PERSECUTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE WORD

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

They are Hebrews? So am I! They are Israelites? So am I! They are descendants of Abraham? So am I! 23 Are they [ministering] servants of Christ (the Messiah)? I am talking like one beside himself, [but] I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, [beaten] with countless stripes, and frequently [at the point of] death. 24 five times I received from [the hands of] the Jews forty [lashes all] but one; 25 three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. three times I have been aboard a ship wrecked at sea; a [whole] night and a day I have spent [adrift] on the deep; 26 Many times on journeys, [exposed to] perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the desert places, perils in the sea, perils from those posing as believers [but destitute of Christian knowledge and piety]; 27 In toil and hardship, watching often [through sleepless nights], in hunger and thirst, frequently driven to fasting by want, in cold and exposure and lack of clothing. 28 And besides those things that are without, there is the daily [inescapable pressure] of my care and anxiety for all the churches! 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel [his] weakness? Who is made to stumble and fall and have his faith hurt, and I am not on fire [with sorrow or indignation]? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that [show] my infirmity [of the things by which I am made weak and contemptible in the eyes of my opponents]. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ knows, He Who is blessed and to be praised forevermore, that I do not lie. 32 In Damascus, the city governor acting under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus [on purpose] to arrest me, 33 And I was [actually] let down in a [rope] basket or hamper through a window (a small door) in the wall, and I escaped through his fingers. 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 AMP

After God dramatically got Paul’s attention, on the road to Damascus, Paul gave his whole life into God’s hands. He was totally committed and radically sold out to obeying God and spreading the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ far and wide. However, the price he paid was intense persecution and many other hardships, so much so that he almost died on several occasions. There is no biblical evidence that he had an eye disease as some people have claimed. Paul, himself, never mentions it when he tells us of all the things he suffered for the Gospel’s sake. However, what he did suffer was bad enough! And yet, he was so committed to his Lord and Savior that absolutely nothing he went through could stop him from fulfilling the call of God on his life.

Matthew 13:21 and Mark 4:17 tell us that persecution comes on account of the Word. The devil will try anything to stop the Word of God in your life. He will attack you directly through circumstances and indirectly through other people.

Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves. 17 Be on guard against men [whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God]; for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues, 8 And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a witness to bear testimony before them and to the Gentiles (the nations). 19 But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to say will be given you in that very hour and moment, 20 For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children will take a stand against their parents and will have them put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake, but he who perseveres and endures to the end will be saved [from spiritual disease and death in the world to come]. 23 When they persecute you in one town [that is, pursue you in a manner that would injure you and cause you to suffer because of your belief], flee to another town; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant or slave above his master. 25 It is sufficient for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant or slave like his master. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub [master of the dwelling], how much more will they speak evil of those of His household. 6 So have no fear of them; for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna). Matthew 10:16-28 AMP

Jesus was persecuted to death. We, His servants, are not better than Him. The reason they hated and persecuted Jesus is the same reason they hate and persecute His disciples. You need to realize that you are in God’s hands and He will take care of you. Jesus endured the death of the cross and despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). If you have a revelation of the joy that is set before you, you will not hesitate to obey God in spite of the threat of persecution, and even death, for the Gospel’s sake.

THE WORLD HAS NOTHING I WANT

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

Truly God is [only] good to Israel, even to those who are upright and pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipped. 3 For I was envious of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalms 73:1-3 AMP

God is only good – not bad – to those who are upright and pure in heart. When those who belong to God start to put their eyes on the sinners and envy their prosperity, they open up a world of trouble for themselves. They have already taken their eyes off God and all He has done and all He will do for them. When we lose confidence in God’s care and concern for us and in His ability to meet our needs then we start to envy those who have nothing we really want. They don’t have God on their side. They have no eternal life. Their name is not written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Heaven is not waiting joyfully to receive them.

For they suffer no violent pangs in their death, but their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they smitten and plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride is about their necks like a chain; violence covers them like a garment [like a long, luxurious robe]. 7 Their eyes stand out with fatness, they have more than heart could wish; and the imaginations of their minds overflow [with follies]. 8 They scoff, and wickedly utter oppression; they speak loftily [from on high, maliciously and blasphemously]. 9 They set their mouths against and speak down from heaven, and their tongues swagger through the earth [invading even heaven with blasphemy and smearing earth with slanders]. Psalms 73:4-9 AMP

Prosperity makes the sinner arrogant. They think of themselves more highly than they ought and they have no respect for anyone – even for God.

Therefore His people return here, and waters of a full cup [offered by the wicked] are [blindly] drained by them. 11 And they say, How does God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High? 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who always prosper and are at ease in the world; they increase in riches. 13 Surely then in vain have I cleansed my heart and washed my hands in innocency. 14 For all the day long have I been smitten and plagued, and chastened every morning. 15 Had I spoken thus [and given expression to my feelings], I would have been untrue and have dealt treacherously against the generation of Your children. Psalms 73:10-15 AMP

The devil tries to put doubt in the minds of God’s people and turn them against Him. They start to feel like everything they have done to serve and honor God has been futile. The worst thing you can do when you are feeling bad and thinking negative is to speak it out. Power is released by the spoken word. The power of faith is released by faith-filled words and the power of fear is released when negative, fearful words are spoken. Things are put into motion when you speak them out – whether good or bad! When you speak out your anger and bitterness against God and against your situation, you are not speaking the truth and you are speaking like a traitor, because God loves you and He is ONLY good to His kids!

But when I considered how to understand this, it was too great an effort for me and too painful 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood [for I considered] their end. 18[After all] You do set the [wicked] in slippery places; You cast them down to ruin and destruction. 19 How they become a desolation in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors! 20 As a dream [which seems real] until one awakens, so, O Lord, when You arouse Yourself [to take note of the wicked], You will despise their outward show. Psalms 73:16-20 AMP

There is a Day of Reckoning. Every man will be judged and will receive their reward or punishment. No man can set himself against God and live! His end is devastation.

For my heart was grieved, embittered, and in a state of ferment, and I was pricked in my heart [as with the sharp fang of an adder]. 22 So foolish, stupid, and brutish was I, and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You do hold my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to honor and glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever. 27 For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You will destroy all who are false to You and like [spiritual] harlots depart from You. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works. Psalms 73:21-28 AMP

Even though you may go through some very difficult times, if you will remember that God is on your side, if you will put your eyes back on Him, and place your trust fully in Him, He will forgive and forget your little “wobbly” and be there for you once again. You see God would never leave you. If you felt far from Him, it is because you are the one who walked away from Him. Whom do you have in heaven but your God? He is your rock, firm Strength of your heart and your Portion forever. He is all you have and all you need. It is good for you to draw closer to God, put your trust in Him, and make Him your refuge, because when you do, you will have a great testimony to tell of His goodness to you!

REJOICE THAT YOUR NAME IS WRITTEN IN THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE

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

Now after this the Lord chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come (visit). 2 And He said to them, The harvest indeed is abundant [there is much ripe grain], but the farmhands are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no provisions bag, no [change of] sandals; refrain from [retarding your journey by] saluting and wishing anyone well along the way. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this household! [Freedom from all the distresses that result from sin be with this family]. 6 And if anyone [worthy] of peace and blessedness is there, the peace and blessedness you wish shall come upon him; but if not, it shall come back to you. 7 And stay on in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. 8 Whenever you go into a town and they receive and accept and welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 And heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come close to you.  Luke 10:1-9 AMP

The seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name! 18 And He said to them, I saw Satan falling like a lightning [flash] from heaven. 19 Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are enrolled in heaven. Luke 10:17-20 AMP

Jesus sent the seventy out before Him to minister to people – to heal them and set them free. The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name!” And Jesus said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

The Name of Jesus is not a toy – but a powerful weapon! We should use it with purpose. Don’t think you are the one the devil is afraid of – it is the mighty Name! Immature Christians may get excited about the fact that devils are subject to them – but they need to grow up and realize that it’s not because of them, but because of Jesus. They must realize that the devil is not an enemy to be taken lightly or to be underestimated. They must not be ignorant of the devil’s devices.

The fact that you – as a blood-washed believer – have authority over devils and demons should be a reality to you. It should not be something you take lightly or for granted, but something that is an established fact in your life and in your walk and in your talk. Meditate on the scriptures that are the source of your authority in Jesus Christ. Don’t rejoice that demons are subject to you – but rejoice that you are washed in the blood of Jesus; that you are saved; that your name is written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life!

Rejoice in your salvation – rejoice in what Jesus has done for you. Keep your nose clean and your attitude humble!

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:6-7 NKJV

God sets Himself against the proud and haughty – but He gives grace to the humble. We need God’s grace! First you submit yourself to God – then you resist the devil. Know that the devil is powerless against the mighty Name of Jesus, but don’t take pride in the authority given you – be humbly grateful that God has redeemed you from the devil’s clutches, domination, and influence. Always give the praise, honor and glory to God. The best protection from the devil you can have is to have clean hands and a pure heart!

Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully.  Psalms 24:3-4 AMP

Redeeming the Tithe – It’s Holy to the Lord

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

Redeeming the Tithe – It’s Holy to the Lord
Foundation Scriptures: Leviticus 27 verses 30 – 34

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. 31 And if a man wants to redeem any of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. 32 And all the tithe of the herd or of the flock, whatever passes under the herdsman’s staff [by means of which each tenth animal as it passes through a small door is selected and marked], the tenth shall be holy to the Lord. 33 The man shall not examine whether the animal is good or bad nor shall he exchange it. If he does exchange it, then both it and the animal substituted for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. 34 These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.  Leviticus 27:30-34 AMP

In the book of Leviticus, Father God laid out what was required of the children of Israel, concerning tithes and offerings. One of the things they were required to do was to bring ALL the tithe of ALL their increase. They were not allowed to do two-percent, here and there, as they chose. It did not matter what they did for a living, they were to bring one whole tenth of their profits to the Lord. The tithe is holy – holy to the Lord. We must treat it as something holy – something that belongs, not to us, but to the Lord. The tithe is not something to be given, or not given, at our discretion. Bringing the tithe is an act of obedience and submission to God.

People are always trying to argue with God and man over the tithe and find a reason not to do it. Refusing to tithe is an act of rebellion, whichever way you look at it. The Bible uses the word “pay”, not “give”, in reference to the tithe. When you get the revelation that the tithe already does not belong to YOU, but to God, then you will be more apt to do what is right and pay your tithes. If this truth offends you, then realize that you have allowed the devil to lie to you. The devil definitely does not want you to tithe! Your disobedience cuts you off from God’s protection, places you in enemy territory, and gives Satan prime opportunity to wreak havoc in your life and finances. Make a choice, once and for all, to honor God and to reject the enemy’s manipulation and devastation from off of your life.

Something that is very interesting to note, here in Leviticus, concerning the tithe: the Lord gave them a way to redeem the tithe. This meant that if someone had skipped out on the tithe they could come back to the Lord and they redeem it by adding one fifth to their tithe. It was a “back-tithe”. For example: Let’s say that someone worked for a company and, for whatever reason, they were not paid for several months and then that company suddenly paid them up-to-date. The company owed them “back-pay” and would have to catch it all up.

How much more if we skipped out on our tithe for several months? How do we make it up? We add one fifth to it. Let’s say that our tithe was $300 and that we had skipped out three months. This means that we were behind on our tithes by $900 and, in order to catch up, not only should we catch up on our tithe, but, according to the scripture, we should add one fifth. One fifth would be $45, so to catch up we would then pay $945.

When we first came to America, in 1987, some pollsters claimed that 20% of born-again believers paid their tithes. However, most recently, they say that only 6% pay tithes. Can you imagine what the loss to the kingdom of God is on a monthly basis? Literally billions of dollars, that could have been used for the Gospel, are now lost. The needed finances don’t find their way into the Kingdom of God, but people are spending their money on themselves and their every desire. These unfaithful, disobedient Christians don’t realize that they are shooting themselves in the foot. They are missing out on huge blessings from God, because of their rebellion against the Word of God! Only at the judgment seat, will many see the reality of what giving to God was all about and how holy the tithe is to the Lord.

I want to encourage you to look at your life and take stock. Are you really totally committed to God? Are you committed to God in your finances? The tithe is only 10%! The government and your credit card company take much more than that! Why would anyone even think of not bringing the tithe to the Lord? It is His! Remember that He is the one that gives you the strength to get up every morning and to be able to do what you do to earn a living. Why would you not honor him every pay period?

Now, I am not suggesting that you have to work out what you owe as years of back-tithe and add one fifth, but I am suggesting that you should definitely repent and tell the Lord, “I am sorry – from this day onward I will tithe.” Do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do so that you can have a clear conscience before the Lord. Then start tithing, and don’t stop, until the day that the Jesus comes to take you home!

Prayer and Confession:
Lord, You have promised to bless and provide for me, and to rebuke the devourer on my behalf as I commit my tithe to You. From this day, until the day I see You face-to-face, I will honor You with my tithe – with one tenth of all my income.

Finding My Individual Purpose For My Life-Part One

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

February: My Mission
Foundation Scriptures: Romans 12:1-21

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. 3 For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. 4 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, 5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. 6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; 7[He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; 8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness. 9[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. 11 Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. 12 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. 21 Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.  Romans 12:1-21 AMP

1.  Finding Your Individual Purpose for Your Life Begins with Total Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.

Romans 12:1-2
Presenting your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Not conformed to this world—transformed by the renewing of your mind—in order that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
You want the perfect will of God for your life, not just the permissive or permissible will of God.
Many people live and die without ever finding God’s purpose for their lives.

2.  This Purpose or Calling is in Proportion to the Grace Given You by God to Fulfill Your Life’s Mission.

Romans 12:3-8
Don’t overestimate yourself. God has dealt to everyone the measure of faith according to his/her call and purpose. (To whom much is given, much is required—Luke 12:48.)
Verse 6: We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us—in order to fulfill God’s plan.

3.  With the Grace Comes the God-given Desire that Must be Pursued in Order to Fulfill the Plan.

Psalms 37:4 AMP­—Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.
Put God first.
Isaiah 58:14 AMP—Then will you delight yourself in the Lord, and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed you with the heritage [promised for you] of Jacob your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
This always flows forth out of us abiding in the Vine—being connected. He is the Vine, we are the branches. As we stay connected to Him, we produce fruit and our fruit remains, proving we are God’s children (John 15).
This GRACE will cause you to come through the hardest places and yet still shine.

4. Facts About Me that I Need to Know in Order to Fulfill my Eternal Destiny.

As a child of God—God is on my side.
Everything I need to walk in victory is mine:

  • The Word
  • The Name
  • The Blood
  • The Angels
  • The Holy Spirit

I am to be fruitful and to look for fruit in my life.
I must stay focused on my path—my journey.
It will all count in eternity.

Vision of the River At Tampa Bay

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

Foundation Scripture:

And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Habakkuk 2:2-3 KJV

  1. A local church with a global reach:

a. A place where the Word and Spirit come together.

b. Three ingredients:

1) Powerful praise and worship

2) Anointed preaching and teaching

3) Demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power – souls; healings and miracles; deliverance.

c. We are a family – multiracial, multinational, nondenominational

d. Impacting the generations: the children; the youth; the adults; all the way to the seniors.

e. We are preparing people for eternity by helping them fulfill their earthly purpose.

f.  In this environment, they will be worshippers, givers, lovers of God’s Word, people that pray, soul winners, and people who love the supernatural.

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 

Psalms 127:1 KJV

2. The Lord is building the house: 

a. Each one, reach one.

b. Win the lost at any cost.

c. Make disciples.

d. Reaching the community:

1) Operation Raven – feeding people

2) Bus ministry

3) Outreaches

e. Building the Houses of Joy (HOJ).

f. In-reach – outreaches.

g. Fellowship.

h. Training – discipleship – through HOJ, RBI, RSW, RSG, etc.

i. Occupying (till He comes) – schools; universities; places of government;      marketplace; agriculture.

j. Television – reaching the nations.

k. Call center.

l. Ministry of helps.

m. Crusades – national and international.

n. Publications – books; audio; video; music albums.

o. Main event.

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:20-21 KJV

So the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was edified [growing in wisdom, virtue, and piety] and walking in the respect and reverential fear of the Lord and in the consolation and exhortation of the Holy Spirit, continued to increase and was multiplied. Acts 9:31 AMP

THE ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE

 

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

In order for a covenant to be established and enforced, a sacrifice must be made. God has already done His part. Man must do his if he wants to reap and continue to reap the blessings of a covenant with our heavenly Father. We have a covenant of grace with God, our Father, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. No other blood needs ever to be shed again; neither will any other blood, shed as an offering, be accepted by the Father (Hebrews 10:8-10). The sacrifice God expects of His children, who are already washed in the blood of the lamb, is the sacrifice of obedience, thanksgiving and praise.

I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will not smell a savor or take delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Though you offer Me your burnt offerings and your cereal offerings, I will not accept them, neither will I look upon the peace or thank offerings of your fatted beasts. 23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not listen to the melody of your harps. 24 But let justice run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty and ever-flowing stream.  Amos 5:21-24 AMP

The Lord wants our sacrifice of obedience! God cannot and will not receive offerings or sacrifices from the wicked—those who pretend to serve God, but who are just in it for what they can get from Him! If we are not submitted to God in our heart attitude, our words and our actions, then our sacrifice is a stench in God’s nostrils and our singing and worship sounds so bad to Him, that He can’t stand to hear it.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
Ephesians 5:1-2 KJV

God requires justice; He requires that we obey Him and walk in His love. He will gladly accept worship and sacrifices from those who honor His word.

I will accept no bull from your house nor he-goat out of your folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills or upon the mountains where thousands are. 11 I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are Mine. 13 Shall I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High, 15 And call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.  Psalms 50:9-15 AMP

In verse 9, God says, “I will accept no bull from your house, nor he-goat out of your folds.” There is nothing we can offer back to God that He does not already own—all the animals are His—every beast of the forest and the cattle upon a thousand hills. We must bring Him an offering that He chooses—not an offering that we choose!  The Lord wants us to be exclusively dependant on Him and to look to Him for everything—for provision, protection and direction. He expects to have our full trust and devotion. The devil is always trying to separate us from God any way he can. He tries to get us to act independently—convincing us to look to ourselves and not to God—out of arrogance or out of a lack of faith in God’s willingness and ability to provide for us. Never think or act like you are a bother to God! Over and over, God reminds us to trust in Him, rely on Him, and ask Him for what we need.

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.  Hebrews 13:15 AMP

The Lord wants our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving! Therefore, when we offer our offerings to Him, it should only ever be in a spirit of deep and genuine humility, with the gratefulness and thankfulness of a people who owe Him everything. When we recognize Him as our Lord and source of life, provision and blessing, then we cannot help but praise Him. Praise springs easily and readily from the heart and lips of a humble, grateful child of God. This you cannot do if you trust in your own strength, ability, and wealth; neither can you do it if you blame God for your problems! You must acknowledge His Lordship and His beneficence!

He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me; and he who orders his way aright [who prepares the way that I may show him], to him I will demonstrate the salvation of God.  Psalms 50:23 AMP

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
Psalms 107:21-22 KJV

Oh that men would praise the Lord and glorify Him with their sacrifices of thanksgiving!

 

JESUS IS COMING!

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

JESUS IS COMING!

“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the
hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:44-51 NKJV

Be ready! Jesus is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Jesus does not tell us about the day of His return so we can calculate or predict the day and the hour, but so that we can be prepared. Jesus wants us to act as if we were each moment expecting his return. Jesus places great emphasis on being ready. He tells us that we will have absolutely no forewarning of His coming – it will be at an hour we do not expect Him – so it is imperative that we live our lives with the sober and acute awareness that it will be sudden – so sudden that we will have no time to “fix” or change anything. Therefore we must live “ready” everyday. Are you ready for Jesus to come today?

The faithful and wise servant
In due season means: at the proper time. This was the office of a steward, which was often filled by a slave who had shown himself to be trustworthy and faithful. His duty was to be a general superintendent over the affairs of the family, dispersing food and supplies at the appropriate time. We are all God’s servants and are responsible to Him to obey Him and carry out His instructions. Ministers, in particular, are given responsibilities which accompany their calling. They are responsible to feed and take care of the household of God – the body of Christ.

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28 NKJV

“Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NKJV

Ministers are to teach the people God’s word and get them filled with the Spirit of God – inside and outside the church. They are to pray with and for them and kindly and firmly lead them in the ways of righteousness. Out of respect for the Master, they are responsible to obey God in all things, be personally submitted to Him and to lead by example. Knowing that Jesus’ return will be sudden and unexpected should motivate us always to be personally prepared to face Him and give an account for our lives and actions. The Lord will surely bless, reward and promote His servants who love Him, love people and honor Him by their obedience.

The evil servant
An irresponsible servant has no respect for his Master. He cares nothing for others and spends his time indulging himself, yielding to his flesh and carnality. God calls the servant evil, who abuses his authority. Some even start out with good intentions, but over time they get tired of serving and take advantage of their position of authority and they start to treat others badly, either through neglect or direct abuse. It is a sad day when ministers begin to identify more with the world than the church. Instead of drinking the new wine, they drink the world’s wine. Instead of manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, they manifest the works of the flesh. They live like unbelievers; they are faithless, covetous, ambitious and/or lovers of pleasure.

The Lord does not only find out what we are doing when He shows up – He is watching every move we make and every thought we think. He not only sees what we do, but He sees our intent; our heart. Some have made the mistake of developing a false sense of security based on their precise calculations of events. These servants obviously do not expect the Master to return anytime soon. They are deceived by the devil into forgetting that they are accountable to God and that He will judge their works and reward or punish accordingly. There is severe punishment for an evil servant. “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” is a phrase used to describe despair. It will not be well for the evil servant and there will be no excuses that will save him from his punishment. Those who choose the world for their portion in this life will have hell for their portion in the next.

We have no idea when our time on earth will be up – whether we die or see Jesus’ return. Our Lord’s coming will be happy to those who are found ready, but terrible to those who are not! God’s coming judgment is as certain as Jesus’ return to earth. When He comes, we will have no time to suddenly try to fix things. We are not to live irresponsibly — we are not to just sit and wait and do nothing; we are not to be self-serving, running after worldly pleasures; or using the Lord’s tarrying as an excuse not to do the work of building His kingdom. Jesus told us to be ready and so we should always live ready and be ready for His return. It has nothing to do with the date He is coming; it has to do with occupying until He comes and doing our part out of our absolute respect for Him as Lord and Master. When the Lord comes, may He find us walking in love and being a blessing to others and pointing them always to Him!

The Blessings of Persecution

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

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11 NKJV

Every true “Mark 16:15-18” believer will suffer persecution, but there are blessings that come from being persecuted.

Blessing #1: Perfection
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?  2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

Opposition and persecution make you look at yourself critically to know whether you are truly in the will of God in your life – in your attitude, your words, your actions and your direction. Measure yourself – not by man’s opinion – but by the standards set by the Word of God. Do not be selective in your scriptures, but receive the whole of God’s Word as though it were spoken directly to you. As you consider your own self and allow the Lord to prune your branches, you are refined and perfected in your faith.

Blessing #2: Establishment in the faith
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:11-12 NIV

Persecution will either drive you stronger into your faith in God or away from it. If you do not yield to the pressure, you will certainly come through stronger than before. We are also strengthened by each other’s faith as we stand together and stand strong through persecution. As the saying goes – what doesn’t kill you makes you better!

Blessing #3: Spiritual strength
Greek: sthenos (NT:4599), to bind together and strengthen so there will be no danger of warping, splitting, or falling apart. Only used here. The Lord – His Spirit and His Word – is the source of our strength through every, and any, trial and temptation we may face. Just as the muscles of our body are strengthened by exercise and use, so our spiritual strength is built and developed by use; by standing strong in the Lord.

Blessing #4: Becoming settled or grounded in the faith
Greek: themelioo (NT:2311), good foundation. To be settled means to not be moved. Being grounded in something means that you have become deeply familiar with it – you know that you know. Founded – grounded – in the faith. Nothing built, that stands the test of time, does so without a good, strong foundation. There are no shortcuts to a good foundation – it takes time, effort and skill. Your foundations are built and settled as you grow and are established through the tough times.

Blessing #5: Persecution helps to spread the Gospel further abroad
At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. 4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. Acts 8:1-6 NKJV

Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
Acts 11:19-21 NKJV

At the time that the Church was scattered by the persecution, they were most likely not too happy. However, it ended up in being highly beneficial because the Gospel was successfully preached in all the places they went to along the way.

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Philippians 1:12-14 NKJV

Even though Paul was in chains, he continued to boldly teach and preach the Gospel. This inspired the rest of the Church to be bolder and to preach with no fear. In this day and age, it seems that the Church will do anything to avoid persecution. They will even compromise God’s Word to be liked. This makes the Church weak. Persecution sorts the men out from the boys; it is a sifting process – each person will have to decide whose side they are on; because of this, persecution causes the Church to be strong and pure.

Testimony by T. Mitchell

I feel like the highest call God has given me is to raise godly children that will shine forth his glory and to be a supportive wife to my husband. I see myself standing not behind but by my husband’s side in the ministry helping to hold up his hand. I see myself training up our children in the way they should go and they will NOT depart from it.

Rodney Howard Browne brings good news to Cocoa Florida

This site is protected by wp-copyrightpro.com