PURIFIED WITH BLOOD

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

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”   Matthew 26:26-29 NIV

When Father God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to the earth, it was for a specific task and a specific reason. He came to die, to shed His blood, to cut a covenant between God and man. His blood was poured out and an everlasting covenant of grace, mercy and forgiveness was established on the behalf of all those who believe in Him and receive His sacrifice.

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.  Hebrews 2:14-18 NKJV

We are created, flesh and blood. Jesus came to earth, also becoming flesh and blood, God in the body of a man, to die for us. That is what Christmas is all about. God came to earth as man to share in all our sufferings, to die as a sacrificial lamb, to destroy the devil, and to release us from the bondage we were in all our lives, which was caused by the fear of death. He did not come to save angels – there is no redemption for fallen angels – but He came to save us from sin, fear and death.

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.   Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV

The blood of Jesus is powerful enough to wash away every sin without exception. He cleanses our conscience from dead works and religion and tradition, bringing us into a relationship with the Father that we never had before. In His blood is the fulfillment of the promise of eternal inheritance promised to all those who will receive it by faith.

22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished- 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  Romans 3:22-26 NIV

We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s grace. The good news, the joy to the world that the angels spoke of at Jesus’ birth was that Jesus Christ was born to die, an atoning sacrifice, redeeming us from sin and judgment, bringing us into right standing with the Father if we believe in Him.

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV

Through Jesus, the Father has delivered us from the all the powers of darkness and He has conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Through Jesus’ blood, we are redeemed, and our sins are forgiven and washed away.

22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.   Hebrews 9:22 NKJV

Because of the blood of Jesus and only the blood of Jesus, we stand pure and holy before the Lord of Hosts.

THE RIGHTEOUS MAN FALLS SEVEN TIMES AND RISES AGAIN

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

Many evils confront the [consistently] righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  Psalms 34:19 AMP

We live in an imperfect world. As a result of man’s sin and the devil’s influence, this earth is full of sickness, disease and death. Sickness, disease and death don’t discriminate – calamity is something that threatens everyone at different times in their lives. You will have many opportunities to be defeated by the things that go wrong in your life, and without God, you have no remedy. However, Jesus defeated the devil at Calvary, took away the keys of death, hell and the grave and then anointed the believers to walk in His authority, in His Name, on the earth! When you walk with God and call on Him out of a pure heart, He will deliver you from every situation that threatens you.

For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.  Proverbs 24:16 AMP

Everybody experiences challenges and opportunities to give up and be defeated. Sometimes life knocks you right down, but if God is on your side, it cannot knock you out! The wicked are overthrown and thoroughly defeated by calamities, but the righteous place their trust in God and they get back up on their feet again. The devil keeps swinging at the righteous – sometimes he misses, sometimes he lands a punch – but they just keep on getting back up and hitting him back!

Psalms 118:6 AMP says, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”  and Romans 8:31 AMP says, “What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?] .” If you know that God is on your side, then you need have no fear. No man, no beast, no demon, no foe can successfully challenge you. God is bigger, mightier, and smarter than all of them! They have already lost before they began!

The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. 24 Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him. 25 I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the [uncompromisingly] righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread. 26 All day long they are merciful and deal graciously; they lend, and their offspring are blessed. 27 Depart from evil and do good; and you will dwell forever [securely]. 28 For the Lord delights in justice and forsakes not His saints; they are preserved forever, but the offspring of the wicked [in time] shall be cut off. 29[Then] the [consistently] righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.  Psalms 37:23-29 AMP

The Lord is always close to the good man, who delights in God and God delights in him. Even when he stumbles, the Lord grabs his hand and helps him back to his feet. The wicked will not be around forever, but the righteous endure and are blessed now and forever.

The eyes of the Lord are toward the [uncompromisingly] righteous and His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles. 18 The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.  Psalms 34:15-18 AMP

Just like a loving mother carefully watches over her precious baby, the Lord is always watching over His humble, righteous ones and He hears them in the moment that they cry out to Him. When they cry for help, He hears and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles!

It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.  Psalms 118:8-9 AMP

Don’t put your trust in the arm of man. God is the only One Who will never let you down in your hour of need. King David faced many “giants” in his life besides Goliath and God delivered him every time because David trusted in Him.

This should be your faith confession and your confident declaration:

But as for me, I will look to the Lord and confident in Him I will keep watch; I will wait with hope and expectancy for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. 8 Rejoice not against me, O my enemy! When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to me.  Micah 7:7-9 AMP

BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING

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

[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! 14 Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.  Psalms 27:13-14 AMP

David wrote most of his Psalms before he became king — many of them were written in the middle of the toughest times of his life.  David had been anointed king, but Saul was still on the throne.  Saul, to whom he had been nothing but loyal, had gone crazy and was trying to kill him, but David, out of respect for God and the king, would not touch a hair on the king’s head.  David had not done anything wrong and yet he was forced to live in caves and run for his life.  It must have been extremely difficult for him: mentally, physically, emotionally and in every way.  The only thing that got him through everything was his faith in God and his relationship with God.

You could say that David was an optimist – he hoped in God, he believed that God was good, and he believed that he would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!  David had a promise from God and he believed and expected that God would keep His promise.  You have to be a person of faith to be an optimist and David had faith in God.  In order to have faith in God, you have to first know what He has promised and then, secondly, you have to believe that He is faithful to keep his promises.  If you have faith, then you are not impatient.  All the time you are waiting, you are hoping for and expecting the Lord, you are brave and of good courage and your heart is stout and enduring. If you have faith, no matter what you are going through right now, you have a confidence that God is coming through for you and that He will not be late.  Even if you have lost something, if you have faith, no matter what you have lost, or what the devil has stolen from you, you have confidence that God will restore it to you.

Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word. 12 So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore.   Hebrews 11:11-12 AMP

Sarah was not old woman when she married Abraham, but she had been married for many years now and all this time she had been barren and had never borne a child.  Now she was old and well beyond her childbearing years.  However, God had made a promise to Sarah that she would bring forth a son in her old age and she believed this promise.  She believed that God was reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.  Because she believed, she herself received the physical power to conceive a child, even though she was long past the age for it.

[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah’s [deadened] womb. 20 No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, 21 Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.  Romans 4:18-21 AMP

Abraham had no human reason to hope so he put his hope in God.  He had faith that he would become the father of many nations, as he had been promised.  Even when he looked at his own 100 year-old, impotent body and at the barrenness of Sarah’s womb, he did not weaken in faith. Because he kept his eyes on God’s promise and not on his situation, he did not waver and doubt.  His faith grew stronger and stronger until he saw the manifestation of the promise — his precious son Isaac.

David said, “what would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!” David knew that if he had given up hope, if he had believed that God had let him down, and if he had believed what the devil and his circumstances were telling him, that his life would have been destroyed and he never would have fulfilled the call and the plan of God for his life. Yes, God had made him a promise, but it was his confidence in God’s Word that brought him out of his difficulties into the blessing.  Because Abraham and Sarah believed that they would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living, God’s promise to them came true.  Their descendants number as the stars of heaven and are as countless as the innumerable sense of the seashore.

God is a good God and He has good things planned for you.  Study God’s Word, find out what He has promised you, believe those promises, believe that you will see the Lord’s goodness here on earth, not just in heaven, and when you look back on your life you will be able to say, just like David, “I am so glad that I believed in God and that I trusted Him, because without Him I would never have made it. He has always come through for me!”

Covenant Breakers

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

Foundation Scriptures: Romans 1 verses 21 – 32

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools, 23. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24.Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves. 25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change that which is against nature; 27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another; men with men working that which is unseemly; and receiving in themselves the recompense of heir error which was meet. 28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29. Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedience to parents, 31. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32. Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Some people think that the Word of God is “old-fashioned.” It is old – it has been in existence forever – but it is definitely not old-fashioned. God’s Word was present before creation. It is eternal and it is forever applicable and appropriate in any age. Sin has been around for generations, but the Word of God has been around longer than creation. The word contains eternal rules and principles that never change – they are always the same – and are violated at the sinner’s own risk.  The Word of God can even tell us what is happening in the world today – it is like reading the headlines of your local newspaper. Any time a nation honors God, they will be blessed with peace and prosperity, but whenever they forget about God and begin to serve the passions of their flesh, the Word clearly spells out the negative consequences in the hearts and minds of that rebellious generation, no matter what century they live in!

The Bible tells us that in the last days, people will be corrupted by sin resulting in a reprobate mind – a mind void of judgment. Verse 31 talks about people being without understanding, without natural affection – covenantbreakers. This is exactly what is happening today in families and relationships. I am amazed at how people can just throw away a relationship that they have had for many years over some petty disagreement. Marriages have come to an end because of an individual’s pride and inability to humble himself/herself when they are wrong.

I heard it said once that when you counsel a couple, undergoing a marriage breakdown, you would get his side, her side and the right side. It is the same with friendships that break up. People treat relationships like they are infinitely disposable. They would rather be right than happy. They would rather be right and drive the friend, spouse or family member away, than to humble himself or herself, check their own heart and attitude, compromise, and forgive, in order to save the relationship. Some of the perceived “offences” are nothing more than misunderstandings and/or figments of their imagination.

Let’s look at the word “covenantbreakers.” What does this mean? In order to understand the word, “covenantbreakers,” you must first understand what a covenant is.  A covenant, according to the Bible and ancient history, is a promise that is considered unbreakable by both parties. It is not entered into lightly and is broken only on the pain of death. You are only as good as your word and when you give your word and then break that word – your reputation is shot! God considers a covenant-promise as binding, into eternity, and so should we. The problem is that a society that rejects God also rejects the sanctity of the covenant promise.

Marriage is a covenant cut between two people – a man and a woman – in the presence of God. I heard a friend of mine tell the young man, who asked him for his daughter’s hand in marriage, that if he ever left his daughter he would die – because the marriage vow declared, ‘Until death do us part!” I know that this was tongue-in-cheek, however, but that is exactly what a covenant promise is – it is binding until death. Unfortunately, too many people take it too lightly. They enter into marriage too quickly, putting too little thought or prayer into the commitment they are making, and they don’t commit to work at maintaining the relationship for the long term. When they hit a snag, they look for the exit sign. They don’t stop to think of the devastation that follows in their wake – both in their lives and in their children’s lives. Even parents and friends are negatively affected. It is better to be single than to make a commitment that you are not committed to.

Malachi 2:16 says that God hates divorce and marital separation. Sometimes couples get a divorce because they should have never married in the first place, but divorce is not a solution and the end of a problem, but it is the beginning of a whole new set of problems. People have a tendency to try to lay blame on others, but if you will take responsibility for your own mistakes and wrong choices, then there is hope for your future. You might say, “Well, what happens if I have already broken covenant? Is there any hope, is there any forgiveness for me?” Yes, assuredly yes. God loves you and will forgive you if humble yourself. You need to repent of that sin: tell God what you have done, that you know that it was wrong, that you have no excuse, and then ask Him to forgive you. You will feel a huge burden roll off of you! Humble repentance is the only way you can get free from that covenant-breaking spirit.

Break the cycle now – so that this spirit will not be able to follow you all the days of your life.

LOVE’S PERMANENT HOME

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

May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP

It is one thing to be born again; it is another thing to have Christ, through your faith, making His permanent home in your heart. If you want Him to settle down and abide in you, you have to allow Him to have His way in your life and you have to be submitted to His word. You need to obey Him and live your life speaking and doing what the word tells you to. Father God wants you to be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love. How do you do this? You do this by choosing to walk in love, every day, in every situation. He doesn’t want you to just know about His love, He wants you to experience His love for yourself. Knowing the love of Christ practically, through experience, for yourself, far surpasses mere knowledge without experience. It is one thing to talk about the love of God, it is another to actually be a doer of the word and walk in it.

God is love – they are one and the same – you cannot separate them. The more you come to know and experience God’s love, the more you are filled and flooded with the fullness – the very richest measure – of God Himself!

Now about food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature]. 2 If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary. 3 But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him]. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 AMP

Mere knowledge on a subject is not enough. You need to have the experience of that subject for it to do any good in your life. Mere knowledge causes people to be puffed up and prideful, to carry themselves arrogantly, and to think of themselves more highly than they ought. Pride is like a huge wall that stands between you and God. Pride is self-sufficient; pride elevates itself above others; pride stands in judgment over others. However, God has not given us this place or this right to elevate ourselves to sit in the judge’s seat nor to judge others – that is Jesus’ place alone – and even He has chosen not to judge us, but to receive us and forgive us instead! Are we better than He? I think not! When we judge others, we are lifting ourselves up even as we are tearing them down. However, love humbles itself even as it builds others up. When you walk in love, love will build you up too.

None of us is perfect, neither do we have the ability in ourselves to be who we are meant to be, but the love of God sees who we are and who we can be. Love believes the best and expects the best of us. Love covers, and forgives, and chooses to forget our sins and imperfections, and instead, edifies us, builds us up, and encourages us to grow up into our full stature in Christ. When we are confident in our own resources and abilities, that is arrogance, but when we are confident in Christ alone, Who lives in us, we are simply bold!

You can call yourself a Christian, you can know the scriptures inside out, and off by heart, in your head, but if you do not embrace the love of God, receiving it for yourself and then allowing it to flow out of your heart toward others, you do not understand the first thing about God or His word or His nature or His character! In other words, you don’t know God! God’s word must drop down from your head into your heart. It must touch the core of who you are. You are the only one who has they key to your own heart and you need to receive God’s word personally, not just intellectually, or it will never profit you. You will be like the religious Pharisees who make the word of God of no effect through their works program and their religious tradition (Mark 7:13).

These are the hallmarks of a person who has had a revelation of the love of God and who is a doer and not merely a hearer of the word: they love God truly with affectionate reverence, they are prompt to obey Him, and they daily acknowledge and are truly grateful for all of His blessings. Before you judge another person, look deeply into your own heart and ask yourself if you are doing these three things. As soon as you make the adjustments in your own heart and life, you will begin to walk in a liberty you have never experienced before!

GOD’S FAVOR IS BETTER THAN SILVER AND GOLD

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

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1 AMP

There are some things that money cannot buy – one of them is favor. When God’s favor is on your life, wonderful things will happen to you and for you. Favor will take you where nothing else can take you. Favor can open doors and prevent calamity. Favor can help you do more with less. Favor can make a way where there is no way!

And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will favor you with blessings and multiply your descendants for the sake of My servant Abraham. Genesis 26:24 AMP

God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants through Isaac. He personally spoke to Isaac to confirm this and promised Isaac that He would favor him with blessings. Blessing always goes hand in hand with favor. In order to be blessed by someone, you must first be favored by them. You can recognize the favor by the blessing! As a spiritual descendant of Abraham and a child of God, God has promised to bless you. Expect God’s favor to be on your life because of His promises!

My son, forget not my law or teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; 2 For length of days and years of a life [worth living] and tranquility [inward and outward and continuing through old age till death], these shall they add to you. 3 Let not mercy and kindness [shutting out all hatred and selfishness] and truth [shutting out all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood] forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them upon the tablet of your heart. 4 So shall you find favor, good understanding, and high esteem in the sight [or judgment] of God and man. Proverbs 3:1-4 AMP

Hear instruction and be wise, and do not refuse or neglect it. 34 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoever finds me [Wisdom] finds life and draws forth and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 8:33-35 AMP

When you embrace God’s Word – His principles and His wisdom – you will automatically find His favor as well. When you seek His mercy, kindness, and truth and reject and shut out all hatred, selfishness, deliberate hypocrisy, and falsehood, then you will not only find favor, but also good understanding and high esteem in the sight of God and man as well! Proverbs 16:7 AMP says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” God’s favor on your life translates into favor with man as well. Even sinners will say “yes” to you when they would have said “no” to anyone else. God will send His Spirit and His angels to cause favor to shine on you, from every direction and in all your ways.

When it goes well with the [uncompromisingly] righteous, the city rejoices, but when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. 11 By the blessing of the influence of the upright and God’s favor [because of them] the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 11:10-11 AMP

There is no favor on or for the wicked – there is only favor on and for the just. God’s favor is on the righteous, therefore, when the righteous are in authority, through the blessing of their influence, God’s favor will be on the whole city! Just think, if you give yourself to God, His will, and His Word, He will be able to use you to bless entire cities!

He who diligently seeks good seeks [God’s] favor, but he who searches after evil, it shall come upon him. Proverbs 11:27 AMP

A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked devices He condemns. Proverbs 12:2 AMP

Whoever despises the word and counsel [of God] brings destruction upon himself, but he who [reverently] fears and respects the commandment [of God] is rewarded. 14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death. 15 Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the transgressor is hard [like the barren, dry soil or the impassable swamp]. Proverbs 13:13-15 AMP

Fools make a mock of sin and sin mocks the fools [who are its victims; a sin offering made by them only mocks them, bringing them disappointment and disfavor], but among the upright there is the favor of God. Proverbs 14:9 AMP

Leave No Room for the Devil

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

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].  Ephesians 4:26-27 AMP

Anger is defined as “a strong feeling caused by an injury.” Anger, by itself, is not bad. When you feel angry, you know that there is an issue that must be dealt with. It may be something in your own heart and life that needs to change; it may be something that someone else is doing that needs to be confronted. Anger can motivate you to make the changes that you need to make in your life. Hence, the phrase “be angry and sin not.”

The Bible way to deal with things is to confront it. If it is an issue with another person, confront them with a view to resolving the situation, not to exacerbate it or escalate it. Some people just like to pick a fight and have a fight, while others will do whatever they can to avoid confrontation. You must confront with a humble attitude, allowing the Holy Spirit to bring correction to all parties involved. People avoid confrontation for various reasons: they have been taught that it is wrong to disagree with another person; they don’t want people to not like them; or they are afraid of their disapproval. Some people won’t confront anyone else because they are afraid to confront their own issues. They don’t want to acknowledge that they may be the one with the biggest problem. Some people just like to blame others for everything.

We see that anger can be your friend, however, the Bible tells us that if you get angry, and you don’t deal with it and work things out, and you allow that anger to continue into the next day, that you are leaving room for the devil and giving him a foothold in your life – an opportunity to have his way in you. Anger, not dealt with, turns into resentment, then unforgiveness and ultimately, bitterness. Bitterness is a slow-acting poison, destroying the life of many people, most especially the bitter person!

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.   2 Timothy 2:22-26 NIV

When people are quarrelsome, they are not walking in the peace of God or the Truth of the Word. They open themselves up to the devil’s traps and are taken captive by him. Then he can have his way in their lives. If you want to be protected from the devil, you must submit yourself to the Word and not be argumentative over it. People who are quarrelsome and argumentative are people who want their own way all the time and they want to be right all the time.  1 Corinthians 13:5 AMP says that. “love is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].”

But if someone [the one among you who committed incest] has caused [all this] grief and pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure, not to put it too severely, [he has distressed] all of you. 6 For such a one this censure by the majority [which he has received is] sufficient [punishment]. 7 So [instead of further rebuke, now] you should rather turn and [graciously] forgive and comfort and encourage [him], to keep him from being overwhelmed by excessive sorrow and despair. 8 I therefore beg you to reinstate him in your affections and assure him of your love for him; 9 For this was my purpose in writing you, to test your attitude and see if you would stand the test, whether you are obedient and altogether agreeable [to following my orders] in everything. 10 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), 11 To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions.  2 Corinthians 2:5-11 AMP

God wants us to always work to bring restoration and peace in relationships. We must deal with sin in ourselves and others, when it rears its ugly head. We must confront, repent, turn around and walk the other way and continue to serve God with all of our heart. Remember: you are responsible for yourself, alone, and not others, but you are responsible to others. We make up our minds to forgive our brothers and sisters and love them like Jesus loves us, because we are not ignorant of the devil’s devices and how he tries to divide and conquer us. We give no opportunity to him!

 

An Offering Always Precedes the Glory

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

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson No 16 from Exodus

An Offering Always Precedes the Glory
Foundation Scriptures: Exodus 40 verses 25 – 35

Moses set up and lighted the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord commanded him. 26 He put the golden altar [of incense] in the Tent of Meeting before the veil; 27 He burned sweet incense [symbol of prayer] upon it, as the Lord commanded him. 28 And he set up the hanging or screen at the door of the tabernacle. 29 [Moses] put the altar of burnt offering at the door of the tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting and offered on it the burnt offering and the cereal offering, as the Lord commanded him. 30 And Moses set the laver between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing. 31 And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet there. 32 When they went into the Tent of Meeting or came near the altar, they washed, as the Lord commanded Moses. 33 And he erected the court round about the tabernacle and the altar and set up the hanging or screen at the court gate. So Moses finished the work. 34 Then the cloud [the Shekinah, God’s visible presence] covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle! 35 And Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud remained upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  Exodus 40:25-35 AMP

1. Moses put sweet incense on the golden altar and placed sacrifices – the burnt offering and the cereal offering – on the altar of burnt offerings as an offering to the Lord.

a. The result was that the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

b. Because of the glory of God, Moses was not able enter into the tent of the congregation.

2. When we come to God, we should not come empty-handed. Something happens when we come to worship the Lord with our gifts.

a. Our offering rises like sweet incense to the Lord.

b. The Lord, Himself, receives our offerings.

c. When the praises go up, the blessings come down.

d. The Lord pours out His glory, His goodness, His grace, and His favor.

N.B. Let your offering be as a sweet smell to the Lord – sweet incense that causes the glory of God to come down.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
The glory of God can only come down in the midst of people who are completely submitted and obedient to the Lord. We are demonstrating our submission and obedience when we give God what He asks us to give. The Bible says that we must make a choice between God and mammon. When we bring our offerings to the Lord in generous obedience, we show Him that He means more to us than anything else in the world and He receives our gifts and graces us with His wonderful and precious presence in every area of our lives.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
When it comes to offerings, one of the things that I have witnessed over the years is that when people give from their heart as an act of worship, or when they give sacrificially to the Lord, something amazing happens! God invades the place – God invades their lives – and supernatural things happen. It has nothing to do with the amount, but has everything to do with the heart.

Prayer and Confession:
Father, I pray that You would receive my offering and my gifts as a sweet-smelling savor. You are so awesome to me and I love to worship You with my very best.

Hearts On fire

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

Foundation Scriptures: Exodus 2:11-15; Exodus 3:1-22; Exodus 4:1-17
Exodus 2:11-15 tells us that Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite, but when he rebuked one Israelite for beating another, they got mad at him. They did not recognize nor acknowledge his divine call at that point. When Moses realized that everyone knew what he had done, including Pharaoh who now wanted to kill him, he fled and took refuge in the land of Midian. Moses was destined to deliver Israel from their bondage in Egypt, but by God’s power and in God’s time, not by the arm of the flesh.

Exodus 3:1-22 says that one day while Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, on the backside of the wilderness, he led the flock to Mount Sinai. The Angel of the Lord appeared to him there in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush that burned with fire, but was not consumed. As he approached the bush, the Lord began to speak to him, “And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters and oppressors; for I know their sorrows and sufferings and trials. And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand and power of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a land good and large, a land flowing with milk and honey [a land of plenty].” (Exodus 3:7-8a AMP)

Then the Lord said, “Now behold, the cry of the Israelites has come to Me, and I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? God said, I will surely be with you; and this shall be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain [Horeb, or Sinai].” (Exodus 3:9-12 AMP)
Then Moses asked God what he should say to the Israelites when he told them that the God of their fathers had sent him to them and they asked him, “What is His name?” The Lord said, “Tell them I AM!” Then He told Moses that He would give the Israelites favor and they would not leave empty-handed. They would strip the Egyptians of their belongings – jewels, articles of gold and silver, and garments – which were the payment owed to them for their years of slavery.

Moses still did not think that the Israelites would believe him or obey him, so God first gave him two signs – the rod turning into a snake and back again and the hand turning leprous and then healthy again. Then God gave him a third sign. He said, in Exodus 4:8-9 AMP, “If they will not believe you or heed the voice or the testimony of the first sign, they may believe the voice or the witness of the second sign. But if they will also not believe these two signs or heed your voice, you shall take some water of the river [Nile] and pour it upon the dry land; and the water which you take out of the river [Nile] shall become blood on the dry land.” Moses still argued with God about his inadequacies and inability to fulfill this great mission and the Lord became angry with him, however, God told Moses that Aaron, his brother would go with him and help him to speak to Israel and to Pharaoh.

  1. This story of Moses and the burning bush is a type and shadow of God anointing us for service in His Kingdom.
  2. Moses, in a moment of anger, resorted to the arm of the flesh, killed an Egyptian, fled the land, and ended up looking after sheep on the backside of the desert. Even though God had called Him to deliver His people from bondage and captivity, he felt like a failure.
  3.  How many of us, in the past, have been hasty and resorted to the arm of the flesh only to find ourselves out of the plan of God and on the backside of the desert?
  4. All is not lost however – God could still visit you with a “burning bush experience”.

?   Moses was empowered at the burning bush

?   God anointed him with the power to do signs and wonders

?   The signs were the rod, the hand in his bosom, and the water poured out and turned into blood

?   God told Moses that He would be with his mouth – He would help him to say what he was commanded to say

  1.  God said, if they would not listen to the voice of the first sign or the second sign, there would be a third sign – a sign speaks
  1. It is important for each of us to have a burning bush experience.
  2. If we are to be used by God, we need to first have an encounter with God
  3.  I do not have any proof of this, but I believe that when Moses stood in front of Pharaoh, Pharaoh saw the flames of the bush reflected in Moses’ eyes!
  4.  When Moses spoke, it was like God speaking: Let my people go!
  5. This week is an opportunity for you to press in and allow the Lord to touch you with His anointing.
  6. How hungry are you?
  7.  How thirsty are you?
  8.  My testimony – my “burning bush” experience – occurred when I got intensely hungry and thirsty for God in July 1979 and He touched me with His fire

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  Matthew 5:6 KJV

The Character of God

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

Foundation scripture:

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:12-17 KJV

1. God is a loving heavenly Father:

a. John 3:16-18 KJV – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

b. Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV – “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

c. All the good in the world is from God and the bad is because of the devil.

d. God wants us to choose life; to choose blessing; to choose Him.

Galatians 3:13-14 KJV – “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

e. Galatians 3:29 KJV – “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

g. We are redeemed from poverty, sickness, and death.

h. Psalms 37:25 KJV – “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

2. In order to be effective in your Christian life, you need to have a revelation of these three things:

a. Who your Father is – Abba – a loving Father.

b. Who you are – the righteousness of God in Christ.

c. Who your enemy is – the destroyer – a defeated foe.

d. John 10:10 KJV – “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

3.  Faith begins where the will of God is known:

a. How can you believe God or trust in Him, when you think He is against you?

b. You have to spend time in His Word.

i. Joshua 1:8 KJV – “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

ii. Psalms 1:1-3 KJV – “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

iii. Psalms 37:4 KJV – “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

iv. John 15:7-8 KJV – “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

4. God is on your side – He is for you:

a. Romans 8:31 KJV – “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

b. 2 Corinthians 6:18 KJV – “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

c. 1 John 4:4 KJV – “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

d. Psalms 55:16 KJV – “As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.”

e. Psalms 56:9 KJV – “When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.”

f. Psalms 57:2 KJV – “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”

g. Psalms 126:3 KJV – “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”

5. One thing I know is that God is with me:

a. That changes everything.

b. He has made His home in you and me.

c. You and I are the temple of the Living God.

d. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

6. Believe today and walk in the light:

a. Confess:

God is my Father

He loves me

He is on my side

He cares for me

His Word strengthens me

His Spirit empowers me.

He loves me

Rodney Howard Browne preaches in Humble TX