DON’T PUT YOUR CONFIDENCE IN EGYPT

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

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they look not to the Holy one of Israel, nor seek and consult the Lord! 2 And yet He is wise and brings calamity and does not retract His words; He will arise against the house (the whole race) of evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity. 3 Now the Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses are flesh and not spirit; and when the Lord stretches out His hand, both [Egypt] who helps will stumble, and [Judah] who is helped will fall, and they will all perish and be consumed together. Isaiah 31:1-3 AMP

In this verse, God calls Egypt “the flesh.” Egypt is symbolic of the world and the world’s system, which is influenced and controlled by the enemy. The devil, first and foremost, is a liar. He offers, but never comes through – he promises, but never delivers. He deceives and confuses. Hebrews3:13 says that sin is deceitful. Sin promises wealth, power, satisfaction and freedom, but delivers only poverty, frustration and bondage.

Mark 4:19 AMP says that, “The cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” When you look at the world and you allow yourself to crave and lust after what they have, you will choke the Word, the anointing, and the power of God in your life and leave yourself vulnerable to destruction.

If you are a believer, a child of God, and you think that worldly people have it better than you, then you are deceived. All the money and power in the world cannot buy one drop of the blood of Jesus and only the blood of Jesus can guarantee eternal life! If you keep your eyes on that which is eternal, God will take care of you.

Say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster [of sluggish and unwieldy strength] that lies in the midst of his [delta] streams, [boastfully] declaring, My river Nile is my own and I have made it for myself.  Ezekiel 29:3 AMP

It shall be the lowliest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; I will diminish [the Egyptians] so they shall never again rule over the nations. 16 And never again shallEgypt have the confidence and be the reliance of the house of Israel; their iniquity will be brought to remembrance whenever [Israel] looks toward them [for help]. They shall know (understand and realize) that I am the Lord God [Who demands loyalty and obedient service].  Ezekiel 29:15-16 AMP

In this passage, God pronounced Himself to be against Egypt, because Egypt was proud and arrogant, taking credit for what God alone had done and given, and because Israel looked up to Egypt and trusted her instead of their Lord. God set Himself against Egypt, to make her land desolate and a waste, to bring her low, to place her in subjection to her enemies and to scatter her people among the nations. However, He promised to restore the Egyptians to their land at the end of forty years, but they would never be restored to their former glory, they would never again rule over nations and never again would Egypt have the confidence and be the reliance of the house of Israel.

The world’s system is not reliable or trustworthy. The world puts its trust in money and wealth, but history will show that the same way money can be made, it can be lost and there is little that you or anyone else can do about it. Another lie, perpetrated by the devil, is that money can buy health, peace of mind and happiness. Money can pay for doctors and treatments, but it cannot cure a terminal illness. Money can buy a fancy wedding, but it cannot buy a good marriage. Money can buy a nice house, but it cannot guarantee a happy home and family. Money can buy things and even some people, but it cannot buy genuine friendships. Money cannot guarantee happiness and contentment.

As long as you look to the world for help, as long as you trust in the arm of the flesh, and as long as you covet what the world has, you will never enjoy the fullness of the blessings of God. God will bring down the earthly things you trust in. You must wake up and realize that He is the only One worthy of your trust and reliance. You must KNOW that HE is the Lord God and you must put your hope and trust in Him. He is the Lord and He demands loyalty and obedient service in exchange for love, peace, joy and blessing. True blessing and everlasting life are in the hands of the Father and He offers it to you today. Take your eyes off the world and place your life firmly in the hands of the Lord, Who loves you and watches over you to do you good in the end.

THE WHEAT IS GATHERED AND STORED BUT THE CHAFF IS BURNED

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

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee and escape from the wrath and indignation [of God against disobedience] that is coming? 8 Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart]; 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham for our forefather; for I tell you, God is able to raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones! 10 And already the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.  Matthew 3:7-12 AMP

Many people wondered whether John the Baptist was the Christ – the Messiah (Luke 3:15) – but he settled that issue when he told them that there was one coming who was mightier than himself. John baptized with water, but Jesus baptizes in the Holy Spirit and fire! Every one of us has two choices. You can be baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire here and now and allow the Lord to do a purifying work in your heart, mind and life or you can resist the Spirit of the Lord and be consumed by fire in the Day of Judgment. It is far better to yield to the Spirit of God here and now and allow Him to cleanse you – no matter how painful it is on your flesh and your self-will – than to resist Him and His work in your life and have to burn in hell for eternity.

It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter how important you are, how learned you are, how many degrees you have, how many titles you carry – or if you are nobody and have nothing at all –everyone has to go through the fire. You are the one who chooses which fire you go through – the fire of God now or the fires of hell later. The wheat will be gathered and stored in God’s barn – those who have placed their life in God’s hands will live with Him in His presence forever. The chaff will be burned up – those who have rebelled against God will burn in hell. Hell was not prepared for men, but for the devil and his angels, however, unless men submit to God and resist the devil, God has no choice but to leave them to their fate – the tormenting fires of hell.

Another parable He set forth before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while he was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed also darnel (weeds resembling wheat) among the wheat, and went on his way. 26 So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the darnel (weeds) appeared also. 27 And the servants of the owner came to him and said, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have darnel shoots in it? 28 He replied to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Then do you want us to go and weed them out? 29 But he said, No, lest in gathering the wild wheat (weeds resembling wheat), you root up the [true] wheat along with it. 30 Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the reapers, Gather the darnel first and bind it in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my granary.  Matthew 13:24-30 AMP

God allows the wheat and the weeds to grow up together, unhindered, but again, at the time of harvest, there is a separation – the wheat is gathered to be stored safely in the granary, but the weeds are pulled out and burned.

The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil. 20 For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved. 21 But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are–wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him].  John 3:19-21 AMP

Don’t wait until it is too late – come to the light now, come to the Lord now. Allow Him to do a purifying work in your life, allow the fire of the Holy Spirit to purge and burn your weeds and your chaff and make pure wheat out of you, so that you will be gathered into the presence of the Lord at the time of harvest and be stored in His granary – abiding in His wonderful presence forever, even throughout eternity!

GREAT FEAR AND GREAT JOY

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

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.  John 20:1-10 KJV

Jesus spoke to His disciples many times about what was about to happen to Him, including His death and resurrection, but when He was arrested and crucified, they were devastated. They did not understand God’s plan. Only in looking back, did they see the whole thing unfolded and revealed. Peter was so upset and afraid after Jesus was arrested that he denied knowing Jesus, three times. When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, early in the morning, on the first day of the week, she was distraught. One can only imagine the pain and heaviness with which she approached the tomb that day – her Lord had been crucified and was dead. She was even more upset when she saw His body was gone. Her trip that day to the tomb was not one of gladness, but one of great sorrow. However, this was about to change!

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.  John 20:11-14 KJV

This was Resurrection morning! It does not matter how bleak your life looks to you now – maybe you are full of sadness, disappointments, and regrets and you think that your life is over, that it is too late for you to have another chance – get ready for a resurrection!

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.  John 20:15-18 KJV

Mary Magdalene ran to bring His disciples Word that Jesus was not dead, but alive – that He was raised from the dead! Matthew 28:8 says that she departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy! This fear was a reverential fear that gripped her. She was also overcome with excitement and great joy because Jesus was alive she had just seen Him with her own eyes.

In John 11:25, before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He said unto Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Jesus is still speaking to you today, “Fear not! That which was dead shall be dead no more – I am the resurrection and the Life – and that which was dead shall live again.” Jesus died on the cross – He was dead for three days – but the good news is that He rose again. Without Him, you are already dead, but Jesus said in John 6:40 KJV, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

If you have Jesus, you will never die, but you will live forever. New life – resurrection life – is working in you even now! What do you need Him to do for you? Today is the day of your salvation!

LEAD A LIFE WORTHY OF HIS CALLING

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

I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service.  Ephesians 4:1 AMP

If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you are washed in the blood of Jesus and you are free from the bondage of sin, fear and death. Before Jesus, sin had control over you and therefore guilt, fear, and death as well. You cannot yield to sin and control it at the same time – either you master it by resisting it or it masters you when you give in to it. It is like a drug addict claiming that they are in control of their drug use or an alcoholic claiming that they are in control of their alcohol consumption. They claim that they can quit if they wanted to, but that is simply not true because it has complete control of them, they just can’t or won’t admit it. Sin is not something you can play with – sin’s whole intention is to utterly dominate and control you and with sin automatically comes fear and death. If you want to be free from the bondage of sin then you must quit yielding to it.

So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds.  Ephesians 4:17 AMP

As a Christian – little anointed one – you are called to a divine calling – summoned to God’s service. Not only does God call you to lead a life worthy of His calling, but He has empowered you by His Holy Spirit to do so. You no longer live your life as you did in the world. You are free from that web of deceit and bondage. You are now free from the folly, vanity, and emptiness of your previous existence. Do not continue to walk and talk like a sinner.

Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature].  Ephesians 4:18 AMP

Sin alienates you from God. Sin causes you to have a hard heart, to be insensitive to the Holy Spirit, and even insensitive to your own conscience. Therefore, you are deeply ignorant of the truth. Because of this, your reasoning is beclouded, and you have absolutely no moral understanding. You have become blind by choice.

In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves [a prey] to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand].  Ephesians 4:19 AMP

It is a vicious cycle. Sin causes spiritual apathy and spiritual apathy causes you to become callous and reckless, with no more feelings and no more conscience that might otherwise have caused you to be sensitive to others and cause you to do the right thing. If you have no feelings for others and no sensitivity to what they are feeling, then there is nothing stopping you from hurting them. These kinds of people are eager to abandon themselves to fulfilling every perverted, impure, depraved desire that their flesh can come up with, with no thought to the damage being done to either them or others.

But you did not so learn Christ! 21 assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him], 22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; 23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], 24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another.  Ephesians 4:20-25 AMP

You did not learn to do these things from Jesus. He has taught you a different way of life, free from your old nature. Strip yourselves of your former sin nature, your old unrenewed self, which has been corrupted through lusts and desires that spring from delusion. Continue to renew your mind with the washing of the water of God’s word. You are created in the image of God – put on your new nature. Reject the lies of the devil and embrace the truth of God!

How to Be Happy

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

I heard another report the other day about researchers investigating the causes of happiness. Everybody wants to be happy—we spend our lives chasing happiness. We think we know what will make us happy, but more often than not, once we achieve those things, we find out that we are not at all happier than we thought we would be! People think money, and the things it can buy, will make them happy. In one study, in another nation, they found out that in fact the more money people had, the less happy they were!

One of the things researchers have discovered is that one of the main sources of happiness is not money, possessions, intelligence, good looks, popularity, climate or health. They found out that the main source of happiness is gratitude! Gratitude is not something found outsidof yourself. Gratitude comes from within. It’s not what’s in your hands, but what’s in your heart. Gratitude is an attitude—an attitude you choose to have and display. Gratitude is a decision—you can choose whether or not to be grateful.

Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Ephesians 5:17-20 AMP

Understand what God’s will is and, at all times and for everything, praise and give thanks to the Father, in the Name of Jesus. Look for reasons to thank God and be thankful. Remind yourself of His blessings and what He has done for you. Don’t wait for the pie in the sky before you’ll be happy. With the help of the Holy Spirit, start to be happy and to enjoy your life right now.

Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 AMP

No matter what you are going though, be happy and give thanks to the Lord. It is His will that you would be happy and be thankful. Don’t be dominated and defeated by your circumstances. The more you allow your situation to get you down, the more entrenched in the mess you will be. Start to thank God for the way out; thank Him for the answer; and soon the solution will come and your circumstances will change. Don’t talk about your financial lack or how you can’t afford what you want and need. Thank God that you are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath, and that you will lend to many nations and you will not borrow! Speak your hopes and your faith, not your doubt and unbelief.

I give thanks to Him Who has granted me [the needed] strength and made me able [for this], Christ Jesus our Lord, because He has judged and counted me faithful and trustworthy, appointing me to [this stewardship of] the ministry. 1 Timothy 1:12 AMP

Even though Paul endured horrific persecution, as well as physical, mental, and emotional challenges, to fulfill the call of God, he remained grateful to the Lord—grateful that He would even count him worthy to be in the ministry. Instead of being mad or complaining—he was thankful! When he and Silas were arrested, thrown in a dungeon, and tied up in stocks, they chose not take it personally and ask, “Why me Lord?” Rather they chose to rejoice and praise God in the midst of their circumstance. Because they praised instead of complaining, God supernaturally delivered them. Gratitude does not consider the problem—gratitude considers the solution.

All these curses shall come upon you and shall pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. They shall be upon you for a sign [of warning to other nations] and for a wonder, and upon your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of [mind and] heart [in gratitude] for the abundance of all [with which He had blessed you]. Deuteronomy 28:45-47 AMP

If you turn this scripture around, you could read it like this: I am abundantly blessed, because I serve the Lord my God with joyfulness of mind and heart, in gratitude for the abundance of all with which He has blessed me.

Make a decision to serve the Lord with joyfulness of mind and heart. Make a decision to be grateful not only for what the Lord has already done for you, but also for what He has promised He would do for you, and see what wonderful things will open up in your life!

MY COMMITMENT AS A CHRISTIAN

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

I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
I have Holy Spirit Power.  The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line.  The decision has been made.
I’m a disciple of His.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure.
I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning,
smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions,
mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions,
plaudits, or popularity.  I don’t have to be right, first, tops,
recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded.  I now live by faith,
lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way
rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back,
deluded or delayed.  I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the
presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy,
ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up,
prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus.  I must go till He comes, give till I drop,
preach till all know, and work till He stops me.
And when He comes for His own, He will have
no problems recognizing me—my banner will be clear!

Written by a young African pastor and tacked on the wall of his house

The Power of the Seed

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

Thoughts on Stewardship
Lesson No. 5 from Genesis

The Power of the Seed
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 1 verses 11-12

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  Genesis 1:11-12 NKJV

1.    God said, “Let the earth bring forth:
– Seed yielding grass and herbs
– Fruit trees that produce fruit after its own kind with its seed in itself

Then God said: It is good. God instituted the principle of sowing and reaping into the earth. He placed power in every seed to produce a harvest—to exactly duplicate itself and to greatly multiply.

2.    Everything starts out as a seed

a. According to the Word of God seed will produce after its own kind
b. Whether we realize it or not, our money is a seed
c. Our money is our seed and it will produce a harvest if it is sown into good ground

• We must make sure that we are sowing into good ground
• By good ground I mean ground that will produce   eternal fruit
• Sow in faith
• Give to the poor
• Ask yourself, ask the Lord, what you can do to help others
• Give to the Gospel
• Sowing into the Gospel will produce a harvest of souls

3.    Remember this: that this is a Law of God—God deposited multiplying power in the seed

Seed will always produce after its own kind. Galatians 6:8 says that, “he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” When you sow into God’s kingdom, your giving will not only cause treasure to be laid up in heaven, but it will also produce a stream of income, on the earth, that will result in more provision coming to you as well as favor and open doors.

4.    This power is in your hand right now. Everything you need from now on out is in your hand in the form of a seed.
a. Don’t eat your seed. Plant it in good ground and watch it bring forth good fruit.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:

Mark 4:26-29 NKJV says, “And He said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.'”  The earth yields crops by itself because God designed it that way. You can do nothing to make a seed grow into a fruit producing plant. All you can do is follow the procedure and put the seed into good ground. The rest is done automatically. All the farmer has to do is to plow the ground, and plant and water the seeds, and when the fruit is ripe, harvest the crop.

When you sow a seed into the Kingdom of God and you water it with your faith, you can sleep and wake and the harvest will grow up without you doing anything else. Natural laws follow spiritual laws. If it works in the earth, it’s because it already works in Heaven. There is also an appointed time for the harvest. Don’t give up because of impatience and doubt. So sow your seed in faith and trust God to bring forth a ripe harvest of blessing in your life!

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:

When you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, there are many amazing promises that become available to you. All you need is the knowledge of what’s available and the faith to claim them for yourself. Every Christian has the same opportunity to flourish and be blessed because of these wonderful promises, but not all of them are. It really amazes me that some people just refuse to believe the Word of God and refuse to do what they need to do to activate the blessing. They don’t have anything and they are not happy about it, but they won’t change; they won’t do what the word says to do.

The Lord says that, “you have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). He also tells us not to fear because, “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). You can have two people sitting next to each other—both with the same Bible—one blessed and the other not. Why? Does God play favorites? Absolutely not! He responds to faith—to those who believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

Prayer and Confession:

Father, I thank you for the seed you have given me. I sow in faith and by faith. I believe you for a mighty harvest in eternity and favor and open doors on the earth.

 

God’s direction concerning our attitude and actions toward those in need

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

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 26 from Deuteronomy
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 15 verse 1-11

The poor you will have with you always
God’s direction concerning our attitude and actions toward those in need

At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. 2 And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he has lent to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, for the Lord’s release is proclaimed. 3 Of a foreigner you may exact it, but whatever of yours is with your brother [Israelite] your hand shall release. 4 But there will be no poor among you, for the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance to possess, 5 If only you carefully listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to do watchfully all these commandments which I command you this day. 6 When the Lord your God blesses you as He promised you, then you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you. 7 If there is among you a poor man, one of your kinsmen in any of the towns of your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your [minds and] hearts or close your hands to your poor brother; 8 But you shall open your hands wide to him and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. 9 Beware lest there be a base thought in your [minds and] hearts, and you say, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand, and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and it be sin in you. 10 You shall give to him freely without begrudging it; because of this the Lord will bless you in all your work and in all you undertake. 11 For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, You shall open wide your hands to your brother, to your needy, and to your poor in your land.  Deuteronomy 15:1-11 AMP

1.  God’s way of ensuring that there was no poor amongst His people was to apply what was called a Sabbath Year of Release every seven years.

a. This meant that anyone, who had lent money or goods to his neighbor, and not been repaid after six years, was to forgive his neighbor of that debt
b. If it was a foreigner – an outsider – who owed the debt, they could still collect it

2.  There shall be no poor among you, for the Lord will bless you to be a blessing

a. The Lord will bless you if you will carefully listen to the Lord your God and watchfully do all His commandments and bless your neighbor
b. When you bless your neighbor and then when the Lord God blesses you as He has promised: i) you shall lend to many nations and shall not borrow; ii) you shall rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you

3.  Directions given by God on what to do when your neighbor is in need:

a. You must have a soft heart and an open hand to the needy
b. You should open your hand wide to him – you shall lend him sufficient for his needs
c. If you try to ignore your obligation and squirm out of it, you will get into trouble with God!
d. You will give it to the needy freely, without grudging. Because of this, the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake

4.  The poor will never cease out of the land

a. You will always have the needy people to help
b. You should always open wide your hands to your brother and the poor and needy in your land

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
God loves people and He expects us to love and care for one another. Most people read the Law and see the rules and the regulations; they see the penalties and punishments. They look on the external. However, if you understand that God is love and you realize that mercy is His primary motivation, you read the Law with different eyes. You see that the whole law can truly be summed up in just two commandments: love God and love your neighbor. Also – obey God cheerfully, with your whole heart, not grudgingly. It is not merely actions that God rewards, it is attitude. When you get a revelation that you are God’s hands in the earth and that you are doing His work and that He will make sure that you are personally blessed and abundantly taken care of, and you freely give your help, then you will open your life to the full blessing of God. If you consider the poor, God will deliver you in your time of trouble, preserve you and keep you alive, bless you on the earth, protect you from your enemies, and strengthen and sustain you when sickness attacks! (Psalms 41:1-3)

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
It is amazing to me how many people expect the blessing of the Lord on their life, and yet they are stingy and selfish when it comes to forgiving others of their debts or blessing the poor. God, under the Old Covenant, ensured that people could get a new start. Today, the only way for a person to get a new start is through bankruptcy – which is not a blessing. Some people have a negative attitude toward the poor and the needy. They feel that it’s not their problem, or that the poor are taking advantage by asking. However, God has compassion on the poor. He said that he who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and that which he has given He will repay to him. (Proverbs 19:17 AMP)

Prayer and Confession:
Father God, I thank you for a heart that is soft toward the things of God and toward the needy. Thank you, Lord, that I am generous and willing to help people and also to release people from debt if necessary. Therefore I thank you for your blessing upon my work and on all that I undertake.

What it Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Foundation Scripture: Ephesians 5:18

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 KJV

1. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, He brings us into a greater revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ

The Holy Spirit is the way to the Father.
He is the way from the Father to us.
He is like an Artist—He paints Jesus upon the canvas of life and makes Jesus real to us.
The more we are filled the more we recognize and depend upon Jesus.
The Holy Spirit brings us into a life of personal union with and constant dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

N.B. To be filled with the Spirit is to be filled
with Jesus.

2. The Holy Spirit cuts us off from the life of self and sin and brings us into a life of holiness, righteousness, and obedience.

Exodus 40:34-35 AMP – Then the cloud [the Shekinah, God’s visible presence] covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle! 35 And Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud remained upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
This is the picture of a Spirit-filled man—full of God’s glory—leaving no room for the flesh.

3. The Holy Spirit brings us into joy and fullness of joy.

John 15:11 KJV – These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 17:13 KJV – And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
After Jesus had spoken of the promise of the Spirit and that we should abide in the Vine (in Him), He told of the joy that would follow. He said, “My joy will remain in you and your joy will be full.”
The fullness of joy wipes out the pain, doubt, fear and sorrow.

4. There will be a release of the Fruit of the Spirit from the heart of the Spirit-filled man and woman.

Galatians 5:1-26 NKJV – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. 7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
The fruit of the Spirit springs spontaneously from the fullness of the Holy Spirit, in your spirit, working in and affecting spirit, soul, and body.
When your life is full of God your life will be full of godliness.

5. When you are full of the Holy Spirit, there will be an outflow of the Spirit of God—a tangible presence—affecting every area of your life.

Speech – Ephesians 5:18b-19 KJV – Be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
Actions – you are made a blessing unto many.
Circumstances – everything God’s presence touches is set in order.

The Humility to Repent

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

Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. 9 [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins]. 10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].  James 4:8-10 AMP

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].”  1 John 1:9-10 AMP

When you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you repented of your sins and asked Him to forgive you and wash you in his blood—which He did! As you may have realized—since then—you are by no means perfect. You may be a new creature in Christ, but you still make mistakes and do and say wrong or bad things. In other words—you still sin! Not to worry though—Jesus has provided for you. Because He died and shed His blood for you, ALL your sins are covered—the past, the present and the future. In order to receive this forgiveness, however, you need to do something to activate it in your life. You must humble yourself to repent.

You must humbly:
• Recognize and acknowledge you have sinned
• Confess it as sin
• Be sorry for your sin and tell the Lord you are sorry
• Ask Him to forgive you
• Turn your back on the sin and start to obey God

Yet I am glad now, not because you were pained, but because you were pained into repentance [and so turned back to God]; for you felt a grief such as God meant you to feel, so that in nothing you might suffer loss through us or harm for what we did. 10 For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].  2 Corinthians 7:9-10 AMP

According to God’s word, sin is serious business and we should not treat it lightly or think it’s just a joke. The only sin that can be forgiven is sin that is confessed from a heart that is genuinely sorry. Some people expect God to forgive them, even though they are not actually sorry for their sin. James admonishes us to humble ourselves, draw near to God, and be deeply penitent—even grieve and weep—over our sin. Without humility, we won’t feel sorry and we won’t come to ask forgiveness and therefore we can’t and won’t be forgiven —even though the Lord, Himself, longs to show us His mercy and grace. Paul tells us that godly grief, and the pain that results, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil.

Jesus, in Luke 13:3 AMP told everyone who would listen, “I tell you, No; but unless you repent (change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost eternally.”  And in Matthew 11:20 AMP “He began to censure and reproach the cities in which most of His mighty works had been performed, because they did not repent [and their hearts were not changed].”

Sometimes, people are sorry or repentant over the consequences of sin, but not the cause. They are not sorry they sinned, they are only sorry that they got caught or sorry that their sin created a problem for them. They have had a change of mind, such as to produce regret or maybe even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. They are not sorry that their heart was wrong and selfish; they are not sorry for their bad attitude. True repentance is to change one’s mind for the better.  It is not merely forsaking sin, but to change your attitude toward it and your love for it. The Hebrew words for repentance mean: to sigh; breathe strongly; to be sorry; to turn back; to regret; to think differently; to reconsider. The Greek word means: to change the mind for the better morally; to change the attitude toward sin. In Matthew 3:8 AMP, Jesus told us to, “Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart].”  True repentance brings forth the fruit of repentance!

True repentance is:
• Feeling grief over your sin
• Having a true sense of your own guilt and sinfulness
• Acknowledging your helplessness and your need for forgiveness from God
• Having faith in God’s mercy in Christ
• An actual hatred of sin
• Turning from sin to serve God
• A persistent pursuit of a holy life
• Pursuing a walk with God; walking in the way of his  commandments

True repentance:
• Must precede forgiveness
• Must be more than admitting guilt
• May require a broken heart
• Is changing the behavior that produces sin
• Is revealed by changed actions
• Measures our spiritual integrity

Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision, 20 But made known openly first of all to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the whole land of Judea, and also among the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works and live lives consistent with and worthy of their repentance.  Acts 26:19-20 AMP

Rodney Howard Browne bringing Revival to America