BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED ME

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

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]. 8 He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. 

1 John 4:7-8 AMP

God is love and only those who really know God have His agape love flowing out of them.

In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.  1 John 4:9-10 AMP

God clearly demonstrated His deep love toward us when He sent His only begotten Son to die so that we might live.

Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another. 12 No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us!  1 John 4:11-12 AMP

If God loves us so much, then we ought to also love each other. Even though we cannot see God, we can walk in His love and His love can become fully developed and mature within us.

By this we come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit. 14 And [besides] we ourselves have seen (have deliberately and steadfastly contemplated) and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son [as the] Savior of the world. 15 Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.

1 John 4:13-15 AMP

God makes His home in you and you make your home in Him when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him.  1 John 4:16AMP

We know that God loves us because He says so in His Word and because we have experienced His love. If we want to continue to live in Him and He in us, we must continue to walk in love.

In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].  1 John 4:17-18 AMP

As we continue to walk with God and as we continue to allow Him to work in our hearts, then love is brought into completion in us, because as He is, so are we in this world. We can then come boldly into His presence, with no fear of punishment, because we are confident of the love that God has for us.

We love Him, because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19 AMP

We love him because we know how much He loves us. He reached out to love us first, before we knew Him or anything about Him at all.

If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detests, abominates) his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen. 21 And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [believer] also.  1 John 4:20-21 AMP

God commands us to love our brothers and sisters. The most compelling proof that we love God is that we love our brothers and sisters as well. If we say we love God and yet we do not love our neighbor, then we are lying – we do not really love God at all.

THE JOY OF THE PEACEABLE FRUIT SET BEFORE US

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

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, 2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. 4 You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.  Hebrews 12:1-4 AMP

In today’s world, we have so many wonderful conveniences – clean water, an abundance of fresh foods, mechanized transportation, electricity, refrigeration, computers, state of the art medical care, electronic communication and many other things that make our life very much easier than that of our ancestors. The danger is that we can, and have, become soft, lazy, dependant, and spoiled. We are in danger of becoming selfish, self-centered and unwilling to make even small necessary sacrifices. We want to have our cake and we want to eat it too. We refuse to endure anything that doesn’t feel good – even if it is good for us. We insist on our own rights and our own way – even at the expense of others.

Jesus, in contrast, made the ultimate sacrifice without reservation. He withstood enormous pressure to not follow through with the suffering that lay before Him – the rejection, the verbal abuse, the physical abuse, the incredibly painful death and on top of that, the weight of the world’s sin and His own Father laying the judgment and sentence of a sinner upon Him, Who was sinless and undeserving. He went forward to face His destiny, no matter what He had to endure, for thejoy that was set before Him. We are His joy – He endured it all for the joy of seeing you and me transformed by the power of God – delivered from darkness and translated into the light – gloriously adopted into the family of God.

And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; 6 For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. 7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? 8 Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. Hebrews 12:5-8 AMP

Children need a lot of love and a lot of discipline. Parents, who love their children, will do their best to prepare them to function in the world as mentally, physically, sociologically, and physiologically healthy adults. A parent who does not love and discipline their child has abdicated their divine responsibility. Discipline is not only necessary, but it is essential to healthy growth and development. A parent, who loves their children will take the time and make the effort to train their child. Training includes teaching them the right things to do and correcting them when they do the wrong thing. A child without love and discipline is like an illegitimate child – no one has claimed them and no one cares enough about him/her to help them to grow up to become a healthy adult.

The Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves and He punishes every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. The way that God teaches us is through His Word. The way He disciplines us is by His Spirit. The way He “spanks” us is through His Word and by His Spirit. When you mess up and you feel how grieved the Holy Spirit is, you would almost rather have a real spanking. When you love God, you want to do the right thing to please Him, because you love Him and He loves you, not just because you fear the consequences of disobedience.

We need to submit to the discipline of the Lord, even though it might be unpleasant and uncomfortable at the moment, as we focus on the joy that is set before us – the joy of godliness, the joy of being free from the control of the devil, free from the bondage of sin, and free from the limitations of the flesh!

THE JOY OF THE PEACEABLE FRUIT SET BEFORE US – 2

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

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross, despised and ignored the shame for the joy that was set before Him and He is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. He did not allow His own feelings, needs, and desires to get in the way of His destiny and His reward. Hebrews 5:8-9 says that although He was the Son of God, He learned obedience through what He suffered and this completed experience made Him perfectly equipped to became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who hear and obey Him. Why do we think that it will be any different for any one of us? If Jesus was perfected through what He endured, then so will we be refined and perfected through what we endure.

God is not the author of sin, sickness, disease, lack or any other bad thing and they are not God’s perfect will for us – God’s perfect will for man was the peace and joy of the Garden of Eden. However, because we live on the earth, we are periodically exposed to these unpleasant things. We have the opportunity to be swallowed up and taken out by them or we can press in to God and His Word and can grow stronger. Even if the devil doesn’t manage to destroy some people by sickness or disease, he tries to destroy them slowly by causing them to become bitter and resentful toward God. God isn’t even their problem, but it suits them to blame Him and get mad at Him.

God has provided everything for us that we need and He gave us His Handbook, the Bible, so that we can find out the keys to get it all. If we lack any good thing – it is not God’s fault – it is because we either don’t know the Word or because we don’t act on the Word. We need to discipline ourselves to become obedient to the Spirit of God if we want to be blessed and if we want to prosper in every area of our life. A student who is not respectful to authority is a student who will not be able to learn what they need to learn. Proverbs 17:10 says that a reproof enters deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred lashes into a self-confident fool.

Hebrews 12:6-8 says that the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone He loves and He punishes the sons (and daughters) He accepts, welcomes to His heart and cherishes. You must submit to and endure God’s correction for discipline, because He is dealing with you as a father with his children. All true fathers train and correct and discipline all their true children. Only illegitimate children have no father to train them.

Those whom I dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].   Revelation 3:19 AMP

Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live? 10 For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.  Hebrews 12:9-10 AMP

If earthly fathers train their children, correct them and even spank them when necessary – all for their good in the end – then shouldn’t we submit to our Heavenly Father’s correction and discipline? Shouldn’t we submit to the Word and to the Holy Spirit? Shouldn’t we put our flesh under and not let our flesh rule and control us? Shouldn’t we purge the sin from our lives and no longer allow it to manipulate us?

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].  Hebrews 12:11 AMP

Discipline is painful and unpleasant. However, the end result of a harvest of the peaceable fruit of righteousness is a priceless treasure. This fruit of peace is available only to those who have paid the price and have submitted their will to the will of God. Nothing can buy right standing with God – you have to submit to Him if you want His approval.

So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, 13 And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.  Hebrews 12:12-13 AMP

You are in charge of your life and your choices. You must choose to stand up for Jesus, lay your life down on the altar, and run the race to win. Allow God to do His work in your heart and in your life until He is satisfied that you are ready and prepared for all that He has for you. There is a great and wonderful prize set before you – the wonderful joy of a life that is fulfilled and complete and at peace with God.

THE GOSPEL IS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE POWER OF GOD

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

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

The message of the Gospel is so simple, so powerful, and so anointed that it does not need to be preached with fancy words in order to be effectively communicated to people. People whose hearts are not open to the Gospel story think that it is absurd nonsense, but those who have opened their hearts to the Gospel and received it, through faith, have seen and experienced the manifestation of the power of God.

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

God cannot be found in the multitude of man’s philosophy. Philosophy is a product of the human brain – the carnal mind. They see the Gospel as mere foolishness. The more they try to understand God, the less they do understand Him. The carnal mind is an enemy of God. Romans 8:6-7 AMP says, “Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [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.” Unless you approach the Gospel with an open mind and a heart of faith, you will never receive it or understand it. Philosophy wants to figure it out and understand it before it believes it, but faith simply receives and accepts it as it is, and therefore understands it.

For while Jews [demandingly] ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom, 23 We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. 24 But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. 25[This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 1:22-25 AMP

Unbelief will blind your eyes to the truth. The Jews had already decided how the Messiah would come and what He would do. Because of their preconceived ideas and religious conceit, their eyes were blinded to the truth. The Jews closed their minds and would not accept Jesus for Who He was – they did not consider or recognize the fruit of His ministry before or after His death – and they refused to believe that He was Who He said He was. Even though He performed miracles in front of their very eyes, they were not satisfied. Instead of believing in Him for the miracles they had seen, they asked for more miracles. As the saying goes, “There are none so blind, as those who will not see.”  The truth cannot be found by those who do not want to know or acknowledge the truth.

The Gospel is diametrically opposed to human wisdom, which has its source in carnality and worldliness. Human wisdom is contaminated by sin, demonic ideas and the lusts of the flesh. The Gentiles value human philosophy, education and intellectual pursuits, which do not accommodate the truth of the Gospel. They stumble over the simplicity of the Gospel. They are so much “in their head” that they cannot receive the truth that is right in front of their face. They have set ideas and cannot receive anything that goes against their view of life. They do not leave room for anything different from what they already perceive as truth. Because they can’t make sense of it, they do not appreciate its value.

God never does things in a certain way just because we expect Him to and He is not limited to our idea of Him. It is we who must open up our hearts and accept and believe His word just as it is. It is we who must receive Him for Who He says He is, by faith, in order to experience the power of His word in our lives.

THE LORD IS YOUR BENEFACTOR

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

David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 AMP

David was a worshiper. He praised God morning, noon, and night. He praised Him in the good times and he praised Him in the tough times. He trusted completely in the Lord at all times and in all things – especially when he was under pressure. He reminded himself of what God had promised; he reminded himself of what God had already done; he reminded himself of what he was expecting God to do.

In you, O Lord, do I put my trust and confidently take refuge; let me never be put to shame or confusion! 2 Deliver me in Your righteousness and cause me to escape; bow down Your ear to me and save me! 3 Be to me a rock of refuge in which to dwell, and a sheltering stronghold to which I may continually resort, which You have appointed to save me, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. 4 Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the grasp of the unrighteous and ruthless man. 5 For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence. 6 Upon You have I leaned and relied from birth; You are He Who took me from my mother’s womb and You have been my benefactor from that day. My praise is continually of You. 7 I am as a wonder and surprise to many, but You are my strong refuge. 8 My mouth shall be filled with Your praise and with Your honor all the day.  Psalms 71:1-8 AMP

When David was being persecuted and hunted down, accused and abused, he did not trust the arm of the flesh; he did not trust his own wisdom or ability; but he went straight to God and entreated Him to move on his behalf and protect and deliver him. David believed that God was his Rock and he expected God to be his Rock. He put all his hope, trust and confidence in God. God was his hope and the source of his confidence. David recognized God’s hand upon him from his birth. The Lord, alone, was his benefactor – the One who met his every need. Even though people did not think much of David, God did, and God promoted and blessed David in the eyes of the nation. It’s not about who you are – it’s about who is in you and for you that counts.

So many people allow what other people think of them to shape how they see themselves. You will stay in bondage and live within limits so long as you fear man and man’s opinions. You will have a breakthrough when you realize that no man can promote you and no man can hold you back! You need to find out what God says about you and break free from the limits you have set for yourself because of other people’s limitations and negative expectations.

God is your benefactor! He will bless you, protect you, provide for you, and promote you. When other people see you rise up in wisdom and into prominence and into prosperity, they might be shocked and amazed. You may be the last person they expected to see raised up into greatness – you may be a wonder and a surprise to many people – but it is because you have made God your strong refuge; because you put your hope and trust in Him alone. He is the source of your confidence. Most people never do great things because they believe they can’t. Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Some people say, “You are what you eat.” The Bible says, “You are what you think!”

How do you break free from the limitations of mediocrity and the bondage of self-doubt? Not just by believing in yourself. You need to place your trust in God alone. He is your hope and your confidence. When you press in to Him, when you stand on His word – receiving it for yourself, believing it and acting on it – you will begin to rise up and do things and say things that you would never have dared before. Your confidence is not in the arm of the flesh, but in God Almighty! He is the One who will lift you up; He is the One who will place your feet on the rock; He is the One who will promote you and cause you to succeed. You need to humble your heart before Him and don’t allow pride in your success to puff you up. Never forget your benefactor; never neglect to give Him the glory and the honor; never take the credit for yourself; and He will continue to be your strong refuge. He will continue to cause you to succeed in everything you put your hand to!

Be Still and Know

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

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalms 46:10-11 NKJV

BE STILL! KNOW that HE is GOD! Men and women, all over the world, are working and striving to come to know God their own way. There is a way to know God, but it is not man’s way, it is God’s way!

You can never know God by trying to figure things out in your mind – your carnal mind is enmity against God (Romans 8:7). Your senses can be trained to know God, but you can only come to know God with your heart. You must be still – cease from your efforts – and allow God to direct you into His ways. It is only when you still your mind, stop trying to figure everything out, and cease from your works program, that God can begin to reach you. God is always speaking and showing Himself to mankind, but men are so busy doing all the talking and doing that they cannot hear or see Him. It is time to BE STILL so God can have His way in and through us! God has all the answers – it is up to us to still our own minds, with all our own solutions, and hear what God is saying to us.

So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; 10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. 11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

Hebrews 4:9-11 AMP

BE STILL! There is a rest reserved for God’s people. It is a rest of faith. People struggle so hard with faith in God and His promises, because they think that the answer comes only by their work and effort. Whilst it is true that faith requires corresponding action, God says that faith is a rest. Unbelief and disobedience will keep you from that rest. Some people think they have faith toward God, when in fact their faith is actually all in their own efforts. They have faith in their own works. The rest of faith is faith in God alone – stepping back and allowing God to do it. Some people think that faith is the same as determination – if they mentally commit and decide that something will happen, that it will. They believe that they can make things happen through sheer force of will, but they are bound to be disappointed. You can’t make something happen with your own mind. While it is true that you can accomplish some things through your will and determination, there are just some things that will never happen without God’s intervention. Some things will never come to pass without faith in God and His ability.

You can only have faith in God for something He has promised you – either in a general sense as a promise in scripture, or as a word spoken directly to you by the Spirit of God – not just in something that you want. Anything God promises you will always line up with His word. Once you know what God has said, you place your trust in Him to bring it to pass. You do your part, but you allow Him to lead and guide and open the doors along the way. You pray and then you begin to rejoice – you praise Him and you thank Him until you see the end result – and then you praise and thank him some more! No matter how challenging the circumstances, there should be a peace in your heart! We have a saying in our ministry: If you have to force it – it’s not God! If we are heading in a direction and are blocked at every turn, then we back off and allow God to change our direction. If God is the author of it, then He will fulfill it.

It is important for us to cease from the weariness and pain of human labors and to be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter God’s rest. Don’t work at carrying the whole load – work at entering His rest. How do we do this? We must pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on us. Some people pray like it all depends on them and work like it all depends on God. God will not do your job – He will not do what you can do – and you cannot do His job, so don’t even try. Everyone knows that you can work better when your heart is at peace. Even your work then becomes a joy and a labor of love, instead of a life-draining, joy-killing drudge! Take a spiritual vacation!

BE STILL! Being still means: that you recognize God and His Lordship over your life; that you know that He is in charge and in control; that you have cast your cares on Him; that you know that He will see you through! Even in the middle of chaos you can be still on the inside. Take time to step back and plug in to heaven. If you feel like your world is coming undone – switch it off for a moment and focus on God and His word. Allow His word and His Spirit to minister to you and He will refresh you and renew your hope and your spirit.

Good Fruit

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

I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.  John 15:5 AMP

God uses growing things – plants; fruit – as examples when He talks about our relationship with Him, how He expects us to behave, and what He expects us to do. He expects us to be grafted into Him, to abide in Him, and to bring forth good fruit. The Spirit realm created the natural world and similar laws apply. Know that there are no shortcuts with God or with the Word of God. You cannot manufacture or fake fruit – good fruit is produced only under the right conditions – with the right amount of sunlight, water, and good soil.

Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.  Romans 7:4 AMP

Jesus died and was raised from the dead – like a seed that is planted in the ground has to die before it can grow and produce fruit. We can bear fruit for God because of His resurrection power at work in us.

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.  Matthew 7:16-20 NIV

Either make the tree sound (healthy and good), and its fruit sound (healthy and good), or make the tree rotten (diseased and bad), and its fruit rotten (diseased and bad); for the tree is known and recognized and judged by its fruit.  Matthew 12:33 AMP

The tree is recognized by its fruit. If the tree is corrupt, rotten, diseased, and bad, then the fruit is corrupt, rotten, diseased, and bad. Be a good tree. Your roots – the foundation of your life – your heart must be good. You must be grafted into God; you must draw your life from Jesus, the Vine.

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].  Galatians 5:22-23 AMP

For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life.
Ephesians 5:9 AMP

You can’t bring forth fruit in your own ability. The only way to bring forth good fruit in your life is to yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work in you and through you.

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].  Hebrews 12:11 AMP

The fruit-bearing process involves yielding to God’s correction and discipline. We produce good fruit when we conform to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action – when we carry His heart and when we completely do what He asks of us.

The fruit of the [uncompromisingly] righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise captures human lives [for God, as a fisher of men–he gathers and receives them for eternity].  Proverbs 11:30 AMP

The fruit that is produced in you as you grow and abide in the Lord becomes a tree of life and a blessing to other people.

The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. 13 Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14[Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. 15[They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.  Psalms 92:12-15 AMP

The righteous are compared to palm trees and the cedars of Lebanon. They are planted in God’s house; they flourish in His courts; they grow in grace; they bring forth fruit – even in old age; they are fat and flourishing; full of sap; full of life; their fruit is plentiful and delicious; they are living memorials to God’s righteousness and faithfulness!

 

GOD’S WORD FOR RAISING GREAT KIDS

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

MY FAMILY

Children are a blessing from God. Many people treat them as if they are anything but a blessing. They will be more of a blessing if you apply God’s Word in the way you raise them. Stand on God’s Word for your family. Believe His promises.

For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.  Psalms 147:13 NKJ

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.  Psalms 127:3-5 NKJ

The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.  Proverbs 20:7 NKJ

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.  Psalms 128:3 NKJ

A wise child is an incredible blessing, but a foolish child will bring years of pain and grief. Foolish, undisciplined children disrespect their parents. Your children will give you the respect due you as a parent if you discipline, correct, teach and train them as the Word of God instructs. Protect your children and be careful over their friends and whom they associate with.

A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.  Proverbs 10:1 NAS

A wise son makes a glad father, but a self-confident and foolish man despises his mother and puts her to shame.  Proverbs 15:20 AMP

A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.  Proverbs 17:25 NKJ

Whoever keeps the law [of God and man] is a wise son, but he who is a companion of gluttons and the carousing, self-indulgent, and extravagant shames his father.  Proverbs 28:7 AMP

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.  Proverbs 23:24-25 NKJ

Take responsibility for the raising of your own children. You shape their future! Eli got in trouble with God because he allowed his sons to do whatever they wanted to do. Undisciplined, untrained children lose out on their inheritance —spiritual and material.

Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.   Proverbs 22:6 AMP

A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share in the inheritance among brothers.  Proverbs 17:2 NAS

Don’t be shocked when your kid does dumb stuff. They are kids! You will need patience and you will need to be consistent in your discipline and training ­—not just for a day —for at least 18 years!

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.  Proverbs 22:15 AMP

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left undisciplined brings his mother to shame.  Proverbs 29:15 AMP

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your heart.  Proverbs 29:17 AMP

Withhold not discipline from the child; for if you strike and punish him with the [reedlike] rod, he will not die. 14 You shall whip him with the rod and deliver his life from Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).  Proverbs 23:13-14 AMP

He who spares his rod [of discipline] hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines diligently and punishes him early.  Proverbs 13:24 AMP (…disciplines him promptly NKJ)

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.  Proverbs 19:18 KJV (…do not be a willing party to his death. NIV)

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.  Proverbs 29:17 NKJ (…he will give you peace…NIV)

A child is accountable for his/her attitude and behavior just the same as an adult. “He’s just a kid” is a cop out. Kids are responsible for themselves and should be held accountable.

Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.
Proverbs 20:11 NKJ

Your leadership style in the home relates directly to your leadership style in other areas. You can act like you have it all together out there, but back home your kids know the real story! Your first responsibility is your own family. You cannot abdicate your familial responsibilities and then expect God to use you in the church. If you want a leadership role in the church you must be a leader in your home. Show some character and integrity in your home and you will be fit to minister to the Body of Christ!

He must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control, with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and keeping them respectful. 5 For if a man does not know how to rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?  1 Timothy 3:4-5 AMP

Let deacons be the husbands of but one wife, and let them manage [their] children and their own households well.  1 Timothy 3:12 AMP

[These elders should be] men who are of unquestionable integrity and are irreproachable, the husband of [but] one wife, whose children are [well trained and are] believers, not open to the accusation of being loose in morals and conduct or unruly and disorderly.  Titus 1:6 AMP (…wild and disobedient NIV)

PRAYING FOR THE NATION


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

Foundation scriptures: Jeremiah 29:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-6

 

This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. 6 Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away. 7 Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 The Message Bible

 

First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, 2 For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. 3 For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, 4 Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth. 5 For there [is only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 Who gave Himself as a ransom for all [people, a fact that was] attested to at the right and proper time.  1 Timothy 2:1-6 AMP

 

  1. It is the will of God that we pray for our nation and for those in positions of authority. This is for our own welfare and benefit.
  2. Under the unction of the Holy Spirit, Paul exhorts us – he admonishes and urges us – to offer petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all men, beginning with those who are in positions of authority.
  3. When God commands us to pray for something specific – like for our leaders – we should take it personally and hear and obey Him.
  4. Remember – God is in control! He is the one who brings kings up and brings kings down.
  5. Daniel 2:21a says that God, “changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings.” The ERV (Easy to Read Version) says: He gives power to kings, and he takes their power away.
  6. Proverbs 8:15-16 KJV – By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
  7. We have less than 2 weeks – we have to pray for God’s will to be done!

 

  1. God has given us both the authority and the responsibility – we must use it.
  2. Joshua 10:5-14 – many powerful enemies came out against Joshua and the Israelites, but God delivered them into their hands. They needed more time, so Joshua commanded the sun and the moon to stand still.
  3. God supernaturally gave the Israelites one whole extra day of sunlight so that they could defeat their enemies.
  4. Joshua commanded the sun and the moon to stand still – for a reason – to fight and win the battle!
  5. John 9:4 AMP – We must work the works of Him Who sent Me and be busy with His business while it is daylight; night is coming on, when no man can work.
  6. The sun is fast setting on the horizon of time – we must have some more daylight for the harvest to come in.
  7. I am convinced that God will grant us a few more hours of daylight to bring in this harvest!

 

  1. We must press in to pray for America.
  2. Pray for this nation to be shaken.
  3. Pray the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers.
  4. Pray for the provision for the laborers to reap the harvest.

 

  1. America MUST have another Great Awakening!
  2. America is not ready for what is coming.
  3. We have got to move quickly!
  4. Zechariah 10:1 AMP – Ask of the Lord rain in the time of the latter or spring rain. It is the Lord Who makes lightnings which usher in the rain and give men showers, and grass to everyone in the field.
  5. We, the Church, are living right now in this prophesied season of the latter rain – the spring rain.
  6. You can ask God for rain and He will give it to you.

House of Joy!

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

What are the Houses of Joy all about? We are looking for fruit that will remain, fruit in your own life, and fruit that you will help develop in others. We desire eternal fruit that will remain for the kingdom of God!

1. You have a ministry!

• Ephesians 4:11-16 Amplified

2. Fellowship

• Fellowship is one way that we will come into the unity of the faith.

• Acts 2:42, Proverbs 27:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:11

3. Prayer

• If you are going to come into the knowledge of the Son of God, it will not happen without prayer. Prayer produces intimacy with Jesus! I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4).

• We must pray for each other.

• James 5:16, 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Ephesians 6:18-19

4. Care

• We must lovingly express care for each other.

• 1 Corinthians 12:25-26, Galatians 6:2-5, Hebrews 10:24-25

5. Evangelism

• This is what causes the body to grow.

• Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel, and make disciples.

• Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15, Proverbs 11:30

• You must preach the gospel before you can make disciples.

• When you become a disciplined follower, you will become a fisher of men!

6. Discipleship

• Discipleship causes the saints to mature, producing more fruit!

• Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 10:38-39, Matthew 4:19

• What will I benefit from being in a discipleship relationship?

You’ll experience growth in knowledge and spiritual understanding. You’ll have mature leaders praying for you and your family. You’ll develop new Christian friends. You will learn to be a part of the vision. You will learn how to minister to others. You will be known by church leadership. You will learn how to witness and to win souls. You will experience the blessing of unity. You will learn commitment, faithfulness, and accountability. You will discover the gifts and talents that God has given to you!

• You know that you’re discipling people like Jesus did if your disciples are making disciples!

• John 15:8-14

• As you disciple others, you will continue to grow and produce more fruit in your own life, resulting in more joy!

The Great Awakening Tour