All posts filed under: Bible

Now Is the Time to Let Your Light Shine

By Dr. Michael L. Brown For many years now, I’ve said that I’m not as much concerned with the presence of darkness in America as I am with the absence of light. Darkness will always be present, but light can drive it out. That’s why our greatest need is to get our light shining brightly again. Otherwise, darkness will prevail. As Jesus said in a different context, “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23b) We all know the saying that you can’t put the horse before the cart. But before you can hitch the cart to the horse, the horse needs to be healthy. Without that, no one is going anywhere. And that’s where we stand today in America: the greatest need is a healthy Church. Then, with a healthy Church, the “cart” of cultural and moral and political change will follow as a natural consequence. But it’s not a matter of either-or, as if we must focus either on spiritual life or on cultural life. Instead, …

Are You a Fool According to the Bible?

By Dr. Michael L. Brown As defined by the Scriptures, a fool is not someone who is uneducated or a person with a low IQ. Rather, a fool is someone who is deeply deficient spiritually and morally. As summed up in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Are you a fool according to the Bible? Am I? Let’s look at just a few of the characteristics of the fool as laid out in Proverbs. 1) “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:15). The fool is always right in his (or her eyes), never willing to take correction, never willing to listen to sound advice, never willing to acknowledge error or wrong. Perhaps we are not this extreme in our stubbornness, but is this our general tendency? Can people approach us easily, without fear? Do we receive correction with humility and even appreciation? That’s why Proverbs 9:8 says, “Do not rebuke mockers or they will …

And They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Hate

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Did you ever hear the song that begins with the words, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord”? The lyrics are very simple, with the repeated refrain, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, Yeah they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Today, we might want to change that refrain to “they’ll know we are Christians by our hate, by our hate.” We have become terribly disfigured in recent years, in many ways, the opposite of God’s intent. How on earth did this happen? If you don’t believe me, visit some of our personal, Bible-affirming, Jesus-believing, social media pages, where we savage each other and attack each other and spread hearsay and even lies about one another with reckless abandon. They are hate-filled pages, pages filled with venom and poison, yet pages that ultimately reflect what is in our own hearts. I ask again: how on earth did this happen? To give one recent, case in point, when my …

Why Kelly forgave her husband’s murderers?

There is a lot of anger in the world today, and a lot of reasons to justify our anger and certainly Kelly Saenz had a reason. While working in Colombia sharing the Gospel, Kelly and Pabel Saenz met and were married in 2008 and continued to work together, sharing their faith in the South American country. But things took a dramatic turn in November 2014, when Pabel, who was working as a motorcycle taxi driver, disappeared after going into a dangerous region in Colombia. Kelly spent the next couple of days frantically searching for her husband, but three days later she received word from the regional police that her husband was dead having been choked to death by two men in the area that Pabel had travelled to. When she found out where her husband had died, Kelly went to the village and met with the chief to discuss her husband’s murder. It was then she discovered that two of the chief’s nephews were the ones’ responsible. In a meeting with the village council, she …

Do Good guys wear black?

When I was a kid, I’d watch matinées at the Princess Theatre. In glorious back and white, the hero would fight off monsters, villains, and all forms of evil, win the love of the girl, and live happily ever after. The good guys would always win and justice was always served. It was pretty clear who the good guys were. They wore white hats. The bad guys wore black hats. In the Bible, it is pretty clear who the good guy is. He is God. And it is pretty clear who the bad guy is. He is Satan. But there is a problem. Unlike the old movies, the bad guy switches hats. This found its way into movies as well and the evil in the movies became more difficult to distinguish from the good. The formula changed and the bad guys cleverly disguised themselves as good guys. Instead of straight forward evil, it was subtle and looked the same as the good guys. And when evil was discovered it was not always vanquished. Sometimes the …

Is Communist China our ‘Canary in a coal mine’?

The Book of Daniel provides an interesting perspective on the spiritual battle that took place between two godly angels and a demonic angel, known as the Prince of Persia, for control of this ancient kingdom (Daniel 10:13-14). As a result of this successful spiritual conflict, one of the Godly angels took a position beside the King of Persia: “And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him. (Daniel 11:1 ESV) Because of this, a godly angel was able to protect and influence the Persian Kings for the next several decades, leading to the passing of an edict allowing people taken into captivity by the Babylonians, including the Jews, to return to their homelands. But this story also provides another important detail. If the godly angel held a position of influence over the Persian government, this meant that prior to this the demonic Prince of Persia (called a territorial spirit) was in a position to influence Persian leaders. This is why the Apostle Paul calls …

Who was St. Valentine?

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, this might be a good time to look at the history of the person for whom this day commemorating love was named. Though St. Valentine is recognized as an official Saint in the Roman Catholic Church, there is a bit of confusion over who this person actually was. Over the years, several people have been considered as a possible candidate for St Valentine, and part of this is due to the meaning of the name. In the Latin, the name Valentine, means strong or powerful, so it was a popular name for men and even women. Of course, odder still, how did a name associated with power and strength become linked with love. Well, there is one man who leads the pack for consideration as St. Valentine and that involves a person who lived in Rome around 270 AD. This individual sticks out because there are a couple of historical references that point to this man, giving him a slight edge. This Valentine was serving in a religious capacity …

Do Not Despise Prophecy

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Did you ever wonder why Paul wrote, “Do not despise prophecies,” or as the New International Version translates, “Do not treat prophecies with contempt” (1 Thess. 5:20)? Why would any Christian be tempted to despise prophetic words? The answer is that prophecy can be obscure. Or confusing. Or complex. Or it can appear to be inaccurate, only to come to pass differently than we expected or have a different application than we understood. Or it can make us uncomfortable, revealing areas we would rather leave covered over. And in the case of New Testament prophecy, when every believer can potentially prophesy, it often needs correction and guidance. It is sometimes flatly wrong, with people claiming inspiration without really having it. That’s why Paul’s full exhortation included these injunctions: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:19-21). Today, when the failed Trump prophecies have gained much notoriety and when prophecy itself is getting a bad …

Horror Don’t Scare Me!

Did you ever hear strange noises in the night? Perhaps you saw something just out of the corner of your eye or felt like you were being watched even though you were alone. A long time ago, I lived in a house in which we could hear the sounds of heavy footsteps coming from the upstairs bedrooms. Yet, there was nothing there. In another house, we heard the sounds of a squeaky tricycle rolling across the kitchen floor. When I was a teenager, there was a dark mass that hovered just above my bedroom door that terrified me. Many of us have had such experiences. Some have been so frightening that the people experiencing them felt threatened. Hollywood makes the most of such experiences and often adds demonic activity to heighten the fear factor. The basic formula involves people being terrorized by some entity or super human evil possessed person. The only way to fight this evil is by using human wisdom and the strength of the human spirit. Some of the scariest movies are …

From dead man walking to preaching the Gospel

Faithit recently reported on an interview Pureflix had with Herman Mendoza, a former New York City drug dealer, on his remarkable conversion to Christ. Mendoza, who now helps pastor a church in New York City, shared how he turned to drug dealing in his 20s after being laid off from his job. His brothers were already dealing Cocaine, and he decided to start working with them. Soon the money was flowing in. With millions of dollars at his disposal, Mendoza was spending upwards of $20,000 a day. His life was consumed by partying, women and drugs. But it came to crashing halt, when police found a large quantity of cocaine in his car and he was facing upwards of 25 years in prison. However, he was able to work a deal with the prosecutor, that substantially reduced his sentence. But shortly after his release Mendoza returned to what he described as “the game” — his drug dealing ways and a short time later was arrested again. While Mendoza was serving his second sentence, his brother, …

Saul or Saul?

Remember Saul? Not Saul who become Paul and wrote most of the New Testament letters. But Saul, king of Israel. They had the same name but the exact opposite life stories. Old Testament Saul started out doing right, then ended up doing wrong. New Testament Saul started out doing wrong and ended up doing right. This reminds me of a parable the Jesus said about the two sons of a farmer. Jesus says that their Dad asked them to go work the field. One said he would, but he didn’t. The other said he wouldn’t, but he did. One started out bad, but later did good. The other started good, but later did bad. (Matthew 21:28-32) Both Saul’s and the two son’s parable illustrate the difference between people. There are some who claim and even believe they are doing good yet don’t. Then there are those who end up doing good in spite of themselves. Jesus used the parable in Matthew 21 to show that it was the sinners (tax collectors and prostitutes) who heeded …

300 million Christians in China by 2030?

In an interview with the Christian Post, Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan, who serves as Director of Strategic Research with Open Doors, stated based on current growth trends there will be over 300 million Christian believers in that communist country by 2030. In 2019, China’s population was reported to be 1.4 billion people. He believes this rapid growth is behind the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to crack down on Christianity in that country. Boyd-MacMillan told Christian Post: “And if it grows at the rate that it has done since 1980, and that’s about between 7 [percent] and 8 percent a year, then you’re looking at a group of people that will be 300 million strong, nearly by 2030. And, you know, the Chinese leadership, they really do long term planning, I mean, their economic plan goes to 2049, so this bothers them. Because I think if the Church continues to grow like that, then they’ll have to share power.” The Communist regime’s persecution of believers is three-fold. First it is employing an outward attack using its Social …

Justin Bieber shares a photo of walking in handcuffs as a testimony of how far God has brought him

In a recent post to his over 160 million followers on Instagram, international pop star, Justin Bieber, shared a photo of an incident that took place seven years ago as the police led the pop star away in handcuffs. He had just been arrested in Florida on Jan 23, 2014, for driving under the influence and with an invalid license. In his post, Bieber simply shared how far God has brought him since those early days when he was constantly having run-ins with the law. Bieber wrote: “7 years ago today I got was arrested, not my finest hour. “Not proud of where I was at in my life. I was hurting, unhappy, confused, angry, mislead, misunderstood and angry at God. “I also wore too much leather for someone in Miami. “All this to say God has brought me a long way. From then til now I do realize something.. God was as close to me then as he is right now. “My encouragement to you is to ‘let your past be a reminder of …

‘Your Money or Your Life!’

“Your Money or Your Life!” Believe it or not, someone actually said that to me. He cornered me in an alley and backed me up against a wall. I remember his hand on my shirt and the look on his face. He was a young guy, younger than me and way thinner. But he was taller and tried to look scary. The problem was that I was not scared. In fact, I laughed. I don’t why I laughed. I guess it was because I didn’t take him seriously. After all, it’s a pretty cheesy line to say when you want to rob someone. As soon as I started laughing, he lost his nerve and actually looked embarrassed. Poor guy. I felt sorry for him. I wonder if I actually had money if I would have been so cavalier in my response. I had no money so the question seemed absurd.  For me, there was no choice. But for many it would be a tough choice. What if someone demanded that you give them your wallet …

A Strong Appeal to Those Who Prophesied Trump’s Reelection

By Dr. Michael L. Brown Jan. 20 is past, and Joe Biden, not Donald Trump, is the president of the United States. To all those who prophesied that Trump would serve a second consecutive term and assured us that he would be inaugurated on Jan. 20, I appeal to you in the strongest possible terms: Admit your error, take full responsibility and do not, under any circumstances, continue to put a false hope into the hearts of God’s people. What you prophesied did not come to pass. There is not an alternative, spiritual reality in which Trump is still functioning as president. Nothing is going to change in a month or a year. It’s over. Even if there was massive electoral fraud, the results of this election will not be overturned. Donald Trump will not serve a second, consecutive term. Face the facts, be accountable before God and man, take the hits that will be coming and humble yourself before the Lord and His people. This is not the time for excuses. This is not …

Enforcing religious freedom in Moscow, Russia, err Idaho

A court has just ruled in favour of Gabriel Rench who was arrested on Sept 23, 2020, when nearly 200 believers gathered to worship and praise God during an outdoor service in the parking lot of the city hall in Moscow, Idaho. The event, called Psalm Sing, was sponsored by Christ Church and according to Gabriel Rench, who serves as a church deacon, they had been holding services for several months with no problem. The church believed its right to worship is guaranteed under the US Constitution. But the Sept. 23 service would prove to be different. Police were in attendance and arrested three people including Gabriel Rench as the group was singing “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” Though they were not wearing masks, neither were most of the people attending the service. The police had arrested the three for violating the mayor’s emergency health order. But according to Michael Jacques, a lawyer with the Thomas Moore Society who represented Rench, under this legislation, the city exempted “[a]ny and all expressive and associative …

Ironically, doing good to others, is good for you

Most have heard of Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan who provided aid to a man who had been mugged by robbers and left for dead by the side of a road (Luke 10:25-37). And while he provided both medicinal and financial aid to the fallen man, studies have shown that people who are kind or help others may also be helping themselves. This was the conclusion of a Canadian study that revealed helping others may lead to better health for the person doing the helping. The study involved several students who were asked to tutor elementary students for two months. In the study the students were broken up into two groups, one group actually tutored the students and the second group were put on a waiting list and never tutored any of the elementary students. Then four months after the tutoring assignment has run its course, the researchers ran blood tests to find out if there was any noticeable differences between the two groups. They discovered that students who had actually done tutoring had …

Are religious people stupid?

You may have heard the arguments, psychologists have done many studies, and they have found that atheists are more intelligent than religious people. Here is a quote from an article linked here: “the research found that atheists performed better overall than the religious participants even when demographic factors like age and education were taken into consideration. Agnostics mostly placed between atheists and believers on all tasks.” READ: Atheists are more intelligent than religious people, finds study How does that make you feel? One question is; does religion make people stupid, or do stupid people choose religion? I’m writing as a Christian; I believe in the God who made this world, and I believe that Jesus made the way for us to find God. Does that make me stupid? Recently, I explained what I believe to a young relative of mine, and his answer was something like “How can an intelligent person believe that?”  I still have a good relationship with my relative, but the experience taught me some important lessons. When believers are accused of …

Disturbing reaction to Jeremiah Johnson’s apology on Trump prophecy

UPDATED: On Jan 20, 2021, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. This was in complete contradiction to dozens of prophecies given in 2020 and earlier, that Donald Trump would win a second term as U.S. president. And I have to confess I was sucked into this prophecy vortex. (For the record, I believe in prophecy and I have received some very specific prophecies that came to pass.) However, when their prophecies about Donald Trump winning the Nov 3, 2020 election failed, citing election fraud, several doubled down and stretching out their prophecies stating that it would all turn around by the end of November. When that didn’t happen they prophesied it would be straightened up in December and when that didn’t happen, they pointed to the electoral college vote on Jan 6, 2021 and said Trump’s victory would be sorted by then. Other than a riot on Capitol Hill, it didn’t come to pass. But then they pressed ahead stating that God would pull out a miracle in the …

2021: Do we have a future now?

A few minutes ago, I got a surprise. I went for a walk, and the winter ice is slippery, so I was doing my careful penguin slide-walk. You have to live in a place with cold winters to know what that means. A neighbour came by, walking in the same way. We said the usual “Hello, how are you?,” and he was very happy to know that I was doing well. We walked together for a while, and he told me how concerned he was about our personal freedom. You probably know someone like him, and maybe you agree with him. Conspiracy people. He told me about a place that has a curfew, where millions of people are not allowed out at night, and this is supposed to keep us safe from the COVID virus. My neighbour bought extra groceries because he isn’t vaccinated. Apparently, he has been praying for me. I did not know that he had any religious beliefs, but he is very concerned about our future. I hear words like his in …

Have archaeologists discovered the dance floor on which John the Baptist was condemned to death?

According to a report on Live Science, archaeologists claimed to have found the very dance floor on which John the Baptist was condemned to death. In the Gospels, we are told the story behind John the Baptist’s execution at the hands of Herod of Antipas. The prophet had been actively condemning the marriage of Herod Antipas to a woman named Herodias. She was the wife of Herod’s half-brother Philip, who Herod actually stole while visiting Philip. Though the Romans were known for their notoriously low moral standards, even they were disgusted by Herod’s actions. Because of John’s constant condemnation of the marriage, Herod finally had John arrested. “But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him about Herodias, his brother’s wife, and about all the evil things Herod had done, added this to everything else—he locked John up in prison,” (Luke 3:19-20). It was apparent by this action, that the Baptist’s words were having an impact on people’s opinion of this marriage, and Herod wanted John stopped. But Herod was hesitant about having John executed, because …

It was legal until God said ‘No’

An interesting thing happened to Howard Kirby who lives in Ovid, Michigan. In 2019, he bought an old couch for $70 from a Habitat for Humanity Restore. After he had brought the couch home and set it up in his man-cave, it didn’t take long for his family to notice that the foot cushion was exceptionally hard. For several months, Kirby just put up with it, but finally his daughter-in-law couldn’t take it any longer and in January 2020, she cut it open to find out what was going on. Inside, she discovered a box stuffed with $43,170 in cash. It was a miracle. It was enough to pay off the mortgage on Kirby’s home and a lawyer even told Kirby that the money was legally his. But in an interview with MLive.com, Kirby said that God had a different opinion on the matter. “The Holy Spirit just came over me and said, ‘No, that’s really not yours.’” After God spoke to Kirby, he found out through the store who had donated the couch and …

Are micro churches, the church of the future?

The COVID lockdowns has caused some church leaders to take a second look at their church structures. Typically, most churches have meetings on Sunday morning in a larger building with one main pastor/teacher leading the service. But the lockdowns are challenging that structure as governments are fining, and in some instances even threatening jail time, if churches continue meeting on Sunday morning. With the lockdowns continuing into 2021, and in some instances with harsher restrictions that 2020, some churches are adapting. There is a new trend emerging called micro churches involving smaller gatherings of between 10 and 40 people. They typically meet in homes or a neutral setting such as coffee shops, and they are fully functioning churches. Many larger congregations already utilize house churches that meet during the week in addition to the main Sunday morning service. These additional meetings are often poorly attended, because if busy, people typically cut out the house church meeting since it is not considered the “church’s main service.” But some are wondering if these smaller groups should be …

The World keeps on Churning

Churning is not a word that most of us in daily conversation. When’s the last time you heard this: “Hey, Bob. What’s you got churning?” And that famous old song, Proud Mary encourages the “big wheel to keep on turning and Proud Mary to keep on burning” as the old paddlewheel travels down the river. It doesn’t say keep on churning. What is churning anyway? According to the Cambridge dictionary, churning means to move something, especially a liquid, with great force. Dairy farmers know it also means mixing milk until it becomes butter. If your stomach is churning, you feel nauseated or ill. Churning means to work up or to agitate. Did you know it is also used on the Bible? Nehemiah, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Jude all mention it. Perhaps the one that is most well-known is from Proverbs 30:33. “For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” Churning is not fun and it can be frightening to watch. When we …

Our History and Our Future: What scary things will happen in 2021?

Our History and Our Future: What scary things will happen in 2021? This is a history lesson. I am writing this on January 1, and everyone I know is worried about this new year 2021. What is going to happen? Should we worry? I might have an answer, and I found this answer in my closet yesterday. Our history is our future. We haven’t changed. Recently, I was reading something, and I saw two words that reminded me of something: “Nikolsk Ussurisk.” That led me to a search of my closet, and I found those words again. This is the story, from the beginning, including the parts where I guess what probably happened. I have a tiny French New Testament, published by the American Bible Society, in 1910, and probably printed in the U.S. It’s in excellent condition, and probably no one ever read it, including me. A few words are penned inside: “French” to tell English speakers that it’s a French Bible, and some faint handwriting “Franz [something] Nikolsk Ussurisk [something] 7/VII 1920. That’s …

Communist China: Jailed for doing God’s will?

On Dec. 28, 2020, China’s despotic communist regime sentenced a young woman, Zhang Zhan, 37, to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in the communist regime. Zhan, a former lawyer, was working as a citizen journalist when she went to Wuhan, China in February 2020 to report on the COVID-19 pandemic that had broken out in the city. She shared videos showing empty streets and packed hospitals to reveal the full extent of the crisis that was taking place. In some of her videos, she criticized the communist regime’s attempts to silence whistleblowers and as well its harsh lock down that included welding the doors of people’s home shut and sealing their windows with metal bars so they couldn’t escape. In one of her last videos Zhan reported “The government’s way of managing this city has just been intimidation and threats. This is truly the tragedy of this country.” Shortly after this, Zhan was arrested. Many believe the severity of Zhan’s sentence reveals the regimes desire to stamp out any dissenting …

The importance of the word ‘in’

Sometimes we completely underestimate the importance of some of the smallest words in the English vocabulary. Today, I want to talk about the simple two-letter word ‘in’ and more specifically how it is used when the Apostle Paul tells us: 18 In [èv] everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASV) Notice in this verse, that Paul did not say to be thankful ‘for’ all things but rather to be thankful ‘in’ all things. The Greek word for ‘in’ is the equally short word ‘èv’ and means simply to be inside, into, or in and when used in the sense of time “during.” Simply, the Apostle Paul was encouraging believers that no matter what circumstance we are in, we need to be giving thanks, literally finding things to be thankful for. In a sense we are offering up sacrifices of thanksgiving, because in some situations it is the last thing we want to do, and being thankful requires a sacrifice of our mind, will and …

Book of Life

It is customary for essayists and journalists to write a year-end review or to make predictions for the new year. 2020 was a year that was difficult for many people. But how bad was it really? One year saw a flood that destroyed the entire world except for Noah and his family and the animals on the ark. Now that was a bad year. Other years saw wars and disasters, genocide and infanticide. And these things are still going on today. They are underreported since COVID is what sells this year. Wars still happen. Hurricanes, droughts, floods, volcanoes still happen. Whole peoples are being targeted and executed. And of course, we legally kill more babies now than at any other time in history. Every day people are being murdered. Children are being raped. People are being attacked. These are bad things. The kind of things that used to be reported. The kind of things that go on every single day. And then there are the good things. Babies are being born. People get married. Lives …

Low Temperature Religion: Is a Muslim Christmas possible?

There are stories this Christmas of Muslims putting up Christmas trees and putting gifts under them. I have read at least two of these stories in the news. The Muslims, in the stories, are immigrants living in places where most people celebrate Christmas. This seems strange; the holiday is Christ-mass, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Until now, Muslims never celebrated Christmas; they had their own special events on the calendar. From the descriptions, it looks like some Muslims chose to celebrate a cultural Christmas, with a decorated tree and presents, and maybe some thoughts about a jolly fat man coming down the chimney. There were probably no herald angels on the tops of the trees, and probably no manger scene with a baby Jesus. They were having fun, and enjoying the season. It’s easy for me to understand, and smile, and I am sure some strict conservative Muslims do not approve. These events happened in places where Muslims were immigrants, and a minority in the population. READ: I’m Muslim and didn’t celebrate Christmas …