TRUST IN THE LORD

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

Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.

For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret–it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.  Psalms 37:1-11  NKJV

“Trust in the Lord” — When we consider our circumstances and the things we see and hear it is not hard to surrender to fear and anxiety. However, the Lord emphasizes to us –- all through His word –- that He loves us, He cares about us, He is on our side and He will take care of us and provide for us.  He tells us over and over to TRUST Him –- because unless we trust in Him He is unable to help us — and He does want to help us.

“Do good” –- Stay in the will of God by DOING GOOD. God is your protection, your rock, your fortress, your deliverer, and your avenger as long as you see to it that you abide in His presence. As long as you decide to obey and serve Him with a willing heart He is able to protect and keep you. If you wander out of His presence and into the enemy’s territory you become exposed and unprotected. You must DWELL in the secret place of the Most High in order to ABIDE under the shadow of the Almighty.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”  Psalms 91:1-2 NKJV

Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.  Psalms 91:9-11  NKJV

“Dwell in the land” –- God has made us exceeding great and precious promises, purchased with the priceless, precious blood of Jesus. We need to take what is ours. We need to boldly ask for what God has promised and we need to accept and receive it with humility and gratefulness. “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’” Abba Father went to so much trouble to purchase our life, our redemption, our freedom and our blessing that it would be a shame for us to refuse it. When someone loves us enough to make a great sacrifice for us — for the purpose of blessing us and with the intention of blessing us -– the greatest insult would be for us to turn the blessing down because of our false humility. False humility stems from an attitude of pride –- if I can’t earn it, I don’t want it. You have to humble your heart in order to accept the gift that you don’t deserve. God has given you the land – DWELL IN IT!

“Feed on His faithfulness” –- His faithfulness will sustain you. Because of His faithfulness you will always have exactly what you need. His faithfulness will feed you, clothe you, and keep you. You need to meditate on His faithfulness. Feed yourself with His word and His promises. Immerse yourself in His faithfulness. See nothing else, but His faithfulness –- expect it and look for it. When the circumstances are contrary –- believe in His faithfulness. When you are in need –- call on His faithfulness. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.

You can trust Him because He tells you to trust Him. You can trust him because He is trustworthy. He provides that which He promises and He only promises that which He can and will provide. He cannot lie and He will not lie –- that is why you can believe that what He says is the truth and why you can trust Him completely and absolutely.

AS YOU HAVE RECEIVED CHRIST – CONTINUE TO LIVE IN HIM

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

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:6-8 NIV

Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord – you need to continue to live in Him! How did you receive Him? Was it by your works or by your effort? NO! If you really received Jesus – not a church, not a denomination, not a religion – but Jesus – then you received Him by FAITH in His GRACE! If you did not receive Him by faith then you did not receive Him at all!

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24 NIV

We are justified freely by His grace. When we first receive Jesus and we fall in love with Him – we are excited, we are full of wonder and joy, we love to be in His presence, we are hungry for His word, we talk about Him all the time and we tell everyone we meet how wonderful He is. We must continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in our faith as we were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. The only way we are going to maintain a fruitful relationship with the Lord and retain the joy of our salvation is by filling up on the word of God and by spending time in His presence.

The more time we spend with Him, the more rooted we become. The deeper and firmer the root – the stronger the tree! As we fill up with the Word – we are built up and strengthened in our faith. The most awesome thing we experience when we first receive Jesus is FREEDOM! We receive freedom from sin and freedom from religion and tradition. We feel the bondage of sin and the world leaving us and we experience the freedom of forgiveness and acceptance. We lay down our heavy burden and we pick up His light one.
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”  Galatians 2:19-21 NIV

Christ died to deliver us from sin and the curse of the law. We receive Jesus by faith – not by keeping the law. Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

There are people who feel that it is their duty to bring you back into the bondage that Jesus saved you out of. You are saved by faith and you must live the rest of your life by faith (Hebrews 10:38). Don’t shrink back from your faith because it is the only way to please God. God is not pleased by your works, which are without faith. Only those things that are motivated and carried out by faith are pleasing to Him.

If we rely on hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ – then we will lose the life and freedom that Jesus paid for so dearly. Man’s wisdom and tradition may sound right and make sense to our minds because it appeals to our intellect, however it is foolishness to God. The religion and tradition of man relies on the efforts of man – long lists of do’s and don’ts – but God tells us to trust Him and not our own effort or ability. Man’s religion and tradition gives us rules and regulations – some of which are most unpleasant and extreme.

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.  Colossians 2:20-23 NIV

There are people who fast — just to punish themselves — not to open their spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to them. They also mutilate their bodies and inflict pain on themselves, but it does not help to bring their sensual desires under control. This does not please or impress God – neither does He reward us for it. It is nothing but false humility. False humility is when we abase ourselves in order to EARN God’s favor. Our OWN righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and is unacceptable to God, but the righteousness God bestows, allows us to come boldly into His throne room any time we choose. We live by faith in God and only the Spirit of God can help us to control and eliminate ungodly, fleshly desires. Jesus died to make us free – let us honor Him and continue to LIVE free!

PUT AWAY UNRIGHTEOUSENESS FAR FROM YOUR HOUSE

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

If you return to the Almighty [and submit and humble yourself before Him], you will be built up; if youput away unrighteousness far from your tents. AMP

If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. KJV

If you return to God and put right all the wrong in your home, then you will be restored. TLB

Job 22:23 says that you must put away iniquity and unrighteousness from your tabernacle – the place you live – your tent or your home. The tabernacle could be the tabernacle of your attitude, the tabernacle of your body, the tabernacle of your house, or the tabernacle of your family. If you want the blessing of God on your life, then you need to humble your heart, submit to the Lord, and deal with and eliminate any form of sin – whether in thought or deed, in your heart or in your home.

132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. 133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.  Psalms 119:132-133 NIV

Sin, iniquity, and unrighteousness seek to dominate, control and destroy you. You may think that you are in control of sin, but once you yield to it, sin is always in control of you. The only way to be free of sin is to confess your sin, to ask God for forgiveness and to yield to righteousness.

Psalms 66:18-19

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. 19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. NKJV

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

19 but God has surely listened. NIV

18 He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. 19 But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it! TLB

The first place that sin abides that must be dealt with is our own heart and mind. This is the root that must be eliminated in order to prevent the growth of the trunk, the branches and, eventually, the fruit.

20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.'”  Mark 7:20-23 NIV

In order to get rid of sin, you must expose it. You must confess it to the Lord and receive His forgiveness.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”–and you forgave the guilt of my sin.  Psalms 32:5 NIV

The second place that you must deal with sin is in your body.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  Romans 6:12-14 NIV

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  Romans 8:12-14 NIV

Deal with sin in your own heart and mind and then in your body. Then deal with and eliminate all sin from your house and your family. Charles Finney would not allow anyone – relative or friend – into his house or around his children, if he thought that they would be used by the devil to corrupt either their morals or their manners. You should set the standard in your home and your family. Do not allow sin in your house – chase it away when it comes knocking at your door – so that God’s blessing is welcome to come to reside and abide at your house. You need to decide whom it is that you serve. If you serve God then sin must be ousted from out of your house!

19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  2 Timothy2:19 NKJV

RELIGION OR RELATIONSHIP – PART 2

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

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  Luke 6:27-31 NIV

There is a big difference between having a religion and having a relationship with God. Religion is about what we can do and relationship is about God’s grace. Religion is about conforming on the outside with little or no regard for the condition of the heart, but when you have a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ, it is your insides that He cares about and your heart that He asks for. When you are saved, the change first takes place on the inside and then on the outside. First, your spirit is born again. Second, you continue to change and grow as you renew your mind and soul to God’s word. There is a different, higher standard for God’s children than the children of the world, and it is the Holy Spirit that works in you to change you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ do that.   34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ lend to `sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”  Luke 6:32-36 NIV

When Jesus lives big in our heart, we are kind and loving even to those who don’t love us, expecting nothing back from them. We are merciful, just as our Father is merciful.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”   Luke 6:37-38 NIV

Religious people, obsessed with the outward, tend to be overly judgmental of others. None of us are perfect and it is not that hard to find fault with each other. Thank God, He does not judge us according to our behavior alone, but He looks at our heart. God does not want to judge us, but He does want to forgive us. Religion does not want to forgive you, but it wants to make you conform to a set of rules.

He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  Luke 6:39-42 NIV

When we just have religion, we have a tendency to judge others, whilst we do not judge ourselves. However, God wants us to judge our own heart and mind our own business. We need to let God take care of other people and we need to take care of ourselves. We must remember that every one of us will stand alone before God and give an account for our own life, our heart and our attitude. We need to show mercy if we want to receive mercy.

YOUR COVENANT MEAL

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

When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.

1 Corinthians 11:20-34 NIV

The Corinthians were a carnal bunch. When they got saved, they really got saved! They were gentiles, heathens, and reprobates, with no fear of God. All they knew was how to serve the devil all the way. They received Jesus, but they had a lot to learn about serving God and how to conduct godly lives. Paul gave them instructions and directions concerning the Word, but in the process of the renewing of their minds, he still had to walk them through all their wrong ideas and carnality and steer them in the right direction.

Paul taught them about communion – the Lord’s Supper. Well they got carried away and turned it into everything it was not supposed to be. They came hungry and treated the bread and wine like it was just food. They did not wait for anyone else, they began eating and drinking and got drunk. Then when the others arrived there was nothing left for them. Paul rebukes them for this and tells them that if they are hungry, to eat at home before they came to church. God’s kingdom is not about selfishness, greed, excess, or division – it is about love, kindness, caring, sharing and unity.

When you partake of communion, you remember and celebrate Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus’ body was bruised and broken for you. Jesus’ blood was poured out as an offering for you. You should remember that He is your Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer, Baptizer in the Holy Ghost and Healer. There are Christians, all over the world, who observe the Lord’s Supper and remember Jesus as their Savior, but they have no idea that He is their Healer or Deliverer or Baptizer in the Holy Ghost. Because of this, they do not walk in the fullness of all that the Lord has for them.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.   Isaiah 53:4-6 NIV

Father God has provided everything you need in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. Jesus paid the price for your salvation, healing, deliverance, provision and peace. Unless you know what He provided for you, you will never know that you can ask for it and so you will not expect it or ask for it and if you don’t ask, you will never have it!

In order to receive communion in a worthy manner you should keep a few things in mind. When you receive communion, you ought to do it with respect toward God and toward man. You need to reverence the Lord and be grateful for all that He has provided for you. When you receive communion, receive your forgiveness, healing and freedom by faith. When you receive communion, you should judge your own heart and not other people. Forgive others and release them from whatever it is that has offended you. Recognize that you are part of the Body of Christ and that it is essential to the kingdom of God that we all walk in love toward one another. Even though we may not all agree on everything, we can at least agree to disagree. We can still live together in harmony as long as we agree on Jesus – Who He is and what He has done for us.

So today, or any day, that you partake of communion, receive all that the table of the Lord provides for you – this is your covenant meal.

THE ANSWER THAT’S RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE

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

And then a certain lawyer arose to try (test, tempt) Him, saying, Teacher, what am I to do to inherit everlasting life [that is, to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]? 26 Jesus said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it? 27 And he replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. 28 And Jesus said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live [enjoy active, blessed, endless life in the kingdom of God].   Luke 10:25-28 AMP

This lawyer tried to trip Jesus up and expose Him. However, the lawyer was the one whose heart and motives were exposed. The lawyer underestimated Jesus, by far. In his arrogance, this lawyer saw just an ordinary man, but he had no clue who he was dealing with. Jesus could not be tripped up by anybody and even when He was “exposed,” He was exposed as Who He was – the Son of God! Jesus was the Word made flesh (John 1:14). He knew the Word of God and submitted Himself to it. Even though He was the Son of God, He did not preach His own doctrines or draw people after Himself, but He always exalted the Father and pointed people back to the Word of God.

The lawyer asked Jesus a hard question about a very important subject – the eternal destiny of an individual. It was a question that everyone had an opinion on and everybody argued over. Through the ages, people have fought and even killed each other over the answer to this question. It has caused strife between friends and divided families and nations. The lawyer expected to trip Jesus up by either stumping Him with this question and exposing Him as a fraud or getting Him into a big argument, which he planned to win. Because Jesus knew the Word of God and submitted Himself to it, it was an easy question. The right answer was in the Word of God all along. He answered the lawyer’s question with another question, “What does the Word say? What does the law say?” and the lawyer had no choice, but to answer with what he knew the Word of God plainly said. In short – love God and love your neighbor. Now, you know that this lawyer did not love his neighbor – Jesus – or he would not have tried to deceive Him.

The biggest problem amongst the priests, ministers and teachers in Jesus’ day is the same problem that they have today – they preach it, but they don’t believe it. You see, if you truly believe something, then you will live it, you will act on it, you will conduct your life by its principles. Too many people preach the bible without having actually studied it or they know what it says, but they don’t take it to heart – they don’t believe it enough to change their life to line up with the Word of God. They are always looking for the answers, when God has already put the answers right under their noses.

So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”   John 8:32 AMP

The KJV says that “the truth will make you free.”

When people don’t want to submit to the Word of God, they try to find another solution that is more agreeable to their carnal nature. They ask everybody else’s opinion until they find an answer that “feels” right to them. In reality, the truth does not always “feel” right. The truth you hear is more likely to be painful to you than comfortable, but the truth will bring you into freedom.

The righteousness that is by faith says in Romans 10:8-9 NIV, “‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Like the lawyer, many people claim to know the Lord, but they really only know about Him. They have not known Him or believed in Him enough to confess Him as their Lord and Savior. If you want to walk in freedom, if you want to make sure that you have eternal life and that you will go to heaven and not hell when you die, you must hear and obey the Word of God today. This is not a difficult thing – God has made it incredibly simple for us. There are no special qualifications that you must have and no difficult tasks that you must do. There is no class of people who are more or less qualified than any other to be able to receive the gift of God. All you must do is to hear the Word of God and obey the Word of God. Confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved – you will inherit eternal life.

CAN FATHER GOD COUNT ON YOU?

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

In Genesis, God created man – Adam and Eve – and gave them authority and responsibility over the earth. Because they were tempted by the devil to relinquish their authority to him, Jesus had to come to buy it back by shedding His blood and by His death and resurrection. He conquered and defeated the devil, took all earthly authority away from him and took back the keys of death and hell. Jesus, before He ascended back into heaven, restored this authority to every believer.

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have the right to use the Name of Jesus to walk in divine authority over devils and circumstances! With this authority comes a responsibility to do not our own will, but God’s will. God uses people to carry out his will on the earth.  If you are a Christian, you are God’s representative on the earth. You are His instrument – His mouth, His hands, and His feet – if you don’t do His will on the earth it won’t be done. If you don’t say it, pray it, and do it, it won’t be done! How important is it to obey God promptly and exactly? Saul learned this lesson, too late.

Then came Amalek [descendants of Esau] and fought with Israel at Rephidim. (Exodus 17:8 AMP) And the Lord said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in the book and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under the heavens. And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is my Banner; And he said, Because [theirs] is a hand against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. (Exodus 17:14-16 AMP)

In Moses’ day, God spoke to Esau’s rebellious descendants, the Amalekites, and promised that every remembrance of them would be blotted out from under the heavens.

Samuel told Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people Israel. Now listen and heed the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, I have considered and will punish what Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him in the way when [Israel] came out of Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. (1 Samuel 15:1-3 AMP) And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, Blessed are you of the Lord. I have performed what the Lord ordered. 14 And Samuel said, What then means this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 15 Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we have utterly destroyed. 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me tonight. Saul said to him, Say on. 17 Samuel said, When you were small in your own sight, were you not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed you king over Israel? 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites; and fight against them until they are consumed. 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but swooped down upon the plunder and did evil in the Lord’s sight? 20 Saul said to Samuel, Yes, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag king of Amalek and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took from the spoil sheep and oxen, the chief of the things to be utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal. 22 Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images). Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king. (1 Samuel 15:13-23 AMP)

Saul was God’s chosen vessel to carry out His judgment on Amalek. However, Saul did not obey God – he did not kill every living thing as God had ordered – he left the king and the healthy animals alive. God was furious. He had made a declaration to Amalek and He always keeps His word. In Saul’s disobedience, he made God out to be a liar – which He is definitely not! Because of the seriousness of this offence, Saul lost both his anointing and his throne. How many times have you asked God to come through for you with something specific in a specified time frame? Who did God use to answer your prayer on time? Aren’t you glad that they obeyed God? What would have happened if they had not? We waited six months for a new van in 1988, because five people were disobedient to the Lord. Finally the sixth person obeyed God and helped us get a brand-new van! We sure were happy about it!

What has God asked you to do that may have been the answer to another person’s prayer? You most likely had no idea what they asked for, just that God told you to do something for them or say something to them. As you obey God immediately and specifically, you carry out His will and His plan in the earth. If you don’t, you make God go out and find someone else. If you continue to disobey God, He will cease to call on you and you will lose your rewards. Don’t be the one God has to bypass – be the one that God can depend on to carry out His will and purpose in the earth.

THOSE WHO WORK WILL EAT

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

Better is he who is lightly esteemed but works for his own support than he who assumes honor for himself and lacks bread. Proverbs 12:9 AMP

There are people who place a higher value on appearance than on reality. They are both arrogant and ignorant. God says that it is better to have a job, and to work, and be able to support yourself and your family, even though people may not think much of you, than to act more important than you are and be hungry. There are people who don’t work, but they give themselves titles and act super-spiritual and demandingly expect others to meet their needs. This is unscriptural and ungodly and just plain wrong! All through God’s word, He places an emphasis on attending to your own responsibilities. Stay out of other people’s business and mind your own business.

For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge: If anyone will not work, neither let him eat. 11 Indeed, we hear that some among you are disorderly [that they are passing their lives in idleness, neglectful of duty], being busy with other people’s affairs instead of their own and doing no work. 12 Now we charge and exhort such persons [as ministers in Him exhorting those] in the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) that they work in quietness and earn their own food and other necessities. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 AMP

God tells us to be willing to help those who really need it, but He does not expect us to enable moochers! If people are in a difficult position because of circumstances beyond their control, we can and should help them as we are able, but if someone is lacking because they are too proud or too lazy to work, then they need to go hungry until they get up and work! Don’t feel that it is your responsibility to help a lazy moocher. They need to learn the lesson that you reap what you sow and if you won’t work, you won’t eat either. Encourage them to work and earn their own food and necessities.

He who tills his land shall be satisfied with bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits is lacking in sense and is without understanding. Proverbs 12:11 AMP

He who cultivates his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless people and pursuits will have poverty enough. 20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich [at any cost] shall not go unpunished. Proverbs 28:19-20 AMP

Your work will be rewarded by your needs being met, but you are not very smart if you put all your efforts into things that do not produce. If you waste your time and efforts on the pie in the sky, you will be poor.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise!–7 Which, having no chief, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provides her food in the summer and gathers her supplies in the harvest. 9 How long will you sleep, O sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to lie down and sleep–11 So will your poverty come like a robber or one who travels [with slowly but surely approaching steps] and your want like an armed man [making you helpless]. Proverbs 6:6-11 AMP

Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep, and the idle person shall suffer hunger. Proverbs 19:15 AMP

Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes and you will be satisfied with bread. Proverbs 20:13 AMP

It is not hard to be poor – all you need to do is……..nothing!

He becomes poor who works with a slack and idle hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. 5 He who gathers in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame. Proverbs 10:4-5 AMP

The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. 26 He covets greedily all the day long, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous gives and does not withhold. Proverbs 21:25-26 AMP

Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. Ephesians 4:28 AMP

Lazy people, and people who do a sloppy job, will definitely be poor. Lazy people and thieves covet what others have, but righteous people work, earn a living, and have enough to give to others.

Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds; 24 For riches are not forever; does a crown endure to all generations? 25 When the hay is gone, the tender grass shows itself, and herbs of the mountain are gathered in, 26 The lambs will be for your clothing, and the goats [will furnish you] the price of a field. 27 And there will be goats’ milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and for the maintenance of your maids. Proverbs 27:23-27 AMP

Even when you have worked and experienced some prosperity, don’t get lazy. Be diligent and pay attention to your affairs so that you may continue to prosper.

Depend on the Holy Spirit Alone

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

When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]. Romans 7:5-6 AMP

Every person lives in a body of flesh that they have to deal with on a daily basis. People are not necessarily born either good or bad, but they are all born with sin in their flesh – a sin nature (Psalms 51:5). Before Jesus, God gave us the Law to govern our actions, not only to make us aware of His standards, but also to make us aware of our inability to keep the Law and therefore our need for a Savior. Thank God, through Jesus, we are delivered from mere rules and regulations. Instead we are to yield ourselves to the Spirit, for Him to regulate our lives in joy and freedom. We serve Him because we love Him not just because we have to!

If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world’s crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?–such as] 21 Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], 22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines. 23 Such [practices] have indeed the outward appearance [that popularly passes] for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). [Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.] Colossians 2:20-23 AMP

People, without the Holy Spirit, judge things by outward appearance and they try to control behavior without requiring a heart change. That’s like trying to take a pill to squash a symptom without curing the disease. The disease is still there and it will manifest itself again. There must be a heart change and only God can change your heart.

In Jesus, the Law is no longer your schoolmaster – the Holy Spirit has been given as your guide. Because the world has no Holy Spirit, they rely on external things to control the flesh. Indeed, when you were a child, foolishness was bound in your heart, so you needed a rod to correct you, which was applied to your flesh. As you grew up with discipline, you began to learn the difference between right and wrong and the center of control shifted. As an adult, you should have learned to take control of your fleshly impulses from within, with no more need for the rod. In the world, jails and punishments are for those people who have never learned to control their carnal instincts and fleshly impulses.

Christians, who try to punish, starve, deprive, injure, and humiliate their own bodies in order to become more spiritual, are thinking and operating like the world. Many of them would much rather torture their bodies than offer themselves as a living sacrifice to the Lord and allow Him to change their hearts! They act humble but it is really false humility – pride masquerading as humility! The Bible says that these practices have an outward appearance of wisdom – they seem really “holy” and “spiritual” to man, but in reality they are completely ineffective in checking the indulgence of the flesh. If you could do it without Jesus, then why do you need Him at all? Trying to deal with the flesh without God, without the Holy Spirit, is both prideful and useless and it in no way honors God. It’s not about stopping bad behavior, thoughts, words, and actions – it’s about starting to do what is good and right in God’s eyes.

Being a Christian means that you have died to material ways of looking at things. Under the New Covenant, the Spirit of God sets your boundaries. He will convict you of sin you have committed, so that repentance can come and fellowship with the Father can be restored. He will stop you from committing sin by alerting you to a wrong choice you are about to make. He will also lead and guide you to do the right thing. Your control comes not from without, but from within: from the Holy Spirit Who lives in you, from your own spirit, and from your own senses and mental faculties that have been trained by the Word and the Holy Spirit to discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

Rules and regulations could not save you from hell and they certainly will not make you more spiritual after you are saved. Only the blood of Jesus can save and sanctify you. You must depend on Him and not the flesh! We are to glory in nothing, but GOD and what HE has done, giving all honor and glory to Him!

The Peaceable Fruit of Righteousness

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

And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; 6 For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. 7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? 8 Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. 9 Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live? 10 For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness. 11 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].  Hebrews 12:5-11 AMP

Verse 11 says that God’s discipline yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Discipline:
The word “discipline” means instruct, train, correct. God’s discipline is administered to us by His Word and His Spirit. God does not force it on us – we must submit to it (verse 9). The fruit produced in us is fed and watered by God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.  John 16:7-14 NKJV

Fruit:
Discipline yields fruit. Righteousness is a fruit – the fruit of obedience. Fruit grows naturally only in the right conditions. You can’t force or fake fruit – you can’t make or manufacture fruit in a factory – you can only grow it. Natural growth and production of fruit, occurs on a tree or a bush that has food, light, soil, and water. Fruit trees also need to be pruned and cut back or the fruit will be weak and unhealthy. Some plants or vines need to have a frame to grow on or be attached to a straight piece of wood to make them grow straight. They are “trained” in a certain direction. We are God’s branches; attached to His vine; producing His fruit. Unless we receive the Word of God and submit ourselves to it; unless we allow the working and training of the Holy Spirit in us, we will bear no good fruit. Receiving the Father’s discipline and correction in your life will produce the fruit of righteousness in you.

Righteousness:
The fruit or result of discipline is righteousness. The fruit of righteousness is produced in those who are trained by God’s discipline – not in those who resist God’s discipline and correction.

Peace:
If you are rebellious, you will have no peace and no rest. When you submit to God’s discipline and allow Him to correct you and train you, the peaceable fruit of righteousness is the result. Discipline produces righteousness; righteousness produces peace.

Seeing Jesus in those who serve Him.