going to survive and do what I’ve called you to do in this part of the world, you have to learn to think like a snake.” At first, these words caught me off guard. But immediately Matthew 10:16 came to my mind: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” In …

Why Did God Leave the Words of David and Solomon in the Bible?

By Michael Brown Originally published on June 14, 2019 I was on the phone last week with Stream founder James Robison, when he broke down weeping as he shared God’s heart. His words have stayed with me every day since, leading to the article you’re now reading. “Why,” James sobbed, “is Solomon still in the Bible with all the sin he committed? Why is David still there?” If it were up to us, would we have preserved their words in the Scriptures? The Lives and Writings of David and Solomon David was a man after God’s own heart, writing most of the Book of Psalms. But he also committed grievous sin, committing adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. Then, when he found out she was pregnant, he had her husband killed. David the adulterer and the murderer, yet still commended for his godliness and devotion through the rest of the Scriptures. And those very Scriptures record the depth of David’s repentance after his terrible sins. (See 2 Samuel 11-12, then read Psalm 51.) If it were …

Don’t worry about anything

By Rick Renner Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.— Philippians 4:6 Over many years and through many experiences, I have learned that I have to be proactive to keep my spiritual life strong and healthy. We can’t ignore our spiritual life and expect it to remain strong. Just as our bodies need regular care and attention, our spiritual lives need a maintenance schedule in order to remain healthy. I want to give you five principles that Denise and I have learned over the years to keep us strong and vibrant. These five principles have become essential elements in our daily lives — and they have resulted in our being continually strengthened to accomplish the tasks the Holy Spirit has entrusted to us. These five elements are very simple, but if you will do them faithfully, I am fully convinced that your life will be strengthened in every way. 1. Every day spend time with God in the morning. In …

What Makes This 91-Year-Old Man So Energetic and Full of Life?

By Dr. Michael L. Brown It’s hard to believe Don Finto is 91 years old. Very hard. In fact, unless you actually knew his age, you would have no way of knowing that he was that old. Not from his energy level. Not from the clarity of his thought and speech. Not from his appearance. Not from the firm backslap he greets you with. And certainly not from his overflowing enthusiasm. What is the key to his longevity? About Don Finto Don, who was born in April 1930, served as a missionary to Germany, returned to the States and earned a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University while also teaching as a college professor. He then took over Belmont Church in Nashville, Tennessee, which was in serious decline at that point. Under his leadership, the church began to thrive, also becoming the home to some of the best-known leaders in the contemporary Christian music industry. After retiring from Belmont in 1996, Don launched the Caleb Company, which serves “to equip God’s people” — especially young people — …

Why Do People Sometimes Collapse in the Presence of God?

By Rick Renner And when I [John] saw him [Christ], I fell at his feet as dead…— Revelation 1:17 Over my years of serving God, I have noticed that often when people have encounters with God, they physically fall. Sometimes they fall forward, and at other times they fall backward. Still at other times, they simply collapse onto the ground. I have seen this in many meetings — and I experienced it as a young man. I can tell you, the experience was real. My experience occurred the first time I ventured out from my Baptist church and attended a Pentecostal type of service. Just prior to that, I had been released from the hospital where I had been diagnosed with a kidney condition — one that I was born with — that was very serious. It was so serious that to try to correct it required surgery that was considered life-threatening. When the man praying for the sick in this Pentecostal meeting invited the sick to come forward, I went to the front to …

No Time for Passivity

By Dr. Michael L. Brown It is 11:45 PM Tuesday night as I sit here in front of my computer, having just responded to some emails and after finishing some editorial work on an academic project. But I’m a late night person, and there’s still plenty of time to work. So, as I often do, I take a moment to pray, asking the Lord, “Is there anything You want me to write?” Immediately I hear the words (in my thoughts, not audibly), “No time for passivity.” Now, to be perfectly clear, I am not claiming special inspiration for this article. I’m simply saying that, as often happens when I pray about what to write, a thought comes strongly to mind. If you find the theme of this article relevant or helpful, great. The simple truth is that we are in a war. An ideological war. A spiritual war. A moral and cultural war. A war that, in many ways, is even more real than a physical war. The soul of our nation is at stake. …

The Politicizing of COVID Has Become a Deadly Game

By Dr. Michael L. Brown I just lost another friend to COVID, this time, a 69-year-old father and grandfather, an elder in my home congregation, as faithful a Christian man as you will find. He joins the list of other friends and colleagues in the States who have died in the last year from COVID-related complications, along with an even longer list of loved ones and colleagues of some of my very close friends in India. At the same time, the extreme politicizing of COVID makes it difficult (if not almost impossible) to know who to trust when it comes to preventing the spread of the disease. This is a terrible shame. Personally, as much as I dislike wearing a mask, especially on long flights, I would wear one the rest of my life in public if I knew by doing so I was saving other people’s lives. With joy. When it comes to being vaccinated, if I was sure the vaccine had no long-term side-effects or dangers, I would get vaccinated every month if …

The Humiliation of the Church and the Coming National Revival

By Dr. Michael L. Brown It has been a very difficult season for conservative Christians in America. There have been countless scandals, both minor and major, sexual and financial, rocking all different sectors of the church. There have been prominent leaders who have renounced their faith. There have been well-publicized, failed prophecies about Trump’s reelection. The list goes on and on, and we have egg on our face. Lots of it. And what about the extreme politicization of so many Christians in the last 5 years, to the point that some of us became better known for our support of a political leader than for our allegiance to Jesus? This is time of humiliation, of confusion, of dishonor, a time to get low before the Lord rather than a time to strut. Worst of all, we have brought reproach to the name of Jesus and disrepute to the reputation of the gospel. We have driven people away from the Lord more than drawn people to Him. Yet all is not lost. To the contrary, the …

The Ongoing Intersection of the Gospel with Culture

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Three years ago, I conducted a poll on Facebook asking, “Should pastors and Christian leaders just preach the gospel, or should they also comment on relevant social and political issues?” Three years later to the day, I posted the same poll on Twitter. How did the results compare? Obviously, there is nothing scientific about these polls. They simply indicate how my Facebook and Twitter communities feel about the question. As for these two social media communities, although they have much in common, in many ways they disparate in their viewpoints and beliefs. How did the results compare? In 2018 on Facebook, out of roughly 1,900, 84 percent said “Gospel & culture” with only 16 percent saying “Gospel only.” In 2021 on Twitter, out of 889 responses, 79.2 percent said “Gospel and culture too” with only 20.8 percent saying, “Gospel only.” The overall differences were fairly minor, especially given the fact that many Christians are still suffering burnout from the 2020 elections while many others have felt the need to draw back from both politics …

The Importance of Finding Your Calling

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Can you imagine walking everywhere standing on your hands? Or writing a book using your toes? Or typing out text messages with your forehead? The fact is that our body was designed by God with great beauty and precision, with each part of the body having an important and unique role. It’s exactly the same with the Body of Christ. Every believer has an important and unique role. And that means if you are a believer, you have a calling and a mission. Not only so, but rightly understood, every believer has an indispensable role, since the Body can only function at its full capacity if every member of the Body is functioning properly. Do you see yourself in this way – as someone called and graced by God – or do you consider yourself of no spiritual or practical value? “After all,” you might think to yourself, “I’m just a businessman.” Or, “I’m just a home-schooling mom.” Or, “I’m just a young person in college. What can I do?” …

When Mental Health Professionals Recognize the Healing Powers of Spirituality

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Critics of the COVID lockdowns often argued that, in the end, the lockdowns would do more harm than good, not just financially but also medically. One reason was that patients needing treatment would be less inclined to visit a doctor or hospital, increasing their health risks. Critics also pointed to the psychological aspects of the lockdowns, leading to increased loneliness, depression and even suicide. What about forbidding Christians (and other people of faith) from gathering together for worship, prayer, and ministry? What kind of impact did this have on the overall health and wellbeing of tens of millions of Americans (along with countless others worldwide)? Or, conversely, what positive role did faith play in the overall health and wellbeing of Americans during the lockdowns? A new article posted in the Scientific American, by David H. Rosmarin, and titled “Psychiatry Needs to Get Right with God,” addresses these very questions. The Cost of Not Gathering for Worship According to Rosmarin, “Spirituality has historically been dismissed by psychiatrists, but results from a …

No Time for Cowardice

By Dr. Michael L. Brown According to the book of Revelation, “the cowardly,” along with a host of other sinners, like murderers and the sexually immoral, will one day be cast into the lake of fire (see Revelation 21:8). But what is so bad about being cowardly? Why is it such a serious sin? The Greek word used for “cowardly” also means “fearful,” and it is found two other times in the New Testament.  As explained by the Greek scholar Celsas Spicq, “Jesus reproaches the apostles for this psychological fear when they are terrified by the storm (Matt 8:26; Mark 4:40), because it involves a moral deficiency: they no longer have faith, or they have but little faith in the presence of the Savior, who has to reassure them.” In contrast, “when one relies on God, there is nothing to fear.” (From his Theological Lexicon of the New Testament.) So, there is something morally deficient in being fearful when Jesus Himself is with you. And in the situation described in the Gospels, when the disciples …

Now Is the Time to Preach Endurance Not Escape

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Living in America, it is easy to develop a theology of escape, one that says, “When times really get hard, God will remove us from the scene. When real tribulation comes, we will be long gone.” But is that the attitude we should be encouraging? Is not the gospel made for hard times? I’m aware, of course, that there are divergent views of the end times among Christians, including the debate over a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture (or a variation of those themes; for my own views, see here.) Fine Christians can disagree on this, and my goal here it not to debate eschatology. We can agree to disagree and work together just the same. Instead, my goal here is to focus on our attitude. What kind of mindset should we have in a difficult time like this? What should our mentality be? In the last decade, Christians in Syria suffered bombing, hunger, torture, exile, and death. They did not escape the hard times. To this moment, Christians in Nigeria …

Knowing God as a Forgiving Father

by Dr. Michael L. Brown As many of you know, before I came to faith in Jesus in late 1971 as a 16-year-old, Jewish, hippie rock drummer, I was a heavy drug user, even boasting about my drug use. I also broke into a couple of houses with my friends, as well as a doctor’s office. (The primary motivation was just to do something crazy.) Even more shamefully, I stole money from my father on several occasions when some of my friends needed a few bucks. This was the most despicable act of all. A few weeks after coming to the Lord, I was sitting in the kitchen one night talking with my dad, who was the senior lawyer in the New York Supreme Court. As we sat there alone, he asked me a direct question: “Michael, did you steal that money from me a few months back?” Not only had I stolen the money, but I had cut through the screen door in the back of the house to make it look as if …

If God Does Not Exist Then Injustice Does Not Exist

By Dr. Michael L. Brown I recently had a friendly online debate with a former Muslim known as Apostate Prophet (called AP for short). The subject was, “Does God Exist?” In my opening comments, I stated that I did not specialize in debating this issue and that I realized that arguments that seemed compelling to me would be mocked by many atheists. Conversely, I stated that I have listened to the best arguments of atheists and said to myself, “Are you kidding me? Is this the best you have to offer?” (For similar reflections from a Christian apologist on the weakness of atheistic arguments, see Tom Gilson’s recent article here.) So, I made clear from the start that my goal was not to convince the viewers that my view was right. Rather, it was to explain to them why I was 100 percent sure that God is real, especially since so much of my faith is based on my own life experiences rather than on abstract philosophical arguments . To make my case, I gave …

How an Extreme Optimist and an Absolute Realist Process Life Together

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Nancy and I have been married for 45 years. We are absolutely joined at the hip, totally united in our deepest faith convictions and our love for the Lord. But in other ways, we are radically different. How do we process life together? This past Friday night [ed. April 9, 2021], I had to rush to the emergency room with a kidney stone, with Nancy as my driver. Interestingly enough, this was my second kidney stone, about seven years after the first one.  (I’ve been told that I need to drink more water since, otherwise, by God’s grace, I’m in nearly perfect health.) In both cases, Nancy got her first and second kidney stone a couple of months before me. Talk about being in harmony! While we were sitting in the waiting room and I was quietly moaning in pain, I said to her, “Underneath this pain I have a real sense of excitement. Whatever the problem is, it’s about to be solved, and I’ll be feeling much better soon.” …

From the Peaceniks of the 1960s to the Social Justice Warriors of the 2020s: Some Cultural and Spiritual Insights

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Are there parallels between the anti-war, hippies of the 1960s and today’s social justice warriors? Are there valuable lessons we can learn from the past, both cultural and spiritual, that will give us insight for today? Growing up in the 60s (I was born in 1955), I lived through the anti-war movement. But for me, being a few years younger than the activists, that era was all about rock music and drugs. Giving the “peace” sign was just something we hippies did. “Peace, man,” we would say while holding up two fingers. Our mantra was, “Make love not war.” As for being anti-war, that was hardly a philosophical issue for me. It was simply pragmatic: I was getting high and playing drums in a rock band. Why on earth would I want to go to Vietnam to be killed in battle? But for others, there really were serious philosophical issues, and deep questions were being asked. Why are we here? What’s the meaning of life? Is the American dream our …

God Is Not Discouraged

By Dr. Michael L. Brown The Scriptures often speak of God being grieved or angry. But they never speak of Him being discouraged. That’s because discouragement is not an “emotion” that exists within the Godhead. How could it? Discouragement would imply despair. Or hopelessness. Or defeat. And all of these emotions – to speak of the Creator in human terms – are totally foreign to Him. Ultimately, in Jesus, they should be foreign to us as well. Of course, it is only natural that, as human beings, even human beings who have a close relationship with the Lord, we will pass through seasons of discouragement. The burdens of life overwhelm us. Or our hopes and expectations are not realized. Or our lofty dreams come crashing to the ground. Or things take much longer than expected. Or it seems that there’s just too much suffering and pain. Or we disappoint ourselves, convincing us that we will always be failures. Or . . . you can fill in the blank. There are countless reasons for discouragement, and, …