“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Foundation Scriptures: 1 Samuel 30:6
David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 AMP
While Saul was still after David, David found an ally in Achish, king of Gath. Achish gave David the town of Ziklag. While David and his men were away fighting their battles, the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negeb and taken everything they owned and held dear, including all of their wives and children. They were left with nothing! David and his men were devastated. They all wept till they could weep no more, then some of them started blaming David and threatened his life. Not only did David suffer the same loss as his men, but now his own men wanted to turn on him! In the midst of his grieving and stress, David turned to the Lord and encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord. He began to remind himself of how good God is and how God is always on his side!
Once he had reminded himself of God’s faithfulness, David did not just get up and pursue the Amalekites – he sought God for what to do next. This was the strength of David. David did not lean on or rely on his own strength or ability. He looked to and trusted always in his God for direction and strength. The Lord told him to go up after them and that they would be successful in rescuing their families and possessions, which he did. David was successful because he always trusted firmly in God and His word. David chose to worship God in the middle of the worst circumstances, when all he could see was destruction and devastation. He did not worship only when everything was going his way. He did not allow life to beat him down and keep him down. He always looked to the Lord, picked himself up and won the battle.
You can win your battles too, but only if you worship the Lord and trust in Him and His word, and not your own strength and abilities, just like David did. Here are some scriptures you can meditate on and speak over your life as you encourage yourself in the Lord. You can cry out like David: “Out of my distress I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free and in a large place. 6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalms 118:5-6 AMP)
Then shall my enemies turn back in the day that I cry out; this I know, for God is for me. In God, Whose word I praise, in the Lord, Whose word I praise, In God have I put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalms 56:9-11 AMP
What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?] Romans 8:31 AMP
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. Psalms 18:2-3 KJV
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalms 23:1 KJV
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident. 4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple. 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. Psalms 27:1-6 NKJV
The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. 8 The Lord is their strength, And He is the saving refuge of His anointed. Psalms 28:7-8 NKJV
But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. Psalms 94:22 KJV
The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. 15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 17 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the Lord. Psalms 118:14-17 NKJV
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:24-26 NKJV
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV
You may have some scriptures that the Lord has given you to stand on. Continue to look to God and His promises and not your adverse circumstances and you will come through on the other side in victory!
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV
David’s first calling was as a shepherd boy and he had first hand experience of what makes a good shepherd. David knew that he was fully responsible for his sheep. They were completely dependent on him. Without him they were helpless, vulnerable and exposed and he could not afford to let them down. David knew how committed he was to his sheep. He killed a lion and a bear for them! He had confidence in the Lord as his own Good Shepherd. He knew that everything he needed, God would provide. Jesus is our Good Shepherd (John 10:11). He is our Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20) and our Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). We are completely dependent on Him for our guidance, provision and protection. We are not likened to sheep because we are fearful or unable to lead ourselves, but because we obediently follow Him.
Verse 1: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
• Psalms 34:9-10 NKJV, “Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”
• Psalms 84:11 NKJV, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”
Verse 2: He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
The only true peace and contentment comes from obediently following the Lord. If we rebel and disobey Him, we are just hurting ourselves and depriving
ourselves of our own blessings.
• John 4:14 NKJV, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
• John 7:37b-38 NKJV, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Verse 3: He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
The Lord promises healing, restoration and peace to our souls. When we follow the Lord in righteousness and
holiness, we choose to walk a path of blessing. If we walk in His paths, we will avoid the pitfalls of life.
• 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NKJV, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”
• 3 John 1:2 NKJV, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
• Hebrews 12:14 NKJV, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
Verse 4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Only the Lord can deliver from death. When death threatens our life, He is there to escort us safely through to the other side, just like Daniel in the lion’s den and the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. We need have no fear. The rod was for the sheep’s enemies and the staff was for the sheep’s protection.
Verse 5: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Before ancient feasts in the Middle Eastern culture, it was customary to anoint heads with perfumed oil. Hosts were also expected to protect their guests at all costs. The Lord, like a good Host, offers His protection to us even when enemies surround us. Not only does He promise us food and drink, but He promises us plenty of it – cups overflowing!
• Psalms 104:15 NKJV, “And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man’s heart.”
Verse 6: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
As God’s sheep and children, we can have confidence that God’s goodness and mercy will follow us to the end of our life and we can have faith that in the next life we will dwell in God’s house forever.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
But you know all about me. You know what I teach and the way I live. You know my goal in life. You know my faith, my patience, and my love. You know that I never stop trying. 11 You know about my persecutions and my sufferings. You know all the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra –the persecution I suffered in those places. But the Lord saved me from all of it. 12 Everyone who wants to live showing true devotion to God in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:10-12 ERV
Everyone who wants to live showing true devotion to God in Christ Jesus will be persecuted and go through hard times, but never forget that God is on your side! If you are a lukewarm, compromising Christian, the devil isn’t worried about you, but if you are a Book of Acts Christian – hot, on-fire, living a godly life, submitted to the Word and the Holy Spirit, a doer of the Word, preaching the Gospel, and obeying the Great Commission – then he will be very afraid of you. The devil will always come to try to hinder and to stop the doers of the Word – those who are obeying God – with persecution. You might as well make up your mind now to not get upset or discouraged when it happens. In fact, you should rejoice for it is a sign that you are doing the will of God!
Persecution and hardship is intended to limit your influence. Persecution can come in the form of verbal disapproval or attacks, physical attacks from people or circumstances, and/or spiritual resistance from devils and demons. The devil will try to get you to be discouraged and quit. If you are a touchy person and you take everything personally, then you won’t be able to endure to the end. Paul was just such a one who was bold for the Gospel’s sake and went through tremendous persecutions and hardships as he boldly preached and demonstrated the Word of God. Ungodly people stirred up strife against him; fellow Jews attacked him; other “Christians” questioned his integrity and lied about him; he was arrested and thrown in jail and eventually martyred for his faith – and yet he never gave up; he never quit. Persecution will never succeed if you will just never quit!
Remember Jesus Christ. He is from the family of David. After Jesus died, he was raised from death. This is the Good News that I tell people. 9 And because I tell that message, I am suffering. I am even bound with chains like someone who has really done wrong. But God’s message is not bound. 10 So I patiently accept all these troubles. I do this to help the people God has chosen so that they can have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. With this salvation comes glory that never ends. 11 Here is a true statement: If we died with him, we will also live with him. 12 If we remain faithful even in suffering, we will also rule with him. If we refuse to say we know him, he will refuse to say he knows us. 13 If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful, because he cannot be false to himself. 2 Timothy 2:8-13 ERV
Paul was persecuted for the Gospel’s sake, not because he had done wrong. He was bound by chains, but God’s Word was not bound – he continued to preach, write letters full of God’s Word and minister to everyone he met and the Lord continued to use him. How did Paul endure all this suffering? What Jesus did for him – and all men – was so real to him; eternity was so real to him; the promise of God was so real to him; that he was willing rather to suffer anything than deny the Lord Jesus Christ!
He was standing on the promise of God that:
1. If we be dead with Him, we shall live with Him.
– Romans 6:8 KJV – Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
– 2 Corinthians 5:15 KJV – And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
2. If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.
– Romans 8:17-18 KJV – And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
3. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
– Mark 8:38 KJV – Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
4. If we won’t believe, He remains faithful: He cannot deny Himself.
– Jesus is faithful. He will still be with us even when we have endured so much that it seems we have no faith left to stand. We may even give up and be faithless at times, but Jesus is still faithful to His promise to be with us “to the very end of the world/age” (Matthew 28:20). If we deny the Lord or walk away and break fellowship with Him, still He will never turn His back on us, but be ready to receive us back, should we come to our senses and turn back to Him.
And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. Acts 5:40-42 KJV
Persecution did not stop the Early Church from serving God and preaching the Gospel. They counted it an honor to receive persecution for His Name sake!
Learning to trust and rely on God completely, letting Him be the one who controls my life, letting Him be the one who steers my life and, this is what I have mostly learn during these five months of internship.
I’ve heard the message time and time again about Peter walking on the water with Jesus. When Peter focused on the Lord, he floated, but as soon as he took his eyes off of Him, he began to sink. God has been teaching me to keep my eyes fixed on Him in every situation.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
The days of visitation and punishment have come; the days of recompense have come; Israel shall know it. The prophet is [considered] a crazed fool and the man who is inspired is [treated as if] mad or a fanatic, because of the abundance of your iniquity and because the enmity, hostility, and persecution are great. 8 Ephraim was [intended to be] a watchman with my God [and a prophet to the surrounding nations]; but he, that prophet, has become a fowler’s snare in all his ways. There is enmity, hostility, and persecution in the house of his God. Hosea 9:7-8 AMP
The prophets of God, the true people of God who speak and live God’s Word, will inevitably suffer persecution when their nation is full of sin and rebellion against God and the Truth of His Word, however, the Gospel must continue to be boldly preached.
The Christian who believes in the power of the Word of God, who is filled with the power of God, who is wholly submitted to the Word and the Spirit, who has clean hands and a pure heart, who is not ashamed of the Gospel, who preaches the truth and lives a godly life, is the devil’s worst nightmare! If the devil cannot stop you from obeying the Great Commission, then he will stir up persecution against you to try to hinder you, discourage you, and/or prevent you from continuing.
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:21-24 NKJV
The Gospel is the same to all, but not all receive it the same way. Sincere people, who sin because they don’t know any other way, still have a conscience that convicts them, especially when the truth is preached. However, a person who has silenced their own conscience so that they can continue to sin, does not welcome, but rather rejects, the Truth. The generation which has embraced evil will be stubborn and rebellious toward God; therefore, they will claim that God’s righteous messengers, who speak His Word, are merely “crazed fools”, rather than God’s watchmen, so that they can have an excuse for their own sinfulness. Unwarranted enmity, hostility, and persecution, directed toward the messenger, are the results.
If you are a child of God, then you have been given the ministry of reconciliation – to introduce people to Jesus Christ and see them reconciled to the Father. Sometimes you are welcomed; sometimes ignored; sometimes attacked. You cannot quit because you are not welcomed – the word must be preached and the seed sown regardless of the reception.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 NIV
The Amplified Bible says we must be ready to preach the Word of God anytime and every time, “…whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable; whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome.” We are not responsible for the response TO the message, just the delivery OF the message. We cannot preach merely what people WANT to hear – we are to preach the Truth – we are to preach what they NEED to hear, whether they like it or not. We must correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.
But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:2-6 NKJV
The devil will try to blind men so they can’t see the Light or hear the Truth and so they don’t receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, but as you preach the Truth, God’s light shines into their hearts and they are converted. If you preach your opinion, you will get nowhere, however, the Gospel is full of the power of God and when you preach Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, then the power of the Gospel is released into men’s hearts and the Holy Spirit goes to work to touch and change their hearts.
You don’t know, you cannot tell beforehand, who will receive the Truth and who will not. Saul (renamed Paul) persecuted the Church terribly – he captured them, jailed them and even killed them – but Jesus met with him on the Damascus road and he became a bold proclaimer of the Gospel, himself. That is why you must be prepared to preach the Gospel and continue to preach the Gospel, through persecution and opposition if needs be, until all have heard and God’s will is done!
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ minister, 2 Moses My servant is dead. So now arise [take his place], go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, the Israelites. 3 Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you, as I promised Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon to the great river Euphrates–all the land of the Hittites [Canaan]–and to the Great [Mediterranean] Sea on the west shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6 Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. 9 Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:1-9 AMP
Moses was the one called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and the one called to lead them into the Promised Land. However, because the majority of the Israelites were faithless and fearful, they were unable to immediately cross the Jordan or take possession of this land of milk and honey. A whole generation had to die off before God could take them in. By that time Moses was quite old and then, unfortunately, he also disqualified himself by disobeying a direct order that God gave him – therefore God told him that he would not lead them over the Jordan or complete his mission. Joshua would have been merely an important leader under Moses – one of his right-hand men – helping Moses and Israel take the land, but now he was promoted to be the actual one who led the entire nation into their inheritance. This was a huge responsibility for him – a mission he could NOT complete without the help and intervention of Almighty God! Anything God asks you to – you’re going to need His help. Don’t ever think you can do it by yourself – He doesn’t expect you to.
And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand and power of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a land good and large, a land flowing with milk and honey [a land of plenty]–to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Exodus 3:8 AMP
For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you shall possess it and live in it. Deuteronomy 11:31 AMP
God calls Joshua to lead His people and gives him his mission:
– Moses is dead
– Joshua, you arise and take his place
– Take the Israelites – over the Jordan and into the land I am giving them
When God speaks something or makes a promise, He will not back off or give up on it, or forget His promise. He WILL do it! He promised that He would take the Israelites across the Jordan into the Promised Land. Moses couldn’t do it, therefore Joshua was charged with this mission. God will do whatever it takes and use whoever will obey – to get it done. He looks for and carefully chooses the one who will trust and obey Him completely – He will do the rest. When God calls you to do something, you can do it – with His help! He doesn’t call you because you are necessarily the strongest or the smartest or the best – He calls you because you make yourself available, because you have proved yourself faithful, and because you are prepared to implicitly trust Him. You might not even be the first one God calls for a particular mission, but make no mistake; you are not His poorer choice or lesser choice! You are just in the right place at the right time! When God calls, then it’s up to you to pick up the baton and do the best that you can, until you cross the finish line!
For if you diligently keep all this commandment which I command you to do, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave to Him – 23 Then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you shall dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. 24 Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea [the Mediterranean] your territory shall be. 25 There shall no man be able to stand before you; the Lord your God shall lay the fear and the dread of you upon all the land that you shall tread, as He has said to you. Deuteronomy 11:22-25 AMP
God promises Joshua the same things he promised Moses:
– Every place upon which your foot shall tread – I have given to you – as I promised Moses
– No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life
– I will not fail you or forsake you
If God calls you, then He will equip you and help you. When God calls you, you cannot look to the past for direction. You must get your direction from the Spirit of God. The mission may be the same, but the strategy will be fresh! Always remember that you are working for Him – He doesn’t work for you. It’s His mission – He has the best strategy. He also knows what you need to get the job done. If you obey Him and do what He asks, then He will go before you and make a way for you; He will provide everything you need. What you need to do is to trust Him and obey Him – that’s all! He will not fail you – He will provide everything you need when you need it. Because it’s His mission and not your own, you can call on Him and count on Him to meet your needs, protect you as you go, and even move mountains on your behalf!
I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. Psalms 138:2 NKJV
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
The most important document for the child of God is the written word of God. Without God’s word you have nothing to stand on; without His word you will develop your own belief system based on theory and supposition. If you choose to formulate your own belief system without submitting to the Word of God, you will build your life on sinking sand. The word of God is the plum line – straight and true – setting us and keeping us on course. The Word of God is the Rock upon which we establish our lives; without it the Church is lost.
There are people – even those who claim to be Christians – who try to discredit the Word of God. They say that its nothing but legalism and we shouldn’t base our lives on it. However, Hebrews 4:12 (KJV) says that, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s Word is not a dead book – it is alive and full of power! God’s Word exposes even the thoughts and purposes of people’s hearts.
When people try to hide from or deny God’s Word its rightful place of honor in their lives – you know that they are hiding from it and in so doing, hiding from God. Usually it’s because of the sin in their lives that they refuse to judge or repent of. John 3:19-21 (NKJV) says, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
What is the light Jesus is talking of? It is the light of God’s Word! Psalms 119:105 (AMP) says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” and Proverbs 6:23 (KJV) says, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” We must come to the light of God’s Word and measure ourselves according to it and line our lives up with it. This is the only way to please God and also walk the straight path of life, rather than walking on the detours of destruction that the devil has planned for us.
There are some deluded Christians who claim that we should exalt the Spirit above the Word and they tell us not to make the Word our authority. This is a lie from the pit of hell. Even Jesus, Himself, is called the “Word made flesh” in the first chapter of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God… …And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-2 and 14 KJV)
If the devil cannot keep you from the Word of God, he will always try to discredit it by twisting it or questioning it. The devil is the original rebel against the Word of God and His authority over all His creation. He even tried to deceive Jesus by bringing in doubt and unbelief: “IF You are the Son of God…” and then he quoted scripture out of context. Jesus did not fall for his lies and simply answered him with, “It is written…” (Matthew 4:1-10). Jesus fell back on and relied upon the Word of God and would not allow the devil to pull Him in another direction. If Jesus gave God’s Word that much honor, then we should too!
[Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving). 21 For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so — it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21 AMP
The Bible says that you should study so that you can rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). There is a right way and a wrong way – this is why you need the Holy Spirit to help teach, lead and guide you concerning God’s Word. The Holy Spirit inspired people to write down God’s Word so that it could be preserved for, and observed by, successive generations. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Word and He still confirms God’s Word to us today. He does not speak on His own authority; He will never speak anything contrary to the Word of God, or anything that is not already witnessed to in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit speaks ONLY the Word of God and also reminds us of what God has already said to us (John 14, 15 and 16).
We need the Word of God AND we need the Holy Spirit. They are not independent of each other and we cannot try to divide them. We must yield our lives to the Word of God and also to the Holy Spirit. This is the only way to walk in God’s ways, to please God, and (when we die) to see God!
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 NKJV
The “thief” is the devil and the devil is a thief. He comes to kill, steal and destroy. He is the author of sin, sickness, poverty, and death. He tries to steal peace and joy and health. There is no good thing in him. He hates God and he hates God’s crowning creation – mankind. He is constantly working to destroy life and anything that is good and pure. He is a liar and a deceiver.
So they brought [the boy] to Him, and when the spirit saw Him, at once it completely convulsed the boy, and he fell to the ground and kept rolling about, foaming [at the mouth]. 21 And [Jesus] asked his father, How long has he had this? And he answered, From the time he was a little boy. 22 And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us. Mark 9:20-22 AMP
And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? Luke 13:16 KJV
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV
Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. Luke 8:12 NKJV
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV
You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false. John 8:44 AMP
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. He came to bring life more abundantly. The Greek word “life” is Zoe – which means life intensively – the same life that God has in Himself. The word “abundantly” means: superabundant in quantity or superior in quality; by implication, excessive; preeminence; exceeding abundantly above; more abundantly; advantage; exceedingly; very highly; beyond measure; more. The devil comes to take life, but Jesus comes to give life. He gives life right now – immediately – to all those who accept Him as Lord and Savior. His life is abundantly rich and full; it’s eternal, yet it begins immediately.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Matthew 4:23 NKJV
And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, He Himself took [in order to carry away] our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases. Matthew 8:17 AMP
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 NKJV
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 NKJV
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 NKJV
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24 NKJV
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15 NKJV
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 NKJV
Jesus told us that sin, sickness, torment, poverty and death were from the devil. Too many people blame God, instead of the devil, for all the bad things that happen. God has nothing but good planned for us. Jeremiah 29:11 AMP says, “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” Good gifts come from God – and He never changes – He is ALWAYS good. James 1:17 KJV says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.´
If the thief comes and tries to steal your abundant life – rebuke him and tell him to get his hands off of you and off your life! Believe and expect for God’s abundant life to be yours every day you live!
[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Psalms 27:13 AMP
Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). 19 By this we shall come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we are of the Truth, and can reassure (quiet, conciliate, and pacify) our hearts in His presence, 20 Whenever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. [For we are in God’s hands.] For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him]. 21 And, beloved, if our consciences (our hearts) do not accuse us [if they do not make us feel guilty and condemn us], we have confidence (complete assurance and boldness) before God, 22 And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we [watchfully] obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him. 23 And this is His order (His command, His injunction): that we should believe in (put our faith and trust in and adhere to and rely on) the name of His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and that we should love one another, just as He has commanded us. 24 All who keep His commandments [who obey His orders and follow His plan, live and continue to live, to stay and] abide in Him, and He in them. [They let Christ be a home to them and they are the home of Christ.] And by this we know and understand and have the proof that He [really] lives and makes His home in us: by the [Holy] Spirit Whom He has given us. 1 John 3:18-24 AMP
We receive from the Lord whatever we ask, because:
We watchfully obey His orders and observe His suggestions and injunctions.
We follow His plan for us.
We habitually practice what is pleasing to Him.
By this we come to know (recognize and understand) that we love the children of God: when we love God and obey His commands (orders, charges) — [when we keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and His teaching]. 3 For the [true] love of God is this: that we do His commands [keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and teaching]. And these orders of His are not irksome (burdensome, oppressive, or grievous). 1 John 5:2-3 AMP
The true love of God is this:
That we do His commands
That we keep His ordinances
That we are mindful of His precepts and teaching
This is the Lord’s order – His command; His injunction:
That we should believe in – put our faith and trust in and adhere to and rely on – the name of His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
That we should love one another, just as He has commanded us.
The Lord’s commands are not irksome, burdensome, oppressive, or grievous. He asks us to believe in Him and to love people – all people – not just the ones you like. If you call yourself a child of God; if you say that you love Him; then it should not be a hardship for you to obey His commands and to follow His plans for you. It’s not like He is asking you to do some impossible thing. His commands are a hardship to the carnal mind and the flesh, but if you are truly a child of God and the Holy Spirit lives in you, then the love of God has already been shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). He makes it easier; He makes it second nature to you.
How do we know that we are on the right track? We listen to the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us through our own spirit, or conscience. From the moment you are born again, the Holy Spirit will begin to direct you into the Truth, if you will listen and obey. Follow the peace in your heart. Only do what the peace in your heart tells you to do. If you feel “scratchy” – change course. If you feel peace, keep going in that direction. Obey the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Stop, repent, turn around, and follow the path laid out for you by the Word of God. The more you train yourself to obey God, rather than your carnal mind and will, the more you come to truly know Him and the more you realize that His path is the path of peace, joy, righteousness, and blessing.
Do not serve God merely in theory or in speech (lip-service), but in deed and in truth – in reality, in practice, and in sincerity. When we keep His commandments, we make our home in Him and He makes His home in us. Some believers only “visit” Him, and He can only “visit” with them. Jesus does not only want to visit you occasionally, He wants to live in you permanently.
And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. 15 And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 AMP
If we expect an answer when we ask anything, or make any request of Him, it needs to be made according to His will, and in agreement with His own plan. Many prayers are not answered, because they are not prayed in line with God’s word, or because the person praying is living in disobedience to God’s commands. This is disrespectful to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You cannot serve the devil and your own carnality, and expect God’s blessing.
Line up with His plan for you, and He will be able to move on your behalf and grant your requests.