“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning
Thank You that because of the blood of Jesus I have a fresh, new beginning
Thank You that You have forgiven me and washed me clean
Thank You that You have given me a new heart and a new spirit
Thank You that You have made me a brand new creation
All old things are passed away; all things have become new
I have a new life
I have a new heart
I have a new calling
I have a new start
I have a new destiny
I have a new purpose
I have a new vision
I have a new name
Thank you for the Truth that is setting me free
Thank You that I have received power to be a son of God
Thank You that, because of Jesus, I am clothed in a robe of righteousness
Thank You that I have full freedom and confidence to come into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus
Thank You that I can come boldly before your throne to ask for mercy, grace and help
Thank You that You have provided me a new and living way
Thank You that I am clothing myself with my new, spiritual self
Thank You that I am being renewed in the spirit of my mind
Thank You that I am in the process of being renewed and remolded, in knowledge, into Your image
I am putting on the new man, which is created in God’s image in righteousness and true holiness
Thank You that You are doing a new thing
You are making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert
Thank You that I am not my own; I have been bought with a price
Thank You for the Holy Spirit who is daily working in me and on me
Thank You that the Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I AM a child of God
Thank You that I live and walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh
Thank You that my flesh was crucified with Christ
Thank You that I have been raised up with Him
Thank you that I am washed, sanctified and justified
Thank You that I am recreated in righteousness and true holiness
Thank You that I am cleansed from ALL sin and unrighteousness
Thank You that I am delivered from the power and dominion of sin
Thank You that I am free from condemnation and from the law of sin and death
Thank You that I am a servant of righteousness
Thank You that I walk in the grace of God which rules in my heart
Thank You that although my outward man may be perishing, my inward man is being renewed day by day
Thank You that You satisfy my mouth with good things and my youth is being renewed like the eagle’s
Thank You that You have put a new song in my mouth
Thank You that I can worship you with a new heart and a new song
Thank You that You – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – live in me
Thank You that You have placed eternity in my heart
Thank You that my name is written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 KJV
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV
The only true liberty comes by the Spirit of God. True liberty comes from receiving, believing and acting on God’s word. There is no other way to walk in complete freedom than to be submitted to God’s word and Spirit. In the Christian world there are those who walk in true freedom, but unfortunately there are also those who have fallen in the “ditch” on either side of the freedom road. Some Christians are very legalistic and bound and others are so “free” that you can’t tell the difference between them and the world. The Lord does not want us to be religious and He certainly does not want us to be carnal – He wants us to be spiritual!
In the book of Galatians, Paul was dealing with law and grace. The Galatians were Gentiles who had been set free and converted to Christianity, but legalistic Judaizers had been trying to bring them back under the Law of Moses. The descendants of the Judaizers are still around today: people who are always trying to drag us back under the Law.
They define Christians as being people who live by a long list of rules and regulations; of do’s and don’ts. They believe and preach that God’s grace and favor is earned rather than a free gift. They espouse a works program of good behavior for salvation. What is true is that if a person is really changed by the Spirit of God, there should be evidence of it – we expect to see a corresponding change in character and behavior. The danger of legalism is that it tends to promote the idea that God’s love is earned, rather than just accepted freely. We should accept that God loves us because He said so, not because we worked for it or even because we feel it. Legalism reduces Christianity to an impossible set of rules. It leaves out the part where God’s goodness leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4) and turns the Good News into the bad news!
Legalistic Christians need to acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit and realize that He is the One who helps each of us to walk out our Christianity. Change is important, but we need to realize that the Lord might be requiring different changes in us than He is in others. We need to focus on allowing Him to work in us and refrain from interfering in His work in others.
“[It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive.” 2 Corinthians 3:6 AMP
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 KJV
The Law of Moses has no power to save or change a heart, but God’s word does. Jesus is that Living Word. God wants us free – neither legalistic nor lawless – not in bondage to the Law nor in bondage to sin and the flesh.
They define a Christian as someone who lives above the Law. They feel that they need no guidelines and that God’s word is not as important as their own personal sense of God’s guidance. They follow their feelings and impulses. This is a very dangerous place to be. You leave yourself open to works of the flesh and demonic deception. Many of them view God’s word as if it was entirely full of religious tradition, which is simply not true. It is full of life and freedom. These Christians have recognized that God’s forgiveness is a free gift; made possible by Christ’s death on the cross; received by faith; and that it is not based on our ability to live up to God’s perfect standards, which is all true. However, they forget that Christians are also just humans and that their “feelings” are flawed. If you only live by what you “feel” God wants you to do and not by His word, you are bound to fail.
Lawless Christians need to recognize that there really is freedom in being submitted to God’s word even as they gratefully acknowledge His great and gracious salvation. Our freedom in Christ is not an excuse for sin, selfishness or self-will. Neither does He release us from our obligation to walk in His will and His ways, governed and led by the love of God.
“For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another. 14 For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, “You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 AMP
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:21-22 KJV
“For it is God’s will and intention that by doing right [your good and honest lives] should silence (muzzle, gag) the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons. 16 [Live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but [live at all times] as servants of God.”
1 Peter 2:15-16 AMP
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 KJV
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Ephesians 6:12 AMP
God created you to be free and live free. Even now, His plan for you is to be free—in your spirit, in your soul and in your body. None of us is born into freedom—we are born into the bondage of sin. Sin exalts itself against the truth of God’s word and habitual sin is a stronghold in your mind. The key to your freedom from bondage and demonic strongholds lies in your obedience and submission to Christ.
The enemies we face in this life are not other people, but the devil and his demons. His ultimate plan is to kill you and send you to a lost eternity through sin and disobedience. If he can get you to take others with you, if he can get you to destroy other lives, he will do it. He doesn’t care what you do as long as the end result is eternal death—eternal separation from God. The greatest lie of the devil is that your freedom lies in following your own impulses and lusts. He is there to tempt you and to drag you down into the gutter of sin as far as he can. He knows full well that the wages of sin is death. The devil’s plan is to get you so tied up in sin that you cannot break free—to erect strongholds of sin and rebellion in your mind that keep you in bondage and drive you deeper into sin and death.
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13 NKJV
Sin is a deceiver—it is never satisfied—it is like a fire that cannot be quenched. Once you start on a particular path of sin, you will find that you are always drawn in deeper and deeper. Sin comes to harden your heart and pull you away from God—His protection and His blessings. When people—even Christians—yield to sin and make it a way of life, their heart becomes harder and harder and they move further and further away from the Living God. You are either both moving toward God, and freedom, and away from sin and bondage, or you are moving away from God and freedom, and toward sin and bondage.
The more you yield to temptations, the more you lose control of your own life. Sin is ruling and dominating you more and more. It’s a slippery slope. As you yield to sin and fleshly lusts, so you are yielding yourself also bit by bit into the control of the devil—all the time he is gaining more and more dominion in your life. You find yourself at a place where you are powerless to stop on your own—you need divine intervention! The devil’s plan is to defile God’s special creation—Man—so that he can possess and control them. Because the devil is a thief, even after you give your heart and life to Jesus, he is trying to tempt, deceive, control and destroy you. The devil wants to live in your house, but God says that you are created to be the temple of the Living God!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 AMP says, “Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own].” You have been bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus and you owe Him your life. The devil has no right to try to move in to a house that already belongs to God! Verse 20 goes on to say, “So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.” You have an obligation to yourself to keep your house pure and clean. When you honor God, you keep the devil out!
God gives us armor for protection and weapons to fight the good fight. The weapons of our warfare are not weapons we can see, hear, touch, taste or smell—they are not man’s weapons—they are spiritual weapons. Our armor is truth, integrity, righteousness, the reality of the Gospel, faith, and salvation and our weapons are the Word of God and prayer. God’s word is a blueprint for a life of freedom and joy—now and in eternity. We can each choose this freedom by choosing obedience to God, His word and His way.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! Matthew 5:6 AMP
Whatever we are hungry and thirsty for is what we will seek to satisfy that hunger and thirst. If we are hungry for God, then we will seek after Him and His righteousness, His salvation and His wisdom. If we seek satisfaction only in earthly things, then we will be happy when we feel full and sad when we don’t – and we won’t realize that we are missing true fulfillment and contentment. Jesus said to those who attended to their body’s desires, but not to their spirit, “Woe to (alas for) you who are full now (completely filled, luxuriously gorged and satiated), for you shall hunger and suffer want!” (Luke 6:25a AMP) There are people who stuff themselves with wealth and food and drink and entertainment and popularity and whatever else they desire, and yet they are still miserable on the inside. There is a hunger and thirst deep inside every person that can only be satisfied by the Lord, Himself.
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they seek not nor hunger for Your statutes. Psalm 119:155 AMP
They told you beforehand, In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions. Jude 18 AMP
Our natural taste buds are just like our spiritual taste buds: if you fill up on junk food, you will have no appetite for healthy foods. Healthy food actually tastes good and is very good for you, but if you live on the junk, you won’t desire the healthy. If you don’t want to be sick and die young, then your body is going to need the healthy foods, so you will have to develop an appetite for them – not because you want them, but because you need them. What we all need – more than earthly food – is God and His heavenly food. We must develop an appetite for God and for godliness. Only then, will we be truly content and satisfied.
Blessed (happy–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition–and to be envied) are you who hunger and seek with eager desire now, for you shall be filled and completely satisfied! Luke 6:21a AMP
In John 6:33-35 NIV, Jesus told the disciples, “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 AMP).
We need to get hungry and thirsty for God and seek Him with all our heart:
•Psalm 119:2 AMP – Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart.
•Psalm 107:9 AMP – For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good.
•Proverbs 8:17 AMP – I love those who love me, and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me.
•Isaiah 44:3 AMP – For I will pour water upon him who is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour My Spirit upon your offspring, and My blessing upon your descendants.
•Isaiah 55:1-3 AMP – Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy]. 3 Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David.
•Revelation 21:6 NIV – He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
•Revelation 22:17 NKJV – And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
•Deuteronomy 4:29 AMP – But if from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessity) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you [truly] seek Him with all your heart [and mind] and soul and life.
•Hebrews 11:6 AMP – But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
What a wonderful God we serve, who loved us first and who sent His son to die for us while we were yet sinners. He is looking for, and longing for, those who will seek Him; and who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23). When we, by faith, genuinely and diligently seek after God, we will find Him. When we seek after the things of God, He will reward us. When we hunger and thirst after Him, we will be fed and satisfied.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. 6 And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday. 7 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. Psalms 37:3-11 AMP
Verse 3: “Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.” If we put our trust in God alone and not the arm of the flesh or the wisdom of man, then we will have His protection, favor and provision. If we truly trust God and His word, then we will focus on pleasing Him – by obeying Him; by doing good – and leave everything else in His hands. We cannot expect all God’s blessings if we don’t fully obey His commands. If we obey all God’s commands, then we are entitled to receive the fulfillment of all His promises to us.
Verse 4: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.” Deep in the heart of every person are deep desires and secret wants. Not fleshly or evil or ungodly desires, but things that mean a lot to us, things that come from deep within us. We think they are our ideas, but the Lord is able to place things in our heart that line up with His plans for us – the things that will make us truly happy and content. As long as we try to follow our heads, we will be forever chasing rainbows, but if we look deep on the inside, we will see the things that have the ability to give us true satisfaction. The key to walking in the reality of these things is for us to delight in the Lord and also to commit our way – everything we have and everything we do – to Him alone. To “delight” in someone means to experience great pleasure and joy in his or her presence. This happens only when we know someone really well – so in order to delight in the Lord, we need to get to know Him so much better than we do now. It’s our life-long quest – to know Him better today than we did yesterday. The more we come to know Him, the more we become aware and convinced of His great love for us, the more we are delighted in and by Him!
To commit means: to roll upon, or repose on. Proverbs 16:3 NKJV says, “Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.” And the AMP says, “Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.”
To commit ourselves to the Lord means entrusting everything to Him – trusting Him with our lives – trusting Him with everything that concerns us – our families, our job/career/ministry, our possessions, our choices in life. To commit ourselves to the Lord means to trust in Him fully and completely, believing that He can care for us better than we can ourselves! If we do this, then for the rest, all we need is to patiently wait for Him to work out what is best for us! This is not procrastination or abdication, but it is faith – faith in God’s will, and faith in God’s plan, above our own. We are not sitting idly by – we are working according to what He directs and doing good and being a blessing wherever we are and wherever we go. While we work God’s plan, He is working to fulfill the desires and secret petitions of our heart!
Verses 7 & 8: “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. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself — it tends only to evildoing.”
Be still. Rest. Wait. Don’t fret. Cease from anger and forsake wrath. All these require great trust in God and great faith in His word. Most people live their lives frantically trying to make their own way. They are stressed and worried; impatient and hurried; and when things don’t go according to plan, they get angry and frustrated. This destroys their health and their relationships and ultimately, their quality of life and potential length of life. They live a shorter, harder life, because they won’t, or can’t, trust God with their life. Some people even resort to wrongdoing to accomplish their goals, but it opens the door to disaster and destruction.
The word “rest” here means: to be silent; be still or stand still; keep silence; be dumb; tarry; wait; to cease; to be cut down or off; to forbear; to hold peace; to quiet self. In other words, we should calmly resign and leave all things in the hands of the Lord. We should take a deep breath, relax and leave our life in God’s capable hands! The scripture says that you should “wait patiently for Him” or “patiently lean yourself upon Him”. That means that you are to set yourself to expect God to answer! Expect God to come through for you!
Anger and worry – or fretting – are both very destructive emotions. If we are angry or worried, we demonstrate that we have no faith in God’s love or His provision; we are trusting in the arm of the flesh; we don’t really believe that God is in control! God tells us not to worry, but to cast our cares on Him instead – because He cares for us and is watching over us and watching out for us! When you dwell on your problems, you will become anxious and angry. But if you concentrate on God and His goodness, you will find peace. You must make the choice of where you will put your focus!
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
He told them a proverb also: No one puts a patch from a new garment on an old garment; if he does, he will both tear the new one, and the patch from the new [one] will not match the old [garment]. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the fresh wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled and the skins will be ruined (destroyed). 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine immediately desires new wine, for he says, The old is good or better. Luke 5:36-39 AMP
Jesus spoke this parable in the presence of His brand new disciples and the Pharisees. He gives us these illustrations to show us that old forms and new contents cannot go together. New contents require brand new forms. The Law and the Gospel cannot be mixed. The Law is dependent on our ability to keep it – which is impossible. The Gospel depends only on faith in the free gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Jesus did not come to patch up an old system, but to bring a brand new dispensation.
1. You cannot put a patch from a new garment on an old garment
In Scripture, garments are often used as an example to picture character and conduct. Colossians 3:8-17 talks about “taking off” the old man, and ceasing to do the works of the flesh, and “putting on” the new man, and operating in the fruit of the Spirit. Jude 23 AMP says, “[Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality.”
The old garment is referring to what we have without faith in Jesus. It could represent the old law, and also an old sinful way of life. Isaiah 64:6 says that, “our righteousness is like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” That means that all OUR own efforts, no matter how noble or well-intended, are completely inadequate and unacceptable. It is useless and fruitless to trust in our own good works for salvation.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 AMP
We need God to give us a brand new garment by His grace and mercy! Many people have a “patchwork” religion that they have made, instead of trusting the Lord for the robe of salvation that He gives by His grace. If you try to take Jesus’ teachings and “patch” them onto your old way of doing things, you will only make things worse. You need a new heart not merely a new tradition! You must lay the old down and put on the brand new garment that only He can give.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and* cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 22:11-13 NKJV
The “wedding garment” is that robe of righteousness that only God can give. We cannot enter heaven or the presence of God without it. We need the Lord to make us a “new creature”. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And Galatians 6:15 AMP says, “For neither is circumcision [now] of any importance, nor uncircumcision, but [only] a new creation [the result of a new birth and a new nature in Christ Jesus, the Messiah].”
2. You cannot pour new wine into old wineskins
In Bible times, they did not have glass bottles. They made “bottles” out of skins – usually goatskin, sewn together tightly forming a watertight bag. The new wine would expand inside the skin after a few days, so new wine had to always be placed in a new, supple, pliable wineskin. A fresh wineskin had the attributes of strength and elasticity. Older wineskins could not accommodate any expansion of their contents, because they were already stretched out and also dryer and more rigid and brittle and would burst, spilling and wasting the wine.
Wine is symbolic of the Spirit of God. The Pharisees were like old wineskins – they were too rigid to accept Jesus – Jesus cannot be contained by mere traditions or rules. Even some Christians today are so rigid with traditions and rules, that they cannot receive what the Spirit of God wants to do in their hearts and their churches! We should not allow our church programs and ministries to be so structured that we have no room for a fresh touch of the Spirit, a new method, or a new idea. We should not allow what God did yesterday in our hearts to be all that He is allowed to do. We must remain pliable – humble and teachable – so that He can continue to change and refine us into His image and likeness. We must always be a work in progress – welcoming the life-changing work of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit in our lives.
And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], 24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:23-24 AMP
3. You will not desire nor receive the new if you are hanging onto the old
People tend to get comfortable and be satisfied with the way things are – whether it be a life of religious tradition, a life of “good works”, or a life of sin. People find change uncomfortable – even scary or painful. There is a saying:
that people will usually not change, until the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change. Jesus could not merely “patch” up our old way of life – He had to give us a new one. We have to be prepared to give up the old and familiar to step into this new, exciting life with Him!
The message of the Gospel will always remain “new” because it must be accepted and applied in every generation. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must be prepared for new ways to live, new ways to look at people, and new ways to serve.
It’s amazing how we live so much of our lives trying to do things by our own strength when the Lord has sent us a helper who fully equips us for anything that comes our way.. I know that God has led me to this internship and He will not put me in any place that He will not watch over me and provide all that I need whether it is a financial need, guidance or just someone to help accomplish a task, God is faithful.
I knew the internship program was not going to be easy, but I also knew that God was going to train me up for the ministry and it would be worth it. Prior to starting the internship, I had many reasons not to do it and there was a big attack on my family, but the Lord has been working this all out for my good as I continue the course He has set before me.
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’ Acts 2:17-21 NKJV
By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophet Joel prophesied of these days that he called the “last days”. And this was fulfilled approximately 2000 years ago on the Day of Pentecost.
2 Peter 3:8 says that – with the Lord – a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. If Pentecost was the “last days” then right now, then surely we are in the LAST of the last days! Jesus has appeared to many in the last few decades and told them to tell the people to get ready because He is coming soon! Even if you didn’t believe that He’s coming in your lifetime, you still need to keep your sense of urgency about you. You can’t afford to be complacent! Jesus said that this Gospel needed to be preached in the uttermost parts of the earth, before His return. That is our responsibility! We must reach the uttermost parts of the earth with the Gospel – not just sit in our holy huddle waiting to be airlifted out of here!
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33AMP
The Bible says that as the last days approach, things in the world will get worse and worse, but it also says that God’s grace is enough – even more than enough to meet and conquer sin and death (Romans 5:20b-21).
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8 NKJV
‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:9 NKJV
Before Jesus comes we will see the greatest outpouring of the Spirit of God that the world has ever seen! But we’ll only see it if the Church does not yield to the sins of compromise, complacency or criticism. The devil always tries to hinder the move of God by tempting them to sin in these areas.
Some Christians compromise the Word of God to be acceptable
to the world. The devil uses certain people to put pressure on you to quit and to water the Gospel down. However, Jesus told us that we are IN this world, but we are not OF this world. (John 17:16). We will NEVER be acceptable to the world, no matter how hard we try. They want you in as big a mess as they are in. They don’t want you to be free and they don’t want you to get anyone else free; they don’t want you – or anyone else – to be victorious! If you compromise, you’ll just let the devil win. You can never win people to the Gospel, when you have compromised the Gospel. Either it’s the TRUTH or it isn’t! If it IS then preach it – if it’s not then just go and join the worldly crowd and stop pretending that you are a Christian!
If you belong to the world – and act like them – then they would love you, but if you are like Jesus, they won’t like you at all. Understand that the world hated Jesus and they’ll hate anyone who walks in His footsteps – a servant is not greater than his master (John 15:18-20). We can’t compromise because someone doesn’t like or understand the Gospel. We can’t compromise the Truth of the Word of God – we can’t compromise on the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, the gifts of the Spirit, prophecy, miracles, healings, casting out devils, or laying on of hands, etc.
Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:3-7 NKJV
Jesus told us to “occupy till He come” (Luke 19:13) – in other words: get on and do the works of Jesus till you go home or He comes to get you. He didn’t say: sit on your “blessed assurance” and do nothing till you die! People go about their business as if Jesus isn’t coming at all. We need to have a sense of urgency about the things of God and we need to act and do what He’s told us to do. If the Lord is delaying His coming it’s not because he’s tardy – it’s because He’s giving the world plenty of time to repent and straighten themselves out! (2 Peter 3:9)
You are either a player, or you are sitting in the stands. You are either getting up and being a doer of the Word of God, or you are sitting, doing nothing and critiquing those who are doing something. We have too many armchair critics in the body of Christ and too few who care enough to get up and do something to build the Kingdom of God! Make up your mind to be a player and not merely an arm chair critic.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV
For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another.
Galatians 5:13 AMP
We were called to freedom – freedom from guilt and fear and judgment and freedom from the power of sin. Jesus did not free us so we could indulge our fleshly impulses or have an excuse for selfishness. We are free to love and serve the Father with all our heart and we are free to love others and to serve them. This is our mission and this is our call.
Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin]. 1 Corinthians 8:9 AMP
Do not deliberately offend others with the liberty you have in Christ.
All things are legitimate [permissible?and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. 24 Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor].
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 AMP
There are all kinds of things you can do – that are permissible – but which are not helpful, nor constructive. The New Covenant is NOT about us being free to do what we please; being selfish; seeking only our own good and advantage and profit – but rather it is about becoming like Jesus; being unselfish and seeking the welfare of your neighbor; putting others above yourself. Consider who is watching you and do not deliberately do anything that will cause them to stumble. You want to serve them and be considerate of them, out of love, in order to win them for Christ. The most important thing is not that our needs are fulfilled, but that others might be won for Jesus.
So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 AMP
The context of this chapter concerns food – especially food offered to idols – and the bottom line is that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the honor and glory of God. Do not allow another man’s conscience to determine your liberty of action (Vs. 29). Your liberty is determined by the word of God, not the opinions of others. At the same time, do not let yourself be a hindrance by giving an offense to the Jews or to the Gentiles or to the church of God. Do not be a show off. That will not reach anybody.
No one knows better how a Christian should behave than a non-Christian! They are not living like they should, but they still expect you to walk and talk like the believer you say that you are. Do not do those things that you know will offend those to whom you are a witness. Adapt yourself, without violating your own conscience or transgressing God’s word, in order to win them to Jesus. Be considerate and do not lead others into sin by your mode of life (Vs. 32).
Do not join the heathen in their drunken idolatrous feasts (1Corinthians 10:21). You do not need to join the world and be like them and do what they do, in order to win them. You do not win them by being one of them – you win them by walking in the fruit of the spirit. At the same time, you also cannot get so hung up on what they do and let that offend you and keep you away and stop you from being a witness and an example. Sinners sin, because they are sinners. Someone needs to be there to preach the Good News to them. If you are judgmental, it will be difficult to witness, but if you see people as valuable and precious, like the Father does, you will look past their faults and see their needs.
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:14-23 NKJV
Whatever is not of faith is sin. People need to do what their conscience allows them to do. You cannot and you should not force them to do otherwise. You cannot try to change their behavior from the outside in, but you have to change them from the inside out, by the word and spirit of God. Do not make a big deal out of things, which have no relevance when it comes to salvation. You cannot expect people to know instantly what you know; you have to be patient with them and take time to teach them. Pursue the things, which make for peace and the things by which you may edify another
The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.