By Rick Renner
Your biggest potential enemy in life (besides your own wrong thinking and the devil himself) is the environment in which you live. For instance, if you constantly live in an atmosphere of doubt and unbelief, it’s just a fact that you’ll have a much more difficult time maintaining a walk of strong faith. That doubt-filled environment will try to rub off on you!
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. — 2 Timothy 4:4 By Rick Renner In our home in Russia, Denise and I have several black, lacquered boxes that are precious Russian works of art. They were painted using a centuries-old technique, and each box contains up to 16 layers of papier-mâché. The work is so intricate, in fact, the scenes on these boxes were painstakingly painted with a brush containing only one hair! Then when the painting was finished on one of these boxes, the artist would burnish it with the tooth of a wolf. Four main schools taught and performed this method, and when the art form first began in Russia, the intricate scenery on these boxes primarily consisted of religious icons and scenery depicting religious events and nobility. But the art changed after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Under Communism, the artists who masterfully created these works of art were no longer allowed to paint religious themes because atheism had become the “religion” of the …
By Dr. Michael Brown
America is certainly not China or North Korea when it comes to censorship and suppressing free speech. But we are not nearly as free as we thought we were. The events of the last three years have made that strikingly clear, bringing to a head a dangerous pattern that had been developing for years before that.
By Rick Renner
Sometimes I hear people say, “I just don’t know if So-and-so can come to Christ. They are so hardhearted and far from God!” If you’ve ever said this about a person in your life, today I want to give you hope. We’re going to look at what kind of person Paul was before he came to Christ — and I believe you’ll see and understand that if God could save Saul of Tarsus (who became known as the apostle Paul), then He can save anyone!
By Dr. Michael Brown You’ve heard of the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed. But have you ever heard of the Apostles’ Prayer? Actually, the “Apostles’ Prayer” is not a technical term, which would explain why you’re not familiar with it. Instead, it’s my description of the one and only time that the Bible records a prayer prayed jointly by these early Church leaders. We can learn a lot from it for ourselves today. In the fourth chapter of the book of Acts we read that there was government persecution of the believers, in this case, the Jewish leadership imprisoning the Jewish apostles. This persecution was the result of powerful miracles being performed in Jesus’ name and thousands of Jewish people putting their faith in Him as Messiah and Lord. In order to “to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people” these governmental leaders decided that “we must warn them [meaning the apostles] to speak no longer to anyone in this name [meaning the name of Jesus]” (Acts 4:17). What The Apostles …
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. — James 3:16 By Rick Renner During our early years in the former USSR, Denise and I were invited to minister at three European conferences in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, and I decided to bring our sons to give them the experience of ministering in Europe. When the day finally arrived for our long-anticipated trip, things got a little hectic, to say the least. The clock was ticking, and it was time for us to depart to the airport so we wouldn’t miss our flight. However, instead of getting ready, the boys were just poking around, and Denise hadn’t even finished packing. I knew that if we didn’t leave on time, we’d miss our flight. So in the midst of it all, I lost my temper and began to yell and threaten everyone to get downstairs immediately and pile in the car, or I was going to leave without them! Our ministry administrator at that time had agreed to housesit for us …
Dr. Michael Brown
I write these words from India, here now for the 28th time since 1993. In fact, this would have been my 30th visit to this amazing country if not for COVID.
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. — Acts 8:5-8 By Rick Renner On April 12, I told a bit of this story, but it so impacted my life that I want to share it in greater detail today and give you the reason why miracles often occur on a massive scale, or among large crowds of people. It was the conclusion of five amazing days of meetings — the first large public meeting that Denise and I had ever conducted in the former USSR. Of the 32,000 people who attended the event, 7,000 people came forward to receive Christ and 926 people received water baptism — and we witnessed scores …
By Dr. Michael Brown If you live in a major city of America, then you have probably been well aware of the Black Hebrew Israelites for a few decades. But for many other Americans, their numbers, their influence, and their beliefs are coming as quite a revelation – and a shocking one at that. In the early 1990s, while walking the streets of Manhattan before an outreach service one Saturday afternoon, I heard a loud voice booming through a PA system. When I got closer to the sound, I was surprised to see a small crowd of listeners, all of them Black, listening carefully to the speaker who was standing on a platform, with bodyguards standing on the street in front of him. Their outfits were striking – I remember thinking they looked like a cross between Star Wars and some type of angelic garb – but their words were even more striking. They were quoting the Bible and some other books, even using occasional Hebrew words. At once I realized who they were. They …
By Rick Renner
Here is an important fact to know about the apostolic ministry: God didn’t leave it to us to guess who is a true apostle and who is not! I’m thankful for that! In Second Corinthians 12:12 the apostle Paul wrote by the Holy Spirit about the signs that will help us discern correctly whether an apostle is in our midst. He said, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”
By Dr. Michael Brown We are often in the habit of reading the Bible without paying attention to what we’re reading. The words are so familiar that we just gloss over them. Or the biblical terminology has lost its meaning to us, so the significance of what we’re reading fails to register. In that light, we should revisit Paul’s words to the believers of Corinth. He wrote, “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people . . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:2, NIV, my emphasis). Or in the old English of the King James Version, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints . . . .” Five more times in this letter Paul referred to the believers in Corinthians as “saints” (or “holy ones”) which was a common expression for God’s people in the Bible. Yet these believers were hardly saints (and I don’t mean that in the later, …
By Dr James Emery White
Money blogger Carl Richards of the New York Times used to think that helping someone get very clear on their current financial reality was the easy part of financial planning. Once reality was framed, the hard part started: like determining where you want to be in 20 years, and then guessing at such things as the rate of return you will earn and inflation.
By Keith Hazell
When God does new things He does them with purpose. He has a plan for His people and our perception of what is “new” is relevant to what we have seen before.
By Rick Renner
I once bought a violin that I was sure was an authentic Stradivarius violin. Of course, if it was real, it was worth several million dollars. Before I purchased it, I studied documents about how to recognize a real Stradivarius compared to a well-made copy. After convincing myself that I had found a real Stradivarius in a remote antique shop in Russia, I purchased it. But after an examination by a violin expert, it proved to be nothing more than a very old, fabulous fake.
Dr. Michael Brown
Against the backdrop of the deep darkness that is encroaching our land, I see thousands of fires burning brightly. But they are not the fires of riots and violent protests. They are holy fires, fires of spiritual outpouring and revival.
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. — Luke 17:3 By Rick Renner When I was a young boy, I had a baseball coach who really disliked me. No matter how hard I tried to please him, he poked fun at me and tried to embarrass me in front of my teammates. His words and behavior would hurt me deeply, but I can remember my father telling me to forgive him. My dad would gently urge me to “grin and bear it” because these things happen in life. So when my coach insulted me, I’d do my best to forgive him and then muster the strength to wipe away my tears and walk back onto the ball field. It was wrong of that baseball coach to treat me in that way, but his negativity provided a good learning experience to help prepare me for life. I’m so thankful my father taught me to forgive, get back on the field, and not let the words …
By Dr. Michael Brown Has this ever happened to you? You form an opinion about someone based on what others have said, only to meet them and find out that you had a totally wrong impression? Or you’ve read select quotes from a person, only to learn that these quotes, which were taken out of context, painted a very false picture? Headlines and Soundbites Are Manipulated to Mislead I had been following a political race in one state from a distance, very much opposed to the Democratic candidate but not particularly happy with the Republican candidate, either. He sounded like an unreasonable extremist, not to mention a loose cannon. At least that’s the way I often saw him portrayed while surveying a number of different websites. Finally, I decided to listen to him firsthand, and I was totally surprised. He was well spoken. He was careful in his choice of words. He was reasonable. And he sounded like a solid conservative rather than an extremist. I had been misled by a caricature of the man …
And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. — Mark 5:29 By Rick Renner Do you know anyone that has ever been subjected to a plague? Have you ever had a plague afflict you? Technically, what is a plague? We tend to use this word “plague” to describe worldwide pandemic outbreaks, but that is not the way it is used in Mark 5:29, which tells of a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. Specifically, Mark 5:29 says that when this woman touched Jesus, she was healed of her “plague.” Yet this woman’s sickness was not contagious, nor was it imminently life-threatening, since she had been sick with it for 12 years. So today I want to tell you about how I discovered the meaning of the word “plague” in the New Testament and why this was such an important discovery to me. As a university student, I suffered tremendously from allergic reactions. In fact, a simple …
By Dr Michael Brown If you’ve been in church circles over the years, you may have heard people refer to “the Joshua Generation,” meaning young people who are full of spiritual fire and zeal, ready to make an impact for the Lord. But if we want to be accurate biblically, while the people Joshua was leading were all under 40, he himself was at least 60. How do we know this? The math is simple. He was one of the 12 leaders sent out by Moses and the people to spy out the land of Canaan while the nation of Israel was still in the desert. He and his colleague Caleb came back with a good report. “It’s true,” they said, “that there are giants in the land. But God is with us and we can take the land.” The other 10 spies, however, were totally negative. “They will kill us all! We’re doomed to die!” (This is a paraphrase; for the actual text, see Numbers 13-14.) Unfortunately, the nation as a whole believed the …
By Dr. Michael Brown
How do we explain the unprecedented, massive, worldwide growth of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church? And what can all Christians learn from this spiritual phenomenon?
By Eric Lyons
The name “Mary” appears 54 times in the New Testament. There is Mary, the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:18), Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2), and Mary, the mother of James and Joses (Mark 15:40), who is likely the same as the “other” Mary (Matthew 27:56,61; 28:1) and “the wife of Clopas” (John 19:25).
By Dr Julie Barrier
Bugs give me the willies. Always have, always will. If I had my way, I’d strap a ten-pound can of Raid to my back and wear a pair of size thirteen stomping shoes for spider-smushing. Today I want you to face your fears and give you God’s guidance about how to exterminate them.
By Amiee Herd
A look at the effects of loneliness and how we can leave it behind. It may sound gruesome, but—according to Reuters—a study by researchers at Yale University in New Haven Conn. found that lonely rats were much more likely to develop breast cancer. Three times the risk in fact.
By Keith Hazell
“Where are you going?” I was often asked this question, as a child, in the little village where I lived. Usually, I answered with conviction “nowhere”, since I had no real direction in my daily meanderings through the paths and woods where I wandered.
By Jill Austin
The room was cold, dark and damp but it had become my friend for I had lived there ever since I remembered. Heavy blankets of isolation, loneliness and fear insulated and protected me from the outside world.
Today the Church is facing a crisis of morals. More and more, society has no stomach for spiritual or moral absolutes. Pastors and spiritual leaders who decide to “take a stand” and preach the Gospel in its pure, unadulterated form are derided as irrelevant and intolerant hate-mongers.
By Dr. Michael L. Brown
Are you old enough to remember when Christians thought that Mikhail Gorbachev was the antichrist? After all, he was the whiz kid who came out of nowhere and was shaking the Soviet Union. Perhaps he also aspired to take over the world? And then he had that mark on his forehead. Some said it looked like a dragon! Could he be the man?
By Dr. Michael L. Brown
It was Jesus Himself who said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25) The same applies for the Church: If we are divided against ourselves, we will be ruined and we will not stand. And if we, the people of God in America, will not stand, neither will our nation. But how we can unite when there are such deep divisions and differences among us?
By Dr Michael L. Brown
A few years ago, I was buying some new clothes to wear on a series of episodes on Christian TV. The salesman, a seasoned pro with a very good eye, picked out some blazers, slacks, and shirts, and after trying them on, I made my final selection. It was only then that I discovered the prices on these items, expressing my surprise out loud. In response, the salesman said something that stayed with me. Allow me to share it with you here.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. — Ephesians 4:32 By Rick Renner Today I’d like to begin by telling you about an amazing event that occurred when Denise and I were in Greece some years ago — an experience that taught me a lot about the impact kindness has on others. While visiting the ancient city of Corinth, Denise and I decided to take the long walk up the rocky road that led to the acropolis where the Temple of Aphrodite once stood. Having taught on the book of Corinthians for many years and knowing the historical influence that this location once had on the people of Corinth, I wanted to ascend that arduous peak to see that ancient site with my own eyes. But as we walked higher and higher, we understood that this would take far more time than we had planned, so we turned around and headed back down the mountain, descending the same slippery slope we had …
By Dr. Michael L. Brown
Recently, while flying to Las Vegas to minister, I ended up sitting next to a pastor, as both of our seats were changed at the last minute. It turns out we had many friends and co-workers in common, but this was the first time we had met, and we recognized the meeting as providential.
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.— Ephesians 1:22 By Rick Renner In the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, there is an exquisite display of the treasures of King Tut (Tutankhamun) — the boy pharaoh who died at a very early age and whose tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in the year 1922. I’ve been to Tut’s Tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and on multiple occasions I’ve seen the display of treasures found in his tomb that are on view in the Egyptian Museum. This museum is one of the world’s greatest — filled with artifacts from the ancient world. However, of all the relics on display, there is something uniquely breathtaking about the treasures of King Tut. Each time I’ve been there, I’ve found myself especially fascinated by one group of items in the collection — the walking canes that were used by King Tut. As one might expect, these canes are long and slender and are …
By Dr. Michael L. Brown
In the year 2015, as the story is told, a renowned scientist discovered a cure for cancer after more than 30 years of research and testing. But it was not just a cure. It was the cure, effectively eradicating all cancer from all patients at all stages of the disease. This was the greatest discovery in the history of medical science!
By Rick Renner
The material I am about to present concerns a subject that I normally wouldn’t write about. However, it provides a powerful illustration of the depravity Paul prophesied would occur during the last days (see 2 Timothy 3:2,3), and I believe it serves as a wakeup call to the Church. Sometimes we need a stark reminder of the rapid degeneration of society’s moral fabric that is occurring all around us at an ever-increasing rate so we don’t grow complacent and just “go with the flow” of society’s downward moral spiral. As the Church, we have a vital role to play in these perilous times as standard bearers of truth. So bear with me as I take on that role to share some disturbing but important information, and you will understand my point.
By Rick Marschall
The sister and brother-in-law of a friend of mine are missionaries in Mexico Their agency is called Last Frontiers, and this is a story about their family’s life.