THE REPENTANT HEART

So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.  Acts 3:19 AMP

The root meaning of repentance is: a change of mind (and heart) and purpose. It is deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like. The only way to repent is to have true godly sorrow. There is a difference between regret and repentance. Some people are sorry for being caught in the act of sin, but are not repentant of the sin itself. Sin is not a weakness, an unfortunate happening, or a mistake. It is a transgression of divine law; any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle; any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, or lapse. Sin is a personal guilt—each one independently will give an account of his/her own sin.

Iniquity is gross injustice or wickedness. Some people have iniquity in their heart. Deep down on the inside, they desire to commit sin even though they have not yet done it for fear of the humiliation of being caught. Sins of the heart also require repentance. Turn to God. Acknowledge your sin and then confess your sin with godly sorrow and the gift of repentance, which only God can give you. Acts 11:18b says, “Then God has also granted to the gentiles repentance unto life.” 2 Timothy 2:25b says, “…if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.” You repent by believing God’s Word. Jonah 3:5 AMP says, “So the people of Nineveh believed in God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth [in penitent mourning], from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”

God’s mercy should never be taken for granted, because some things can never be changed, no matter how sorry you are afterwards. Hebrews 12:16-17 AMP says that Esau sold his birthright for a single meal. “For you understand that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected (disqualified and set aside), for he could find no opportunity to repair by repentance [what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], although he sought for it carefully with [bitter] tears.”

REPENTANCE FOR THE SINNER
1. By the preaching of the Gospel
Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do? 38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:37-38 AMP

2. Through the Goodness of God
Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?  Romans 2:4 AMP

3. Remember this very important fact: God’s mercy is extended to ALL
The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 AMP

REPENTANCE FOR THE BELIEVER
1. Through God’s reproof and chastisement
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.  Hebrews 12:6 AMP
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 12:10-11 AMP
Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].  Revelation 3:19 AMP

2. A New Vision of God
I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You. 6 Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.  Job 42:5-6 AMP

3. The Loving Reproof of a Brother
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.  2 Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV

THREE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE
1. Acknowledgement and confession of sin

2. Humility – asking God for mercy
But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am!  Luke 18:13 AMP

3. Very, very important – making restitution (or apologizing)
So then Zacchaeus stood up and solemnly declared to the Lord, See, Lord, the half of my goods I [now] give [by way of restoration] to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I [now] restore four times as much.  Luke 19:8 AMP

CONCLUSION
In order to stay in right standing with God, you must maintain a repentant heart toward Him. You must keep your heart humble and have a teachable attitude and a thankful heart. Never be self-righteous. Check your own temperature on a daily basis. Be very careful with whom you associate and whom you allow to influence you. Allow the Word of God to be your guide and the peace of God to reign in your heart. When you sin, confess immediately. Make right, accept the cleansing of the blood, and walk on. In this way, you ensure that your heart is a consistently repentant heart and is always right in the eyes of God

THE GLORY

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson No 16 from Exodus

An Offering Always Precedes the Glory
Foundation Scriptures: Exodus 40 verses 25 – 35

Moses set up and lighted the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord commanded him. 26 He put the golden altar [of incense] in the Tent of Meeting before the veil; 27 He burned sweet incense [symbol of prayer] upon it, as the Lord commanded him. 28 And he set up the hanging or screen at the door of the tabernacle. 29 [Moses] put the altar of burnt offering at the door of the tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting and offered on it the burnt offering and the cereal offering, as the Lord commanded him. 30 And Moses set the laver between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing. 31 And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet there. 32 When they went into the Tent of Meeting or came near the altar, they washed, as the Lord commanded Moses. 33 And he erected the court round about the tabernacle and the altar and set up the hanging or screen at the court gate. So Moses finished the work. 34 Then the cloud [the Shekinah, God’s visible presence] covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle! 35 And Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud remained upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  Exodus 40:25-35 AMP

1. Moses put sweet incense on the golden altar and placed sacrifices – the burnt offering and the cereal offering – on the altar of burnt offerings as an offering to the Lord.

a. The result was that the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

b. Because of the glory of God, Moses was not able enter into the tent of the congregation.

2. When we come to God, we should not come empty-handed. Something happens when we come to worship the Lord with our gifts.

a. Our offering rises like sweet incense to the Lord.

b. The Lord, Himself, receives our offerings.

c. When the praises go up, the blessings come down.

d. The Lord pours out His glory, His goodness, His grace, and His favor.

N.B. Let your offering be as a sweet smell to the Lord – sweet incense that causes the glory of God to come down.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
The glory of God can only come down in the midst of people who are completely submitted and obedient to the Lord. We are demonstrating our submission and obedience when we give God what He asks us to give. The Bible says that we must make a choice between God and mammon. When we bring our offerings to the Lord in generous obedience, we show Him that He means more to us than anything else in the world and He receives our gifts and graces us with His wonderful and precious presence in every area of our lives.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
When it comes to offerings, one of the things that I have witnessed over the years is that when people give from their heart as an act of worship, or when they give sacrificially to the Lord, something amazing happens! God invades the place – God invades their lives – and supernatural things happen. It has nothing to do with the amount, but has everything to do with the heart.

Prayer and Confession:
Father, I pray that You would receive my offering and my gifts as a sweet-smelling savor. You are so awesome to me and I love to worship You with my very best.

The Goodness of God

The Bible says it’s the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). I think repentance has become a bad word today. If you talk about repenting in the church you’d think you’d just cussed. Some people will bawl crocodile tears and say, Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ll never do it again, Brother Rodney Howard Browne, I’ll never do it again.”

You pray with them and they go right out the door and do it

again. They didn’t repent!

 

Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come

to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”

(John 6:37).

 

God doesn’t reject you, He accepts you. Yet there are

ministers who thinking they’re John the Baptist

and they want to knock people over the head all the time

and hope that they’re going to come in and get saved.

 

Even an old hog has enough brains to know that if

every time he goes to drink from a water trough, a brick

falls on his head – he shouldn’t drink there anymore. And

people wonder why no one wants to come to church. It’s

because the preacher beats them up.

 

The Bible says it’s the goodness of God that leads

to repentance. The Bible also says, “Whosoever shall call

upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

God will not cast anyone away.

 

You may say, “Brother Rodney, I’ve had it with

that person. I’m as the end of my rope with that person.”

The end of your rope is the beginning of God’s rope.

Where your grace ends, God’s grace begins. Where your

mercy ends, God’s mercy begins. Where your love ends,

the love of God begins.

 

Some Christians are a terrible advertisement for the

Lord Jesus Christ. In actual fat, I wouldn’t send some

Christians to help someone on the brink of suicide. The

man’s standing at the top of a 30-story building about to

jump off. You send some believer there and the man will

take one look at them and say, “That’s it. I thought there

might be hope, but now that I look at his face I know

there’s no hope.”

 

Too many Christians are walking around looking

like a bomb hit them. “I’m saved, Brother Rodney Howard

Browne.” Saved from what?

 

“I’ve been in the Way for forty years.” It’s

time you got out of the way so we can move one.

Some people believe 1 John 1:9 is for the sinner.

 

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us

our sins.” That’s not written to the sinner; it’s written to

the Church. If a 40-year-old sinner had to confess his sins,

he’d have a lot of sins to confess. It would take him

another 40 years to confess his sins. It’s for the believer to

confess his sins.

 

God doesn’t find out about your sins when you

confess them. Some people think when they go to God and

say, “Lord, I’ve sinned,” God says, “My, I didn’t know

that.” God is not surprised by your sin. He’s waiting for

you to confess them so He can forgive them.

 

Sin separates. You watch people who were on fire

for God and suddenly they get into an area of deception and

they open themselves up to sin. The devil knocks them in

the head and they go into an area of sin and then they stop

going to church.

 

Romans 10:8, 9 says, “But what saith it? The word

is nigh thee, even in they mouth, and in they heart: that is,

the work of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt

confess with they mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe

in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou

shalt be saved.”

 

God wants you to run to Him, not from Him. If you

confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, believe in your

heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

That is what gets us born again.

 

For with the heart man believeth

unto righteousness: and with the mouth

confession is made unto salvation.

For the scripture sayeth,

 

Whosoever believeth in him shall not be

ashamed.

 

For there is no difference between

the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord

over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

For whosoever shall call upon the

name of the Lord shall be saved.

How then shall they call on him in

whom they have not believed? and how

shall they believe in him of whom they

have not heard? and how shall they hear

without a preacher?

 

And how shall they preach, except

they be sent? as it is written, How

beautiful are the feet of them that preach

the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings

of good things!

Romans 10:10-15

 

But as many as received him, to

them gave he power to become the sons of

God

John 1:12

 

God has a plan for your life. Accept Jesus today,

come as you are, and allow Jesus to come into your heart.

 

Pray this prayer right now:

 

Father, I come to You in the precious name of

Jesus. Lord, You said in Your Word that if I confess with

my mouth Jesus is Lord and I believe with my heart that

God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved. So Father, I

confess right now Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior.

Lord Jesus, come into my heart. I repent of all my

sins. Wash me in Your precious blood and cleanse me of

all my sin. I turn my back on the world. I will serve You

from this day onwards. Thank You for changing my life.

Amen.

 

What It Means to be Born Again

 

Foundation Scripture: John 3:16

 

1. Needs to be a greater understanding of the New Birth.

a. 2 Corinthians 5:17

b. A New Creation

c. Colossians 1:13

 

2. My Name is Written Down.

a. Luke 10:17-20

b. Proverbs 14:12

c. Luke 16:19-31

 

3. The New Birth Brings Change.

a. John 3:1-4

b. John 3:5-21

c. 1 Peter 1:23

d. 1 John 3:14

e. Romans 10:8-10

 

Prayer to accept Jesus as Your personal Lord and

Savior;

 

Father, I come to You in the precious Name of Your

Son Jesus. Lord You said in Your Word, that if I confess

with my mouth that Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior

and I believe in my heart that God has raised Him from the

dead that I will be saved.

 

I make the decision today to surrender every area of

my life to the lordship of Jesus. Jesus come into my heart take

out the stony heart and put in a heart of flesh. I turn

my back on the world and on sin-I repent and I put my trust

in You-I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I would like to

thank You for dying on the cross for my sin and shedding

 

Your blood for me so that I might be forgiven of my sin.

Thank You that You rose from the dead and that one day

You are coming back for me.

 

I confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh ad

the He is my personal Lord and Savior-thank You Lord

Jesus for saving me. I accept by faith the free gift of

salvation. Amen (so be it).

 

Dear Friend,

If you just prayed that prayer, I would like to

welcome you into the family of God- your sins are forgiven this

is the good news of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

You are now a child of God and you will live with Him

forever. I encourage you to do several things to get to

know Him.

 

1. Read your Bible and pray every day (talk to Jesus about

everything in your life).

 

2. Find a Bible-believing church that believes in the

lordship of Jesus Christ.

 

3. Be around strong believers that will encourage you in

your walk with God and lift you up.

 

4. Tell someone around you of your new- found faith and

joy that only Jesus can bring.

 

5. Use this book and my other books and tapes to help you

in your new walk with God.

There Is an Anointing to Teach

 

The teaching anointing is different from the

preaching anointing. It is more subdued, but it has a

definite flow to it. You will find that the teaching

anointing carries revelation that causes the listener to see

plainly and clearly what the Spirit of God is saying to the

Church.

 

I am convinced in many circles today that instead

of teaching the simple gospel of the Word of God, men

are complicating the lives of God’s people. Instead of

teaching that brings one into freedom, they preach people

into bondage and tradition.

 

Paul wrote to the Galatian church and said, “O

foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” (Galatians

3:1). You see, the Judaisers were preaching circumcision

and trying to get the Galatian church back under the law.

Paul said to them, “Having begun in the Spirit, are ye

now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3).

 

Keep the Message Simple

 

We must keep the gospel simple to feed the flock

of God, not choke them. Even Psalm 23:2 says, “He

leadeth me beside the still waters.” A true shepherd will

not take his flock to drink in a fast-running brook.

Because of the position of the sheep’s nostrils, the sheep

would drown. The shepherd cuts a U shape in the bank of

the river and allows the water to run into it. The sheep

can drink from the still water.

 

So it is in the church. Whenever the Word of God

is taught with simplicity, then God’s people will be set

free and they will grow into maturity. There are some

things that we can be dogmatic on such as basic Bible

doctrines, the absolutes of God’s Word. But we cannot

and should not be dogmatic concerning the non-absolutes

of God’s Word.

 

In Africa, one of the animals that roams freely is

the giraffe. The giraffe is known for its long neck. It has

the ability to feed upon the leaves up high in the tall trees.

The smaller animals, such as the little deer, cannot reach

these tall trees and so have to eat on the ground.

Starving Sheep and Constipated Shepherds

Many ministers are feeding giraffes while the

little deer are starving because they do not have the

ability to reach the food. They do not even understand

what is being preached.

 

I am disturbed by the fact that many people do not

understand what is being preached from the pulpits of the

land. They will sit in their pews and think, I don’t know

what he’s talking about.

 

Then they observe others taking notes and they

think to themselves, Well, they understand what he’s

talking about. I know I don’t, but then I have always been

slow in understanding certain things. But they should

realize that the person taking notes didn’t know what he

was talking about either and was probably writing a note

to a friend. If the truth were known, the preacher doesn’t

know what he’s talking about himself.

 

Let’s get back to the simplicity of preaching the

gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ so that the sheep may be

fed. You know, God’s Word is so simple, you need an

idiot to help you misunderstand it.

 

There Is an Anointing to Heal

 

We have to understand that there is an anointing

to heal. The scripture says in Acts 10:38, “How God

anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and

power: who went about doing good, and healing all that

were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him,”

The anointing is the presence of God. We know

that in His presence is the fullness of joy and so in His

presence is healing divine. In His presence there is no

lack.

OBLIGATING GOD

Thoughts on Stewardship
Lesson No. 7 from Genesis

Obligating God with Your Offering
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 22 verses 1-14

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” 6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” 12 And He said,”Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”  Genesis 22:1-14 NKJV

1. God spoke to Abraham and asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac.

a. He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love.”

b. These words have significance. They are a type and shadow of that which is to come.

c. God and Abraham were in covenant together and God wanted to see the extent of Abraham’s commitment to Him.

d. He wanted to see what Abraham was willing to sacrifice—what he was willing to give up.

2. This was a test from God to see if Abraham would give up his son—his only son—and if he did, then it would put God in a position where He would then be obligated to give “His Son, His only Son”! Abraham represented all of mankind when he passed this test.

a. God provided a Lamb for the sacrifice.

b. In verse 14, Abraham called the name of the place, where God provided the ram, Jehovah-Jireh—The-Lord-Will-Provide.

c. The Bible says that the Lord will even provide seed to the sower.

d. The covenant was in full force here. Abraham was willing and obedient to obey God’s commands and he experienced the abundant, supernatural provision of God.

f. Obligating God: God challenges us to obey His Word. He even says, “Prove Me!” (Malachi 3:10) When God makes a promise, He obligates Himself to keep it. When we do what is required of us, He does what He said He would. Obey God, and you obligate Him to keep His Word. You can obligate God through your obedience to His word and His commandments.

Pastor Adonica’s thoughts:
When God makes you a promise and you meet the conditions of that promise, God WILL do what He said He would do. God has blessings in store for you. Do you really trust God? Do you really believe His word? Do you dare to step out in faith and obedience so that you can see God prove Himself true and faithful to you once again?

Pastor Rodney’s thoughts:
The Bible is a record of God’s interactions with man through the ages. It is a record of His Word, His Will, and His Plan for man. God does have a definite plan for each person and He presents tests—opportunities to make the right choice—to all of us. The question is: Do we have faith? Do we really trust God enough to obey, even when the thing He asks us to do doesn’t make sense to us? Even if we have obeyed God in the past, He may once again test us to see if we are prepared to go to the next level. It is about trust and faithfulness—can you be trusted to obey Him; will you be faithful with what He tells you to do? The Lord wants to see how far you will go. Are you prepared to go to the next level? Will you do what God has told you to do—without fear? God will probably ask you for something that means a lot to you—your treasure. Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. From what I have seen, every man or woman that God has used in an extraordinary way has been at the same place that Abraham was, and passed the test. Will you?

Playing with the Anointing

This was when he began to play with the

anointing on his life. It is so dangerous to play with the

anointing of God. He delivered himself into the hands of

the Philistines, then broke the cords easily. He was

mocking them, but in reality, he was setting himself up

for his final undoing. He began to compromise what he

believed. Many people compromise what they believe in

order to be accepted.

 

Samson had a great anointing, but he played the

fool and lost the anointing. Samson got to the place in his

life that he thought he could do anything he wanted and

get away with it. I’m convinced that men of God get to

that place because of what God’s doing in the ministry.

 

Because of the anointing, the signs, the wonders, and the

miracles, they get into the place where they think, I can

do anything I want.

 

And if that’s so for the men and women of God,

how much is it for everyone in the Body of Christ? God

blesses them just a little bit and they get to the place

where they think, I can do whatever I want. No, you

can’t. Your life is not your own. You don’t belong to you.

You belong to the Most High God.

 

Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot,

and went in unto her.

 

And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come

hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for

him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all

night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall

kill him.

 

And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight,

and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two

posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put

them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the

top of an hill that is before Hebron.

Judges 16:1-3

 

The Prostitute and the Gates

 

The walls of some of the cities in those days were

so wide, they could ride six or eight chariots on the top of

them. So you can imagine how big the gates of the city

were. This man has just been with a prostitute. He gets up

out of bed, takes the city gates, and walks away with

them. He says, “I’ll show you. You lie in wait for me. I’m

going to take your gates away.”

 

And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman

in the valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.

 

And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and

said unto her, Entice him …

Judges 16:4, 5

 

You see that’s what the devil wants to do to you

He wants to entice you. He wants to draw you. He wants

to lure you. He wants to get you to that place of

compromise so that at your weakest time, he can destroy

you.

 

Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth

(find out what the key is), and by what means we may

prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict

him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven

hundred pieces of silver.

Judges 16:5

Jesus Came to Bring Life More Abundantly

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

Follow His Plan

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.

Living Water

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

John 4:10  (NKJ)
10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a   drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

Jesus is our source of living water.  Living water is as essential for our spirits as spring water is for our bodies.  Water can be clean and pure and life giving, or it can be dirty, polluted, and contaminated.  Dirty water does not taste very good, unless it is all you have ever known.  It definitely does not promote health and well being!

Ephesians 5:26  (NKJ)
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

The Word of God is water to our spirits, washing us clean and sanctifying us.  The water of the Word washes away the pollution of sin and the stench of the world that we had before we were born-again.  Unless we are washed with the Word, we will continue to walk dirty and unchanged.  We may even find our way back to the world, unless the Word is allowed to continually cleanse us. Once you are clean, you won’t want to go back to being dirty again.  The clean feeling will be too good.

Deception and religious tradition muddies the pure river of living water.  We must hunger and thirst for the truth of the unadulterated Word of God.  If you allow false doctrine or ideas to come into your life, it will be like drinking polluted water.  It will bring death to your life.  Your doctrine should line up with the whole of the Word of God.  Every scripture that you stand on must line up with and be supported by other scriptures.  Even the devil uses scripture, quoting it out of context, in order to deceive.  Just because someone uses big words, it does not mean that they actually know what they are talking about.  The Word is your guide to the truth.

John 7:38-39  (NKJ)
38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit   was not yet given, because
Jesus was not yet glorified.
The Holy Spirit is also like water.  This is the water that we drink to quench our spiritual thirst.  We can drink all we want to.  The more we drink of it, the more this living and life-giving water nourishes us.  As it flows in us and through us, it brings life to others, too.

Revelation 21:6  (NKJ)
6 And He said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.”

Revelation 22:1  (NKJ)
1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

This is a never-ending fountain and river of water of life that we can partake of freely.  It proceeds directly from God, Himself.  If we are thirsty, we can drink.  God’s presence is available to us if we will have an open heart, and a strong desire for Him, and everything He has for us.  A river of life is there for the taking if we only thirst for Him.

The River at Tampa Bay – A Local Church with a World Vision

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

Foundation Scripture: Habakkuk 2:2-3
2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that  readeth it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it;  because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

1.   God has raised this Church up for a Reason

Luke 4:18-19
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me  to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at  liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

1. To preach the Gospel to the poor.
2. To heal the broken-hearted.
3. To preach deliverance to the captives.
4. The recovering of sight to the blind.
5. To set at liberty those who are bruised.
6. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

2.   This is a Church on the Move—Go

a. He told us to GO into all the world and preach the gospel.

b. Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with  new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the  sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with  signs following. Amen.
3.   This is a Church of Signs and Wonders

a. God confirms the Word preached—with signs following.
b. Powerful worship, powerful preaching and teaching and demonstrations of the Holy Spirit.

Our Vision @ the River @ Tampa Bay

To be a local church that reaches the community with the Good News of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. To prepare them to live a victorious life and then prepare them for Heaven. To make disciples of all nations—getting them full of the Word and the Holy Ghost and then sending them out to a lost and dying world.

Seeing Jesus in those who serve Him.

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