Greetings in Jesus’ wonderful name and in the victory that is ours because of Him! I’m excited to continue sharing with you today about how to be set free from oppression!
But before I dive into my teaching, I want to express my thanks to God and to you for all you have done and continue to do to play such a vital role in our ministry. Because your support of us through your prayers and your finances is so crucial to our effectiveness in the Kingdom of God, I want to let you know of something monumental that is occurring at RENNER Ministries! In June of 2021, we took over a Russian-speaking Christian satellite network and renamed it the Good News Channel (GNC). We knew it was the leading of the Lord and moved forward with confidence that He would help us financially fulfill this commitment of broadcasting trusted Christian programming in the Russian language, 24/7, all over the world.
We are now ready to launch a full line of programming, and I wanted you to be one of the first to know because, as with any Kingdom endeavor, although one man or woman — or one ministry — receives a Heavenly assignment, it takes the work of many to execute that assignment and bring it forth to God’s glory. It takes staff in our offices both in the U.S. and Russia to facilitate this programming, and it also takes partners who will really pray for us and contribute financially toward making this outreach effective in the lives of millions of Russian-speaking souls.
When Denise and I call someone a partner, we do so intentionally and with heartfelt meaning. Those who partner with us really are partners in this work of God and all our outreaches. As each person we reach is touched and lives are changed, it is not only being credited to our ministry’s account in Heaven, but also to the account of every person who helped make it happen. Friend, that means YOU!
The Good News Channel will be an ongoing outreach, so please ask the Lord if He would have you join our giving team in reaching all these hungry Russian-speaking people with trusted Bible teaching. You can go to renner.org or call 800-742-5593 to give toward this ever-growing, vast new channel. Thank you so much for being a friend and a partner!
As I continue my teaching today from last month, I want to share with you my own testimony of how the devil tried to assault me mentally and emotionally when I was a young man. I am only sharing this because I want to demonstrate how the devil targets people. This way, you’ll understand how the process works when the devil is attempting to oppress you or someone you love and care about!
When I was young, most of my friends at our church were involved in sports, and the mindset was that to be a real man, you had to be a sports man. Sports were highly valued, and our church friends either bowled or played basketball, softball, or baseball. In fact, they participated in anything involving a ball! But young Ricky Renner was not gifted in any kind of sports involving a ball. I actually detested every kind of ball sport, and to this day, I don’t like any sports that have to do with a ball because it always symbolized failure to me.
When I was just a young man, a voice began to speak to me, saying, There’s something wrong with you. There’s something really wrong. You can’t compete with the other guys. You cannot do what the other guys can do. Those thoughts just kept striking, striking, and striking my mind. When I went to school, I tried to be involved in sports with all the other guys. But, still, I was such a failure when it came to sports. Every day, I would have feelings of failure reinforced by voices speaking failure to me over and over again. This was an early devilish assault on my mind, and because I didn’t understand what was happening, I couldn’t articulate it or verbalize it, much less stand against it.
In place of liking sports like all the other guys, I was drawn to art, music, museums, and things of a creative nature. I was just wired differently. But on top of all that, the same voice that told me I was a failure for not being good at sports also repeatedly sneered, You’re a freak to like the things you like. That voice constantly lambasted me day in and day out. I can still remember looking into the mirror as a young boy and thinking, What is wrong with you? There’s something really wrong with you. It was an outside, oppressive force trying to penetrate my mind and take me hostage.
Then when I was in the seventh grade, I became ill and missed half the school year. During my absence, a new level of math was introduced. When I finally returned to school, I had missed half a year of instruction, so I did not understand what was being taught. Not only was I struggling in math, but I wasn’t doing well in writing because I had missed so much about seventh-grade English and grammar. I struggled every day, and as I sat at my desk, I would hear that same voice speaking to my mind, There’s something wrong with you. You are inferior. You’re a failure. You’re stupid. You can’t understand because you’re stupid! I constantly heard voices accusing me, You’re a failure because you are not athletic, and you are stupid. You’re a freak because you are so different from other people.
Even though I failed in mathematics, my teacher liked me, so she graduated me to the next level in school. But if I didn’t understand math in the seventh grade, how was I going to understand math in the eighth grade? For the entire eighth-grade school year, I struggled in mathematics, with that same dark, relentless voice speaking to me, There’s something wrong with you. You’re just stupid! But that year, my eighth-grade teacher also liked me, so she passed me into the ninth grade.
When I entered ninth grade, it was time to study algebra! My algebra teacher was so old that she had also been my father’s algebra teacher and, unfortunately, when my father was in her class, she did not like him because he had done something mischievous in her classroom.
During my first day in her class, as this teacher was taking roll, she came to my name and said, “Ricky Renner.”
I responded, “Here.” She asked, “Is your father Ronald Renner?” I answered, “Yes, that’s my father.” I remember her face as she pulled her glasses down to the end of her nose. She peered at me behind those thick lenses. Then she pushed her glasses back up onto her face and said matter-of-factly, “Stupid. In this class, your name is Stupid. Any child of Ronald Renner is stupid, stupid, stupid — and that is your name in this class.”
Do you see what was happening? The devil was telling me I was a stupid failure and a freak, and then brought in reinforcements through this woman to daily lambast me to confirm that I was indeed stupid. He was able to use an authority figure, with influence, to reinforce the lies he was already telling me.
When the other students heard what the teacher called me, they thought it was hysterical, and they all began to call me “Stupid.” When I walked through the hallway at school, I would hear, “Hey, Stupid!” or, “Hey, Stupid, where are you going?” Every day when that teacher called the roll in class, she would call everyone else by his or her actual name, but as soon as she came to my name, she would call out, “Stupid Renner.” And every time, I would compliantly answer, “Here.” If I raised my hand to ask a question, she would respond, “Yes, Stupid? Can somebody please help Stupid?”
The devil was striking and striking me with his merciless blows to penetrate my mind so I would believe the lie that I was stupid, a failure, a freak, and there was something really wrong with me. The devil was trying to subdue, conquer, and dominate my young life in order to convince me to believe the lie. The devil knew if I began to believe what he was telling me, that lie would become my reality — a stronghold in my thinking — and that without deliverance, I would fail in life.
Even though the devil was in pursuit of my destruction through his persistent lies, when I was 14 years old, I gloriously received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and those attacks ceased. When I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the power of God came on me, that power drove that darkness out of my life, all those attacks stopped, and the devil’s mission concerning me was aborted.
I’ve shared this testimony to show you that the devil wants to tell us what to think and what to believe; his goal is to feed us lie after lie trying to get us to take the bait and believe him. Then with that false mindset, we begin acting accordingly, and our view of life and of ourselves changes radically for the worse.
But let me take this a step further and identify seven levels of oppression. I am sharing these so you can identify them in your own life or in someone else’s life. Then in next month’s letter, I’m going to show you how to walk free of the devil’s lies in your mind.
Level Number One: A Personal Attack
The first level of oppression is a personal attack against the mind and emotions. Remember, the devil is diabolos — the one striking, striking, and striking the mind. I vividly recall that when the devil repeatedly spoke to my mind and said, You’re a failure. You’re a freak. You’re stupid. Something is wrong with you, he was striking my mind ruthlessly and continuously. From a very young age, I was targeted. The devil’s intention was to penetrate my mind in order to gain access to and control over my thoughts, emotions, and belief system so he could ultimately destroy me and God’s purpose for my life.
Level Number Two: Reinforcements
During the second level of oppression, the devil sends reinforcements to fortify his mental and emotional attacks. In other words, the devil will use people who will yield to him to corroborate the lies he is speaking to you. In my case, I believed that I was a failure at sports and that there was something wrong with me. One way the devil tried to reinforce that thinking in my young mind was through a baseball coach who mocked me publicly, telling me I was stupid and a failure — which only confirmed to me what I was already feeling and being harassed with. The devil brings in reinforcements through people to support what you are already hearing from him. Of course, my high-school teacher was another such reinforcement, further confirming the barrage of thoughts that continually assaulted my mind. And all my fellow classmates who called me Stupid throughout my ninth-grade year were reinforcements on an even larger scale!
Level Number Three: Life Experiences and Disappointments
In stage three of oppression, the devil uses negative life experiences and disappointments to fortify his deceptive lies. In my own life, experience after experience of failure in sports and in school convinced me that what I was believing and what I was hearing was the truth. I was not doing well in math; I was not doing well in English, which is amazing because today I’ve authored many books. It was as if the enemy knew certain things about my future and was attempting to sabotage me early on and abort my calling.
Level Number Four: Influential Voices
In stage four of oppression, influential voices bolster the intensity of the devil’s attack. As I told you, when I entered ninth grade, I had a teacher who disliked my dad. On my first day of class, I innocently showed up and the bombardment began.
Because an influential voice was now speaking to me, repeating exactly the same lie the devil had been speaking, I was victimized by an intensifying of that attack.
The ninth-grade students had also taken job-placement tests that year. After taking mine, I was called in for an interview by the test administrators — more voices of authority — to tell me how I should plan my future education and vocation. Two different counselors told me, “Ricky, you have no future. Mentally, you don’t have what is needed to go to college or pursue higher levels of education. We would encourage you to think about digging ditches or maybe helping to build roads — doing something manual because mentally, you will never be able to handle anything higher.”
There’s nothing wrong with building roads and infrastructures — those jobs are desperately needed in any civilized society! But I wasn’t called to do those types of jobs. I was called to study the Greek language and to teach the Word of God around the world through books, TV, and other platforms! The devil was trying to bolster the intensity of the attack on my life and ministry calling through influential voices — “experts.” The enemy had brought the teacher, a baseball coach, and, finally, two job-placement counselors to reinforce his lies. On top of that, the devil was still speaking lies to me personally, striking my mind repeatedly.
Level Number Five: Negative Faith
In the fifth level of oppression, negative faith in the lie is released by the one whose mind and emotions are being attacked. Jesus clearly taught that whatever we believe is what we receive. The devil’s purpose is to inundate our minds with a lie until we hear it so many times, the lie begins to become “truth” to us. In other words, we begin to believe we’re stupid or a failure, etc. We begin to believe that there is something wrong with us, and what we believe about ourselves is empowered by our faith to become a reality.
What you believe is so important. If you believe a lie, your believing will empower that lie, and it will become your reality. Conversely, if you believe the truth, the truth will become your reality. Whatever you believe becomes your reality. If you release negative faith in a lie, you will empower that lie, which leads us to level number six.
Level Number Six: What Is Believed Becomes a Living Reality
When lies are believed and embraced, they leave the mental realm and enter the physical realm — then whatever you have believed becomes your reality. If you believe the lie long enough that you are stupid, you will become stupid. If you believe you are a failure, you will eventually become a failure. If you believe you are a freak, you become a freak. When we believe the lie, our faith in that lie is released. When we accept the lie, it leaves the mental and emotional realm and enters the physical realm.
Level Number Seven: Domination for a Lifetime
The ultimate aim of the enemy is to take us hostage so he can dominate us for the rest of our lives. That did not happen to me because I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and it set me free. (If you have never received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, call RENNER Ministries, and we will pray with you to receive this powerful experience!)
You Can Pull Down the Devil’s Lies in Your Mind
But even if a person becomes subjugated to the devil’s tyranny and control, he or she can become free once again. In Second Corinthians 10:4, the apostle Paul wrote about calling down the lies that the devil is trying to plant in your mind and emotions. The verse begins, “Casting down imaginations….”
The words “casting down” are a translation of a Greek word that means to take it down and to disassemble, if needed, bit by bit. The use of this word means a lie can be demolished, destroyed, dismantled, thrown down, knocked down, broken up, broken apart, and pulled to pieces until nothing is left of it.
Paul specifically says we can cast down “imaginations.” In Greek, the word “imagination” is logismos, and it is where we get the idea of what the mind is thinking. The devil knows that the mind is the central control center of your life, and whoever controls your mind controls you. If the devil can control your mind, he can control what you think and what you believe. If he can control your mind, he can control your self-image. Your self-image will begin to affect the way you relate to others and how others perceive you.
Whoever has your mind has you. That is why God wants your mind! That’s the reason we need to renew our mind with the Word of God (see Romans 12:2). God wants your mind because when God has your mind, He has you.
But the Bible says that if you have a wrong mental stronghold — or if the devil is trying to suppress you in your mind or emotions — you can take that imagination apart, dismantle it, and disassemble it bit by bit until nothing is left of it and you are finally free.
And not only can we cast down imaginations, but Paul says we can cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. The words “high thing” are from a Greek word that describes any kind of presumptuous thought that “exalts itself” against the knowledge of God. So what does that mean? Let me give you a few examples.
- God says you are healed, but your flesh or mind says you are not healed and that you will never be healed.
- God also says you are made perfect in Christ, but your flesh will say you are a failure and that you’re never going to change or be anything in life.
- God declares you are His very own righteousness in Christ and that there is no condemnation for you as you seek to walk with Him — but the enemy will assault your mind with thoughts that you are a guilty sinner!
The enemy wants to exalt his lie over your life — and it is always a lying voice that opposes whatever God has declared about you. You see, God speaks the truth, but the devil says the opposite. The enemy has waged an all-out war to try to convince you to disbelieve whatever God has declared about you!
That is why Paul goes on to say we must bring “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).
The word “obedience” is the Greek word hupakoe, which is a compound of the word hupo and akoe. The word hupo carries the idea of being in a subservient position, while the word akoe means I hear. When the two words are compounded, it depicts one who is submitted; one who listens willingly or by force; one who obeys what he hears, either willingly or by compulsion, duress, or pressure.
This means that to destroy a mental or emotional stronghold, we must speak to our mind and emotions and make them submit to what God’s Word says about us. The word hupo depicts you submitting yourself to the Word of God, and the word akoe pictures you bending your ear to what God has to say and then obeying it. You must submit your mind and your emotions to God and His Word — and you must force yourself to listen to and put into practice everything God says about you. In the process of making your mind and emotions submit to Christ and His Word rather than to the lies you’ve been hearing, you will begin disassembling those lies bit by bit and completely demolishing the rule of oppression in your life.
The fact is, we must choose which voice we hear. We can keep listening to the lie or choose to hear the truth. Whichever voice we choose to listen to is the one we will believe, and the voice we believe is the one that will become our reality.
So if you want to be free, you must choose to listen to the liberating voice of God. You must bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ and the knowledge of God — you must bring your mind captive to what God says about you. You must make the choice to hear the truth and believe it so that truth becomes your reality and obliterates the lie. If you’ll bend your brain to hear God’s Word and shut your ears to the enemy’s voice, you — and those you love — can walk free of every oppressive thought as you cast down vain imaginations.
I know that I’ve gone a little longer than I usually do in my monthly teaching letter, but I didn’t want to miss one important point in what I’ve shared with you today. My heart’s desire is to see people set free from the oppressive work of the enemy. And even more, Acts 10:38 says Jesus is anointed to set people free from oppression, so that means a part of our God-given assignment is also to see people set free!
If you need specific prayer about anything I’ve touched on today, please contact us by calling, writing, or emailing us. I promise that we’ll keep your prayer request confidential and we’ll pray forcefully for God to move on your behalf. Denise and I and my team are always praying for you anyway, but if you let us know how to specifically pray, it will enable us to do it even more effectively!
Please pray for Denise and me, our family, and our team, as we continue doing what Jesus has asked us to do. Like you, we are also doing our part to drive back the work of the enemy and to bring the healing, delivering power of Jesus into people’s lives. Thank you again for your partnership with our ministry. Your prayers and support are such an important part of our ability to do what Jesus has called our ministry to do — I cannot stress that enough!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
Along with Paul, Philip, and Joel Renner and our ministry team