YOUR TONGUE STEERS THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE

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

James 3:2-12  (NKJ)

2        For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

3        Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.

4        Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

5        Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

6        And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

7        For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.

8        But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

9        With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.

10      Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

11       Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?

12      Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.

 

A spiritually mature person has their tongue under control. Even though the tongue is really small in size, compared to the rest of our body parts, it is very difficult to control. How many times have we said things that we have regretted later? Sometimes, we may have felt that we had “foot-in-mouth” disease! We may have felt that we only opened our mouth to change feet!

 

Sometimes we say things that just embarrass ourselves, but other times we say things that can ruin relationships or even people’s lives. Words are powerful things. Good words or bad words can make all the difference in someone’s life. Words live on in the memory and can influence the course of a person’s life.

 

Proverbs 15:4  (NIV)

4        The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

 

When we speak positive words – they bring life and healing. Negative, bitter words crush a person’s spirit. The Holy Spirit will sanctify our speech if we allow Him to do so. We also need to be sensitive to our own spirit. When we speak wrong words, the spirit will convict us. If something bad slips out – don’t leave it there. Repent –apologize – say something positive.

 

Proverbs 31:26  (NKJ)

26      She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.

 

The wise, godly person is kind and gentle in their speech.

 

1 Peter 3:9-12  (NIV)

9        Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

10      For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.

11       He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.

12      For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

 

The words that come out of our mouth determine the blessings we experience in our own lives and the lives of others. If we want to have a long and a blessed life – we need to keep our tongue from evil and our lips from deceitful speech.

YOU ARE CO-WORKERS TOGETHER WITH US

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

Foundation Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:7-9

7          So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

8          Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

9          For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

 

2 Corinthians 6:1

1          We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

 

Philippians 4:14-19

14                Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

15        Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed fromMacedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16        For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17        Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18        But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

19        But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

In the Word of God, it is clear that partnership with a ministry is scriptural and it is not some new thing. God has ordained that people join up with ministries and hold up their hands. We are laborers together with the Lord. The anointing that is on this ministry comes into your life the moment that you partner with this ministry, because you become covenanted, or joined together with us, in helping spread revival around the world. You share in the same reward that the ministry receives. Every soul saved comes to your account. God notices every little thing that you do. He is not unrighteous to forget your labor of love.

 

Philippians 4:17 (Amp) says, “Not that I seek or am eager for [your] gift, but I do seek and am eager for the fruit which increases to your credit [the harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account].” You have a heavenly bank that you can deposit into and if you can deposit, then you must obviously be able to withdraw.

 

Matthew 6:19-21

19        Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20        But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21        For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

Jesus said that where your treasure is, that is where your heart will be also. I am convinced that many people will be surprised when they get to heaven to see all that they laid up there because of their generosity down here on the earth. On the other hand, many will be disappointed because they did not do more for the kingdom of God.

 

Adonica and I would like to thank all of our partners, not only those at The River, but also those that have joined together with us from all over America, to pray for this ministry and to support us financially. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for your commitment to the Lord and to us. Without you, we would not be able to see our dream – America being shaken by revival – come to pass. We love you – our friends and partners in the Lord.

GIVE THANKS AND PRAISE HIS NAME

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

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.  Romans 1:18-23 NIV

Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, has made His presence and His character known to us. When we look at His handiwork, we see where He has been and what He has done. Nothing we see in the world around us, nothing we have and use in our daily life, just appeared from nowhere. None of these things materialized independently. Somewhere, someone had an idea, someone formed a plan, someone gathered the necessary materials, and someone worked to make or build that thing. Just as an architect draws a plan and a builder follows the plan to build a building, so this universe and all that is in it was invented and created by God. He is the planner and the executor of His creation, which includes you and me.

It is a slap in God’s face to deny His existence and to worship the creation instead of the Creator. We must glorify Him by acknowledging His presence and His handiwork and by giving Him thanks. Everything we have belongs to Him and was offered freely to us. Therefore we are exceedingly selfish and ungrateful if we do not acknowledge Him or give Him thanks for it all – for creating us and for so graciously allowing us to freely enjoy the blessings of all of creation.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 NIV

We must recognize God for who He really is, not just for who we think He is or is not – otherwise we believe a lie. God exists, whether man believes it or not. He does not exist just because we believe He exists, He just IS! He even called Himself “I AM” when Moses asked for His name. Gravity exists whether you believe in it or not. It exerts an influence over your body no matter how much you deny it. Just try to jump off a high tower without a parachute and you’ll know that gravity is real and it worked for you! God exists. We need to get the revelation!

He wants us to know that He is real and at the same time He wants us to know Him and to know how He feels about us. He is a rewarder by nature, not a destroyer. People who think that God is out to destroy them cannot have the relationship with God that they could and should. We need to know that God made us, and everything around us, and that He loves us. We need to give thanks and be thankful and grateful to Him!

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him withjoyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulnesscontinues through all generations.  Psalms 100:1-5 NIV

Rejoice and be thankful! God made you and He loves you. He is eternally faithful and He will never let you down. He is deserving of all your love and praise. Be joyful, be glad, shout for joy and praise Him. You have a reason to thank and praise Him. He is good and His love, kindness and mercy will never cease or fail. You can praise him because you can always count on Him – no matter what. What a great God we serve! He is truly worthy of all our praise and thanksgiving.

THE LAW OF SOWING AND REAPING

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

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generouslywill also reap generously.  7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”   2 Corinthians 9:6-9 NIV

There are many people that want to reap a harvest of blessing in their lives and yet they have not sown one seed for it! They have never learnt the principle of sowing and reaping. It is absolutely impossible to reap a harvest where there has never been a seed planted in the ground. It is physically impossible and spiritually impossible. God set certain unchanging laws into motion in the earth – one of them being the law of seedtime and harvest.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.  Genesis 8:22 KJV

As long as the earth remains there will be a night and a day every day; there will be seasons every year – summer, winter, spring and fall; there will be cold and heat; and there will be a seedtime and a harvest time. The law of seedtime and harvest allows you to sow a seed and to reap a harvest much larger than the seed you sowed. However, you cannot expect a harvest when you have never sown a seed! The size and quality of the seed determine the size and quality of the harvest.

Many people get upset with the preacher when he teaches these things saying, “Well, he just wants my money!”  But as Paul states in Philippians 4:15-19, “Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

But it’s not about money, it’s about your heart and it’s about your seed. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Paul says that it is the size of your seed as well as the attitude of your heart that counts. The seed you sow might be a money seed, but it could also involve your time, your resources or your talents. Whatever you sow – sow it graciously and liberally, without regret and without holding back. It’s about a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. The principle is this – whatever you sow is exactly what you are going to reap.

Do not be deceived and deluded and misled: God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.  Galatians 6:7 AMP

The law of seedtime and harvest is both a natural law and a supernatural law. The law of seedtime and harvest means that everything produces after its own kind. Each species brings forth progeny that look and function just like the parents. They cannot bring forth something utterly different from themselves. Fish cannot produce baby birds. Lions cannot give birth to baby lizards. Some people have sown a bad seed, but they want to harvest a good crop. Whatever you have sown – that and that only is what you will you reap.

I pray that you grab a hold of this truth and let it burn in your heart. If you are not happy with what you are reaping then have a good, honest look at what you are sowing and begin to change your seed and your attitude from something you don’t want into something you do want so that God can bless and enlarge you in every way. God wants to bless you so that you have no excuse for not being generous!

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your storeof seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every wayso that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  2 Corinthians 9:10-11 NIV

WHAT WOULD HAVE BECOME OF ME?

“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!   Psalms 27:13 AMP

What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living?

What would have become of me had I not believed?  I would have lost heart (NKJV); I would have despaired (NASU); I had fainted (KJV), unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  God is good and He has promised us that if we trust Him and obey Him, that He will show us His goodness. Because I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord, at this time and in this place, I encourage myself in the Lord – I will not lose heart, despair or faint.

God has promised us that He would bless us and take care of us in the land of the living – here in this lifetime. I believe that I will see His goodness – here and now – because I believe the promises in His Word. I believe (RSV); I am still confident of this (NIV); I am expecting the Lord to rescue me again (TLB), so that once again I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! I will see God’s goodness because I believe in Him and His word! His word is true, but it is only true to me if I will believe it.

I cannot afford to give up, to look at the dark side of life, to be depressed, or to be discouraged. I must keep my hopes up, keep the faith, trust in His word, and keep my eyes on Jesus! My believing brings the promise to me that He has already promised. If I refuse to believe the promise, then I will give up hope and I will be lost – I will never see His goodness.

King David knew the promises of God and He trusted His word. That is why he was successful when all the odds were against him. That is why he lived a long, prosperous life – because he believed that God would take care of him. He also knew that if he doubted God’s word that he would have been lost. He knew that God was his source and supply and he leaned totally over on God allowing God to be God in his life.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident. 4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” 9 Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me. 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. 12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.

13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!  Psalms 27:1-14 NKJV

When your life hangs in the balance – will you believe in God’s goodness and allow Him to be strong on your behalf – or will you doubt Him and lose what little you have? You know what the right answer is! Be strong and of good courage, wait on the Lord and expect Him to keep His word.

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!

Rodney Howard Browne preaches in Humble TX