BUILD YOUR HOUSE OUT OF THE RIGHT STUFF

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

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.  Ephesians 6:5-8 NIV

We honor God when we honor those we serve here on earth. Our motivation is very important to the Lord, because our attitude toward man reflects our true attitude toward God. You may say that you love God and you may claim to honor Him, but if you do not honor and obey His word then you do not honor Him. Work is good. God expects us to work. God can bless our work. He wants us to work well and to be sincere and respectful to our employers.

It is not acceptable to God that we try to con our boss by working only when he is watching us. Even when our boss turns his back—we should remember that God is watching us. We must realize that we have a responsibility to do the will of God by working and serving our boss wholeheartedly—as if we were serving the Lord, Himself. He says that we are serving Him by serving our boss. God will reward us for the good work we do from a sincere heart.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.  1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NIV

Without a firm foundation, there is nothing to build upon. There is only one life foundation we can lay if we want to live a successful, productive and blessed life—and that is the foundation Jesus Christ. Until you have Jesus in your life—until you have acknowledged Him as your Lord and Savior—you have not yet begun to live!

Upon this firm foundation, we build our lives. This foundation is established by our faith and then we proceed to build our house on this foundation by our faith, our motives and our works. It is no good for us to do only those things that suit us and ignore those which don’t. God’s word is not optional. We cannot pick and choose what we will do and not do, obey and not obey. It is a package deal. We must submit to God’s word in every area. We must commit to do His word without hesitation or argument.

Some people appear to do all the right things and yet their motivation is wrong. Some people are obedient in some areas, but disobedient in others. Some people are obedient, but not willing. All this is wood, hay and stubble. If we do the right thing, under every circumstance and for the right reason, we will be building with gold, jewels and precious stones.

If we are carnal Christians, we will be selfish and we will make choices that are not pleasing to God—wood, hay and stubble. The more we grow in God and learn to yield to the Lord in everything, the more we will do those things that please God—the gold, jewels and precious stones.

God does not judge our house—He just sets it on fire. If it burns—we lose it. If it passes through the fire—we get to keep it and take it into heaven with us. We are the ones who choose our building materials. We should choose wisely. We should commit to yield our heart, soul, body, mind, will, emotions, mouth and opinions completely to the Lord.

WHY SETTLE FOR THE CRUMBS WHEN YOU CAN HAVE THE LOAF?

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

For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.  Mark 7:25-30

This Syrophenician woman should not have received a miracle because she did not qualify for one. According to Jesus, she was not one of the children. However, she did not know it and if she did, she did not let that stop her. Even when Jesus said that healing was the children’s bread and that the bread should not be given to dogs. She could have been offended because He called her a dog. However, instead of being offended she was bold and pled her case. She said to Jesus, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs!” And Jesus replied, “Because of this saying, you have what you requested.”

Now, many people would look at this woman’s example and say, “Well I will just settle for the crumbs that fall from the table.” However, you and I—as born-again children of God, washed in the blood—are not dogs. We are God’s children and therefore the loaf—not the crumbs—belongs to us. This is all because of Calvary and the finished work of the cross. Take a look at what Isaiah 53: 1-5 says in the Living Bible.

But, oh, how few believe it! Who will listen? To whom will God reveal his saving power? In God’s eyes he was like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. But in our eyes there was no attractiveness at all, nothing to make us want him. We despised him and rejected him—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we didn’t care. Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed!

Because of Calvary, God has to honor the cross. There are different methods of healing and there are conditions to fulfill in order for us to receive our healing. However, the cross has to work! By grace, through faith, the price was paid. Who has believed our report? Who will believe? Will you believe today? You have to make the decision that you believe the report of the Lord. You are not a dog you are a child. Step up and grab a loaf of healing.

If this woman’s daughter could get healed under the Old Covenant, when she was not even eligible, how much more can we be healed us under our new covenant—based upon better promises—signed and sealed by the shed blood of Jesus.

Healing is the children’s bread. Why should we settle for the crumbs when we can have the whole loaf?

SONS OF THE MOST HIGH LOVE THEIR ENEMIES – PART 2

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

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  Romans 5:5 NKJV

When you accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth as your Lord and Savior, you are born-again. When you are born-again, the Holy Spirit pours the love of God into your heart and everything changes. You are not the same person that you were before. You are a new creature. You no longer follow the ways of the world, but you now follow the ways of God. You no longer behave like the devil, but you behave like your Father God.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35 NIV

The demonstration of the love of God that has been poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit is proof that you are Jesus’ disciples. When you love people they know that Jesus is your Lord.

“But I say to you who are listening now to Me: [in order to heed, make it a practice to] love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) those who detest you and pursue you with hatred.  Luke 6:27 Amp

Jesus speaks to those who are listening to Him. Unfortunately, not all Christians actually listen to Jesus or do what He tells them to do. It is very important that you listen to Jesus and that you do what He tells you to do. He tells you to make it a practice to love your enemies. No one in the world loves their enemies – they hate their enemies – but for Christians, loving their enemies should be a normal thing that they do! Not only are you to love your enemies, but the Lord also asks you to act nobly toward those who detest you and pursue you with hatred, to do good to them and to treat them well. This kind of behavior is foreign to the world, but it should be normal for the children of God.

Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you].  Luke 6:28 Amp

When people curse you, revile you, blame you, accuse you, belittle you, and high-handedly misuse you, Jesus tells you to invoke blessings upon them, pray for their happiness and beg God to favor them. This will definitely take them by surprise!

To the one who strikes you the jaw or cheek, offer the other jaw or cheek also; and from him who takes away your outer garment, do not withhold your undergarment as well. 30 Give away to everyone who begs of you [who is in want of necessities], and from him who takes away from you your goods, do not demand or require them back again. 31 And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.  Luke 6:29-31 Amp

When people attack you, you do not fight back. When they ask for things, you give it to them, when they take things away from you, you do not ask for them back. You know that God is your protector and your source of supply. You know that whatever you give away without grudging, will be given back to you again and some. You know that as you generously walk in love toward people, you are showing them the heart of God and you know that God can take this opportunity to reach them and to snatch them from the devil’s kingdom. Treat everybody – even people you don’t like and who don’t like you – exactly as you would like to be treated.

If you [merely] love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? For even the [very] sinners love their lovers (those who love them). 33 And if you are kind and good and do favors to and benefit those who are kind and good and do favors to and benefit you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? For even the preeminently sinful do the same.   34 And if you lend money at interest to those from whom you hope to receive, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? Even notorious sinners lend money at interest to sinners, so as to recover as much again.  Luke 6:32-34 Amp

If you only love those who love you, and if you are only kind and good and do favors to those who are kind and good to you, and if you lend money at interest to those from whom you hope to receive, then what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them, are kind to those who are kind to them and lend to those who can repay them. When you love your enemies, are kind to them and lend hoping for nothing in return, then you show yourself to be of a different spirit than them and you become a light and an example to them.

We need to see the big picture – it is not just about us and our feelings – it is about reaching sinners by showing them the Spirit of Christ that is in us. We are God’s instruments – we are gloves on His hands! When we walk in love, we exalt Jesus, when we lift Jesus up – men will be drawn to Him and the devil will be defeated in their lives and in ours!

GOD GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE

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

JAMES 4:1-10 NIV

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  James 4:1-3 NIV

In this letter, James writes to fellow Christians, who were behaving like sinners. Before you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are dominated by your sin nature. You are carnal, worldly and ruled by your flesh and your senses. When you repent of your sins, ask God for forgiveness, and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are delivered from sin’s control, transferred from darkness to light, and made partaker of a new righteous nature. You are a child adopted into a new family – you are a branch grafted into a new tree. You are supposed to begin to yield to this new nature and not continue to do, speak and act the way you did before. Unfortunately, many Christians have forgotten (or never found out) which family they belong to. The nature of God resides in their heart, but they act like they still belong to the devil – they are fleshly and carnal.

The words God speaks to His children and the directions He gives them are not optional they are required. You ought to take God’s Word literally and seriously – it may mean the difference between life and death for you. Tell yourself, “God’s Word is speaking to me!”

Don’t be covetous. Covetousness is a jealous, murderous spirit that will destroy a brother for a material possession that means nothing in eternity. You fight and lust and crave, but you come up empty-handed anyway. God is your source – ask Him for the things you desire instead of going after your brother’s stuff. Adjust your heart attitude and ask unselfishly so that God may bless you.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?   6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud

but gives grace to the humble.”   James 4:4-6 NIV

Unsaved, carnal, worldly people are proud. They are self-sufficient – they are all they need – they don’t need God. However, a wise person realizes that they need God and that they are lost without Him. Christians should never look up to worldly people as their example, nor should they want to be like them. Rather, Christians should set an example for the world to follow. Pride is a terrible thing – it is an impenetrable barrier that will keep you from the presence and the blessing of the Lord, because you believe that you don’t need Him when you actually need Him desperately.Humility is the ability to receive that which you do not deserve. Your humility opens the door for you to receive all that God has for you, while pride keeps it firmly shut. God wants you to be blessed – humble yourself to receive from His hand all that He has for you.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7 NIV

Until you submit to God, you will not be able to deal with the manipulations and machinations of the devil against you. Your pride, arrogance and ego give the devil an edge. It is like a handle he can turn or a button he can push. When he places a thought in your mind, or when he uses someone to push your buttons, he knows how you will react – in a carnal manner. When your nose is proudly in the air, you are not watching where your feet are going and the devil finds his opportunity to trip you up.

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

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  James 4:8-10 NIV

You are not waiting on God – He is waiting on you. Make a move toward Him by humbling your heart; becoming as a little child; not trusting in yourself. Do not be confident in yourself or your own abilities. In doing this, you will be throwing yourself on His mercy and His grace and He will joyfully and willingly pour out His gift of grace upon you. You will find, in Him, everything that you need and you will be fully satisfied in and by His presence and His provision.

A SON IN GOD’S HOUSE

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

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondmaid and one by the free woman. 23 But whereas the child of the slave woman was born according to the flesh and had an ordinary birth, the son of the free woman was born in fulfillment of the promise. 24 Now all this is an allegory; these [two women] represent two covenants. one covenant originated from Mount Sinai [where the Law was given] and bears [children destined] for slavery; this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is (stands for) Mount Sinai inArabia and she corresponds to and belongs in the same category with the present Jerusalem, for she is in bondage together with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above ( the Messianic kingdom of Christ) is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written in the Scriptures, Rejoice, O barren woman, who has not given birth to children; break forth into a joyful shout, you who are not feeling birth pangs, for the desolate woman has many more children than she who has a husband. 28 But we, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise. 29 Yet [just] as at that time the child [of ordinary birth] born according to the flesh despised and persecuted him [who was born remarkably] according to [the promise and the working of] the [Holy] Spirit, so it is now also. 30 But what does the Scripture say? Cast out and send away the slave woman and her son, for never shall the son of the slave woman be heir and share the inheritance with the son of the free woman. 31 So, brethren, we [who are born again] are not children of a slave woman [the natural], but of the free [the supernatural].  Galatians 4:22-31 AMP

Both Ishmael and Isaac were sons of Abraham, but one was the son of a slave woman, Hagar (representing the flesh), and the other was the son of the free woman, Sarah, (representing the Spirit). Ishmael birth came about because of the will and decision of man, but Isaac’s birth was as a result the will, the plan and the promise of God. Ishmael brought his father trouble, but Isaac brought his father joy. The Lord uses natural things to explain supernatural things to us and so Ishmael and Isaac came to represent two different covenants – the Old and the New. They represent to us the flesh and the Spirit; the natural and the supernatural.

You have to understand that on this earth, you are serving either the Lord or you are serving the devil. There is no such thing as serving yourself, because serving yourself is the same as serving the devil. No, we are not calling you a devil, but we are saying that the Word says that if you are not walking in the light then you are walking in darkness. Until you meet Jesus, the devil is your boss. Yes, you still have a free will – he cannot completely control you unless you give him place in your life – but you have no authority over him either, because you are not authorized to use the Name of Jesus. Also, you have absolutely no way to escape his clutches once you die. You will go straight to hell with no recourse. The only way to change your destiny is to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and begin to serve Him.

Before you served Jesus, you were a slave to sin. Now that you are born again, you are no longer a slave to sin, but you are free to serve God with a willing heart. A slave does what he doesn’t want to do for no reward – he doesn’t get paid. A free man chooses which boss he will work for and what job he will do and he gets paid for it. There may be aspects of the job he likes and some he doesn’t, but it is still his choice to work for that boss for that amount of pay! He is free to make choices that affect his life and change the course of his life. However, when you are a slave, your course is set by another. You may think that doing your own thing – whatever feels good to you – is freedom and that serving God sounds like bondage, but it is the other way around. The more you sin, the more you become a slave to sin and the worse you feel, the more bound you become and the more trapped you feel. Sin will work you into a corner and give the devil more and more authority in your life.

A sinner’s life is set on a course to eternal damnation, but a believer’s life is on a course to eternal life. A sinner is bound by the natural realm, but a believer is unrestrained by the natural. Even if a believer’s body dies, they continue to live – in the presence of God. Unless someone, who is free, intervenes and buys the son of the slave woman, he is destined to become a slave himself. The son of the slave woman will never be an heir and share the inheritance with the son of the free woman, the son of the house. The slave eats from his master’s table and wears the clothes his master gives him, but it is only the master’s son who will inherit his title (his name) and his possessions. The slave will never inherit the things that he works for, but the son will inherit everything he works for. Jesus has already intervened for us and made us to be sons in the kingdom of God. Why should you live your life as slave, with no inheritance when you can be a son in God’s house? Start serving Jesus with all your heart today!

THE ANOINTING – YOUR TEACHER

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

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.  1 John 2:18-29 KJV

But you have been anointed by [you hold a sacred appointment from, you have been given an unction from] the Holy one, and you all know [the Truth] or you know all things.  1 John2:20 AMP

But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do].  1 John 2:27 AMP

There is an antichrist spirit in the world that denies that Jesus is the Christ; the Messiah; the Savior. If you deny Jesus, then the Word of God says that you are a liar and you do not know what the truth is. 1 John 2:20 says that you – the believer – have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things – you know the Truth – you know that Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords and you know that the Word of God is true.

Verse 27 says that when the anointing abides on you, that the Holy Spirit will be your teacher. He will teach you things that no mere man can communicate to you. Now, this does not mean that you must not have teachers or that you do not need instruction, or else God would not have anointed men and women to be teachers and preachers, but it means that it is the Holy Spirit’s anointing that will cause you to understand and receive revelation concerning what you hear. You see, even if a teacher preaches the truth and you hear the truth, you will not understand it or receive it as the truth unless you have the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you. Without the Holy Spirit, you will hear, but you will not comprehend. It will go right over your head.

God does not hide His Word or His Truth. It is written in His word – plainly for the world to see – but because people do not have the Holy Spirit, they do not understand the Word. Before you were born again, you read the Bible, but you did not understand the Bible. When you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Word began to be unveiled to you. When you were baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire, you understood more, and the more you pressed into the Spirit and the Word, the more revelation knowledge began to flow in your life. The more of the Spirit you have in your life, the more you will know and understand of the Word of God and of spiritual things.

The Holy Spirit will always point you toward the truth of the Word when you abide in Him – when you live daily in His presence. He will encourage you to remain close to the Word and to press in to the Spirit. Some people do and say all kinds of ungodly things in the name of the Lord, but they are self-deceived, because the Holy Spirit will never allow you to transgress the Word. The Holy Spirit will always tell you the right thing, not the convenient thing or the comfortable thing. He will always lead you to submit to the Lord and to the Word. The Holy Spirit will only ever lead you into the Truth. The anointing will only teach you the Truth.

Stand and Resist

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

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.  Hebrews 4:15 AMP

Jesus, in His earthly walk, was tempted with everything that any one of us has ever been tempted with. The difference between Him and us is that He did not yield to temptation and He did not sin. Because He was born a man and because He was subject to the same temptations as us, He had a right to take our place at the cross representing Man. Because He was God in the flesh, He had a right to take His place at the cross representing God. Because Jesus never succumbed to temptation and because He never sinned, God had a right to raise Him up on the third day, with us in Him. An everlasting covenant was cut on that cross, between God and man, which can never be rescinded. Sin has no more dominion over you and me!

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death. 22 But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life. 23 For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 6:20-23 AMP

God has provided you and me with an opportunity and a means to deal with sin in our lives and to get rid of it.  Before Jesus died and rose from the dead, we had no way to overcome sin at all, but now we do.

If you yield to sin as a way of life, you may think that you are in control, but what you don’t realize is that sin is controlling you. You might think that you are becoming fulfilled by fulfilling your fleshly desires and yielding to sin and temptations, but in reality you become emptier and emptier. You don’t realize the more you yield to sin, the more you are being taken over by the devil and destroyed by him. Sin is deceptive and destructive. Sin hardens your heart and moves you further and further away from the presence of God. Ultimately, sin will destroy you completely. God’s desire for you is that you experience His eternal life rather than the death of sin and He has given you the ability to overcome sin by the blood of Jesus and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In the days of His flesh [Jesus] offered up definite, special petitions [for that which He not only wanted but needed] and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him Who was [always] able to save Him [out] from death, and He was heard because of His reverence toward God [His godly fear, His piety, in that He shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father]. 8 Although He was a Son, He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered 9 And, [His completed experience] making Him perfectly [equipped], He became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey Him. Hebrews 5:7-9 AMP

Even though Jesus is God’s Son, He learned special obedience through the things that He suffered – facing temptations, persecutions, and outright attacks. He could have been respected just for Who He is – Almighty God – but He has also earned our respect, not only for Who He is, but for what He has done. When He walked on the earth He prayed and asked God for certain things and all His prayers were answered because of His respect for the Father and the fact that He shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father. If we reverence God and His presence, if our primary desire in life is to please Him, then we will have all the motivation in the world to turn and RUN away from sin!

Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. 4 You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.  Hebrews 12:3-4

Jesus struggled and fought agonizingly against sin. He withstood sin and temptation to the point that He sweated blood. Most people just let sin have its way in them. They don’t even try to resist it. We have an obligation to God and ourselves to resist sin. We have an obligation to God because Jesus went to and through such extremes to bring us to this place, to give us the privilege and the opportunity to be able to say NO to sin. We have an obligation to ourselves to stop doing the things that bring death and destruction to our lives and to start to do those things that result in both life and peace.

REDEEMING THE CARNAL MIND

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

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]. 7[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot. 8 So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.  Romans 8:6-8 AMP

Without Christ in your life, your mind is carnal, fleshly, and worldly. Even if you do receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, you still need to renew your mind to the word and submit it to both your own recreated spirit and the working of the Holy Spirit so that you can please God, have peace of mind, and live a godly life.

And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins 2 In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. 3 Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, 5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).  Ephesians 2:1-5 AMP

Before you met Christ, you were dead in your sin. If you had died physically, you would have gone straight to hell. Sin and darkness reigned in your spirit, your mind, and your body. You did not know any better. You were just imitating everyone around you and following the ways of the world. You were under the influence of society and demon spirits, your behavior governed by your corrupt and sensual nature; obeying the impulses of your flesh and the thoughts of your mind. Your cravings were dictated by your senses and your sinful imaginations. However, because God loved you so much, He sent Jesus Christ to take your place, to bear your sin and your judgment. You were in Him when He died and in Him when He was made alive. Because of Jesus, your life is redeemed – the first step toward peace of mind and freedom from the devil and the world’s system.

Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; 23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], 24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 AMP

Some people are born again, but they have never given their mind and flesh completely over to the Lord. They are still in bondage to sin, death, and the devil. Sin is deceptive – it promises freedom and happiness, but it delivers only bondage, fear, and darkness. If you want to walk free from the bondage of a carnal mind, you need to make some choices. No one else can choose for you. You are the only one who can make these choices for you. You need to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior in every area of your life: you need to choose to believe God’s word; you need to make a decision to walk free from sin and death; you need to strip off your former nature (your old unrenewed self) that was corrupted through the lusts and desires that spring from delusion; you need to choose life. You need to make a decision to allow God’s word access into your life, daily, to change everything in you and, therefore, everything in your life. You need to work constantly to renew your mind and refresh your attitude. You need to put on your new nature – which is created in God’s image – in true righteousness and holiness, by obeying God’s word.

Ephesians 5:26 AMP says that Christ sanctifies the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things and so that she might be holy and faultless. Submit yourself to the word. Allow it to penetrate you heart and mind and change you from the inside out. The more you submit your life to the word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, the more freedom and peace are released into you!

A Good, Clear Conscience – Part Two

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

And baptism, which is a figure [of their deliverance], does now also save you [from inward questionings and fears], not by the removing of outward body filth [bathing], but by [providing you with] the answer of a good and clear conscience (inward cleanness and peace) before God [because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 3:21 AMP

There is nothing finer than living with a clear conscience! It is a stress-free, totally peace-filled life. No money in the world can buy a clear conscience, but through the power of God and the blood of Jesus, we can be blessed with inward cleanness and peace. Through our faith in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and our obedience to go through the waters of baptism, something actually happens in our soul. Baptism saves us from inward questionings and fears—it is as if our head has a resurrection—washing away every thought and desire that are contrary to the word and will of the Father.

Therefore, brethren, since we have full freedom and confidence to enter into the [Holy of] Holies [by the power and virtue] in the blood of Jesus, 20 By this fresh (new) and living way which He initiated and dedicated and opened for us through the separating curtain (veil of the Holy of Holies), that is, through His flesh, 21 And since we have [such] a great and wonderful and noble Priest [Who rules] over the house of God, 22 Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water.  Hebrews 10:19-22 AMP

Thank God for the blood of Jesus! It enables us to have full freedom and confidence to enter into God’s very presence. This is a fresh, new, and living way! Jesus is our High Priest and through Him, our hearts are purified from an evil and guilty conscience. There is no way you can come into God’s presence with sin in your heart and with a guilty conscience. The Lord has made a way for us to come into His presence by washing our heart and conscience clean.

Keep praying for us, for we are convinced that we have a good (clear) conscience, that we want to walk uprightly and live a noble life, acting honorably and in complete honesty in all things.  Hebrews 13:18 AMP

If you want to live an honest, noble life—walking uprightly and acting honorably—you can only do it if you protect your conscience. Honesty in all things begins with, and is dependant on, a good, clear conscience before God.

[And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear (unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives]. 17 For [it is] better to suffer [unjustly] for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than to suffer [justly] for doing wrong.  1 Peter 3:16-17 AMP

Keep your heart right and your conscience clear and then even though you may experience persecution, through the evidence of your good life, your critics will be put to shame. If you have done wrong then your punishment is justified. If you have not done wrong, no matter what you go through, the Lord will vindicate you; He will reward you for your righteous, uncompromising stand.

I thank God Whom I worship with a pure conscience, in the spirit of my fathers, when without ceasing I remember you night and day in my prayers. 2 Timothy 1:3 AMP

Worship God with a clear conscience. Your faith in Him—your unqualified assurance and absolute conviction in the truth of His word—will give you the confidence to come boldly into His presence and ask Him for the things you need. The faith and confidence you walk in as a result of your clear conscience will provide an answer to your prayers.

Are you Building a Golden Calf or the House of God?

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

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 23 from Deuteronomy

Are you Building a Golden Calf or the House of God?
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 9 verses 4 – 16

Do not say in your [mind and] heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out from before you, It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land–whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. 5 Not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your [minds and] hearts do you go to possess their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out before you, and that He may fulfill the promise which the Lord swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Know therefore that the Lord your God does not give you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a hard and stubborn people. 7[Earnestly] remember and forget not how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day you left the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. 8 Even in Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you. 9 When I went up the mountain to receive the tables of stone, the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I neither ate food nor drank water. 10 And the Lord delivered to me the two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the Lord spoke with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. 11 And at the end of forty days and forty nights the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, the tables of the covenant. 12 And the Lord said to me, Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten image. 13 Furthermore the Lord said to me, I have seen this people, and behold, they are stubborn and hard. 14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under the heavens; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they. 15 So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire. And the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the Lord your God; you had made for yourselves a molten calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way which the Lord had commanded you.  Deuteronomy 9:4-16 AMP

The Children of Israel were miraculously delivered from the land of Egypt and from the slavery that they had been under for hundreds of years. In this passage, God reminds them of where He brought them from – how He delivered them in the past and His plan for blessing them in the future, if they would obey and serve Him.

When the Israelites were delivered from their captivity, God brought them forth with an abundance of silver and gold. They stripped the Egyptians of their wealth. God did this to repay them for the stuff that was taken from them, and also what they were owed, during their years of slavery. It was God’s way of making the Egyptians make restitution. Then He wanted to provide for them and give them all they needed to start a new life in the Promised Land. He wanted to make sure that they had sufficient to take care of themselves, as well as a surplus, so that they could build the house of God.

Something happened while Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Holy Commandments of God for the people. He was gone for 40 days. They thought he was dead and because of the evil in their hearts, they decided to build an idol to worship. Even though they were taken out of Egypt, Egypt was not yet taken out of them, so a golden calf was made from the offerings with which God had blessed them.

This was not God’s plan. God’s plan was for them to use their gold, jewels, and precious stones to build HIS house! An idol could be money, a house, a car, sport, music, another person, or your own good looks! An idol is anything that we value above God, Himself. God’s plan is not for us to waste money on idols. God’s plan is for us to be blessed and to bless the house of God.

Pastors Adonica’s Thoughts:
People might not believe that they really have an idol in their life that is above God, but the best way to know is by taking a look at your money and how and where it is spent. When you get paid, what is the first thing you do with your money? If you are a Christian, and you do not set aside the tithe before you spend anything else, God is not first in your life – you have a golden calf in there somewhere consuming your blessing!

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
The Christian church, today, is no different from the children of Israel. The fact of the matter is that the Lord has blessed us, and will continue to bless us, when we obey and serve Him. However, His blessings are not to be spent on temporary idols of the flesh or mind, but His blessings are for the building of His house and that which is eternal. Understand this one thing – you will either give for a golden calf or you will give for the building of the house of God – but you WILL give. Don’t build idols, build God’s house, which will remain forever.

Prayer and Confession:
Father, I pray that you help me to never take my eyes off Your house. Help me not to look away from Your beauty and be turned to idols. I promise you that I will focus on eternal things – for all the carnal things shall pass away, but eternal things will never pass away.

 

Reaching the world for Jesus Christ