All posts filed under: Bible

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 …

Three keys to victory in spiritual warfare

In a recent article on God TV, Rhoda Gayle discussed a sermon by John Kilpatrick who is head pastor of Church of His Presence in Daphne, AL. Pastor Kilpatrick shared that there are signs that spiritual attacks against Christians are increasing. He told his audience, “The level of warfare is definitely increasing. You can think back to when you were much younger, you can think back to whenever you have a much simpler life…  Today, everything has changed.” We know from the book of Revelation, that Satan’s attack on believers will become more overt and aggressive in the end times. But out of this heightened warfare will emerge a group of believers who conquered or overcame satan: 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even[a]when faced with death. (Revelation 12:11 NASV The Greek word translated ‘overcome’, ‘enikēsan’, speaks of such an overwhelming defeat, that according to the Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, the word …

Understanding your identity in Christ

Jesse Duplantis is a popular American televangelist and recently a left-wing news site shared a video of Duplantis speaking at a fund-raising event for another prominent televangelist, Kenneth Copeland. In the brief clip, Duplantis appears to make the outrageous statement that one of the reasons Christ hasn’t returned yet is because believers are not giving enough money. If Christians just gave more, Jesus would come sooner. I am not exactly sure the full point Duplantis was trying to make as the video seems to be cut off before he provided further explanation on what he meant. But as it stands, I don’t recall the Lord listing an increase in Church giving as one of the birth pangs leading to the Lord’s imminent return in Matthew 24. Though embarrassing for many Christians, these type of stories are a good reminder of one of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. As we read the Bible, we see time and again, that it does not hide the failures of the men and women of God. David, who was …

 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 …

Despite increasing persecution, Christianity growing in Indonesia

It defies logic, but according to a report by the Indonesian government, the Christian population in that Muslim-dominated country has grown by 1% over the past decade. With just over 86% of Indonesia’s population (272.2 million) identifying as Muslim, the country has the largest muslim population (236 million) of any country in the world. But the growth of Christianity is interesting considering the emergence of several Muslim extremist groups in recent years, that have been ramping up their persecution of Christians. This past spring, the government was forced to increase security for churches during Easter services after two militants, a husband and wife, who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic extremist group, ISIS, blew themselves up outside a church the previous Palm Sunday, injuring 20. Yet, despite this growing persecution, International Concern reports that as of June 2021, the government reported that 10.58% of its population is Christian (comprised of 20.4 million protests and 8.4 million Catholics). This is up from 9.87% of its population reporting as Christian in 2010. In real numbers, the Christian …

The Cure for Fear

Last week, I wrote about not fearing Covid. Respecting it and doing what you can to reduce your risks of contacting it is not fear. It is common sense. Fear is rampart these days. People have allowed fear to disrupt their lives, weaken relationships, and alter their daily routines. So how do we deal with such fear, especially when it seems almost warranted? The Bible has the answer: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18) Doesn’t this sound good? No fear in love? So, the answer is to love. But it is more than that. I have some good friends who love their spouses and their children dearly and are still fearful that they will not survive covid. Christian platitudes and slogan sayers claim that that fear is the opposite of faith and therefore these people don’t have enough faith. I challenge those people to lay next to their wives and listen to them wheezing and coughing as they struggle for their next breath. Yes, fear is …

Did a gift of faith provide the gift of life?

As cultural wars rage for the unborn, Mike and Jessica Tomy were awaiting the birth of their third child when they received some tragic news. Jessica was in her second trimester when an ultrasound revealed that the baby’s size was not only four weeks behind, but Jessica also had very low levels of amniotic fluid which is a protective layer that surrounds a baby while in the womb. The fluid not only cushions the baby, but also provides water, nutrients and biochemicals necessary to sustain life. The doctor told the couple that their baby was not going to survive. And then dropped the bombshell, that when the baby’s heartbeat finally stopped, he would have to induce the birth of their dead child. After hearing the tragic news, Jessica and Mike stopped work on the baby’s room and instead prepared for a funeral. They asked family and friend to pray for them during this difficult time. But there was one moment when everything changed. Jessica was reading an article how a woman had been miraculously healed …

Dealing with a Bible discrepancy: How long was Israel in Egyptian captivity, 200 years or 430 years?

In this article I want to deal with what appears to be a discrepancy in the Bible between how long Israel was in Egyptian captivity before they started their journey to the Promised Land under Moses. In the Book of Exodus, we are told that Israel was captive in Egypt for 430 years: 40 Now the time that the sons of Israel had lived in Egypt was 430 years. (Exodus 12:40 NASV) However, in Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes that the 430 years starts from the time that God first gave his promise to the Patriarch Abraham to the end of their Egyptian captivity: 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as one would in referring to many, but rather as in referring to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came 430 years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it …

The Dark Side: Can we talk about demons?

This is something we should all do: decide. Do you believe that spiritual things exist? … or not? If we believe in God, who is a spirit, we should accept that other spirits also exist. The Bible is full of stories about God, and other spirit beings. That includes angels who work for God, and angels who are the enemies of God; demons. I want to add a disclaimer; this is not about mental illness or dramatic Hollywood movies. I have met people with mental health problems, that can be managed. That is an interesting topic, but it’s not the topic here. Also, we probably all know the movie where the little girl spits at a priest exorcist, and spins her head around. That is entertainment. The actual influence of demons, including possession, was a scary topic before the movie came out. A few days ago, I learned something that is real, and scary, and close to me. We had a neighbor, a few years ago. She seemed like a nice person, and a good …

Denzel Washington shares that God has been telling him to ‘Feed My Sheep”

Hollywood actor, Denzel Washington, spoke at a christian men’s conference, “The Better Man Event,” hosted by First Baptist Orlando, on September 18, 2021. In a half hour sit-down interview with A.R. Bernard, the senior pastor of Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center, Denzel told the audience that every time he starts praying God has a word for him to ‘feed My sheep’: “In every prayer, all I hear is: ‘Feed my sheep.’ That’s what God wants me to do.” But it was a bit confusing, because as a Hollywood actor he wasn’t sure what that meant, but eventually he realized that there are different kinds of sheep, and God had people for Denzel to minister too: “What I found out in the last couple of years is there are all kinds of sheep. So that’s why I talk to experienced shepherds to help guide me.” But that calling to feed My sheep has been on Denzel for several decades. In an interview with Parade Magazine in 1999, Denzel stated that at times he’s wondered if he should …

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 …

HS football team gathers for prayer after school board orders ban on teacher-led prayer

After a Tennessee school board told teachers and coaches last week that they could no longer lead their school teams in prayer, several players, cheerleaders, fans and parents associated with Putnam County football team took matters into their own hands and gathered on the field after a recent game to pray.

Study: Just 30-seconds of Mozart could reduce epileptic seizures

According to researchers from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, just 30 seconds of Mozart has the ability to calm the parts of our mind linked to seizure and epileptic attacks. Study Finds reports that the researchers had 16 people with drug resistant epileptic seizures listen to several clips of music, including Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos, written in 1781. As they were listening, the researchers monitored their brain activity using electroencephalograms. They found that as the people listened to Mozart, there was an average 66.5% reduction in the electrical spikes in the brain that cause epilepsy. This song, along with “40-Hz auditory gamma-band tones,” were the only musical clips that recorded a reduction. Based on their observations, the researchers concluded that listening to Mozart daily could reduce the number of epileptic seizures by as much as 66%. This was not the first study to notice that this particular song positively impacted brain activity. An earlier study found that the song increased a person’s “spatial reasoning ability.” READ: Just 30 seconds of Mozart calms brain regions …

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 …

What the Taliban guidelines on polygamy, tell us about Abraham’s day

I recently read an interesting article on BBC about an edict issued by the Afghanistan Taliban regarding polygamy earlier this year. In her article, Taliban Cracks Down on ‘Costly’ Polygamy, Author Khudai Noor Nasar states that in its two-page edict, the Taliban urges its commanders and officers not to take multiple wives. Curiously, this partial ban on polygamy has an interesting connection to a story in the Book of Genesis involving Abraham and his wife Sarah. Islam allows a man to have up to four wives and essentially an unlimited number of concubines. This has resulted in a shortage of women in countries such as Afghanistan for marriage and thousands of single men who have no hope of marrying and raising a family. Most of the Taliban’s recruits come from this large pool of single men. When the BBC contacted the Taliban asking how many of its leaders have more than one wife, they were simply retorted: “Which one hasn’t.?” But polygamy has resulted in an increased corruption among Taliban officers, who require extra money …

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 …

Seven soldiers spontaneously baptized at Fort Irwin. Is this part of a bigger ‘Kingdom of God’ strategy?

According to a recent Facebook post, seven soldiers stationed at Fort Irwin, a US military base located in California, were recently baptized by Chaplains in a make shift baptismal tanks after they spontaneously requested water baptism. Faithit reports that the news was shared on Facebook by 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and 2nd Infantry Division that posted: “With no chapel or equipment to facilitate, our chaplains came together and created a makeshift tub at the National Training Center/Fort Irwin and got the job done. A fine example of Lancers being experts at their chosen field craft!” Since it was first reported on Aug 30, 2021, the post has received over 77,000 shares, 3,000 comments and 21,000 likes. Fort Irwin is a major training base for the US military and is located in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County. Because of its massive size, 1,000 square miles, it provides training in multiple facets including manoeuvres, air combat, air support tactics and urban warfare. Each month, between 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers rotate through the base’s National …

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 …

One prescription for mental stress

I was watching an interesting video the other day by famed University of Toronto psychologist, Jordan Peterson, and he was talking about the mental health struggles that people go through. He compared this problem to a balloon that if you keep pumping air into it will eventually blow up. But, he noted, that this break will take place at the balloon’s weakest point. He says that the same thing happens to people. When life starts getting complicated, and things start piling up, and we are hit with multiple issues at the same time, job loss, health issues, marital problems, the death of family or friends, the pressure builds until sometimes we break at our weakest psychological point. And we are living in very complicated times, with all those issues compounded by a virus, lockdowns and growing societal unrest. So, how to we deal with stress during these anxiety-filled days? Several years back, two researchers, Joshua Brown and Joel Wong, decided to study the impact that thankfulness has on a person’s mental well-being. In their article, …

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. …

Dealing with our shame and fear

2020 will go down as the year that everyone wants to forget, but will probably be the one we are most likely to remember. A recent survey conducted by Lifeway Research asked Americans what is the one feeling they most want to avoid this year. Not surprising, the big winner was fear, with 41% stating that this was the number one emotion they most wanted to get rid of. It suggests that for many Americans, fear is lurking in the background as people go about their everyday lives. But it’s not surprising that fear topped the list. Americans have faced a two pronged attack in 2020, with governments, the mainstream media and health officials driving a fear pandemic about COVID, and this combined with social unrest as protests and riots spread, have made an emotional impact. The second emotion that people wanted to get rid of was ‘shame,’ which at 24% came in a far second, followed by guilt at 22%. It was a complete turn around from 2016, when a similar survey by Lifeway …

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 …

Converse releases sneaker with Satanic symbol

Converse, a clothing and shoe manufacturer, recently released a limited edition sneaker that had the company’s Chuck Taylor star logo replaced by a pentagram, an occultic/satanic symbol. The shoe was designed by Rick Owens, a designer who reportedly has been using the pentagram as part of his creative designs for years. According to Charisma News, Converse provided a statement by Owens on its Instagram account about this pentagram design. Owen said: “And a pentagram, in this day and age, with all of its associations … I like the fact that it refers to an alternative system. And that suggests openness and empathy. It suggests the pursuit of pleasure, this pursuit of sensation. But one of the main things that I think it suggests is empathy and a consideration of systems of living that might not be standard. So that leads us to be more accepting and tolerant of other systems, which I think is a good thing.” READ: Converse Unveils Designer Shoes with Satanic Symbol Replacing Brand’s Star Logo As Charisma News noted, this seems …

Did God give us COVID? A plague of biblical proportions

Recently, I watched a new video of a doctor who disagreed with the Government. Where I live, The government has followed instructions and vaccinated large numbers of people against COVID. After achieving a successful number of vaccinations, they told us about their success, and lifted most restrictions and the way we live. We can now visit friends and go to church. Even infected people are free to travel. The doctor was furious, because he believes people are now in danger. If you want to see the interview, the link is here: I don’t want to argue with a doctor. He was very emotional when he talked about the dangers of COVID, and not always easy to understand. He thinks the government has made a mistake. Now there are rumors that people from our area will be restricted when they travel to other places. Some people believe that vaccines won’t protect us enough and we need to stay isolated. It’s ugly out there. And there are stories about demonstrations and possibly riots against COVID restrictions, in …

Survey: One in 10 pastors contemplated suicide in the past year

A 2021 survey conducted by Faithlife revealed that over one in 10 pastors contemplated committing suicide over the past year. This was a surprising indicator of the increasing stress that pastors faced during the COVID lockdowns, where church leaders were not only faced with restricted services, but as well the need to transition to an online ministry. In its report entitled, 2021 Pastoral Mental Health Report, Faithlife added that pastors also felt the pressures from the growing “social and political unrest” in society, that was even spilling over into their congregations. In addition, nearly 35% of the pastors survey reported feeling burned out, with 40% of pastors between the ages of 25-40 reporting they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that they’re sensing a burnout in their ministry. Faithlife CEO, Bob Pritchett, noted: “We knew it [COVID} took a toll on pastors, but we weren’t sure how it would look. This survey gives us a greater understanding of both the needs of pastors and ways we can help them as they shepherd us.” It …

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 …