Tag Archives: Rodney Howard-Browne 2015

A Journey through the Bible

Let’s go on a journey through the Bible, from Genesis to

Revelation, and let’s see how Jesus is portrayed through the Word

of God. 1

 

In Genesis, He is the Seed of the Woman.

In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb.

In Leviticus, He is our High Priest.

In Numbers, He’s our Pillar of Cloud by day and our Pillar of

Fire by night.

 

In Deuteronomy, He is the Prophet like unto Moses.

In Joshua, He is the Captain of our salvation.

In Judges, He is our Lawgiver.

In Ruth, He is our Kinsman Redeemer.

In First and Second Samuel, He’s our Trusted Prophet.

In Kings and Chronicles, He is our Reigning King.

In Ezra, He’s our Faithful Scribe.

In Nehemiah, He’s the Rebuilder of the broken walls.

In Esther, He’s our Advocate.

In Job, He’s our Ever-Living Redeemer.

In Psalms, He is the Lord, our Shepherd, so we shall not want.

In Proverbs, He is our Wisdom.

In Ecclesiastes, He is our Goal!

In the Song of Solomon, He is our Lover and our Bridegroom.

In Isaiah, He’s the Prince of Peace.

In Jeremiah and Lamentations, He is the Weeping Prophet.

In Ezekiel, He’s the Wonderful Four-faced Man.

In Daniel, He’s the Fourth Man in the burning, fiery furnace.

In Hosea, He’s the Eternal Husband, forever married to the

backslider.

 

In Joel, He’s the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost.

In Amos, He’s our Burden-bearer.

In Obadiah, He’s our Savior.

In Jonah, He’s the Great Foreign Missionary.

In Micah, He’s the Messenger with beautiful feet.

In Nahum, He’s our Avenger.

In Habakkuk, He’s the Evangelist pleading for revival.

In Zephaniah, He’s the Lord, mighty to save.

In Haggai, He’s the Restorer of the lost heritage.

In Zechariah, He’s the Fountain springing up with

everlasting life.

 

In Malachi, He’s the Son of Righteousness, rising with healing in

His wings.

 

In Matthew, He’s the Messiah.

In Mark, He’s the Wonder Worker.

In Luke, He’s the Son of Man.

In John, He’s the Son of God.

In Acts, He’s the Holy Ghost, moving among men.

In Romans, He’s the Justifier.

In First and Second Corinthians, He’s the Sanctifier.

In Galatians, He’s the Redeemer from the curse of the law.

In Ephesians, He is the Christ of unsearchable riches.

In Philippians, He’s the God who supplies ALL of our needs.

In Colossians, He’s the fullness of the godhead bodily.

In First and Second Thessalonians, He’s our Soon-coming King.

In First and Second Timothy, He’s the Mediator between God

and man.

 

In Titus, He is the Faithful Pastor.

In Philemon, He’s the Friend of the oppressed.

In Hebrews, He’s the Blood of the everlasting covenant.

In James, He is the Lord who raises the sick.

In First and Second Peter, He’s the Chief Shepherd, who shall

soon appear.

 

In First, Second, and Third John, He is Love.

In Jude, He’s the Lord coming with ten thousand of His saints.

In Revelation, He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

OFFERING OF THE FIRSTLINGS

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 27 from Deuteronomy
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 15 verse 19-21

Offering of the Firstlings

All the firstling males that are born of your herd and flock you shall set apart for the Lord your God; you shall do no work with the firstling of your herd, nor shear the firstling of your flock. 20 You shall eat it before the Lord your God annually in the place [for worship] which the Lord shall choose, you and your household. 21 But if it has any blemish, if it is lame, blind, or has any bad blemish whatsoever, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 15:19-21 AMP

1.  It is very important to God that His people set aside and bring the firstling of their flocks and herds to Him

a. They had to be firstlings – the firstborn of the flock
b. It took faith to bring the firstling – you had to believe that there would be a “secondling”, a “thirdling”,
and a “fourthling”, etc.
c. This firstling was to be set aside ahead of time and then brought to the place of worship
d. It was sacrificed to the Lord at the place of worship and then eaten in His presence
e. The firstling could not be lame or blind – it had to have no blemish or imperfection whatsoever
f. It would need to be carefully inspected
g. If something is inspected, it means that it has to be considered and carefully looked at – with much
contemplation and thought – rather than something brought haphazardly or as a mere afterthought

2.  Even though this command was given under the Old Covenant, why would we – under the New – assume that we are free to dishonor God by giving to Him any other way?

a. Maybe we don’t raise animals – but we do earn a living – we must bring the Lord the “firstling” – right
off the top
b. We honor God by putting Him first, rather than last in our priorities
c. We should set aside our offering with much thought, contemplation and inspection – and then bring it to
His house as an act of worship – to honor Him for His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His loving
kindness, and all of His bountiful blessings
d. If we really respect a person – a man or woman – and we really want to bless them, we will do
something to honor them, such as bringing a gift that reflects our gratitude and appreciation
e. It is extremely appropriate – and in some cases, expected – that you bring a gift when you are meeting
someone very important
f. Your gift sends a message. For instance, we give gifts to our husband, wife, family, or friends, on
birthdays, or anniversaries, or other special occasions, that reflect how much we think of them
g. They would be offended if we forgot to bring something or if we gave an inferior gift
h. What about our Heavenly Father? Is He not more important – is He not more precious to us – than any
mortal man? We expect His generous, abundant, timely blessings on us and so we should also honor
Him in kind

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
Isaiah 43:22-25 AMP says, “You have not called upon Me [much less toiled for Me], O Jacob; but you have been weary of Me, O Israel! You have not brought Me your sheep and goats for burnt offerings, or honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not required you to serve with an offering or treated you as a slave by demanding tribute or wearied you with offering incense. You have not bought Me sweet cane with money, or satiated Me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have only burdened Me with your sins; you have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Is this you? Have you taken advantage of God’s grace and generosity? Have you offered God nothing but your sins and iniquities? Have you done nothing but burden Him and weary Him? If so, it’s time for a change. It’s time to make up your mind to start to please God and bless Him with your obedience and your blemish-free firstlings!

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
Everything we have comes from God. Nothing we have comes from ourselves. He loves us – we love Him. He blesses us – we bless Him. It amazes me how many people expect the blessing of the Lord in their lives and yet the Kingdom of God is neither their priority nor their concern. When we make the Kingdom of God our priority – when we put God’s house first and bless and honor Him – then He will bless and honor us. Let’s honor God by bringing our first and our best – not the last or the lame or the blind.

Prayer and Confession:
Father, I honor You with my firstlings and I honor You with the best that I have. I will obey You and bless You, because everything I have is Yours.

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.

YOUR COVENANT MEAL

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

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

1 Corinthians 11:20-34 NIV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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