“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.”
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!
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2 KJV
The Great Commission was a call to EVERY believer to preach the Gospel — anywhere, to anyone. Then there are those whom God has called, anointed and raised up into full-time ministry, to preach and to teach. This is more of a “pulpit” ministry; however, we are to be prepared and willing to preach the Gospel wherever we are — whether one-on-one or to a gathering of people. There is NO time, place or “season” when the Gospel should NOT be preached. The Gospel should be preached in season and out of season: whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable; whether it is convenient or inconvenient; whether it is welcome or unwelcome; whether it is popular or unpopular; whether it is invited or uninvited! It is always the season to preach the Gospel — to every creature in every nation!
I charge [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom: 2 Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, 4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions. 5 As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 AMP
We cannot afford to preach based on what people want to hear — we must preach the truth of the Gospel even, and especially, when it’s not what they want to hear. Many preachers today are preaching to the “itching ears” — preaching what they think people want to hear, but that is not the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is offensive to the carnal minds of sinners, but it brings Holy Ghost conviction to the heart, resulting in conversion and deliverance!
Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. 24 [All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, 25 Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment. 26 It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26 AMP
Since the day Jesus died and rose again, it has been the NOW season for ALL men to be saved and the NOW season to preach the Gospel!
[The Servant of God says] The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught]. Isaiah 50:4 AMP
The Holy Spirit promised to give us a word to speak in season. That means the right word at the right time to the right person, producing a right result. The Spirit of God knows exactly how to reach each person. Even if they reject His word, they are then without any excuses on the Day of Judgment.
Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people). Ephesians 6:18 AMP
We are to pray and to expect God to answer at all times – on every occasion, in every season. God is not limited by circumstances — He will hear and answer every faith-filled prayer.
And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. Galatians 6:9 AMP
Keep faithfully sowing the seed of the Gospel in every season — in due season you will reap and see a bountiful harvest.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10: 4-5 KJV
All sinful, evil, and fearful thoughts, feelings and imaginations are strongholds in our mind and life. Therefore, it stands to reason that it is very important to take authority over and control those thoughts, feelings and imaginations. Whether good or evil, the things we are exposed to, through our five senses, influence our thoughts and are stored in our minds. The goal of the enemy is to bring us into bondage and destroy us and he uses our own mind to do this.
Genesis 6:5 AMP says, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.” Before you knew Christ, you were a child of the devil and your mind was only carnal and sinful. You knew no other way. 2 Corinthians 4:4 AMP says, “For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God.”
Proverbs 15:26a AMP says “The thoughts of the wicked are shamefully vile and exceedingly offensive to the Lord” and Romans 8:7 says that the carnal mind is enmity against God. The AMP says, “That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.”
The carnal, sinful mind is blind to the truth and hostile to God and His laws. God is against all forms of sin and carnality. Why—because He is a party-pooper? No, because He loves you and sin brings nothing with it but bondage and death and destruction! If your mind is carnal, then you can’t and won’t submit to God and His commands. If your thoughts, feelings and imaginations are yielded to the flesh and the devil, then you will continue on in the strongholds of wickedness, bondage and fear. You are a product of your thought life—you are what you think about—which is why the devil tries to erect and maintain these strongholds in your mind.
And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:20-23 NKJV
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Nothing good comes from the carnal nature. Before we are born again we are completely carnal, wicked and ruled by our flesh. Our thoughts are carnal, our actions are carnal and our works are carnal. All these works of the flesh do nothing, but hurt us and others. When the Gospel is preached to us, the light of God’s word and His truth shines into our heart and mind ( 2 Corinthians 4:6)
Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 NKJV
You were taught to leave your old self. This means that you must stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse and worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. 23 You must be made new in your hearts and in your thinking. 24 You must become a new person, made to be like God–made to be truly good and holy. Ephesians 4:22-24
The moment you are born again, you are washed in His blood, you are forgiven and you are made a new creature in Christ, by the work of the precious Holy Spirit. Your mind, however, needs to be renewed and that is your job! The difference, now, is that you have His power to change the way you think and to walk free from the devil’s strongholds.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
Good things make a positive contribution and evil things make a negative contribution to your mental outlook, that why it is so important to regulate what you hear and see. You have to begin to think differently before you can expect to act and live differently. You must take your thoughts captive by submitting to the Word of God and the will of God, through Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit. From now on, if you see or hear anything that is not pure or wholesome or that is contrary to the Word of God, you must immediately throw it out. You must make a daily effort to keep your thoughts and imaginations godly and pure. If your thoughts, feelings and imaginations are submitted to God, then you will walk in His life and freedom, now and in eternity.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
As we celebrate Christmas once again, we should remember that we are actually celebrating Jesus. We are celebrating the fact that the Father sent His only begotten Son, born as a baby into the body of a man, to die on the cross and to be raised up again for our justification and salvation. Revelation 13:8 says that Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. God had a plan to rescue man even before Adam sinned. The coming of Jesus, the Messiah, was foretold thousands of years before He was born and recorded in the Old Testament. Here are some of the prophetic scriptures together with the scriptures of fulfillment.
He was the Seed of a woman:
-Genesis 3:15 NKJV – And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.
-Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV – But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
He was a descendant of Abraham:
-Genesis 12:3 NKJV – I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
-Matthew 1:1 NKJV – The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.
He was a descendant of Isaac:
-Genesis 17:19 NKJV – Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.
-Luke 3:34 NKJV – the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham…
He was a descendant of Jacob:
-Numbers 24:17 KJV – I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
-Matthew 1:2 NKJV – Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.
He was from the tribe of Judah:
-Genesis 49:10 NKJV – The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
-Luke 3:33 NKJV – …the son of Perez, the son of Judah.
He was the descendant of Jesse:
-Isaiah 11:10 NKJV – “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.”
-Romans 15:12 NKJV – And again, Isaiah says: “There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”
He was a descendant of David:
-Jeremiah 23:5-6 NKJV – “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called.
-Matthew 1:1 NKJV – The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.
He will shepherd His people:
-Ezekiel 37:24 NKJV – David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
-Matthew 2:6 NKJV – “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.”
He was heir to the throne of David:
-Isaiah 9:7 NKJV – Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
-Luke 1:32-33 NKJV – He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
He was born in Bethlehem:
-Micah 5:2 NKJV – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
-Luke 2:4-7 NKJV – Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The timing of His birth:
-Daniel 9:25 NKJV – “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
-Luke 2:1-7 NKJV – And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world
should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David,
which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed
wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And
she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
He was born of a virgin:
• Isaiah 7:14 NKJV – Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
• Luke 1:26-27 NKJV – Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
• Luke 1:30-31 NKJV – Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
He was worshipped by shepherds:
• Psalms 72:9 NKJV – Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, And His enemies will lick the dust.
• Luke 2:8-15 NKJV – Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of Lord a Lord, who is Lord the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising Lord and saying: 14 “Glory to Lord in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
He was honored by great kings:
• Psalms 72:10-11 NKJV – The kings of Tarshish and of the isles Will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba Will offer gifts. 11 Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him.
• Psalms 72:15 NKJV – And He shall live; And the gold of Sheba will be given to Him;Prayer also will be made for Him continually, And daily He shall be praised.
• Isaiah 60:3 NKJV – The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
• Matthew 2:1-11 NKJV – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
There would be a slaughter of children:
• Jeremiah 31:15 NKJV – Thus says the Lord: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”
• Matthew 2:16-18 NKJV – Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all it’s districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”
The flight to Egypt:
• Hosea 11:1 NKJV – When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.
• Matthew 2:14-15 NKJV – When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
I hope to see more people blessed and saved this year than in all my previous years put together. I want the Holy Spirit to do an even deeper work in my life, and have free reign over every aspect of it. I want to spread the flames of revival wherever I go.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! 3 For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4 [Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. Psalms 91:1-4 AMP
There is a secret place that is in the presence of God where his children can find refuge and be safe and secure. It has nothing to do with the circumstances. Even in the middle of chaos and confusion, the presence of God is a haven of peace and protection for those who trust and are confident in Him. We can’t just do nothing and wait for God to come to us – He has already reached out to us and invited us into His presence. We must take that step toward Him – by pressing into His word and believing it! If you believe God’s word to you and you press in to it, then you will find that secret place. If you continue to trust only in Him, then you will come to permanently dwell in that secret place. When you trust in God, you will remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty – not blown about by every wind of adversity. No foe can withstand the power of God! Your confession should be: “The Lord is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust!” When I believe and I speak my faith, then God will show Himself strong on my behalf! He will deliver me from traps – whether set by man or the devil. He will deliver me from sickness, disease and disaster.
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men! 20 In the secret place of Your presence You hide them from the plots of men; You keep them secretly in Your pavilion from the strife of tongues. Psalms 31:19-20 AMP
God is good! You have to trust God; you have to believe in His goodness in order to experience it. In the secret place of His presence He hides you from the plots and plans of men; He protects you from the strife stirred up by other people’s tongues; He protects you from gossip and slander. It’s not that those things won’t try to take you out, but if you continue to trust God and allow Him to fight your battles, you can just keep going and keep doing what He has called you to do. If you stay in His will, He will vindicate you and bring you through the storm.
Unto you, O Lord, do I bring my life. 2 O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me. 3 Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed; let them be ashamed who forsake the right or deal treacherously without cause. Psalms 25:1-3 AMP
But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. 12 For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous [him who is upright and in right standing with You]; as with a shield You will surround him with goodwill (pleasure and favor). Psalms 5:11-12 AMP
If we trust in, lean on, rely on, and are confident in the Lord and not the arm of the flesh, then we will not be put to shame or be disappointed. Our enemies will not triumph over us, but they will be ashamed instead. If we are uncompromisingly righteous and if we take refuge and put our trust in the Lord, then we can sing and rejoice and praise Him. He surrounds us with goodwill and favor like a shield.
But the salvation of the [consistently] righteous is of the Lord; He is their Refuge and secure Stronghold in the time of trouble. 40 And the Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they trust and take refuge in Him. Psalms 37:39-40 AMP
I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength. 2 The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. 3 I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. Psalms 18:1-3 AMP
Then shall my enemies turn back in the day that I cry out; this I know, for God is for me. 10 In God, Whose word I praise, in the Lord, Whose word I praise, 11 In God have I put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 Your vows are upon me, O God; I will render praise to You and give You thank offerings. 13 For You have delivered my life from death, yes, and my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life and of the living. Psalms 56:9-13 AMP
I know that God is for me! If I cry out to Him, He will answer and save me! The Lord is my salvation! He is my Refuge and secure Stronghold in the time of trouble. He is my strength; He is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; He is my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, and my High Tower! What can man do to me! He will deliver my life from death and my feet from falling!
As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the Lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him. 31 For who is God except the Lord? Or who is the Rock save our God. Psalms 18:30-31 AMP
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 KJV
The Word of God tells you how to live a productive, successful, fruit-filled life. It all begins not merely with choosing good actions, or even good words, but it begins on the inside of you – in your thought life! Your thoughts shape and direct your attitude. Your attitude shapes and directs your every choice, word and action. The Amplified Bible says that you must FIX your minds on these good things. That’s because, as Jesus told us in Luke 6:45, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. Whatever fills your mind is coming out of you – no matter how hard you try to contain it!
The word THINK used here is translated variously as: think; impute; reckon; count; account; suppose; reason; number. THINK means: to reckon or account; to count; to compute; to calculate; to count over; to take into account; to make an account of; to impute; to number among; to reckon with: to reckon inward; to count up or weigh the reasons; to deliberate; to gather or infer; to consider; to weigh; to meditate on; to suppose; to deem; to judge; to determine; to purpose; to decide. This word deals with REALITY. If I “think”, or reckon, that my bank account has $50 in it, it has $50 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to FACTS not suppositions.
Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. That means that what you think – the attitude of your heart – is the real you. You might say what is expected of you to say, but your actions will betray your true feelings. People who say one thing, yet mean another, are not being truthful; they are not even being polite; they are being manipulative and deceitful. This person is a bad friend, because relationship is based on truth. You might think that you have a relationship; however, there is no real relationship, where one of the two is lying to the other.
Fix your mind on things that are true and truthful
The worst kind of person is a deceitful person – a liar. Many people have convinced themselves that they have the truth or that they know the truth, and yet they are self-deceived and blinded by sin. The only TRUTH is in Christ Jesus. The only whole truth is found in the totality of God’s Word. Psalm 119:160 AMP says, “The sum of Your word is truth [the total of the full meaning of all Your individual precepts]; and every one of Your righteous decrees endures forever.” When you think or meditate on God’s Word, you are meditating on TRUTH.
Fix your mind on things that are honest
Think on things that are honest and honorable, or worthy of honor. The Amplified Bible says that you should think on: whatsoever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly (or appropriate). The word translated HONEST means: august; venerable; reverend; grave (serious); to be venerated for character; honorable. This has to do with good and solid character. Think on things that promote good character and good morals; not bad ones.
Fix your mind on things that are just
Think on things that are righteous, just and right. JUST means: upright; righteous; virtuous; keeping the commands of God; observing divine laws; innocent; faultless; guiltless; approved by, or acceptable to, God. Someone who is considered just, or righteous, by God, is a person whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God. The Lord tells you to think only on those things that line up with His Word and that are acceptable to Him. There are many things that are acceptable to man and the world’s system, but they are unacceptable to God. Our thoughts and meditations must be approved of by God, and acceptable to Him – not man!
Fix your mind on things that are pure
Think on things that are pure and chaste and clear. Do not allow carnality in your thought life. Romans 8:7 says that the mind of the flesh – with its carnal thoughts and purposes – is hostile to God. It cannot and does not submit itself to God’s Law. In order for your thinking to change and become pure, rather than be defiled, you must submit to Word of God and fill your mind with God’s principles. Your mind must be renewed and washed by the water of the Word of God! By the Word of God and with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can evict carnal, fleshly, lustful thoughts far from you. And then begin to think on those things that are pure, holy, sacred, chaste, modest, immaculate, innocent and clean.
Fix your mind on things that are lovely
Think on things that are lovely. Think on things that are acceptable and pleasing to God. Don’t fill your mind with things that are nasty and ugly. Don’t read or watch things that are nasty and ugly and cruel and evil. Read the Word of God and good, clean, godly books and watch good, clean, godly programs and movies.
Fix your mind on things that have a good report
The Amplified Bible says: think on those things that are kind and winsome and gracious. Think positive thoughts – not negative. Think positive things about people and things. Love believes the best – not the worst – of everyone (1 Cor. 13:7).
Fix your mind on things that have virtue
VIRTUE means: moral goodness; any particular moral excellence; modesty; purity. Let your thoughts be virtuous and good.
Fix your mind on things that are worthy of praise
If there is anything worthy of praise or commendation – think on those things.
Paul began this whole verse with the words: “Finally, my brethren”. There are a number of things we can and must do in order to please God, to be in right-standing with Him and to be successful in our Christian walk. One of the most important of these is to grab a hold of our thought life. We can no longer afford to let the devil have his way in our mind. We must tear down the strongholds of the enemy and evict our old carnal, worldly way of thinking. Instead we must replace our old thoughts and attitudes with the very thoughts and attitudes of the Word of God. We have been given the mind of Christ and do hold the thoughts, intents, feelings and purposes of His heart (1 Cor. 2:16).
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV
Only in the presence of God is there true liberty – liberty of spirit, soul, and body. The most important and most powerful liberty comes from within when Jesus moves in after you invite Him and receive Him. Nothing else on earth can compare to the liberty of life and spirit of a believer who has allowed the Holy Spirit to have His way in him/her.
Freedom comes through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and through the Word of God:
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 NKJV
We are free from spiritual bondage and fear of punishment and death:
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:15 KJV
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 NKJV
We are free from slavery to anyone but Christ, Who bought our freedom:
For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 1 Corinthians 7:22-23 NKJV
As long as we serve God, we also willingly obey Him. The more we submit to Him, the more freedom in which we walk.
We are free from the Law:
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6 NKJV
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:2 NKJV
We do no longer serve God out of fear of punishment for transgressing the Law, but now we serve him from the heart, with joy. We walk in the reality of forgiven sin.
We are free from the fear of death:
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15 NKJV
We are free from the curse of the Law:
Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified). Galatians 3:13 AMP
We are free from the control and power of sin:
For he who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:7 NKJV
And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:18 NKJ
We are free from corruption:
Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Romans 8:21 NKJV Our physical bodies may die, but God has promised us a glorified body that cannot die or grow old and perish. All of creation will one day share in this glorious liberty!
We are free from the bondage of or to man:
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more.
1 Corinthians 9:19 NKJV
God has set us free from the opinion and control of man – only God’s opinion of us, and His will for us, counts. We take our orders from God alone; even so, we choose to love and serve others at His direction.
We are free from religious ordinances:
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:3-5 NKJV
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations — 21 “Do not touch, do not of the taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23 NKJV
When you are a child, you need outer boundaries to protect you and to lead you in a form of discipline and training. As you grow, you learn to form inner boundaries. An unsaved person needs the outer boundaries to keep them on track, such as the Law. A spiritual person is governed by the Holy Spirit within, and he is led and directed by the spirit, and not by the flesh. God is not impressed with mere religious rituals; He looks for worship – in spirit and in truth – from the heart
There is no freedom for the wicked:
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:34-36 NKJV
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Romans 6:20 NKJV
The freedom to sin is not freedom. Submission to sin is submission to bondage and the devil. True freedom comes from yielding to righteousness and the Holy Spirit.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Isaiah 61:1 KJV
Why were they in prison? People are in prison because of sin. People are all bound up because of sin.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14 NKJ
The Father, through Jesus Christ, gave us liberty in every area of life. He has delivered us from the power of darkness; the burden of sin is lifted; we are washed clean and forgiven of every sin. It is a fresh start – a new beginning. We are new creatures in Christ. Sin once held us in bondage, but now we are free in Christ.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 NKJV
Sin will put you into, and keep you in, bondage. The liberty we have in Christ is so precious – why would we want to go back into the bondage of sin? Yet there are people, all the time, whether ignorantly or willfully, walk away from freedom and back into bondage. Being free to sin – to do whatever you want to do – is not freedom. Sin is a trap – it brings bondage and devastation – the wages of sin is still death, no matter what age you live in!
For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another. Galatians 5:13 AMP
The word of God commands us not to take advantage of the liberty we have in Christ by going back into sin. We have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are forgiven and on our way to heaven. There is nothing we could do to earn His forgiveness, and nothing we can do to keep it. However, that does not mean that we are released from our obligation to walk in righteousness – that does not mean that we can do whatever we want to do. Jesus lives inside you. Would you still do the things you do, if Jesus was in the room – because He is, if He lives in you!
[Live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but [live at all times] as servants of God.
1 Peter 2:16 AMP
Live as free people – free from the inside out – free from the religious works program. However, do NOT do wicked deeds under the pretext of your freedom in Christ. We are set free FROM sin – not set free TO sin. Christians, who do wicked deeds and claim to be exempt from righteousness, God will hold accountable. As a believer, you have a great responsibility to do right – even much more than a sinner who does not have the life and nature of God inside them.
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 NKJV
Paul is talking to Christians who – like the Israelites – drank from the spiritual Rock, which is Christ. He is admonishing us to lay aside the things of our old life and to live in the light of what we have received in Christ. Jesus made us free, but not so free that we can sin with impunity. Paul tells us to learn from the mistakes of the Israelites: do not lust after evil things; do not become idolaters; do not commit sexual immorality; do not tempt Christ; do not be a complainer. Sin destroys everything it touches. God must always judge sin. If you insist on sinning, you also invite judgment.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14 NKJV
Never be overconfident in your own ability to walk sinless before God. Walk humbly – have a humble estimation of yourself – walk closely with Him and put all your hope and confidence in Him to keep you pure and on track. Then when you do mess up – because you probably will – be quick to repent and ask His forgiveness. Remember, if you sow to the flesh, you will reap corruption, but if you sow to the spirit, you will reap life everlasting.