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.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS TEMPERANCE

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

The Greek word “temperance” means self-control, self-restraint and self-discipline.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and disciplineand self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 AMP

So many people blame the devil for their sin and their problems, but the devil can’t make you do anything that you don’t want to do. He only makes suggestions and tells lies -– we choose whether to yield to him or not. We are in control. The Spirit of God gives us the ability and the power to resist. Satan may try to tempt you, but if the Spirit of God lives in you, then you can resist him. You must submit yourself to God and then you can resist the devil. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Your flesh may feel weak, but you have the Word of God and the Spirit of God to help you and to give you the ability to yield to the Spirit rather than the flesh and the devil. These are choices you make. You choose to put your flesh under and to display self-control. You choose to serve the spirit instead of the flesh.

The devil tries control you through fear -– he tries to bring fear into your life and make you fearful of all kinds of things and in all kinds of situations — but the self-control and self-discipline that God gives you allows you to control the fear and to defeat the devil.

If you know the Word and if you believe the Word, then you will have a calm, well-balanced mind and the devil will not have an easy time selling you on his lies. If you have a calm, well-balanced mind then the devil cannot confuse you or harass you. You will harass him!

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3 NKJ

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:2-8 NKJ

As you grow in the Word and allow the Lord to do a work in you, fruit comes forth in your life and godly character is developed in you. There is an order to the godly character that is formed in your life. You begin with faith in God and add virtue (moral goodness), knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and then love. When you have faith in God, moral goodness and knowledge of the Word, then with God’s help you can develop self-control.

Self-control is very important to your Christian walk. Self-control makes it possible for you to walk in patience, perseverance and constancy. Self-control causes you to be able to put your flesh under and walk in the Spirit. If you yield to your flesh you will reap a bitter harvest, but if you yield to the Spirit then you will reap life everlasting. Jesus’ divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness as we grow in our knowledge of Him. We have been given exceedingly great and precious promises, but we have to have patience and self-control in order to receive them.

The Lord has so much in store for us and we can have it all if we have the self-control to patiently stand on God’s Word and receive His promises.

 

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.

Seeing Jesus in those who serve Him.