All posts filed under: Bible

Is God unfair?

There is a cute video of an experiment on unfairness conducted by researchers on two Capuchin monkeys. The monkeys were placed in side-by-side cages, that had openings allowing the monkeys to receive and give items to the researchers. As part of this, the woman conducting the experiment rewarded the monkeys if they handed her a small stone. It started with the researcher receiving a stone from the monkey on the left and rewarding it with a piece of cucumber. The researcher then turned to the monkey on the right and gave it a grape after receiving a small stone. Though the Capuchin monkeys are fine with cucumbers, they look upon grapes as caviar. The monkey that had gotten the cucumber immediately noticed that his companion had received a grape. The researcher returned to the first monkey, and after it gave her a stone, the researcher handed it a cucumber a second time. The reaction was immediate, after taking a small nibble from the cucumber, the monkey outraged by the unfairness took the remainder of the …

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 …

The Bible’s rules for secular leaders does not include ‘rules for thee, but not for me’

Over the past several months, stories have emerged of politicians breaking the very COVID rules that they imposed on their citizens. It has happened around the world. And it happened again earlier this year when a business owner in New York City videoed a Democrat senator walking into his restaurant without wearing a mask. In fact, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand walked right past a sign stating that masks were required on entering. In an Instagram post, the owner provided a video of what happened and added, “I guess Senator Gillibrand thinks that the Governor is wrong or she is special and above the rules.” Though studies have shown that cloth facemasks are basically useless when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID, there was a bigger issue at work here. It is important that when politicians make up these rules, they obey them as well. When Israel wanted a king, God provided several ground rules to govern politicians and their bureaucracy. They are listed in Deuteronomy 17:14-20, along with a series of warnings about kings …

Is Christianity socialist?

According to Bitter Winter, in 2020, the local franchise of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the city of Dandong, ran a sermon contest among its CCP approved Three-Self church pastors to see which one could provide the most ‘socialist’ sermon. The contest, outlined in a CPP document entitled Implementation Plan for the Preaching Competition on Sinicization of Christianity in 2020, told the pastors they were to look “for elements in the Bible that are relevant to the core socialist values and traditional Chinese culture.” The local branch of the CCP was trying to syncretize communist values with the Christian message, and convince believers that communism and Christianity are inherently compatible. One Christian told Bitter Winter, “It is so devious. They are poisoning people of faith bit by bit, eroding their belief. By doing so, the CCP aims to justify its control over religion.” We see a similar thing occurring in the West, where some now suggest that socialism best supports Christian ideals. But does it. I want to look at four areas where Christianity …

Kathie Lee Gifford says westerners are too terrified of the ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’

In an interview with Sheila Walsh, who hosts “Life Today,” Kathie Lee Gifford said that Americans are way too ‘terrified’ of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. She added that we need to see how these gifts are operating in believers around the world to fully appreciate them. Gifford, who formerly hosted “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee” suggested that while some Christians believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today, this is not what the Bible teaches. “We’re all supposed to have gifts of the Spirit,” Gifford said. “They’re supposed to be different, used like different parts of the body for one good work, but we’re all supposed to use them. And people go, ‘Oh, Jesus doesn’t do that anymore, God doesn’t do that anymore.’ Really?” She pointed to a passage in the Gospel of John, where Jesus said that everyone who believes in Him will be able to perform the same miracles as the Lord did. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works …

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 …

Three keys to answered prayer

There have been books written on how to have a successful prayer life by people who have studied and lived a life of prayer. So, I don’t want to come across as someone who has the final answer on what it takes to have your prayers answered. But I do want to discuss a teaching that Jesus gave about prayer in Luke 18:1-8, which provides several keys to successful prayer. In this parable, Jesus talked about a widow who was seeking justice from a corrupt judge. The Lord described the judge as a man who did not fear God or care about what people thought of him (v 2). He was a narcissist. All he cared about was himself. In other words, justice was for sale in that town. Judges in this day typically travelled from village to village, where they set up a tent, so people could come to plead their case. Often you had to bribe the tent’s gatekeeper just to get a hearing, much less a favourable ruling. And Jesus used this …

37 | The other Christmas story

A few days before Christmas, and my wife and I were out doing my most favorite past-time at Christmas, returning an item we had bought a few days earlier when we saw a brightly decorated yard that not only included an inflatable Santa and reindeer but also a six-foot inflatable red and green dragon. When did dragons become a Christmas decoration? Well believe it or not there is a dragon in one of the Christmas stories recorded in the Bible. It is just not a story we often recite a Christmas.

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 …

God helped Haitian missionaries flee their captors in a daring night escape

I had reported earlier on the release of the final 12 missionaries and their families who the 400 Mawozo gang had kidnapped in Haiti on Oct 16, 2021. The gang had released five earlier due to health issues. I had previously written that the gang had released the 12, but Christian Aid Ministries is now reporting that the group that included a baby and children had in fact escaped their captors.

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 Deadly Ditch of Gnosticism

Many years ago, when learning about Gnosticism while at Bible college, I wondered what the big deal was with it in our day – how is it relevant? Much of the New Testament after Acts deals with keeping the church out of two ditches – legalism (the Law) and Gnosticism (special knowledge) Legalism was trying to add the Law on top of grace. Acts 15 reveals one of the pivotal challenges that the early church went through to deal with this problem. We are saved by what Christ did (justified by faith), not by our works. Gnosticism on the other side of the road was the adding of “special knowledge” on top of grace. It is defined as “an early heresy based on knowledge instead of faith” (NKJV dictionary) And “knowledge” is not necessarily truth! When I was at Bible college, it was the late 70s and 80s. Cults and secret societies were very fringe, so it wasn’t really an issue? Yet so much of the New Testament deals with warning the church about both …

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 …

Only 51% of Evangelicals believe the Jews are God’s chosen people

I have to admit, I was a bit shocked by a recent poll conducted by Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research that discovered only 51% of Americans believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people. On the nay side, 29% said they did not believe the Jews were God’s chosen people and 19% said they were uncertain. Christian Headlines adds that of those who did not believe the Jews were God’s Chosen had varying reasons for holding this view: 17% believe the Jews have been replaced by the church, 10% believe the Jews were never God’s chosen people, and 2% checked the ‘other’ box, which I have no idea what that means. But this opinion about the Jews is slipping because a Lifeway poll in 2014 revealed that seven years ago, 66% of Evangelicals believed that the Jews are God’s chosen people. The Bible is very clear, that the Jews are God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:7-9; Deuteronomy 32:9) It was also a bit shocking to see that nearly 20% believe that the church has replaced …

Forgiveness vs the ‘eye for eye’ law

Atheists and agnostics like to point to inconsistencies in the Bible as a way of discrediting Christianity. One that surfaces from time to time is the difference between the Old Testament law that spoke of an eye for eye justice (Exodus 21:24), and how it starkly contrasts Jesus’ statements in the New Testament that we are to love and forgive our enemies (Matthew 5:38-39). While Moses demanded a harsh form of justice, Jesus demanded forgiveness. These two ideas seem irreconcilable. Well, there is a simple explanation for this, and we see it playing out in a recent court case involving the death of a Minnesota pastor, Verlyn Strenge, 69, who was killed by a drunk driver in Nov. 2020. Strenge was pastoring the First Baptist church in Clearbrook, when he was rear-ended by David Nelson, who had a blood alcohol level of .267 and was travelling at nearly 70 mph when he smashed in to the back of the pastor’s car. The speed limit was 30 mph. The collision killed Pastor Strenge and critically injured …

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 …

Why evil things happen in the world

A complaint commonly heard today is why does an all powerful God allow evil to happen on earth. Though this argument is often used by atheists to disprove the existence of God, Pew Research Center recently surveyed Americans to discover if the average person blames God when bad things happen? Its survey of 6,500 Americans in September, that included nearly 1,500 Evangelicals, found that the majority do not blame God when terrible things take place, such as the recent COVID pandemic that saw millions die. According to Christianity Today, the survey revealed several interesting results: 86% of Americans believe (44%) or somewhat believe (42%) that ‘sometimes bad things just happen.’ 70% of Americans believe that bad things are consequences of our own decisions; 70% also believe that bad things happen because of the way societies are structured; 70% believe men have a free will that allows them to act contrary to what God wants us to act; and 80% believe in the Biblical God (58%) or a higher power (22%), but say that suffering is …

78 | What the Septuagint Bible tells us about fallen angels and spiritual warfare

We are living in perilous times as governments of all political stripes seem intent on restricting people’s liberties and freedoms, either under the guise of protecting us from COVID or banning speech that some consider offensive, because it disagrees with their beliefs. In this podcast, I discuss the Septuagint’s odd translation of a Bible verse in Deuteronomy that may help explain why this is happening.

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, …

Poll: The vast majority believe governments should not force Americans to violate their religious beliefs

A recent poll by Summit.org, found that the vast majority of Americans believe in religious freedom, despite the messages we are receiving from the mainstream media and some politicians, that Christians must bow to secular authority and opinions. The poll, conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, asked 1,000 Americans, who were likely voters, if they agreed with the statement that government has the right to force religious people to participate in practices that would violate their religious beliefs. Seventy-five percent said that the government does not have the right to force a person to violate their religious beliefs, and only 16% believed that government should be able to do this. Of course, once politics were thrown into the mix, the number varied, with 80% of Republicans and 78% of Independents stating the government does not have the right to violate a person’s religious beliefs. While still in a clear majority, only 64% of Democrats held the same position. And in a second question, people were asked if they agreed with a statement by America’s founders “that …

Don’t be intimidated

This fall, there have been several reports of attacks on Christians in both North America and around the world. Some have died for their faith. It would be easy to be intimidated by this, but God wants us to “to take courage.” Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14 ESV) Here are a few of the stories: In Compton, California, Reginald Moore, the 65-year-old pastor of Upper Room Christian Church was shot and killed on Oct 24, 2021 as he was leaving his church after leading a Bible study. Members of the church said they refused to be intimidated by the violent attack. In Nashville, TN, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced that it is offering a $1,00 reward for any information on who was behind the Molotov cocktail thrown at Axis Church on Sept 13, 2021. Though the firefighters were able to put out the fire before it destroyed the building, it nevertheless damaged the sanctuary and the equipment the …

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.

Actor Chris Pratt says listening to Christian music relieved his depression

In a recent Instagram post, Hollywood actor Chris Pratt stated that as he was going through a recent bout of depression, he listened to Christian music while jogging, and it provided an almost immediate release for the actor famed for his leading roles in Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Premier Christian News reports that the depression started after an uproar over an earlier post Chris had made, where he thanked his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger, for giving birth to a healthy daughter. He was immediately attacked by trolls who accused Pratt of mocking his previous wife who had given birth to a son nine weeks early, who consequently experienced health issues including visual impairment. Of course, this was not Pratt’s intent, but the trolls were relentless and had previously gone after Chris because of his Christian faith. In his post, Chris explained what happened: “Good morning, everybody. I went to bed last night really kind of upset and depressed, and I woke up feeling crappy, and I didn’t want to work out. “I …

77 | What to do with a strange memory

FOLLOW OUR PODCAST ON (search opentheword): Itunes Stitcher Spotify Google Play IHeartRadio TuneIn Podchaser PODCAST NOTES: Hi, my name is Dean Smith and in this podcast, I wonder: am the only person in the world who suddenly has flashbacks of things that happened to them decades ago. Well it happened to me recently and involved an incident of something that took place probably 45 years ago. It was the 1970s. I was in my twenties and driving an old Rambler station wagon. It was a dusty grey colour, probably 15 years old when I bought it. But along with my Toyota Previa, was the most reliable vehicles I have ever owned. I was just saved and attending a young people’s Hippy church, a Jesus People church, where everyone had long hair, including the girls. Back then, I had hair past my shoulders and one of my friends had hair down to his waist. And today, I have sadly resorted to shaving my head, because I am basically bald. It’s very sad. Anyway, I had put …

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 …

Families of abducted missionaries in Haiti say they have forgiven the gang members

The families of 17 missionaries and their families (including five children) who were kidnapped in Haiti by the violent 400 Mawozo gang have recently issued statements on the website of Christian Aid Ministries that they have chosen to forgive the gang for the kidnapping. This follows on the heels of a video released on Oct 22, 2021 by the gang’s leader, Wilson Joseph, who goes by the name of ‘Death without Days,’ where he stated that every one of them would be killed if his ransom demand of $1 million each was not met. He said, “I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans.” Several of the family members have since responded that they have chosen to forgive the kidnappers, with some stating they are in fact praying for the salvation of the gang members: “We are interested in the salvation of these men, and we love them.” Parent of one of the hostages.” As a family, we are …

The devastating power of words

Recently, Tom Clark, podcaster and writer, shared an interesting story on Charisma News of something that happened to him at the 50th class reunion of his former high school. He was approached by a 69-year-old man, who he had not seen for 50 years. Until the man introduced himself, Tom didn’t even recognize his former teammate from the high school football team. Then the man made a strange request and asked Tom for forgiveness. Since he hadn’t seen the man for over five decades, Tom had no idea what he was talking about, but said he would readily forgive, but wanted to know what he needed to forgive this man for. The man said, ‘forgive me for dropping that touchdown pass.’ At that moment, Tom remembered the incident and words he had spoken to the young man after he had dropped a touchdown pass during a high school football game: “Can’t you catch? You’re ruining my passing percentage!” The man had never forgotten those impactful words, and a half a century later they were still …

Going the ‘extra mile’ of forgiveness in Zimbabwe

In Matthew 5:41, Jesus was referring to an interesting privilege available to Roman soldiers when he told his disciples, ‘If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.’ It’s where we get the idiom used today, about ‘going the extra mile.’ It is based on a Roman law, that allowed a Roman soldier to compel any idle, able-bodied man or a man walking in the same direction, provided he was not a Roman citizen, to carry the soldier’s armour for one thousand paces or approximately a mile. Jesus taught if a soldier required this of you, instead of resenting and fighting it, a person should forgive and offer to carry the soldier’s armour two miles. In the verse prior to this, Jesus also taught if a man steals your shirt, then give your cloak as well. And CBN reports that this is the attitude that Craig Deall and his family took in 2003, when the Zimbabwe government seized their farm, without compensation. It was part of the government’s land reform policy …

Does the Holy Spirit still speak to people today? Tim Halfin thinks He does!

On Wednesday, Oct 6, 2021, three-year-old Christopher Ramirez was outside playing with a neighbourhood puppy. It is uncertain exactly what happened next, but it is believed the pup wandered off and the toddler followed the dog disappearing into a large wooded area near the family home in Grimes County, Texas. Over the next couple of days, members of the family, police, and community volunteers launched a major search effort for the toddler but were unable to find him. Then a strange thing happened at a Bible study, held twice a month, at a neighbourhood church. Tim Halfin was attending the Friday evening study when someone brought up the missing boy and asked for prayer. According to the Western Journal, Halfin, who had not heard about the disappearance, immediately sensed the Holy Spirit prompting him to join the search for Christopher. Halfin had felt similar promptings in the past and knew that God was speaking to him and decided to search for Christopher the following Saturday morning. Though he had no idea where to look, Halfin …