THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PEACE

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV

On the cross, Jesus bore the punishment that was due us, to bring us peace. The peace He paid for is peace with God. Unless you are reconciled to God and He has forgiven you and you are brought into right standing with Him – you cannot begin to know peace in any form.

“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22 NKJ

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Ephesians 2:14 KJV

When sin entered into the heart of man, peace departed. Where there was once fellowship with God, there was suddenly a wall of partition, with God on one side and man on the other. It was an impenetrable wall that divided God and man and held them at a distance, man having become an enemy of God. Never again would man know peace without divine intervention, because his heart was wicked and full of sin. Jesus came to earth, God in human form, to pay the price, shed His blood, die and rise again, bringing down the wall that separated man from God. Man could once again freely enter into the fellowship and presence of God!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJ

In God, our future is peace. He desires peace for us and His plans for us are peaceful plans, to give us hope and a future. We can walk in His peace and we can know His peace if we will walk in obedience to His Word. When you are at peace with God and when your heart is right with God, you will live always in peace.

Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. Psalms 37:37 NKJ

We can walk in His peace and we can know His peace if we will be full of His Word.

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Psalms 119:165 NKJ

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Proverbs 3:1-2 NKJ

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

God’s Word will fill you up with faith and hope. You must meditate on it day and night, filling up your mind and thoughts with God’s Word. God’s Word needs to be in your mind and on your lips. It must become a real and living thing to you and you need to see and understand God’s plans for your life now and in your future. If you meditate on what the devil wants you to meditate on – his thoughts and plans for you – you will be tormented and full of fear. You must fill your thoughts with things of the Spirit of God, not with the things of the flesh. God’s plans for you must dominate your thought life if you truly want to walk in His peace. Peace is not the absence of conflict in your circumstances, but it is the presence of God in your life that will carry you through every adverse circumstance of your life.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6 KJV

1 John 5:14-15 says that if you pray according to His will, He hears you and if He hears you, then He will answer your prayer. Do not be worried or anxious about anything. Whatever you need – you can tell God about it and then you can relax and enjoy His peace, knowing that your situation is in God’s hands and that He is faithful and can be trusted to work everything out for your benefit. Then His peace will guard and garrison your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NKJ

CAN GOD TRUST YOU WITH UNLIMITED ANOINTING?

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

For since He Whom God has sent speaks the words of God [proclaims God’s own message], God does not give Him His Spirit sparingly or by measure, but boundless is the gift God makes of His Spirit! The Father loves the Son and has given (entrusted, committed) everything into His hand.  John 3:34-35

Jesus had an unlimited supply of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon His life. He was not anointed sparingly or by measure, but the Father furnished Him with a boundless quantity of His Spirit. This is because Jesus spoke the words of God. He spoke the words that His Father told Him to speak and only those words. He added nothing in and He left nothing out. He proclaimed God’s own message. He was not a lone ranger. He did nothing on a whim. He was completely led and directed by the Holy Spirit and totally yielded and submitted to Him. God trusted Him implicitly.

Jesus came into this world with a mission. God had a specific plan and a purpose for Him. His whole life, death and resurrection were planned and mapped out by the Father and He submitted His will to the will of God. Jesus said what God told Him to say, He did what God told Him to do and He went where God told Him to go. He did nothing on His own.

In Deuteronomy 18:18-20 there is a prophecy about Jesus, “I will raise up for them a prophet (Prophet) from among their brethren like you, and will put My words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not hearken to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.”

It was Jesus’ responsibility to speak the words that God put in His mouth and our responsibility to hear and obey those words. We are held accountable for the Word that we know and yet do not submit to. We must be doers of the Word and not just hearers only.

Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”  John 8:25-29 NKJV

Just as Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father, so too must we submit ourselves to His will if we desire to please Him. Jesus was God Himself, equal with the Father, and yet He submitted to the Father. We ought also to submit to the plan of God for our lives. We should commit ourselves to first hear from God and then to speak what He tells us to speak.

We have a responsibility, before God, to speak His words and not our own. Under the law, the punishment for a prophet who claimed to speak for God when God had not commanded him to speak—was death. A prophet who spoke on behalf of another god would also die. We live in a dispensation of God’s grace, but our responsibility before Him is the same. There is an ultimate truth—God’s Word is truth. We must embrace the truth, we must love the truth, and we must speak the truth. The anointing follows the truth and confirms the truth.

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  John 17:17 NKJV

Everybody is searching for the truth. Many people, who do not believe God’s Word, claim to have found the truth outside of God’s Word, even though the “truths” they have found are different from other people’s “truths.” People try to say that the truth is whatever you decide that it is. But there can be only one truth. That one truth is rigid and unmoving. Truth is truth and it cannot change—that’s what makes it the TRUTH. You can’t bend it and you can’t twist it. God’s Word is the ultimate truth. It is not our job to decide whether God’s Word is true or not, but it is our job to obey itcompletely and speak it accurately and boldly. The anointing is on the Word of God. If we want God’s anointing, we will do His will and speak His Word.

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.  John 5:30 NKJV

IF GOD IS FOR US THEN WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?

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

Romans 8:31-39 NIV

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31

If God is for us, who can be against us? Who can be against us, when God is for us? Who can be our foe if God is on our side? This is a rhetorical question. It does not need an answer. There is no one who can stand against God. There is no one who can conquer Him and no one who can defeat Him. His side is the winning side. If we are on His side – He will be on ours. With God on our side we cannot fail and we cannot be defeated.

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:32

God gave us His best – His Son – why would He hold back anything from us that was good for us? If He did not spare His Son, then would He not graciously give us all things that pertain unto life and godliness? If He sent His only Son to die for us then He is going to see it through all the way. We are not merely saved by the skin of our teeth. We are His own family – His own children – bought with a price. He did not save us from hell so that we could have hell on earth – He saved us from hell now and later. We can have heaven on earth!

33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Romans 8:33

Who dares to bring an accusation against God’s elect? God has justified us and brought us into a right relationship with Him. Who dares to accuse or impeach those Whom God has chosen and washed in His blood? Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Revelations 12:10), but He cannot argue with the Blood of Jesus! We are acquitted by the sacrifice of our Savior and justified by His blood. If God, the Great and Righteous Judge, has acquitted us, then there is no one who dare bring an accusation against us. The courts of Heaven have been satisfied. The law has been fulfilled. Justice has been done.

34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Romans 8:3

Jesus, the only One Who has the right to condemn us, has chosen to forgive us instead. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world (John 3:17). Not only does Jesus not condemn us, but in His position at the right hand of God He is actually continually interceding for us  – He is constantly pleading our case before the Father.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

God loves us and will always love us. There is nothing in Heaven or on the earth or under the earth that can make Him stop loving us, and nothing that can prevent His love from reaching out to us. We might spurn His love, but we cannot make it go away. Because He loves us, we are forgiven. Because He loves us, we are acquitted. Because He loves us, we are justified. Because He loves us, we are brought into right standing with Him. Because He loves us, we are blessed. Because He loves us, we are protected. Because He loves us, we are healed. Because He loves us, we are delivered. Because He loves us, we are free. Because He loves us, we are prosperous in every area of our lives.

Because God loves us, He redeemed us. Because God loves us, He is on our side. If you are a child of God then He is on your side. If you honor him with your life and all that is within you then He is on your side. If He is on your side then you don’t have to worry about a thing. Your enemy is His enemy and your enemy is no match for Him. Because He loves you, you are more than a conqueror. Because He is on your side, the devil does not stand a chance. If God is for you, who can be against you?

GIVE YOUR TIME AND ATTENTION TO ACCOMPLISHING THOS

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

5 Now He Who has fashioned us [preparing and making us fit] for this very thing is God, Who has given us the [Holy] Spirit guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise]. 6 So then, we are always full of good and hopeful and confident courage; we know that while we are at home in the body, we are abroad from the home with the Lord [that is promised us]. 7 For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.8 [Yes] we have confident and hopeful courage and are pleased rather to be away from home out of the body and be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth away from Him] or away from home [and with Him], we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing]. 11 Therefore being conscious of fearing the Lord with respect and reverence, we seek to win people over [to persuade them]. But what sort of persons we are is plainly recognized and thoroughly understood by God, and I hope it is plainly recognized and thoroughly understood by your consciences [your inborn discernment].  2 Corinthians 5:5-11 NIV

After the resurrection, God has promised to give us a glorified (heavenly) body. God is preparing us and making us ready for it right now and the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of that promise. We have the Holy Spirit on the inside now as a taste of that which is to come on the outside. Our spirit is born again – we need a new, redeemed body and mind – which we will get after the resurrection.

We have a home here on earth in our physical bodies and we have a home with God, in His presence. We cannot be two places at once – we are either on the earth or in heaven. We live here now and even though we have not seen our heavenly house, we believe that it exists and that we will go there when we leave this earthly house. We walk by faith, not by sight, concerning our heavenly dwelling place.

We are not afraid to die. Whether we live or die – we are His – we belong to Jesus. We are perfectly happy to live for Him down here, but we certainly look forward to going to be with Him for eternity. In fact, we long to be in His presence. Because of this, whether we are at home on earth away from Him or away from home on the earth and with Him, our one desire is to please Him and be acceptable to Him. In fact, we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him.

We know that there will come a time when all of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be asked to give an account for what we have done and also what we have left undone. We will appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ. Nothing will be hidden from His sight. Each one of us will receive our pay (our reward) according to what we have done here on earth – in our bodies – whether good or evil. Jesus will take into consideration what our purpose and motive have been. He will look at what we have achieved. He will look at what we been busy with – what we gave our time and attention to accomplishing.

If we know that we will have to give an account for our life and that nothing will be hidden from God’s sight, then we would be wise to find out those things that please Him and do them. We would also be wise to find out those things that displease God and make sure that we do not do them. Because we are conscious of fearing the Lord with respect and reverence, we seek to win people over and to persuade them to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, because we know that this is pleasing to Him.

13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.  2 Corinthians 5:13-15 NIV

20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NIV

The one thing that pleases God above all else and the thing that we need to do with all our heart is to share the Gospel with others and bring them into the wonderful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that we have enjoyed – so that they too can make their eternal home with their Father God in heavenly places.

FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST – TO DIE IS GAIN

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

DELOSPERMA LINEARE L.BOLUS

“God’s Rock Flower”

A seedling, crevice unseen

Plump stems…leaves green

What strength lies within?

Eternal sproutling…

To split great rock apart

Forging mountains to art

Iron stone ground by your roots

Your bone…

For me to hold your hand,

To talk as we used to,

For you to utter “Goodbye”,

As breath became easier for you,

Iron caged lungs, set free,

To fly as angels do

THROUGH OUR MEMORIES…

For we are frail and He is so great.

In Loving Memory of Kelly May 25th December, 2002

Written By Earl Willis Weyers

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.  Psalms 116:15 KJV

The Father loves His children and they are very precious to Him. He is tender and gentle with them. Man was created to live forever, but sin cut his life short. However, when a believer dies and steps out of their body, God warmly welcomes them into His presence.

For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.  Romans 14:6-9 NIV

Jesus Christ died and rose again in order that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. If we are washed in the blood of Jesus, whether we live or die, we belong to Jesus all the same. The state we find ourselves in makes no difference whatsoever. We are living in eternal life right now. The condition of an unbeliever is something else again. While they live on the earth they are alive and have a hope of finding Jesus and receiving eternal life, but if they die without Jesus, they enter into a state of eternal death – they will never again have an opportunity to receive or experience God’s grace.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  Philippians 1:21-24 NIV

As a believer, if I live, I live in and for Christ. He makes my life worth living. If I die, it changes nothing, but my location – I go straight into his eternal presence. Because I love Him, I would like to go to Him and to be with Him forever, but for the sake of all those who have never heard of Him, it is better that I stay on the earth to declare the goodness of God and to introduce them to Him, too.

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  2 Corinthians 5:6-10 KJV

Whether we are at home in the body and absent from the Lord or absent from the body and present with the Lord, we are working to please Him. This is because there will come a time when everyone of us will appear before the judgment seat of Christ and receive the reward of our labor, whether good or bad.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.  Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV

We will only live once and die once and after that we will have to face judgment – whatever we do now, in this life, counts for eternity. Let us make sure that what we do now is that which is pleasing to the Father and that which builds and blesses the kingdom of God.

GET RID OF THE THORN IN YOUR SIDE

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

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites to fight against them? 2 And the Lord said, Judah shall go up; behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.

3 And Judah [the tribe] said to [the tribe of] Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my allotted territory, so that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with you into your territory. So Simeon went with him. Judges 1:1-3 NIV

Judges 1:4-36 tells us what each tribe did with their enemies. Judah and Simeon drove out or killed all their enemies except for those inhabiting the difficult valley basin, because they had chariots of iron. The Lord was also with the house of Joseph, who went up against Bethel. However, the tribes of Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan, did not do as they were told. All these tribes of Israel lived alongside these heathen nations and used them for forced labor instead of driving them out or destroying them together with their altars to idols and demon gods. Therefore the Israelites picked up their evil customs and their bad habits.

The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3 Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be [thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.” Judges 2:1-3 NIV

The Israelites were in covenant with Almighty God, a covenant He swore never to break. For them to make covenants with the ungodly was completely unacceptable. Because of their disobedience, these nations became thorns in their sides and their gods became a snare to them. If you won’t deal with the root of sin, disobedience and bad habits in your life, and get rid of them by the power of the Holy Spirit, they will harass you all the days of your life. And there is nothing God can do for you until you make the decision to completely obey God in your life.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of MountGaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.  Judges 2:8-15 NIV

Because Joshua’s generation did not completely obey God, they did not set a good example for their children. Because they lived amongst the enemy, their children were influenced by the culture and beliefs of their enemies. When that generation died, the new generation – who did not know the Lord or the great things that He had done for their fathers – began to serve the gods of the ungodly, the Baals and the Ashtoreths. Because of their rebellion, God sold them into the hands of their enemies and never again empowered them to defeat their enemies. Instead they were doomed to live in great distress.

The sad thing is that they had all the wonderful promises they needed from God. Because they would not listen to Him, because they would not believe Him or obey Him, He could do nothing to help them or bless them, but He had to leave them to their own devices. Even today there are many Christians who do not believe God’s Word or obey Him, and yet they see Him as either the source of their problems or at the least as a God Who does not see or hear or care, when all along, they are the problem and the source of their own troubles. God is no respecter of persons – He gives us all the opportunity to serve and obey Him and be blessed or to go our own way and be cursed. It’s your choice – if you are smart, you will make the choice to serve God all the days of your life.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV

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 life and ministry of Dr. Rodney Howard Browne