CHARACTERISTICS OF A BELIEVER

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

Romans 12:1-21

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. NKJV

As Christians, we have a code of conduct to follow. God expects a certain standard of behavior from us that is different from the way we conducted ourselves when we were in the world. This passage in God’s Word gives us some practical guidelines that we need to follow concerning our Christian conduct.

Verse 6 says that we all have gifts that differ according to the grace that is given to us. Grace is God’s ability given to us – not indiscriminately – but according to His divine purpose and plan. Verse 8 says that the person who gives should give with simplicity and singleness (without strings attached and without an ulterior motive). We should give with sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking). Dissimulation is deception, dishonesty or pretense.  Self-seeking means that a person only gives in order to benefit themselves and not others. The Lord wants us to give in order that we would be a blessing to someone else. When we give it should be generously, liberally and bountifully.

Verse 10 says that we should be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love and that we should honor and give preference to one another.

Verse 11 says that we should not be slothful in business. We should be fervent in spirit – never lagging in zeal and earnest endeavor. We must be diligent as we serve the Lord – everything we do for Him should be done well and to the best of our ability. Verse 16 says that we should be of the same mind toward one another. We should not set our minds on high things, but we should condescend to men of low estate – we should associate with the humble. We must treat everyone the same way – not looking down on any person as being beneath us. We must not be haughty, snobbish, high-minded or exclusive, but we should readily adjust ourselves to people and things and be prepared to give ourselves to humble tasks. We should never overestimate ourselves or be wise in our own opinion.

Verse 20 says that if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this, you will heap coals of fire on his head.  This verse is not referring to your hungry and thirsty friend, but your hungry and thirsty enemy! In the flesh, we want to fight back against our enemy, but God has a better way. He says that when you fight back, you will be overcome by evil, but when you respond with love and kindness, then you overcome evil with good. We should hate that which is evil; be patient in tribulation; bless those who persecute us and not curse them; avenge not ourselves; repay no one evil for evil; overcome evil with good; and live at peace with all men.

God does not tell us to do these things to torment us, but to bring us into a place of blessing and victory. God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path – let us take God’s Word and apply it in our daily lives.

GOD DOES NOT ACCUSE THOSE HE HAS ACQUITTED

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

So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. 27 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.  Romans 8:26-27 AMP

Jesus loves us so much that He sent the Holy Spirit, Who prays through us, interceding for us, according to God’s will. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit want the very best for us and they are working together for our blessing and our benefit.

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. 30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being].  Romans 8:28-30 AMP

God, through Jesus, has brought us into a relationship with Himself, molding us into the image of His Son. According to this passage – to God – all believers look just like Jesus! He calls us the children of His family. When we love God and we have responded to the design and purpose of His call, He becomes a partner in our labor. With God on our side – if we will trust Him – all things are working together and fitting into a plan for good.

What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]  32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?] 34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?  Romans 8:31-34 AMP

Contrary to what the devil and religion would like us to believe, God is really and truly on our side! If He did not withhold His own precious Son, sending Him to die for us, then He will surely freely and graciously bless us with all the other things! The devil wants us to think that God is angry with us, judging us, condemning us and accusing us, but it is the devil that is the accuser of the bretheren. God went to so much trouble to justify and acquit us, He is not about to start condemning us. Jesus, Himself, died for us and now intercedes for us, pleading with God on our behalf.

Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? 36 Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.  Romans 8:35-37 AMP

Jesus loves us so much that even in the midst of the worst of circumstances and persecution, He is working with and in us, giving us the victory.

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, 39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39 AMP

There is nothing in the natural realm or the spirit realm – even death – that can separate the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing in creation can stop the love of God in our lives. God loves us beyond what our minds can imagine or comprehend, but we need to meditate on His Word and begin to get a revelation of God’s immense and immeasurable love for us so that we can walk in the fullness of all He has planned and prepared for us.

HONOR GOD WITH YOUR MOUTH AND FROM YOUR HEART

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

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and 2 saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were “unclean,” that is, unwashed. 3(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”   Mark 7:1-8 NIV

Religion and tradition are terrible things. They cause you to take your eyes off the really important things and to become obsessed with trivia – things that are completely unprofitable to your spiritual life. If the devil can’t get the Church to reject God outright, he will try to dilute the power of God and the power of the Word by mixing it with doubt, unbelief and man-made tradition. In the end you are serving a ritualistic form of religion and you have no more relationship with the Lord at all – you only think that you do. This is the place the Pharisees were. They were blinded and deceived by their religion, relying completely on their own works for favor with God and neglecting to keep their hearts pure and honest before God. They only did Him lip service. They worked at perfecting the outward man to impress people, rather than humbling themselves before God – the only One Who has the power to save their souls. Because they only gave lip service to God without giving Him their hearts, all their efforts amounted to nothing before God and were of no eternal value.

And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’   11 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”   Mark 7:9-13 NIV

Because the Pharisees’ hearts were not right with God, they were not afraid to brashly pervert the Word of God. They were so deceived by religious tradition that they even encouraged people to bring an offering to the temple in lieu of obeying the Word and commandments of God! They built their kingdom at the expense of God’s kingdom. No wonder they were disturbed and threatened by Jesus – He exposed their lies and hypocrisy and their impure hearts.

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.'”  17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) 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 7:14-23 NIV

You must not only put a guard on your lips, but you must guard and protect your heart. Don’t try to please or impress man. The only One you should be trying to please, is the Lord – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Your lip service is totally insufficient without a humble heart that is yielded to the Lord. Your sacrifice is worthless if your heart is not submitted to God and if it is not right with God. If you turn your heart toward God and you seek to please only Him, then He will gladly accept all your sacrifices, including your sacrifice of praise.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Psalms 51:15-17 NIV

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD

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

A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God! 4 Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.  Isaiah 40:3-5 AMP

John, the Baptist, was set apart for a special mission from the moment he was conceived. He was a messenger sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus. His task was to put everyone on alert that the long-awaited Savior was finally here. He called on them to repent of their sin, to turn from the world and worldly pursuits, and to prepare their hearts to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Messiah. God is found by them who seek Him. You must look for Him; you must seek Him; you must be hungry for Him – draw nigh to Him and He will draw nigh to you.

Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon.  Isaiah 55:6-7 AMP

The Lord sends messengers out ahead to prepare the hearts of people for His coming. If you are a Christian, then you are a bearer of good news. When you tell people how much Jesus loves them and what He has done for them, you are preparing the way for them to receive Him as their Lord and Savior. They might receive Him into their hearts immediately, they might receive Him after some days, or months, or even years, but as long as you are as faithful and as bold as John to speak the truth, they will never be able to say, “I never heard the Gospel. I did not know that I had to seek the Lord. I did not know what Jesus did for me. I did not know that I had to confess with my mouth and believe in my heart to be saved and to make heaven my eternal destination.”  John did not take an opinion poll before he preached. He just preached what the Spirit told him to say, regardless of who was offended. Because he boldly spoke the truth, he lost his life, but he never backed down, he never compromised and those who heard him have no excuse.

As the people were in suspense and waiting expectantly, and everybody reasoned and questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether he perhaps might be the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one). 16 John answered them all by saying, I baptize you with water; but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not fit to unfasten. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His winnowing shovel (fork) is in His hand to thoroughly clear and cleanse His [threshing] floor and to gather the wheat and store it in His granary, but the chaff He will burn with fire that cannot be extinguished. 18 So with many other [various] appeals and admonitions he preached the good news (the Gospel) to the people.  Luke 3:15-18 AMP

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him. 14 But John protested strenuously, having in mind to prevent Him, saying, It is I who have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? 15 But Jesus replied to him, Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, He went up at once out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. 17 And behold, a voice from heaven said, This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight!  Matthew 3:13-17 AMP

John never pointed people to himself, but he always pointed them to the Father, to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit. That is your responsibility, to point people to the Word, to the cross, to Jesus Christ. You are the messenger, and not only that, you are commissioned by Jesus, Himself, and anointed by the Holy Spirit, to demonstrate the power of God to your generation! When you talk about Jesus, when you do the works of Jesus, you show the glory of God in an earthen vessel and He is lifted up and glorified. There is no other way to prepare the way of the Lord and to prepare people to meet Jesus, than to pray and most importantly, to preach the good news of the Gospel.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 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? 15 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 10:13-15 KJV

WHAT AN INCREDIBLE QUALITY OF LOVE!

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

See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him. 2 Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is. 3 And everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless).  1 John 3:1-3 AMP

God has bestowed an incredible amount of love on us in making us His very own children. No other religion of man can make the same claims. Every other religion requires do’s and don’t’s. They have a long list of things you can and can’t do, and even if you fulfill all the requirements (which is impossible any way), you have no idea if you will actually make heaven and miss hell and damnation! The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only message that truly offers a guarantee! Since the Gospel offers heaven based on faith and not works, God made it very, very simple for every person on the planet to become His very own child and spend eternity in His wonderful presence.

He loved us so much that He did it all – He did all the hard work and left nothing up to us, except believing and receiving – so that we can be assured of eternal life, eternal peace, and eternal joy!

Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy]. 3 Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David.  Isaiah 55:1-3 AMP

Even if we owned the whole world with a gold fence around it, we could not pay for one drop of God’s priceless mercy or one drop of the priceless blood of Jesus. He loves us so much that He freely offers His priceless blood, grace, mercy, and forgiveness to every person, no matter how bad they are and no matter how awful their sin. The only way to access this gracious, free gift is by humbling your heart and surrendering your life to the Lord. The way – the only way – that the blessing comes to you is by self-surrender, as it is only by self-surrender that you are able to accept the blessing!

Unfortunately, for some people, this is too high a price to pay. They will do anything else, but do not ask them to surrender their life to the will of the Father. Many people are outwardly religious – some of them ridiculously so – but they will not submit their heart to the Lord. Of course, there are many people who do not know that this is all that God requires of them, as they have never heard the Gospel and their eyes are blinded by the devil, but there are others who have heard and yet find it too difficult to do. You would think that people would be thrilled to know that they no longer have to fulfill a long list of difficult and uncomfortable, sometime tortuous requirements, in order to be guaranteed eternal life, but strangely they would rather suffer and feel like they DID something to pay for their salvation or their reward.

This is not humility – it is false humility – pride dressed up like humility. True humility embraces the free gift. True humility is bold to say, “Yes, I am the righteousness of God in Christ,” knowing all along on the inside that HE paid the price and that we are completely undeserving!

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].  Hebrews 4:16 AMP

Because of God’s grace, you can come boldly into the presence of God to ask for what it is that you need. Because you have surrendered to Him and allowed Him to wash and cleanse and change you, you are unashamed to enter into His presence. Because you have a revelation of how much He loves you and how much He has done for you and how much He has promised you, you are not afraid to come straight to Him and ask Him personally for what you need!

BEHOLDING HIS GLORY WITH AN UNVEILED FACE

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

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all of the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 AMP

The secret things belong to the Lord, but the things He has revealed to us are ours. Through the truth of God’s Word, His will is revealed to us so that we can walk uprightly before Him and enjoy His promises and benefits.

But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed]. 10 Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 AMP

In your wildest imagination, you could not dream up what God has prepared and ordained for you, and yet, He has revealed them to you by His Holy Spirit!

Since we have such [glorious] hope (such joyful and confident expectation), we speak very freely and openly and fearlessly. 13 Nor [do we act] like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze upon the finish of the vanishing [splendor which had been upon it]. 14 In fact, their minds were grown hard and calloused [they had become dull and had lost the power of understanding]; for until this present day, when the Old Testament (the old covenant) is being read, that same veil still lies [on their hearts], not being lifted [to reveal] that in Christ it is made void and done away. 15 Yes, down to this [very] day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts. 16 But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). 18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 AMP

When Moses met with God and received the Ten Commandments, he came down the mountain with the glory of God so strong on his face that he had to wear a veil for the sake of the people. God told Moses that no man could look upon His face and live. These people were not even able to look upon the reflected glory of Almighty God on Moses’ face, because their hearts were grown hard and calloused – they had become dull and had lost the power of understanding. Sin causes you to have a veil over your face when it comes to the truth of the word of God. But whenever a person repents and turns to the Lord, it is as if this veil is stripped off and taken away from you by the Holy Spirit, Who opens God’s word up to you. As you continue, as with an unveiled face, to look and see and understand the word of God and to behold the glory of God as in a mirror, you will continue to be transfigured and transformed into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another!

But even if our Gospel (the glad tidings) also be hidden (obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God), it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing and obscured [only] to those who are spiritually dying and veiled [only] to those who are lost. 4 For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves [merely] as your servants (slaves) for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 AMP

The Gospel is not hidden – it is openly proclaimed and revealed – but it is veiled to those who are spiritually lost. Not that God wants it veiled – He is not hiding it from us – He wants it to be openly revealed to all men. It is veiled because the devil – the god of this world’s system – has blinded the unbelievers’ minds, in order that they should not discern the truth, preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ. That is why the glory of God shines out of God’s people’s hearts – light shining out of darkness – so that those who need Jesus may be illuminated with the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God, revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. The devil can try to keep people ignorant and blinded to the truth, but once the glory of God is revealed to a sinner and their eyes are opened, there is nothing the devil can do to stop them from receiving the life of God in Jesus Christ! Thank God for the unveiled glory of His word that brings life and liberty to His people!

 

No Weapon Formed Against You Will Prosper

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

And all your [spiritual] children shall be disciples [taught by the Lord and obedient to His will], and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children. 14 You shall establish yourself in righteousness (rightness, in conformity with God’s will and order): you shall be far from even the thought of oppression or destruction, for you shall not fear, and from terror, for it shall not come near you. 15 Behold, they may gather together and stir up strife, but it is not from Me. Whoever stirs up strife against you shall fall and surrender to you.16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows on the fire of coals and who produces a weapon for its purpose; and I have created the devastator to destroy.17 But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord. Isaiah 54:13-17

When you establish yourself in righteousness, conforming yourself to God’s will and purpose in every aspect of your life, God will pour out all His precious promises onto your life.

Those who yield to the will of God and who establish themselves in His righteousness have no reason to have any fear at all. The Lord says that you will be far from even the thought of oppression or destruction and from terror. He says that it will not come near you. Even if people stir up strife against you, you don’t need to worry because the Lord will cause you always to triumph – He says that those whose rise up against you will surrender to you.

The Lord says that NO weapon that is formed against you will prosper! EVERY tongue that shall rise against you – you will show to be wrong! There is nothing that you need to do to defend yourself. All you need to do is to be yielded to the Lord, believe His word, and trust completely in Him. Be a doer of the word. Act on God’s word. Walk in the love of God. He will take care of everything else.

For the Lord will judge and vindicate His people, and He will delay His judgments [manifesting His righteousness and mercy] and take into favor His servants [those who meet His terms of separation unto Him]. Psalms 135:14 AMP

This is what you can expect if you are a hearer, a believer in, and a doer of God’s word:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! 3 For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4[Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. 8 Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] as you witness the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, 10 There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. 11 For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. 12 They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot. 14 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness–trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.

Psalms 91:1-16 AMP

Don’t be an Esau Christian

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

Jacob was boiling pottage (lentil stew) one day, when Esau came from the field and was faint [with hunger]. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, I beg of you, let me have some of that red lentil stew to eat, for I am faint and famished! That is why his name was called Edom [red]. 31 Jacob answered, Then sell me today your birthright (the rights of a firstborn). 32 Esau said, See here, I am at the point of death; what good can this birthright do me? 33 Jacob said, Swear to me today [that you are selling it to me]; and he swore to [Jacob] and sold him his birthright. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils, and he ate and drank and rose up and went his way. Thus Esau scorned his birthright as beneath his notice.  Genesis 25:29-34 AMP

In Bible times, a birthright was the right, privilege or possession of the firstborn son; that to which he is entitled by virtue of his birth. In Israel, and the rest of the ancient world, the firstborn son enjoyed a favored position. His birthright included a double portion of his father’s assets upon his death. Another benefit was that he received a special blessing from his father and the privilege and responsibility of leadership of the family, including the spiritual leadership. He became responsible for the younger brothers, the widows, and the unmarried daughters.

The title of firstborn was sacred in ancient Israel. When Esau transferred his birthright to Jacob for a lentil stew, he showed utter disregard for the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the firstborn. He showed that he did not value, nor had he any respect for, his heritage, his parents, the promise of God, or the spiritual privilege connected with this inheritance: being progenitor (the forefather) of the promised Messiah! At that moment, Esau turned God down and chose not to follow or obey God. He chose not to accept the leadership of the next generation. He chose not to be named in the bloodline of the Messiah. Esau did not have a heart after God. Later, he wanted the blessing from Isaac, but he never did accept the boundaries of obedience that God required of him.

When Esau was 40 years old, he took, not one, but two women as wives from among the Hittites. They made life bitter and a grief of mind and spirit for Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34-35). Esau obviously did not respect God or his parent’s opinions, because he did not consult them concerning his choice of wife. He did not look for a godly wife or ask God for the one He had for him. Your choice of spouse is the second most important choice in your life after you choose your God/god – who you will serve and where you will spend eternity. You need God’s guidance – you need to respect the authority of parents and those who are older and wiser than you – wiser in God’s ways not worldly ways.

In Genesis 28:1-9, Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and commanded him not to marry one of the women of Canaan. He told him to go to Padan-aram and take a wife from Rebekah’s family, one of the daughters of Laban. Isaac blessed Jacob with the blessing of Abraham and sent him away to do as he had instructed. Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Padan-aram to take him a wife from there, and given him a charge that he should not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Padan-aram. Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father, Isaac, so he went to Ishmael – the son of the bondwoman not the son of the promise – and took one of his daughters as an additional wife!

In God’s family, every one of us is considered “firstborn” in God’s eyes, but many Christians behave like Esau. They call themselves Christians – members of God’s family – but they don’t submit themselves to God and His will for their lives. They do not esteem their birthright. They don’t appreciate the blessings or the responsibilities of being a firstborn child of God. They don’t take the time to find out what God wants for them and from them. They pursue relationships that are detrimental to themselves and others; they don’t marry the one chosen by God, and who serves God; they settle for less; they just follow their flesh and the lusts and desires of their flesh; they only do what feels good to them in the moment.

“Esau” Christians are oblivious to spiritual things – they have no respect for God. When they hear another Christian talk about God’s leading in their lives saying something like, “God told me not to marry a Canaanite,” they decide not to “marry a Canaanite” either, but they still don’t go and marry a godly woman. They go for the daughter of the flesh – Ishmael. We are not only talking about who you marry, but all of the decisions you make every day.

Some Christians live their lives oblivious to the Spirit of God and the word of God. God’s word is not their standard; they live life according to the world’s standards. They do not even understand the dynamics of the covenant relationship between the obedient Christian and the Father. They may be envious of that relationship and of the blessings that go with it, but are unmotivated to make the changes in their own life to have this relationship with the Father themselves. Even when they hear what the Father requires, they still try to put their own spin on it and still end up doing their own thing. They always assume and presume.

The “Esau” Christian will never have God’s best and not because God doesn’t have a wonderful plan for them, but because they place no value on God’s plan and will for them or the blessings of obedience. These people go through life envious of obedient Christians, but never stop to look at themselves in the mirror, evaluating their own heart attitude, or trying to do things God’s way for a change! Don’t be an “Esau” Christian!

Jesus—The Resurrection & The Life

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

The thing that sets Christianity apart from all the other beliefs and religions out there is the resurrection of Jesus. Many people have been martyred or died, but only Jesus took the weight of the sins of the world on Himself and only Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Through this resurrection, all who believe are raised up with Him into everlasting life!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26 NKJV

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy one to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ 29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”‘ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 2:22-39 NKJV

And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.  Acts 4:33 NKJV

God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ 34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’ 35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy one to see corruption.’ 36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.  Acts 13:33-39 NKJV

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:5-11 NKJV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9 NKJV

 

Prayer that Gets Results

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

PRAYER THAT GETS RESULTS
Foundation Scriptures: Ephesians 6:18; Luke 18:1

Ephesians 6:18 AMP
Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

Luke 18:1
NKJV: Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.
AMP: Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up).

  1. Prayer is communication with your Heavenly Father.
  2. Prayer changes things—prayer changes people.
  3. If you want results when you pray, you must follow the rules.

    • There are different kinds of prayer in the Bible. You cannot pray the same prayer for every situation.
    • With different kinds of prayer, there are different rules just as different sports have different rules even though they are all sports.
  4. Prayer of consecration.

    • Some people say, “If it be Thy will” every time they pray, but this not the only way to pray.
    • This is a prayer of consecration. Even Jesus only prayed that once—in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Luke 22:42)
    • When it comes to getting something from God, we do not pray, “If it be thy will.” We already have God’s promise in His Word.
  5. God’s will.

    • We need to realize that it is God’s will that all our needs—spiritual; physical; material—be met.
    • Isaiah 1:19 AMP – If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.
    • 3 John 2 NKJV – Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
  6. Prayer of petition.

    • When you pray—when you ask God for anything— you must pray in faith and expectation.
    • Mark 11:24 NKJV – Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
    • Mark 11:24 AMP – For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. You can only pray this prayer for yourself.
  7. Praise and answered prayer.

    • There is a time to ask and a time to praise and worship God.
    • When Jehoshaphat and Judah were faced with several nations—a great multitude—coming to fight with them, they chose to praise and worship God and He delivered them.
    • 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NKJV – And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.” 22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
    • Paul and Silas were beaten and chained up, but when they began to praise and worship God, they were delivered.
    • Acts 16:25-26 NKJV – But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
    • Tell God what you want and then just worship Him and thank Him.
  8. Don’t worry.

    • Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
    • Be anxious for nothing means: do not worry about anything.
    • 1 Peter 5:6-7 AMP – Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, 7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
    • Cast ALL your cares—not just some of them—on Him.
    • When you believe God’s Word and refuse to worry, some people think that there is something wrong with you.
    • Casting your cares does not mean that you ignore your situation; it means you give it to the Lord—you put it in His hands.
    • Psalms 37:5 AMP – Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.
    • When you cast your cares on the Lord and commit your ways to Him, you demonstrate trust and faith in Him to bring it to pass.
    • Many people do not get their prayers answered, because they won’t stop worrying and won’t cast their cares on the Lord.
  9. United prayer.

    • If we, as the Church; as the Body of Christ, join our hearts, faith and voices together to pray and ask God for anything, we will see God do mighty things.
    • Acts 4:23-24a NKJV – And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord…
    • Acts 4:29-30 NKJV – Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.
    • Prayer that is prayed in agreement—in one accord—is answered prayer.
    • Matthew 18:19 NKJV – Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

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