HOW TO EAT THE GOOD OF THE LAND

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”  For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.  Isaiah 1:19-20 NIV

God is the author and source of all the blessings in our lives. In order for us to live in His blessings and become a partaker of them, we must be submitted, spirit, soul and body, to Him. We are able to make the choice to serve God or not – it is our option – God does not force us. However, if we choose to resist the Spirit of God and if we rebel against Him, our lives will be destroyed. It is important that we are obedient to the Lord, but we must also be willing to serve and obey Him in everything.

Rebellion is an attitude. We can carry out acts of obedience and yet still have an attitude of rebellion on the inside. We can be outwardly obedient and inwardly rebellious and what we really are is rebellious. That is why God says, “willing AND obedient”. Obedience and submission are two different things. Obedience is an action and submission is an attitude. God looks at our heart. He knows whether we are willing to obey Him or not. It takes humility to submit to God’s authority in our life and to do what He says. So we must be submitted to God with all our heart and we must obey Him by DOING everything He says to do.

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.  1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV

If we want God’s blessing, we must serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.‘ The second is this: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.  Mark 12:28-34 NIV

Then Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. 1 Samuel 15:22-23b NKJV

Just because we can make the choice to disobey God, does not mean that we will get away with it. The sin of rebellion against God is equivalent to the sin of witchcraft. God takes it very seriously. This is not a game we play, but a matter of life and death. God is not someone you mess with lightly. If He gives an order, we must realize that it is not a suggestion. We are obligated to obey, if we want to live long and prosperous lives. We cannot toy with God. We cannot offer an acceptable sacrifice from a rebellious heart. Our sacrifice must be offered from a heart of obedience.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  1 John 5:2-3 KJV

God’s commands are not grievous. They are not burdensome, irksome or unpleasant. Whatever God tells us to do is going to be a blessing to us in the end. God asks us to lose our lives – to lay down our agenda – for Him, but this is something that He has already done for us. He laid His life down and gave it up for us. He gives us His all and He wants our all. We definitely have the best end of the deal!

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:15-17 NIV

If you are not wholeheartedly yielded to the Father, then you are yielded to someone else – i.e. the devil. You are a slave to the one you obey – whether it is God or the devil. Do not be deceived – you are either a slave of the devil –the author of sin and death – or a slave of God – the author of righteousness. So submit yourself to God. Be willing and obedient and you will eat of the good of the land!

HEALING SCRIPTURES

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed ? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.  Isaiah 53:1-4 KJV

Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:4-6 KJV

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  Isaiah 53:7-10 KJV

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:11-12 KJV

When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Mathew 8:16-17 KJV

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.  I Peter 2:24 KJV

God’s Word is spirit and it is life. God’s Word brings healing to every aspect of our lives. God’s Word will only work in us when it is IN us. We must meditate on His Word and we must confess His Word. His Word must become real on the inside of us and then it will work in and through us.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.   Romans8:11 KJV

If you need healing in your body you need to meditate on God’s Word. Even if your body is healthy and strong, you need to build up your faith in the area of healing. Take these scriptures and meditate on them every day. Read them, think about them, speak them out loud, and God’s healing power will begin a work in your body.

YOU ARE JESUS DISCIPLES IF YOU…ABIDE IN HIS WORD

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:31-32 NKJV

A disciple is a learner or a pupil, someone who is being taught by a teacher or a master, learning everything the master knows, following his teaching, imitating him and, in the end, becoming just like him.

If you abide in Jesus’ word and if His word abides in you, then you are trained by it and then you are truly His disciples. The word of God must come to live on the inside of you – it must take up residence in you. You must hear it, receive it, believe it, act upon it and live it out in your life. Even if you are born-again, you are not truly Jesus’ disciple if you do not have His word in your heart or if you do not imitate His example and do what He did. Even if you know the Bible back-to-front, you are not truly Jesus’ disciple until you are a doer of the word of God. When people see that you behave like Jesus – that you walk like Him, talk like Him and do the things that He did – then they will know that you are His disciple.

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.  Acts 4:13-14 NKJV

Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men, but they were anointed with power and boldness and they had a revelation from Heaven of spiritual things – a fact which was very evident to the religious leaders. They could tell that they had received their education from Jesus because they were just like Him and they behaved just like Him! When you abide in Jesus word, you will know the truth and the truth will liberate you, deliver and make you free.

LOVE

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35 NKJV

If you abide in Jesus’ word and His word abides in you, the love of God that is shed abroad in your heart will begin to flow out of you and you will walk and operate in love, just as Jesus did. When you walk in the God-kind of love, that love that loves the unlovely, then people will know that you are Jesus’ disciple. The God-kind of love sees people as valuable and precious, even when they are worthless, useless, despised and despicable in the eyes of man.

When you walk in love, you will do things and say things in a way that is totally opposite of the way the world operates. Because you do the thing they least expect you to do, because you respond in love and peace when any regular person would react in anger and hate, they see the difference immediately! They know that you are different – they know that something happened to you, they know that you have been with Jesus and learned from Jesus, and they know that you are His disciple. You are a light and a testimony and you convict them of their sin.

BEAR FRUIT

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:1-8 NKJV

When you obey the word of God and it even becomes part of who you are, not simply something you believe, then you will bear much fruit – the fruit of His word and work in your heart and life. When you bear the fruit of the word and work of the Spirit in your life – you will bring much glory to the Father. When you bear the fruit of the word and work of the Spirit in your life – people will know and recognize that you are Jesus disciple, that you have spent time with Him and that you have been trained and taught by Him. So if you are His disciples – go forth and abide in His word, walk in love and bear much fruit!

BEAUTY FOR ASHES

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.  Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV

Under the Old Covenant, people wore ashes when they were mourning. Those who had sinned, or who were distraught about something, wore sackcloth with ashes on their head. In Isaiah 61:3, the prophet Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah – Jesus – Who would come to give us beauty for ashes. The Amplified Bible says that He came to give us an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes.

Ashes are all that is left after something is completely burned up. In the natural, when something is broken, you can fix it, but if it has been burned up and reduced to ashes, it can never be restored back to the way it was, never mind better than what it was!

After these events, God tested and proved Abraham and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Here I am. 2[God] said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I will tell you.  Genesis 22:1-2 AMP

By faith Abraham, when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God’s] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, 18 Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned. 19 For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead.  Hebrews 11:17-19 AMP

God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac because He was planning to sacrifice Jesus for all mankind. Since the promise of the New Covenant was based on the covenant God made with Abraham, Abraham – on behalf of all mankind – had to be prepared to sacrifice his son to the Lord. Of course, God did not want Abraham to actually kill Isaac, He just had to know that he was willing to do it. Abraham had so much faith in God’s promise, “Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned,” that he was fully prepared to kill Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering. When you finish burning an offering, only ashes are left. Abraham was convinced that God would raise Isaac from the dead even if all that was left of him was ashes!

Many of you feel as if there are areas of your life that have been left in ruins and burned to ashes – never to be recovered again – but the good news is that Jesus came to give us beauty for our ashes. If God has made you a promise, then you can stand on that promise and trust Him to bring something beautiful out of the ashes of your life.

Jesus came to give us an ornament – a garland or a diadem – of beauty instead of ashes. Instead of ashes on our head, we wear an ornament or crown of beauty. Jesus lifts us out of our mourning and gives us a reason to rejoice. He heals incurable diseases – leprosy, withered limbs, blindness, and issues of blood. He raised sons and daughters and brothers from the dead. Wherever things look hopeless and you feel helpless – Jesus is there to work a miracle if you will believe.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Whatever plans you have for yourself – God has better plans. Whatever evil plans the devil has for you – God has good plans – plans to give you hope and to give you a future. Ashes represent something that is over with no hope, no tomorrow, and no future, but in Jesus, we have a hope and a future. God has a future – a good future – for you!

GIVING THANKS

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

All these curses shall come upon you and shall pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 They shall be upon you for a sign [of warning to other nations] and for a wonder, and upon your descendants forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of [mind and] heart [in gratitude] for the abundance of all [with which He had blessed you].  Deuteronomy 28:45-47 AMP

It is so very important that we maintain a grateful attitude toward the Lord at all times and in every situation and circumstance. When we are ungrateful, we open ourselves up to negative thinking, negative believing and negative speaking. When you become negative, you expose yourself to everything that can go wrong in your life. The devil loves to divide you from your Heavenly Father and bring in a wedge between you, because that is how he can destroy you. He cannot touch you when you are pressing into God’s presence. The devil may shoot his fiery darts, but your faith and trust in God allow Him to work and move on your behalf and protect you from the devil. Read Psalm 91 and you will see how pressing into God will protect your life.

Your gratefulness is your faith in action – faith in God and faith in His love and provision. Gratefulness is an acknowledgement of God’s place in your heart and in your life and that He is the source of all the good things in your life. Your gratefulness acknowledges all that God has given you and all that He is giving you and all that He will give you. Gratefulness is not only being thankful for all that God has done, but it is a demonstration of your faith in His future provision for you. If you want to continue to be blessed, you must remain grateful.

All the commandments which I command you this day you shall be watchful to do, that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers. 2 And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothing did not become old upon you nor did your feet swell these forty years. 5 Know also in your [minds and] hearts that, as a man disciplines and instructs his son, so the Lord your God disciplines and instructs you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and [reverently] fear Him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8 A land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey; 9 A land in which you shall eat food without shortage and lack nothing in it; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.

10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for all the good land which He has given you. 11 Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His precepts, and His statutes which I command you today, 12Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them, 13And when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all you have is multiplied, 14 Then your [minds and] hearts be lifted up and you forget the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, 15 Who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, but Who brought you forth water out of the flinty rock, 16 Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 And beware lest you say in your [mind and] heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. 18 But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and walk after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations which the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 8:1-20 AMP

Don’t ever forget that it is God Who has blessed you – it is not just your own work, talents, wisdom or abilities that have brought you the blessing. Remember the Lord and all He has done for you by being thankful at all times and in everything and He will continue to bless you and provide for you above and beyond anything you could ask, or think, or imagine.

PROTECT YOUR HEART FROM THE DEVIL’S DEVICES

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive that one; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sakes in the presence [and with the approval] of Christ (the Messiah), 11To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions.  2 Corinthians 2:10-11 AMP

The Lord knows us humans very well – inside and out. He knows what motivates us, what we need and what we want. He also knows the devil and how he operates. The devil hates God and he hates man – God’s crowning creation. He has figured out how to deceive man, how to divide man, and how to control him through fear, lust and selfishness. The Word will protect you from the devil and his devices if you will put the Word in your heart. If you know the devil’s devices – his wiles and intentions – it will not be so easy for him to get an advantage over you.

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.  John 12:3-6 NIV

14 Then one of the Twelve-the one called Judas Iscariot-went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Matthew 26:14-16 NIV

Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ treasurer – he was in charge of the money that belonged to Jesus and the disciples. The only problem is that he was also covetous and a thief – he was stealing from the bag. He thought that he was in charge of the money, but he forgot that it wasn’t his money, it was Jesus’ money. He thought that he was controlling the money, but it was controlling him. Judas did not really care about the poor – because he loved money more than God, he gave the devil access to his life – to deceive him and to control him. Judas and the devil were offended when the woman anointed Jesus with the whole pint of valuable perfume. He was so mad that he walked right out and cut a deal with the chief priests to betray Jesus. He was blinded by the devil and blinded by greed.

Jesus knew that one of His disciples would betray Him and He told them so. When they asked who it was, Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, 28 but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.  (John 13:26-30 NIV)

Even though Jesus knew what Judas was up to and He even told Judas that He knew that he would betray Him, Judas still went ahead with it. He was so blinded by the devil that he could not see what he was doing – betraying Jesus – an innocent Man. There are many wrong choices that people make that open themselves up to be deceived by the devil and manipulated by him to destroy others and themselves. God wants us to love one another in order to preserve us and protect us, but the devil wants us to turn on each other and to destroy each other and ourselves. When people are sinning, their heart condemns them. If they won’t repent and change, they must shut off their conscience and find fault with the people who convict them. When someone is sinning, they are jealous of those who are obedient and who have found favor with God – like Cain and Abel. Whatever was motivating Judas, whether it was greed or jealousy, he was wrong and he made a wrong choice to betray Jesus.

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him,   48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”  Luke 22:47-48 NIV

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. 2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.  Matthew 27:1-5 NIV

Once the devil had used Judas for his purposes, he did not need him anymore and so he did not care that Judas’ eyes were open and he could see what a terrible thing he had done. Judas was so devastated that he took his own life. If only he had not opened the door to the devil, the devil would not have been able to deceive him and he would not have ended up killing himself instead of being part of changing the world with the other disciples. Don’t give the devil access to your life through lies and sin. Protect your heart and you will protect your life.

DO NOT RELY ON YOUR POWER – RATHER RELY ON THE POWER OF GOD

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27[No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, 29 So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God. 30 But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin]. 31 So then, as it is written, Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in the Lord.  1 Corinthians 1:26-31 AMP

In the world, in secular realms, there is a great emphasis placed on talents, abilities, knowledge, learning, money, influence, power, and noble birth. That is because they rely exclusively on their own ability in every sphere of their lives. This causes them to be respecters of persons, rejecting those they deem inferior or unacceptable. God, however, is not a respecter of persons – He will use anyone who is willing and available.

And Peter opened his mouth and said: Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons, 35 But in every nation he who venerates and has a reverential fear for God, treating Him with worshipful obedience and living uprightly, is acceptable to Him and  sure of being received and welcomed [by Him]. Acts 10:34-35 AMP

Humility is a quality not especially valued or esteemed in the world’s system, but it is highly valued in the kingdom of God. That is because a humble person does not find it difficult to yield to the Lord and can therefore be used by Him to the fullest extent possible. God deliberately chooses to use those who are foolish, weak, lowborn, and insignificant in the world’s eyes so that only His power can be seen and displayed; so that only He can be recognized and glorified.

Now when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools [common men with no educational advantages], they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.  Acts 4:13 AMP

A beggar who had been crippled from birth was healed by the power of God through Peter and John, who proceeded to preach the gospel to the amazed crowd. When the Sadducees pulled them in for questioning, they were amazed at their demeanor and the power of their witness. They realized that they did not have the education, the ability or the power to do a miracle or to speak so eloquently. They marveled and recognized that they had been with Jesus. So God was glorified in their midst even though they refused to change their mind and acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

As for myself, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony and evidence or mystery and secret of God [concerning what He has done through Christ for the salvation of men] in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophy and wisdom; 2 For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. 3 And I was in (passed into a state of) weakness and fear (dread) and great trembling [after I had come] among you. 4 And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], 5 So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.  1 Corinthians 2:1-5 AMP

Many preachers think that they need to preach in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophy and wisdom in order to be effective, but God does not want anyone’s faith to rest in the wisdom of men or in human philosophy, but in the power of God. The Lord wants you rather to be totally yielded to and dependant upon Him, He wants you to be personally acquainted with Jesus, and He wants to anoint you with His power, so that you can demonstrate His Holy Spirit and power as a sign and a wonder and a witness to the world!

WISDOM IS THE PRINCIPAL THING

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. 6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. 7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, 8[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].  James 1:5-8 AMP

God says that if we want wisdom, we need to ask Him for wisdom, but we must ask in faith, expecting to receive it from Him. We must not be double-minded and God will liberally and ungrudgingly give us wisdom without reproaching or faultfinding.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.  Psalms 111:10 NIV

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline.  Proverbs 1:7 AMP

Anyone, who wants to walk in wisdom, must first revere and worship God, because any wisdom that does not honor God is not really wisdom at all.

Let no person deceive himself. If anyone among you supposes that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool [let him discard his worldly discernment and recognize himself as dull, stupid, and foolish, without true learning and scholarship], that he may become [really] wise. 19 For this world’s wisdom is foolishness (absurdity and stupidity) with God, for it is written, He lays hold of the wise in their [own] craftiness; 20 And again, The Lord knows the thoughts and reasonings of the [humanly] wise and recognizes how futile they are.  1 Corinthians 3:18-20 AMP

The world’s wisdom is foolishness with God. They do not recognize or acknowledge God at all. They think they are so smart, but their reasoning is darkened. Because they have rejected God and His word, they have a reprobate mind, and all their choices – no matter how well intentioned – lead them on the path to death.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:13-18 NIV

The world’s wisdom is unspiritual and has its roots in the earth and its source in the devil. The world’s wisdom is full of envy and selfish ambition, but the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure first of all; then humble, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Get the wisdom that comes from heaven, from God’s word.

Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake not [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you. 7 The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation). 8 Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her. 9 She shall give to your head a wreath of gracefulness; a crown of beauty and glory will she deliver to you. 10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life shall be many. 11 I have taught you in the way of skillful and godly Wisdom [which is comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God]; I have led you in paths of uprightness. 12 When you walk, your steps shall not be hampered [your path will be clear and open]; and when you run, you shall not stumble. 13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.  Proverbs 4:5-13 AMP

Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], 4 And by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man is strong and is better than a strong man, and a man of knowledge increases and strengthens his power; 6 For by wise counsel you can wage your war, and in an abundance of counselors there is victory and safety.  Proverbs 24:3-6 AMP

My son, eat honey, because it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. 14 So shall you know skillful and godly Wisdom to be thus to your life; if you find it, then shall there be a future and a reward, and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off.  Proverbs 24:13-14 AMP

If you submit to God’s wisdom in your life and make His wisdom your goal and your desire, wisdom will bless every aspect of your life. Wisdom will prosper your way and give you a future and a reward. Your hope and expectation shall not be cut off.

Be Still and Know – Part Two

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalms 46:10-11 NKJV

Be still and know that God is God! Acknowledge that He is the Creator and that He is over all the earth. Know that nothing or no one can be exalted over Him. He is Almighty God and the Mighty King; Ruler of everything. Be still and know that He is in control of your life. Be still and know that no one who fights against Him will be successful.

Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself–it tends only to evildoing. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait and hope and look for the Lord [in the end] shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while, and the evildoers will be no more; though you look with care where they used to be, they will not be found. 11 But the meek [in the end] shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 12 The wicked plot against the [uncompromisingly] righteous (the upright in right standing with God); they gnash at them with their teeth. 13 The Lord laughs at [the wicked], for He sees that their own day [of defeat] is coming. Psalms 37:7-13 AMP

God commands us to be still – it is not a suggestion. Be still and rest in the Lord. Being still requires a rest. Slow down your pace; slow down your body; slow down your mind. Wait for Him to do what He said He would do. This requires patience. Impatience tries to force God’s hand; impatience tries to make things happen, but patience trusts in God; patience steps back and allows God to take over the steering wheel. Being still and resting in God does not mean that we do nothing; it does not mean that we get out of the vehicle entirely; it means that we stay in the process, but we give God the control.

Some people like to be in control and they get angry when they feel like they are losing control. They get angry when they do not see results quickly enough or they get angry when they do not see the results they expect. Some people get angry when it looks like other people are getting the very things that they wanted. Some people get frustrated because it seems to them that the evildoers are rewarded and get what they want, while the righteous struggle. The devil will use envy and jealousy to frustrate you and cause you to take matters into your own hands. He knows that nothing will work out right for you if your motives are wrong.

God tells us to cease from anger and forsake wrath; He tells us not to fret and worry, because if we do, we will make the wrong decisions do wrong things. God reminds us that evil doers will be cut off – you won’t even be able to find them. However, the meek – those who wait and hope and look for the Lord shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked might plot against the righteous, but they will not succeed. God laughs at the wicked because He knows their day of defeat is coming! Therefore we can laugh too, because God is in charge and God is on our side!

So they read from the Book of the Law of God distinctly, faithfully amplifying and giving the sense so that [the people] understood the reading. 9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all of them, This day is holy to the Lord your God; mourn not nor weep. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then [Ezra] told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold. 11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, Be still, for the day is holy. And do not be grieved and sad. 12 And all the people went their way to eat, drink, send portions, and make great rejoicing, for they had understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:8-12 AMP

In Nehemiah, on the day God’s people celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests told the people to “Be still!” because they were weeping and wailing. They told them, “Today is Holy – so rejoice and go enjoy yourselves!” An important part of “being still” and knowing that God is God is that we must take time to rejoice. Unless we cast our cares on God and stop worrying, we cannot laugh or rejoice. Laughter and joy can bring us to a place of resting in God that nothing else can. Having faith in God – being still in His presence and resting in Him – requires that we walk in God’s peace and also in His joy.

 

Be an Example for the Believers

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12 AMP

Paul spoke these words to Timothy, but they are true for all of us, who are disciples of Jesus Christ. A disciple is one who has been trained by God’s word and by His Spirit; someone who has grown up in the Lord over time; not a brand new believer or a baby Christian. As with natural children, spiritual children grow and mature. As our children mature, we expect more of them. As we mature, God expects more of us. We must not behave like a spiritual baby or make excuses for it. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we should not sin or make excuses for sin. We have no grounds for excuses. The blood of Jesus not only washed away our sin, but it deprived sin of its power over us (Romans 6:6-7).

Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah). 1 Corinthians 11:1 AMP

Paul obediently submitted himself to the Word and Spirit of God, following the example Jesus set, not for his own benefit alone, but as an example, or a pattern, for us to follow. Jesus is our ultimate example. We are to follow Him and be an example and pattern to others of His love, humility, grace, and purity. Even if we are young in age, we can still walk in the wisdom of God and His righteousness, earning the respect of others. God expects us to be a good example to other believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

In speech:
For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature.  James 3:2 AMP

The person who can control his mouth is a person who is mature in God and who has submitted himself to God’s word and His Spirit, to the best of his ability. This person is wise in his speech, gracious and loving. Ephesians 4:15 says that we should speak the truth in love. Colossians 4:6 says that our speech should at all times be gracious, as if it were seasoned with salt.

In conduct:
Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
Titus 2:6-8 NKJV

God wants us to show a pattern of good works – integrity in word and deed. That means it should be a habit for us; a way of life.

In love:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.  Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV

The love of God manifested in our lives demonstrates two things: that we know the Lord Jesus Christ and that we are disciples of His. This means that we have allowed God to do a work in us so that He can work through us. We are conformed to His image and we obey Him in all things.

In faith:
We ought and indeed are obligated [as those in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds. 4 And this is a cause of our mentioning you with pride among the churches (assemblies) of God for your steadfastness (your unflinching endurance and patience) and your firm faith in the midst of all the persecutions and crushing distresses and afflictions under which you are holding up.  2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 AMP

Faith is manifested in two ways: belief and commitment (faithfulness). Because we believe in the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and His Word, we obey Him and therefore we stand firm through all kinds of persecutions and difficulties. This is an example and encouragement to other believers.

In purity:
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  2 Timothy 2:22  NKJV

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. 9 Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9 AMP

The Word of God tells us to flee everything that is impure and fix our thoughts on those things that are pure. Just as Jesus and Paul are our examples, our models, so we should desire and strive to be a good example to others so that they too can live a godly life and experience the joy and the blessings of obeying and serving our wonderful, gracious Lord and Savior!

The Truth about the ministry of Rodney Howard Browne