DEUTERONOMY 8

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

I will keep the commandments of the Lord my God.

I will walk in His ways and reverently fear Him.

For the Lord my God is bringing me into a good land:

A land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills;

A land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey;

A land in which I shall eat food without shortage and lack nothing in it;

A land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills I can dig copper.

When I have eaten and am full, then I will bless the Lord my God for all the good land which He has given me.

I will be careful and mindful to not forget the Lord my God.

I will keep His commandments, His precepts, and His statutes which He commands me today.

When I have eaten and am full, when I have built goodly houses and live in them, and when my herds and flocks multiply and my silver and gold is multiplied and all I have is multiplied,

Then I will humble myself – my mind and my heart – to gratefully remember and acknowledge the Lord, my God.

He brings me out of the land of Egypt – out of sin, carnality, and worldliness.

He brings me out of bondage and sets me free.

He leads me out of the wilderness of sin.

He supernaturally provides for me.

He brings me water when I am in the desert.

He feeds me with manna in the wilderness.

He will always do me good in the end.

I will be careful and mindful never to think to myself nor to say out loud that my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.

I will earnestly remember the Lord my God, for it is He Who gives me power – ability, wisdom, and might – to get wealth that He may establish His covenant, which He swore to all His children.

The Lord will bless and preserve me because I love, obey, worship, and serve only Him.

Paraphrased from Deuteronomy 8:6-20 AMP

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.  Deuteronomy 30:19 AMP

Many people think that when life does not go their way, God is being mean to them for no reason, but the Word of God says that we are the ones who are in control – we choose our destiny and our reward. God has set before us two choices – life and blessings or death and curses – we must choose which one we want.

Proverbs 18:21 KJV says that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” The AMP says that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].”

There is power in your words! Always speak life over yourself, not death. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you have the ability to submit yourself to the Word of God and partake of all the blessings He has to offer. Confess this passage of God’s Word over your life and begin to see yourself as God does. God’s plan for you is that you should love, serve, and worship only Him. When you do this, He promises to bless you over and above any thing that you can imagine or ask for. Don’t be swayed by earthly riches – they are worth nothing next to the wonderful presence of God. He is the only One worthy of your love and attention.

No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely).  Luke 16:13 AMP

DO YOU LOVE ME?

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

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”  John 21:15-19 NKJV

After the resurrection Jesus had a conversation with Peter in which He asked him if he loved Him. To understand exactly what Jesus meant and why Peter became upset at the question, you must look back to the words in the original language, Greek. In English, we have one word: love. In Greek there are more words: phileo and agape are two of them and they have different meanings. The Amplified Bible renders it this way: phileo is a deep, instinctive, personal affection for someone, as for a close friend, and agape is a reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father. Phileo is a human love, but agape comes directly from the Father.

Two times Jesus asked Peter if he loved (agape) Him (with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father), but Peter replied with a different word. He told Jesus that he loved (phileo) Him (with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend). Then Jesus changed His question and asked if Peter loved (phileo) Him (with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend) and Peter told Him, “You know I love (phileo) You (with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend).”

Phileo is a friendship type of love based on the characters of the two people involved – the higher the character, the higher the quality of the friendship. This love is dependant on the person being loved. You can have this love for a friend or a family member. Husbands and wives can love each other many different ways, including as friends. Agape is the God-kind of love. The quality of agape is not based on the person being loved, but on the person doing the loving. It is a love that chooses to love in spite of the other person, not because of them. Agape love sees other people as valuable and precious whether they are or not. Jesus loved us – He saw us as so valuable and precious – that He was prepared to sacrifice His life for us even though we were dirty, rotten sinners!

He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another.  1 John 4:8-11 AMP

The essence of agape love is that God loved us first. We were totally incapable of loving Him appropriately until He first loved us, died for us, resurrected us to new life and placed His love in our hearts. Romans 5:5 AMP says that God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. We can only love God or anyone else with agape love when we have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The more of His Spirit we have in our lives, the more love will be poured out in our hearts.

Peter was upset at these three questions that Jesus asked, because he really did not know how to love Jesus with agape love before he was born again and filled with the Spirit, but on the day of Pentecost all that changed! When the Holy Spirit fell on Peter, he was radically changed. Instantly, he stepped into his calling and began his ministry. With the love of God and the boldness of the Holy Spirit in his heart, he went forth to feed Jesus’ sheep and His lambs. God’s love has been shed abroad in our hearts. Let us love Him enough – with a reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion – to love others, as He wants us to, and let us love Him enough to go ahead and fulfill the call of God on our lives!

CHOSEN AND FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

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 8:29-30 AMP

But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot. 20 It is true that He was chosen and foreordained (destined and foreknown for it) before the foundation of the world, but He was brought out to public view (made manifest) in these last days (at the end of the times) for the sake of you. 1 Peter 1:19-20 AMP

God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere). Even before He created the heavens and the earth He knew everything that would take place on the earth and He also knew and loved every person who would ever be born. Before the foundation of the earth, He planned that, at an appointed time, His Son, Jesus, would be born, be crucified, and be raised from the dead to purchase man back from the clutches of death and hell – a redemption that would be eternally secure. Never again could the devil steal the souls of men as he did in the Garden of Eden. Every person who ever has, or is, or ever will live on this earth, has been foreordained, by God, to be purchased with the precious blood of Christ – molded into the image of His Son, justified, and glorified.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 KJV

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV

Some people have erroneously believed that only certain people are foreordained by God to be saved, but the Word of God reveals the truth that God’s will is that all men would be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth and that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance! If God could have His own way, every person on earth would belong to Him and be His very own precious child. Unfortunately, the devil is working against God and His special creation – man – to try to keep people in bondage to death and hell. Every person on earth has the freedom of choice to choose righteousness or unrighteousness, heaven or hell, and God will not interfere with that choice, except to do everything He can to let them know that they have the option to choose life rather than death.

Ephesians 1:3-12 (AMP paraphrased) says that, because He loved us, Father God chose us and picked us out for Himself as His own, in Christ, before the foundation of the world so that we should be holy, consecrated, set apart for Him, blameless in His sight, and above reproach before Him. In His love, He foreordained us, destined us, and planned for us to be adopted and revealed as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will, because it pleased Him and was His kind intent. In Him we have redemption, through His blood and the forgiveness of our offenses, in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor, which He lavished upon us. In Christ, God not only inherited us, but He also gave us an inheritance. God works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His own will. We have been foreordained, chosen, and appointed beforehand, in accordance with His purpose, so that we, who first hoped in Christ and put our confidence in Him, have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory!

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. Ephesians 2:10 AMP

God formed and fashioned you – recreated you in Christ Jesus – to do the good works that He planned beforehand and to take paths that He prepared ahead of time and walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for you to live! Since He has already planned and destined, chosen and appointed beforehand, for you to life this wonderful life, live it – for the praise of His glory! This is the way He sees you: holy, consecrated, set apart for Him, blameless in His sight and above reproach before Him, adopted and revealed as His own children, redeemed, forgiven, inherited by Him and given an inheritance, justified, molded into the image of His Son, and glorified. It’s yours – take it and live it!

THE POWER IS IN THE MESSAGE

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

For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect). 18 For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 AMP

The power of the Gospel – the power to save; the power to heal; the power to deliver; the power to fill with the Holy Ghost – is in the message of the Gospel. It is not in the style of delivery or the eloquence of the speaker! Those who are on their way to hell think that the story and message of the cross are ridiculous, but to those who believe it have experienced and are experiencing the power of God. Salvation is an ongoing process. It starts with the new birth and continues on with the renewal of the mind and the process of healing and restoration in every aspect of your being.

For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing. 20 Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe (the scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debater) of this present time and age? Has not God shown up the nonsense and the folly of this world’s wisdom? 21 For when the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching [salvation, procured by Christ and to be had through Him], to save those who believed (who clung to and trusted in and relied on Him). 1 Corinthians 1:19-21 AMP

For generations, men have tried to discover God and Truth through philosophy – in vain. The more they try to figure things out themselves, the more dead ends they run into. The more they try to figure God out, the less they know of Him; the closer they try to get to Him, the further away they move from Him; the more they try to simplify God, the more complicated He becomes to them. The power of the Gospel is in its simplicity, but its simplicity has become a stumbling block to many. Many, many men have rejected the Gospel because, in their minds, it was too simple. God made it simple enough that even a child could receive it and believe it! Jesus said that we should become as little children if we want to enter the kingdom of God (Luke 18:17).

For while Jews [demandingly] ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom, 23 We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. 24 But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 AMP

Religious Pharisees claim that they are always looking for one more sign or one more miracle before they believe that something is real. The truth is that they won’t believe even though the evidence is before them. They have already made up their minds. Unsaved, “educated” people won’t accept it because they think its all ridiculous nonsense. They won’t even give it a chance. They judge everything by what they can see, and what they see has been shaped by what they already believe. They find no use for faith. Neither of these two opinions will humble themselves to admit that they could possibly be wrong and that they don’t actually know everything.

[This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27[No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

29 So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God. 30 But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin]. 31 So then, as it is written, Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:25-31 AMP

God does not use those of whom the world approves or whom they admire. He uses those who have no reason to boast, so that only His glory should be displayed, and He tells us that if anyone thinks he has a reason to boast, let it be a boast of what God alone has done!

THE LAW OF KINDNESS ON YOUR LIPS

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

A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman–who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. Proverbs 31:10 AMP

She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction]. 27 She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.  Proverbs 31:26-27 AMP

There is such a thing as a virtuous woman. She is a woman who loves God and loves His Word. She has submitted herself to the Holy Spirit and she is strong in the Lord and the power of His might! It is a blessed and wise man who can find himself such a wife. She is more valuable and precious than any worldly wealth.

One of the things that makes her such a godly, wonderful, wise woman is the fact that she has control over her attitude and over her mouth. We always end up speaking that which is in our heart, so our heart must first be yielded and submitted to God. When she speaks, she speaks with kindness and graciousness – on her tongue is the Law of Kindness. The Law of Kindness is the Law of Love. Her mouth only speaks things that will bless and benefit others, even if it is a rebuke. She speaks the truth in love.

She minds her own business and does not poke her nose into other people’s affairs, but when asked, she speaks forth with skillful and godly wisdom. She gives godly counsel and instruction. She takes good care of her family and makes sure that their needs are met. She is not lazy and does not waste her time gossiping or complaining; neither does she listen to others gossip and complain. She is not manipulative, nor does she dwell on the negatives or feel sorry for herself. She enriches the lives of others. She is a woman to look up to.

For the commandment is a lamp, and the whole teaching [of the law] is light, and reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a loose woman. 25 Lust not after her beauty in your heart, neither let her capture you with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress stalks and snares [as with a hook] the precious life [of a man].
Proverbs 6:23-26 AMP

The mouth of a loose woman is a deep pit [for ensnaring wild animals]; he with whom the Lord is indignant and who is abhorrent to Him will fall into it. Proverbs 22:14 AMP

A lying tongue hates those it wounds and crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.  Proverbs 26:28 AMP

A loose, ungodly woman is another story entirely. She has no virtues. She does not love God or His Word. She has yielded herself to the lusts of the flesh and her carnal desires. She has given the devil place in her life. It is a foolish and doomed man who falls for her “charms.” There is no truth or wisdom in her mouth. Her heart is full of evil and her mouth is full of deceit. She is a flatterer and cares nothing for the man she is enticing. She is a user and a manipulator and thinks only of herself. The Law of Kindness is definitely not in her mouth! All kinds of negatives come out of her mouth. She will turn on you to destroy you, in a heartbeat. Her mouth is a deep pit! She is lazy and always looks for the easy way even if it means hurting or using others. A man may lust after her, but he will never be filled or satisfied. He will leave her presence emptier than before.

[The] women likewise must be worthy of respect and serious, not gossipers, but temperate and self-controlled, [thoroughly] trustworthy in all things. 1 Timothy 3:11 AMP

Your mouth can get you into all kinds of trouble if you are not careful. A woman (or a man), who wants to be used by God, must put a guard on her (or his) lips. Generally, women love to talk and interact with others much more than men. If they are not careful, they can say too much and end up hurting people. A mature person is a person who has control over their tongue. An immature person speaks before they think and speaks too much. We cannot lead others until we have some maturity in our own lives. The things that come out of our mouths are an indicator of our level of maturity and also of what is mostly in our heart. A person – man or woman – who is loose with their mouth is a person who cannot be trusted to minister to others or to have a position of authority in the Body of Christ.

Colossians 4:6 says that your speech should always be gracious and seasoned with salt so that you know how to answer any one you speak to. Proverbs 15:4 says that a gentle tongue has healing power and is a tree of life. Proverbs 12:18 says that the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Let us submit our mouths and our tongues to the Holy Spirit; let our minds and hearts be filled with the Word of God; so that we can be a blessing to the Lord and to those around us. Let us build up with our mouths and not tear down. Let us leave people in a better way that we found them. Let the Law of kindness be on our lips!

 

His Covenant and His Mercy

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

Thoughts on Stewardship
Lesson No. 19 from Deuteronomy

His Covenant and His Mercy
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 7 verses 11 – 15

You shall therefore keep and do the instruction, laws, and precepts which I command you this day. 12 And if you hearken to these precepts and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love which He swore to your fathers. 13 And He will love you, bless you, and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your land, your grain, your new wine, and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock in the land which He swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt which you knew will He put upon you, but will lay them upon all who hate you.  Deuteronomy 7:11-15 AMP

1.  God promised the Israelites that if they kept His commandments and did them, He would keep His Covenant with them and He would continue to show them mercy and steadfast love, just as He had promised to their forefathers. He said:

a.  I will love you
b.  I will bless you
c.  I will multiply you
d.  I will bless the fruit of your womb
e.  I will the fruit of your land
f.   I will bless your corn
g.  I will bless your wine
h.  I will bless your oil
i.   I will bless the increase of your cattle
j.   I will bless the flocks of your sheep
k.  I will bless you in your own land that I promised to give you.
l.   You will be blessed above all people
m. No male and female among you will be barren
n.  Your cattle will not be barren
o.  I will take away all sickness and disease from you

2.  God promised all this to the children of Israel under the Old Covenant, which is a type and shadow of the covenant we have today–the New Covenant–a more powerful covenant, based upon better promises. It makes you wonder why people today have a hard time grasping the fact that God loves them so much and that He wants to bless them. How much more, under the New Covenant, based on much better promises, would the Lord not want to bless you exceedingly? He loves people and knows what they need. He cares about, and wants to be involved, in the affairs of mankind, but He needs an invitation. One of the pre-requisites for walking in the blessings of this Covenant, and His mercy, is to obey Him, serve Him, and do what He wants you to do–then you will be blessed! Always remember that faith begins where the will of God is known. If you know what His will is, then you will be able to receive His will and walk in His will and you will not settle for anything that the devil has to offer.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
God has given us a free will. We have the right to serve Him or not. However, there is a blessing that comes with obedience and a curse that comes with disobedience. The way it works is: obedience takes you into God’s jurisdiction and disobedience takes you into the devil’s jurisdiction. If we have any sense at all, we would believe God and take Him at His word. We would make sure to keep His commandments and be a doer of the word. One thing that always stands out in the Word of God is just how amazingly generous the Lord is with us. He is always looking for an opportunity to bless us and He always multiplies what He has already given to us.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
One of the things I realized, early in my life, was the fact that God had a plan for my life and that if I was to fulfill God’s plan for my life, then it was up to me to change and do whatever it takes to line myself up with God’s will and His plan. This was hard at first, because people don’t usually want to change–you would rather change your circumstances, your surroundings, or the other people in your life. Change is not easy. Often we would rather blame others and make them the reason why we are not blessed and why we don’t succeed. However, when I lined myself up with the will of God and obeyed Him–then the blessing began to come. I encourage you–make the change today and see the hand of God revealed in your life. Enter into His covenant and experience His mercy!

Prayer and Confession:
Father, help me to obey You and do Your will, and Your will alone. Then I know that I will see Your mercy and Your steadfast love; and Your grace and favor will rest upon me all the days of my life.

Finding My Individual Purpose For My Life—Part Two

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

February: My Mission

Foundation Scriptures: Hebrews 12:1-2 and John 15:1-16

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  John 15:1-16 NKJV

1. Desire—how to find out what God has called you to do.

Psalms 37:4 NKJV—Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Mark 11:22-24 NKJV—So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
The power of desire is born out of faith—out of your heart when you:

  • Abide in Him and His words abide in you. (John  15:7)
  • 1 Peter 4:11 NKJV—If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
  • Speak God’s desire out of your mouth—God’s mouthpiece.
  • John 15:8 AMP—When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.
  • Glorify God by bearing much fruit.
  • Remember that the tongue is the rudder of your ship.
  • James 3:4 AMP—Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines.
  • Have a pure heart. Pure desires spring from a pure heart.

d. John 15:7 NKJV—If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

4. What is your desire?

Your desire is that feeling within that is intense; deep; a yearning; your soul crying out; it stirs you; it’s a fire; a passion; coming out of a pure heart.
Pure heart for God—pure desire from God.
Stir up the gift of God—the gracious inner fire.
2 Timothy 1:5-7 NKJV …when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

5. How to find your passion.

Habakkuk 2:2-3—write it down; write the vision; it is for an appointed time.
Out of it, will come the plan of God.
Speak it out—set your course through faith and patience.
Stay focused and don’t allow any distractions from your assigned and chosen course.

Ten Reasons to Give Thanks to God

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

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!  Psalms 118:1 AMP

Ten Reasons to Give Thanks to God:

1.  For He is good

Psalms 118:29 AMP – O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.
Psalms 34:8 AMP – O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.
Psalms 73:1 AMP – Truly God is [only] good to Israel, even to those who are upright and pure in heart.
Psalms 86:5 AMP – For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our trespasses, sending them away, letting them go completely and forever]; and You are abundant in mercy and loving-kindness to all those who call upon You.
Psalms 100:5 AMP – For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.
Psalms 119:68 AMP – You are good and kind and do good; teach me Your statutes.

2.  His mercy endures forever

Psalms 118:1-4 AMP – O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever! 2 Let Israel now say that His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever. 3 Let the house of Aaron [the priesthood] now say that His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever. 4 Let those now who reverently and worshipfully fear the Lord say that His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.

3.  The Lord answered me

Psalms 118:5 AMP – Out of my distress I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free and in a large place.
Psalms 99:6 AMP – Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel was among those who called upon His name; they called upon the Lord, and He answered them.
Psalms 120:1 AMP – In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He answered me.
Psalms 138:3 ERV – When I called to you for help, you answered me and gave me strength.

4.  He set me in a large place.

Psalms 118:5 AMP – Out of my distress I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free and in a large place.
2 Samuel 22:20 AMP – He brought me forth into a large place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.
Psalms 18:19 AMP – He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.

5.  He is on my side

Psalms 118:6 AMP – The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Hebrews 13:6 AMP – So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?  
Psalms 27:1 AMP – The Lord is my Light and my Salvation — whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?

6.  He takes my part

Psalms 118:7 AMP – The Lord is on my side and takes my part, He is among those who help me; therefore shall I see my desire established upon those who hate me.
Psalms 118:13 AMP – You [my adversary] thrust sorely at me that I might fall, but the Lord helped me.

7.  He is my strength and…

8.  He is my song

Psalms 118:14a AMP – The Lord is my Strength and Song
Exodus 15:2 AMP – The Lord is my Strength and my Song, and He has become my Salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.  
Isaiah 12:2 AMP – Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.

9.  He is my salvation

Psalms 118:14b AMP – He has become my Salvation.
Psalms 118:21b AMP – You have become my Salvation and Deliverer.

10.  He has heard me

Psalms 118:21a AMP – I will confess, praise, and give thanks to You, for You have heard and answered me
Psalms 34:4 NKJV – I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.
Psalms 66:19 AMP – But certainly God has heard me; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.

We have so many great reasons to give thanks to the Lord. He is good to all; always; in every way. He is indeed worthy of all of our gratefulness and praise.

The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of things created]. 10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your loving ones shall bless You [affectionately and gratefully shall Your saints confess and praise You]!  Psalms 145:9-10 AMP

THE CHARACTER OF GOD – PART THREE

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

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Psalms 86:15 KJV

Our Father God is:

1. Full of compassion:

Psalms 111:4 KJV – “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.”

Psalms 112:4 KJV – “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.”

Psalms 145:8 KJV – “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”

Compassion: “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” Compassion feels the suffering and moves to do something about it.

Compassion saves and redeems:

Matthew 9:36 KJV – “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”

Compassion heals and delivers:

Matthew 14:14 KJV – “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”

Matthew 20:34 KJV – “So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.”

Compassion feeds and provides:

Matthew 15:32 KJV – “Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.”

2. Gracious and Merciful:

Psalms 103:8 KJV – “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”

Psalms 116:5 KJV – “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.”

Exodus 22:27b KJV – “…and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.”

Exodus 33:19 KJV – “…I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”

When you turn to God in repentance, you will be met with His compassion.

2 Chronicles 30:9 KJV

It’s because of God’s compassion and graciousness that many are not destroyed in their sinful state. He did not abandon them, even though they abandoned Him. Because of His graciousness, He does not snub us or turn us away when we humble ourselves and turn to Him for help.

Nehemiah 9:17

Nehemiah 9:31

Jonah 3:1-10 and 4:1-2 – God forgives Nineveh.

Joel 2:12-13 KJV – Rend your heart, and not your garments – He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.

1 Peter 2:2-3 – You have tasted that the Lord is gracious – desire His Word.

3. Longsuffering:

Longsuffering: long and patient endurance of injury, trouble, or provocation.

Numbers 14:18 KJV – “The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”

The Lord is longsuffering, merciful and forgiving, but He cannot forgive those who will not repent.

Romans 2:4 KJV – “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

God is patiently good to us as He waits for us to turn to Him in repentance.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 KJV – Paul is an example of the longsuffering of Jesus.

1 Peter 3:19-20 KJV – God waited patiently for one hundred years for Noah’s generation to repent.

4. Plenteous in mercy:

Mercy: kindness; beauty; favor; pity.

Psalms 103:8-11 KJV – “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.”

Exodus 20:6 KJV – “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

Exodus 34:6-7

Titus 3:5-7 – According to His mercy, He saved us.

Jude 21 KJV – “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

5. Plenteous in truth:

Psalms 85:10 KJV – “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

Here we have four attributes of God – mercy, truth, righteousness, and peace – working in harmony to bring salvation to those who fear God.

God’s Truth is sent forth to make known to all the will of God.

Righteousness expects and demands obedience to the Truth.

Mercy forgives man of all sin.

This forgiveness and righteousness produces peace.

Deuteronomy 32:4 KJV – “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

6. If you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father:

John 8:3-11

The scribes and Pharisees tried to catch Jesus breaking the Law with a woman caught in adultery.

He didn’t contradict the Law of Moses.

He didn’t validate her sin, nor did He excuse it

He acknowledged that, under the law, she was deserving of punishment.

He demonstrated that not one man there, other than Himself, was in a position to judge her, or to carry out her punishment.

He demonstrated forgiveness.

He sent her on her way, saying, “Go, and sin no more.”

The Father, through Jesus, forgives you when you repent – so go on and serve Him.

1 Samuel 12:24 KJV – “Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.”

PREACHING THE LIBERTY OF THE GOSPEL

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

There were many Jews in the Early Church, who had received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Of course, all Jews were circumcised at birth, but Gentiles were not. Some of the more legalistic Jews – the Judaizers – insisted that only Jews could become Christians and so any Gentile wishing to be saved must first also be circumcised and become a Jew. Even today there are Christians who try to return to Jewish traditions, believing that you are not fully a Christian without it. This is simply not true. The Judaizers accused Paul of preaching a false gospel, but they were the ones preaching a false gospel. Paul calls these men “false brethren”. The good thing was that they had a high regard for the Law and the Scriptures and God’s choice of the Jews as His chosen people. Their concern was that His commands may be overlooked or broken. However, they proceeded to add their own human traditions and standards to God’s Law and they also ignored the fact that God’s promises are to all nations!

A religious spirit is always judgmental and feels compelled to stuff everyone into the same mold. Because these men were perverting the gospel, Paul did not give them an opportunity to air their views. They were not interested in the truth – all they wanted to do was argue – but Paul refused to be dragged into a fight. Paul had been even more legalistic than they and had been set free and brought into the liberty of salvation through Jesus Christ. He knew all their opinions and he knew they were wrong. There was nothing else to discuss.

The Judaizers accused Paul of perverting the truth, but he had received his message from Christ Himself. Galatians 1:10-12 (KJV) says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

“The Judaizers said that Paul was a traitor to the Jewish faith, but he had been more advanced in Judaism than most of his contemporaries and more zealous for the traditions of his fathers’ than any of them, until his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road. For the first time, Paul experienced God’s grace and was completely set free. The change was so great that God even changed his name! He was now as zealous for the Gospel as he previously was for the Law – yet with no malice!” (Galatians 1:13-17)

“The Judaizers said Paul compromised and preached a watered down message to the Gentiles, but he had met privately with the other apostles and they, themselves, had declared that the message Paul preached was indeed the true Gospel. Not that he needed their approval because he had God’s approval, but out of courtesy, he met with them. In speaking to Paul, the apostles realized that God had indeed called him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles and gave him and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship. They only asked one thing of him: that he would remember the poor, which he was already eager to do.”
(Galatians 2:6-10)

The Judaizers said Paul was disregarding the Law of Moses; however, all he did was to put the law in its proper place. The Law was given to show people where they have sinned and it points them to their need for a Savior – Jesus Christ.

“What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Galatians 3:19-29 NKJV

If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise!

The life and ministry of Dr. Rodney Howard Browne