DEFEAT THE ENEMY WITH THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

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

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do. 14 Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him]. 15 For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but one Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. 16 Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].  Hebrews 4:12-16 AMP

God’s Word is alive and full of power. It is active, operative, energizing, and effective. That means itworks! God’s Word works when you work it. God’s Word works when you speak it and when youact on it. If you come into God’s presence in the boldness of the righteousness purchased for you at Calvary and standing on the authority of His Word – He has promised to help you and show mercy to you in your time of need.

So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11 AMP

God’s Word is powerful and accomplishes His purposes. That means that His Word always works for Him and produces the results He planned them to. God’s Word will work for you if you speak it with conviction – if you believe that it is true and that He says what He means and He means what He says. If you don’t actually believe God’s Word, you can speak it until you are blue in the face and nothing will happen.

Then Jesus was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil. 2 And He went without food for forty days and forty nights, and later He was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread. 4 But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and placed Him on a turret (pinnacle, gable) of the temple sanctuary. 6 And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, and they will bear you up on their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written also, You shall not tempt, test thoroughly, or try exceedingly the Lord your God. 8 Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them. 9 And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me. 10 Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! For it has been written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve. 11 Then the devil departed from Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.   Matthew 4:1-11 AMP

The devil came to tempt Jesus and to try to get Him to yield to him in His weakened state after His forty-day fast. The devil is basically a coward – he waits until you are vulnerable and then he goes in for the kill. However, even though Jesus was physically weak, which made Him mentally more vulnerable than normal, His Spirit was strong. He had just spent forty days intensely fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit after spending thirty years meditating in the Word. He allowed the Word to rise up on the inside of Him and He spoke it out, “It is written!” and shut the devil up. Jesus did not defeat the devil on the basis of who He was – the Son of God – He defeated him with the Word!

If you are going to have any hope of defeating the devil and overcoming all the challenges that life throws your way, you will have to do it with the Word of God deposited and abiding firmly in your heart and coming out of your mouth with faith and boldness!

SIN WILL MAKE YOU BLIND AND STUPID

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

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

John 12:3-6 NIV

Judas was a thief – he was stealing from the treasury bag that belonged to Jesus and the other disciples. He saw how Jesus looked into people’s hearts and knew their thoughts. How he think that he was getting away with it? Obviously sin makes you blind and stupid! When you steal from someone – your boss, your parents, or any other person – you demonstrate that you have no respect for others – not because there is something wrong with them, but because there is something wrong with you! You are supposed to be respectful of authority – spiritual and natural authority. Your disrespect for authority is a tell-tale sign that something is wrong in your life.

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

Because Judas had stolen from Jesus; because he did not respect Him; he was offended when the woman anointed Jesus with the very expensive perfume. Forgetting who Jesus was (the Son of God), forgetting all the wonderful things and mighty miracles He had done, forgetting all the wise things He had said, forgetting how Jesus had loved all of them and served them, and demonstrating an utter lack of respect for the Spirit of God, Judas went straight out of the house to the betray Jesus to the chief priests. You can try to hide your disrespect, but sooner or later it will be manifested for all to see.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.  John 13:2 NIV

If you make a mistake, if you give in to the devil’s temptation and you commit sin, you heart will convict you. Listen to your heart, immediately repent and shut the door on the devil. If you refuse to repent and you justify your sin, your heart will become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). This unwise choice signals the beginning of your end. It’s all downhill from there. Everything you have worked for and built in your life will be lost. Judas opened the door to the devil through his unrepentant sin. Now the devil was the one pulling the strings and controlling Judas. Judas was no longer in charge. Judas was merely a pawn of the evil one.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. 28 “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him.  John 13:27-28 NIV

At the Passover meal, Jesus told them all that one of them would betray Him. Judas knew that Jesus knew that it was him and he could have and should have changed his mind at that point, but he still went out and did it. His sin and his terrible attitude of disrespect brought Judas to such a place of self-deception that he never came around out of his “trance” until after he had betrayed his Lord with a kiss, for a mere 30 pieces of silver. When the devil was finished with Judas, he left him. The scales of self-deception fell off his eyes and he regretted everything he had done.

When he saw the result of his actions – the arrest and brutal treatment of Jesus, an innocent man – he was completely distraught. He tried to give the money back, to tell them that Jesus was innocent, and to beg them to let Jesus go, but it could not be reversed. The only thing he could think of to do was to end his own life. Judas did not have to die and go to hell. He could have been filled with the Spirit and preached with Peter on the day of Pentecost! What a sad end – and it all began in such a “small” way – stealing out of the bag. Sin makes you blind and stupid and will be the cause of the ruin and the premature end of your life.

Guard your heart. Watch over the small things. Don’t allow the devil to tempt you with sin. Don’t give him any place in your life. Always do the right thing. It may be harder to work than to steal. It may take longer to earn it than to take it, but in the end you will be blessed and you will have heaven and not hell in your future.

GROWING UP INTO CHRIST’S PERFECTION

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

Ephesians 4:4-16

[There is] one body and one Spirit–just as there is also one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received–5[There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all. 7 Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift. 8 Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men. 9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth? 10 He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Ephesians 4:4-10 AMP

Before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the presence of God filled the earth. His presence was in man and in all of His creation. Man’s decision to disobey caused sin and death to take over where life once reigned. Jesus bought back the right for life to reign over death when He defeated death by His sacrifice on the cross. Once again, there will come a time when His presence will fill all things. Right now His presence fills the lives of those who choose to love, obey and serve Him, and as they spread the Word, He fills the lives of more and more people. His will is that all men would hear the Gospel, receive it, and be filled with His presence, until the whole world is changed and filled with Him, Himself.

And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers. 12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), 13[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.   Ephesians 4:11-13 AMP

God anoints and equips men and women to stand in the five-fold offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.  Their job is to prepare – perfect and equip – the saints to do the work of ministry and to build up the Body of Christ. The process of growing up and being built up involves getting to know Jesus as He really is and growing in love and unity as a body. Father God wants the Body of Christ to develop and mature. Jesus is our standard – we must measure ourselves against Him and no one else. Father God wants us to be more and more like Jesus until we grow up and become just like Him.

So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.  Ephesians 4:14 AMP

When you spend time in God’s presence and in His word, when you receive from the ministry gifts that God has placed in the church, you will mature in the word and the things of God to a place where you are protected from deception. When people are ignorant about what the word of God says, they are more vulnerable to being deceived. God does not want any of us to be lied to or deceived at all. He wants us to know the truth – the truth about Himself and the truth about the devil – because it is the truth that makes us free (John 8:32).

Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one). 16 For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.  Ephesians 4:15-16 AMP

Growing up into maturity in God involves growing up in love. If we don’t know love, we don’t know God (1 John 4:8).  Because of Jesus, the whole body of Christ is closely joined and firmly knitted together, working together, and growing to full maturity, building itself up in the love of God. We are being filled more and more with His presence and becoming more and more like Him until we see Him face to face. This is God’s kingdom coming to earth – we are His kingdom and we need to press into Him to be all that He wants us to be and to do all that He wants us to do!

TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR THOUGHT LIFE

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

The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45 AMP

Do you not see and understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the abdomen and so passes on into the place where discharges are deposited? 18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him]. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech. 20 These are what make a man unclean and defile [him]; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean or defile [him]. Matthew 15:17-20 AMP

Many people are so particular about what goes into their mouth, and yet they are not at all concerned with what comes out of their mouth. Jesus made it clear that whatever is coming out of your mouth—good or bad—is coming out of the abundance, or the overflow, of your heart. The evil and the unclean things in your life come from within you—your thought life—and that is where it must be dealt with. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 AMP, “I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” If you retain sin in your thoughts, you can’t help but to continue to make wrong decisions and to do wrong things in your life. You need to start from within. If you deal with, and eliminate, sin in your thought life, you will begin to eradicate it from your life.

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. 6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. Romans 8:5-6 AMP

Those who are controlled by the unholy desires of the flesh have set their minds on and have pursued those things which gratify the flesh. The carnal (fleshly) mind is hostile to God and His Word and results only in death, but the mind of the Holy Spirit is life and peace. If you want to have life, peace, and blessings, you need to seek those things, and to set your mind on those things, which gratify both the Holy Spirit and your born-again spirit. Start taking control of your thought life by renewing your mind to the Word of God and welcoming the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

On that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts). Romans 2:16 AMP

When Judgment Day comes, you will not be judged merely on your words and deeds, but on your thoughts and your attitudes. The things that people can’t see or hear—your thoughts—are seen and heard by God. So it is vital that you begin now to deal with your thoughts and bring them into subjection to the Word of God.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJV says, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ and the Amplified Version says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, 5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).”

The most important war we all wage is not a war with flesh and blood, but a war with our own imaginations. The worst strongholds in people’s lives are not demons from without, but they are arguments, theories, and reasonings; pride, carnality, and deception from within. All rebellious thoughts and imaginations, that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, must be brought down into captivity through obedience. By submitting yourself in obedience to the Lord and His Word; you overthrow and destroy the strongholds that once captured your mind and thought processes and you are released into freedom and peace. Make a choice to think good and pure thoughts and you will walk—here on earth—in the glorious peace that comes only from God Himself!

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

REQUIREMENTS FOR LEADERSHIP FROM FIRST TIMOTHY 3 – PART 1

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

The saying is true and irrefutable: If any man [eagerly] seeks the office of bishop (superintendent, overseer), he desires an excellent task (work).  1 Timothy 3:1 AMP

If anyone wants to participate in building God’s kingdom – that is a good thing. However, there are some qualities you need to have, and some requirements that need to be met, that qualify you for leadership, for the good and benefit of all concerned.

Now a bishop (superintendent, overseer) must give no grounds for accusation but must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, circumspect and temperate and self-controlled; [he must be] sensible and well behaved and dignified and lead an orderly (disciplined) life; [he must be] hospitable [showing love for and being a friend to the believers, especially strangers or foreigners, and be] a capable and qualified teacher.  1 Timothy 3:2

A person, who wants to be a leader, must lead the way by setting a good example and giving no grounds for accusation. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says that we must abstain from all appearance of evil. You must abstain from evil and the appearance of evil. Those who want to be in leadership must conduct themselves in such a way that they are above reproach; that no one could have a valid reason to accuse them of anything at all because they avoid even the appearance of evil. Those who want to be in leadership must obey God’s word and truly live a godly life, not just pretend to do it. God does not expect us to be perfect – He knows we are dust – but He does expect us to be righteous – to walk in the righteousness for which His Son paid so high a price!

Leaders must be faithful to their spouse and take care of their marriage. They must unconditionally love their spouse; they must protect them; and, at the same time, speak the truth in love to them. Husbands and wives should protect each other – not covering sin, but preventing it if possible, and if it’s not possible – working together to repent, forgive and restore.

Those who want to be in leadership must bring their flesh under subjection to the word of God and the Holy Spirit. They must be courteous. They must not be selfish, but they must walk the love walk and they must be generous and hospitable, not being a respecter of persons. They must also have an anointing to preach or teach and to minister to others. This is not something that you can just decide to do, but it is a gift only God can give.

Not given to wine, not combative but gentle and considerate, not quarrelsome but forbearing and peaceable, and not a lover of money [insatiable for wealth and ready to obtain it by questionable means].  1 Timothy 3:3

Those who want to be in leadership must not yield their bodies to temptations of the flesh. When your body is addicted to a substance, whether it is alcohol, drugs, or nicotine, those things control you and your mind. They impel you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and should be yielded to Him alone. The devil uses addictions to control you and destroy you and your loved ones, but God will only bless you as you yield your body to Him. Proverbs 31:4-5 AMP says, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink, 5 Lest they drink and forget the law and what it decrees, and pervert the justice due any of the afflicted.”

The Holy Spirit is your helper to free you of any controls that the devil tries to put on you. 2 Corinthians 3:17 AMP says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom).”

Those who want to be in leadership must not be quarrelsome, because that is a sign of someone who is spiritually immature. A spiritually mature person walks in the love of God and is at peace with others. Those who want to be in leadership must definitely not be greedy or covetous! Covetousness has a corrupting influence – it makes money and selfish ambition more important than people and than God’s will and His word. Luke 16:11 AMP says, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches?” God knows that if you are not faithful with money, you won’t be faithful with the anointing of God, or the presence of God, or the Gifts and callings of the Holy Spirit – so be faithful with money! Be a cheerful, generous giver yourself!

 

Blessed to be a Blessing

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

Thoughts on Stewardship Lessons from Genesis

Blessed to be a Blessing
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 12 verses 1-3 and Genesis 13 verses 1-2

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV

Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. 2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. Genesis 13:1-2 NKJV

1. In order for God to bless Abram, He had to take him out of where he was and He also had to take where he was out of him! God had a great plan for Abram and his descendants and in order to fulfill this plan, God had to take Abram out from his current surroundings. Sometimes we are limited by our circumstances and by the people around us. We are stuck in the same old rut and we need to be shaken up and our eyes opened to all the possibilities that are available to us in the Lord. If we want to walk in the blessings of God, we may have to make some defining choices. We will need to leave the influence and company of those who are negative and destructive and who are leading us away from the plans and purposes God has for us, and press into God for His will for our lives.

God separated Abram from his kinsmen and their gods so that Abram could come to know the true God and serve Him alone. God had a plan to bless Abram and to make him a great blessing to ALL the families of the earth!

2. God’s promises to Abram:

a. I will make you a great nation.

b. I will bless you.

c. I will make your name great.

d. You will be a blessing.

3. God will bring you out in order to bring you in—He will bless you to be a blessing:

a. You were born to be blessed.

b. You were born to be a blessing.

c. You cannot be a blessing if you are not blessed.

d. There is MORE than enough blessing to go around so that EVERYONE can be blessed.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:

The Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills—He has more than enough provision for everyone on the earth—He has more than enough for you. You need to change the way you think and believe so that you can start to see yourself as God sees you. In Psalms 21:6, David says that God made him (David) to be blessed and a blessing forever and that applies to all those who love and obey God. Begin to expect God’s blessing in your life. Thank God for His blessings—rejoice and praise Him for them. SEE yourself as a blessing. BE a blessing wherever you are every day. Don’t wait until you have what you think you need to be a blessing. Just do what you can and give what you have right now. Be a blessing to everyone who crosses your path. Watch the Lord transform your life!

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:

I purposed in my heart many years ago that I wanted my life to count for eternity and that I wanted to be a blessing. I was blessed with godly parents and I had been raised in a godly home, so I had a good foundation in my life that ought to have brought blessings to me. However, I knew that God was calling me out and that I had to move to obey the call of God. God called me to America even as a young boy. I knew that I would go to America and that all I needed was God’s perfect time and the open door. I had to get up from where I was, take my family—my wife and three children—and travel to the United States of America and obey heaven’s call to be a missionary. Adonica and I climbed aboard the 747, with our three children and $300 cash, and when we landed in America in December of 1987 we had an excitement and an expectation in our heart. We knew that the Lord had promised not only to bless us, as we obeyed Him, but also to make us a blessing unto many!

God blessed Abram and he paid tithes to Melchizedek. Abram was a generous person. Look at how kind he was to Lot. Remember, that the Word of God declares that if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19). You were born to be a blessing and you were born to be blessed! God has blessings for you that cannot be contained, and it all begins with a seed.  We purposed in our hearts to give our way into God’s blessings, and it worked! Open your heart as you sow seed today.

Confession and prayer:

I was born to be a blessing and I was born to be blessed! Father, teach me your ways and I promise you I will be a giver and be a blessing to the world.

The Law of the Tithe

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

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 25 from Deuteronomy

The Law of the Tithe
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 14 verses 22 – 29

You shall surely tithe all the yield of your seed produced by your field each year. 23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God in the place in which He will cause His Name [and Presence] to dwell the tithe (tenth) of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstlings of your herd and your flock, that you may learn [reverently] to fear the Lord your God always. 24 And if the distance is too long for you to carry your tithe, or the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His Name [and Presence] is too far away for you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 Then you shall turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go to the place [of worship] which the Lord your God has chosen. 26 And you may spend that money for whatever your appetite craves, for oxen, or sheep, or new wine or strong[er] drink, or whatever you desire; and you shall eat there before the Lord your God and you shall rejoice, you and your household. 27 And you shall not forsake or neglect the Levite [God’s minister] in your towns, for he has been given no share or inheritance with you. 28 At the end of every three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year and lay it up within your towns. 29 And the Levite [because he has no part or inheritance with you] and the stranger or temporary resident, and the fatherless and the widow who are in your towns shall come and eat and be satisfied, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do. Deuteronomy 14:22-29 AMP

1. The tithe was to be brought as an act of worship, to honor God, by all those who feared His Name

a. It was to be brought with joy – not with sadness or with reservations. It was a time to feast and rejoice and give thanks.
b. The whole family was involved – you and your house. God continually emphasizes the importance of His people personally obeying His word and also teaching these principles to their children and establishing them as a way of life so that every generation would love and serve the Lord. Joshua says, “As for me and my house, we WILL serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15b)

2. Give according to the increase.

a. You are to tithe and give, according to the blessing of the Lord. As He has blessed you – give.
b. You are supposed to bring a tithe to God off of your increase. You are expected to increase – not decrease. God expects you to increase. You are to expect increase in your own life. God tells us to bring a tithe of that increase.

3. Every one doing their part – taking responsibility – this is how the kingdom of God functions.

a. Don’t forget the Levites – the priests – the ministers of the Gospel. Don’t forget to bless and support them. The Body of Christ is responsible to take care of their own. Bring your tithe to your local church. Pray and give offerings as the Holy Spirit leads you. This is God’s way of taking care of ministers and the ministry. God does not want us to forget those who labor in the ministry.
b. God says that those who labor in the ministry are worthy of double-honor. When Jesus sent the disciples out to preach and minister, He told them not to make provision for themselves, because “the workman deserves his support (his living, his food). (Matthew 10:10 AMP) Also, 1 Timothy 5:17 AMP says, “Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honor [and of adequate financial support], especially those who labor faithfully in preaching and teaching.”
c. Today, so many people are totally focused on themselves and their own needs and they forget the stranger, the fatherless (orphans), and the widows. Hebrews 13:2 NIV says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” James 1:27 NIV says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Bless them as God blesses you.

4. If you obey God in this, He promises to bless you and to bless all the work of your hands.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
Every one of us, in the Body of Christ, has a responsibility toward God and His Kingdom. God’s plan for His people is blessing and more blessing. Some of us are called to ministry; some of us are called to business; ALL of us are called to support the Gospel and each other. God does not want us to fearfully sit on what we have – He wants us to spread the blessing around. As the blessing is spread around, the Lord increases it. The more we give, the more increase comes to our life.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
There are many people, in the church world today, who want to be blessed even though they are disobedient to the word of God. With every one of the promises, there is a condition. If we meet the condition, we receive the promise. The tithe is Holy – it tells God you love Him, and fear Him, and put Him first, above all. Take care of God’s servants, the stranger, the orphans, and the widows. These are the basics of our financial responsibility in and to the Kingdom of God. If you don’t get this, then, as far as spirituality goes – you are still in pre-school!

Prayer and Confession:
Father, thank you today that I have the privilege of blessing You, even as You have blessed me. I honor you and covenant with You to obey Your word. I expect the increase and I thank and praise You for it.

THE HUMILITY TO RECEIVE INSTRUCTION, GUIDANCE AND WISDOM

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

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. Matthew 11:29-30 AMP

Jesus offers rest for our souls, a yoke that is easy, and a burden that is light—if we will be prepared to take His yoke upon us and learn of Him. That means that we submit ourselves to His guidance, that we learn about Him and also come to know Him personally. We cannot experience the blessing of truly knowing Him unless we will humble ourselves to submit to Him, to His word and His Spirit.

For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.
Isaiah 66:2 AMP

So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. James 1:21-22 AMP

If we want to be successful in life, we must have a deep respect for the authority of God’s word in our lives; we must be teachable; we must acknowledge that we don’t know everything and that we have something to learn. We must believe that God is speaking to us personally and receive it as such. Being teachable requires that we also receive and even welcome discipline and correction with a good attitude. This requires humility, repentance, and a willingness to change. When you come to a place in your life that you think you’ve arrived and you know everything—you have just proved that you know absolutely nothing. Be open to learn something new every day that you live! Know, and always remember this: God will pay attention to the man who pays attention to Him and honors Him—the man who trembles at His word and reveres His commands—and is a doer of them!

He leads the humble in what is right, and the humble He teaches His way. Psalms 25:9 AMP

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord brings instruction in Wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33 AMP

Haughtiness comes before disaster, but humility before honor. Proverbs 18:12 AMP

The humility to receive instruction brings wisdom and wisdom brings honor. Haughtiness and an un-teachable attitude will lead to disaster.

I warn and counsel the elders among you (the pastors and spiritual guides of the church) as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a sharer in the glory (the honor and splendor) that is to be revealed (disclosed, unfolded): 2 Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully; 3 Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation). 4 And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the conqueror’s crown of glory. 1 Peter 5:1-4 AMP

The Lord speaks to those who are called as teachers and leaders to have a humble attitude as they tend the flock that is their responsibility. They are not permitted to be domineering or manipulative or selfish, but must rather be a godly example to the congregation.

Likewise, you who are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders (the ministers and spiritual guides of the church)—[giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel]. Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble. 6 Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you. 1 Peter 5:5-6 AMP

God requires that we all humble ourselves to respect and receive from those in authority over us. Many people have gone astray because they would not listen to the godly counsel of those who are older and wiser. It is foolishness for you to have a know-it-all, you-can’t-tell-me-anything attitude. You demonstrate wisdom in your own life, by your willingness to listen to and receive counsel.

Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom. James 3:13 AMP

The Absolute Attributes of God

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

The Absolute Attributes of God

Self-existence

John 5:26 AMP – For even as the Father has life in Himself and is self-existent, so He has given to the Son to have life in Himself and be self-existent.
God is the absolute source of all life and being.
Colossians 1:17 AMP – And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).
He is before all things and by Him all things consist.
He is not dependant for being or essence upon any source outside Himself, thus He is self-existent.

Immutability

Malachi 3:6a KJV – For I am the Lord, I change not
James 1:17 NKJV – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Hebrews 13:8 NKJV – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
1 Kings 8:56 NKJV – Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.
Romans 8:38-39 NKJV – For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Eternity

1 Timothy 1:17 NKJV – Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Exodus 3:14 KJV – And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Psalms 90:2 NKJV – Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Revelation 1:8 NKJV – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 22:13 NKJV – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
1 John 5:12 NKJV – He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Omnipresence

Jeremiah 23:23-24 NKJV – “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off? 24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.
1 Kings 8:27 NKJV – “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!
Matthew 28:20b NKJV – And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
John 14:16-17 NKJV – And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Everywhere the Church goes, there the Holy Spirit is present.
John 16:8 NKJV – And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.

Omniscience

Psalms 139:1-4 NKJV – O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
2 Kings 4:20-27
Acts 5:1-11
Revelation 2:1 – Revelations 3:22
Ephesians 1:7-10
Ephesians 3:8-11
Romans 8:28 NKJV – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Omnipotence

Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV – Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
There is not a limitation of His power.
We see the greatness of His power in His created works.
2 Corinthians 4:18
Isaiah 40:15 NKJV – Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
Daniel 4:35
Genesis 18:14
Ephesians 1:15-23

Sovereignty

God is sovereign over angels, principalities and powers, demon spirits and Satan himself.
He rules in heaven, on earth and under the earth.
Ephesians 1:4-5 NKJV – Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
Revelation 22:17
Matthew 23:37
John 5:40
John 3:16-17
2 Peter 3:9

Moral Attributes

Holiness
Leviticus 11:44-45
Isaiah 6:1-5 1 Peter 1:13-16
Righteousness (Justice)
Genesis 18:25 Deuteronomy 32:4
Romans 3:22b-26
Love (Mercy; Goodness)
1 John 4:8-11
1 John 4:16
Deuteronomy 7:6-8
Truth
His Word is true.
He is the only true God.
He is faithful to keep all His promises.
Titus 1:2a
John 1:14
John 14:6
Romans 3:4

THREE FACTS CONCERNING SALVATION

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

1. Salvation is NOW – the believer is saved and delivered from sin now.

Luke 19:9-10 (KJV) – “And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
2 Corinthians 6:2 (ERV) – “God says, “I heard you at the right time, and I gave you help on the day of salvation.” I tell you that the “right time” is now. The “day of salvation” is now.
Romans 10:9 (KJV) – “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.“
Today is the day of salvation! The moment you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, believing that He died and rose again for you, you are saved. It is not a future event – it happens instantaneously! You are not a sinner, saved by grace. You were a sinner – now you are the righteousness of God in Christ! Galatians 3:13 says that, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having been made a curse for us.” Sin loses its power over us and the fear of death and judgment has been erased.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 (NKJV) says, “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are sanctified and made righteous in God’s eyes, by the Holy Spirit. It is a supernatural thing precipitated by faith in the truth of God’s word.
1 John 1:9 (KJV) says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Once we are born again, all sins are forever forgiven and washed away and our place in heaven has been assured. It is up to us to walk in the light of God’s word from then on. Thank God – when we sin – we can go back to God to ask and receive forgiveness and continue to walk in fellowship with Him.

2. The believer is being kept from sin as he walks in the light.

Philippians 2:12 (KJV) – “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Without faith in God, there is no salvation. No good works of your own can save you. However, once you are saved by His grace, you have an obligation to yourself to walk it out in your own life. Your spirit man is a new creation and the Holy Spirit has come to live in you, but your mind and body must learn to be submitted to the Word and the Holy Spirit so that you can continue to grow in Him and see His life and blessing and peace manifested in your body and mind.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 NKJV – “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.“
Titus 2:11-14 (NKJV) – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
We choose to walk in the righteousness, already purchased for us, because we have received and understood the great things God has done in us and how we are His purchased possession. We do not belong any more to ourselves, but to Him. We are washed in His blood; we are His peculiar people; His special treasure. We know that we will see Him again, so we live and conduct ourselves like people who are living, even now, in His very presence.
Hebrews 2:1-4 (NKJV) – “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”
1 John 1:7 (NKJV) – “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

3. The believer will eventually be saved from all the fall.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 (KJV) – “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 5:9 (KJV) – “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
Hebrews 9:28 (KJV) – “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
1 Peter 1:5 (KJV) – “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
1 Peter 1:9 (KJV) – “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:13 (KJV) – “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
When Adam and Eve fell in sin, they lost everything. We who are born again walk in the light, but are subject to the results and products of sin and death. There is coming a time when we will be restored to God exactly as Adam and Eve were before the fall. Except this time, we will never, ever be plucked from His hand for all eternity! Hallelujah!

Rodney Howard Browne bringing revival to America…