HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD by Rodney Howard Browne

Rodney Howard Browne teaches the Foundation Scriptures: Romans 8:14

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Romans 8:14 AMP

I.  The sons of God are led by His Spirit.

· As a child of God, one of the greatest and most important things that you and I can learn and master is the ability to hear God’s voice and to be led by the Spirit.

· Romans 8:16

· NKJV – The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

· AMP – The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.

· Proverbs 20:27 KJV – The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

· God will enlighten us; He will guide us; through our spirits.

II. Rodney Howard Browne explains that we need to become Spirit-conscious.

· 1 Thessalonians 5:23 KJV – And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

· I am a Spirit being—I have a soul—I live in a body.

· Your Spirit is instantly made a New Creation when you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

· Your soul is a work in progress.

· The difference between Spirit and soul:

· Hebrews 4:12 AMP – For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

· 1 Corinthians 14:14 NKJV – For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

· James 1:18-21 NKJV – Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. 19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

· You cannot receive the Word of God or the things of the Spirit of God while you are filled with the spirit of the world and yielding yourself to sin and uncleanness.

· Present your body to the Lord:

· Romans 12:1 NKJV – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

· 1 Corinthians 9:27 NKJV – But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.


III.  Rodney Howard Browne shows the Number One way God leads us is through the Inward Witness.

· God does not lead you through your head – your thoughts – He leads you only through your spirit man!

· He leads you through an inward intuition.

· When God leads you in a direction, you might feel: a desire in your spirit toward that thing; a peace; a green light; or a go-ahead.

· When you are heading in the wrong direction God will restrain you, you might feel: a check; a red light; or be grieved in your spirit.

· 1 John 5:10 NKJV – He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.

· Romans 8:16 AMP – The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.

· 1 John 3:24 NKJV – Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

· 1 John 3:14 NKJV – We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

· Ezekiel 36:26-27 NKJV – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

· Never put out a fleece.

· Judges 6:36-40 NKJV – So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said — 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

· The enemy can influence circumstances.


IV.  Rodney Howard Browne teaches us to follow the Inward Witness.

· Psalms 18:28 NKJV – For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

· Isaiah 28:16 KJV – Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

· You can train your spirit and you can trust the inward witness of the Spirit to lead and guide you.

Give Us a King

All the elders of Israel assembled and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 And said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint us a king to rule over us like all the other nations. 6 But it displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to govern us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be King over them. 1 Samuel 8:4-7 AMP

Samuel felt that the people were rejecting his leadership, by asking for a king, but God assured him that they were not rejecting Samuel, but they were actually rejecting God and His leadership in their lives! For about 1,400 years – from Abraham to Samuel – the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been under a theocracy, ruled by God alone. Now they wanted a king – like the other nations around them – to unite and lead their nation and to judge them and fight their battles. They knew that Samuel’s sons were not fit to lead them, but they were not content to allow God to raise up their next leader. They wanted laws, an army and a human monarch in place of God.

The people wanted to run their nation by human strength instead of God’s strength – a move destined for failure. They wanted a new system of government – someone else to take responsibility for them; to tell them what to do. They traded their freedom for the “comfort and security” of a human system of control. They thought a king would fix all their problems and bring a positive change to their nation, but because their basic problem was disobedience toward God, under a new administration, their problems would not simply go away. They couldn’t see that they were already free men under God. Instead of lifting a burden, they were heaping more burdens upon themselves. They did not need uniform rule, but rather unified faith! If we ask God to lead our family or personal life, but continue to live by the world’s standards and values, it means that our obedience is weak. Our faith in God has to touch all the practical areas of life.

God did not want them to have a king, because they would look to man and forget that God was their leader. God wanted them to be free – to be accountable only to Him. He wanted to prevent the slavery that results from unscrupulous leaders. If they would only have submitted to God’s leadership over them, they would have thrived. God wanted to give them the freedom to serve only Him and to work and produce only for God and themselves. Having a king, however, would mean that they would lose their personal freedoms and that they would have to work for and pay for the king and his government.

In 1 Samuel 8:8-17 AMP the Lord spoke to Samuel saying: According to all the works which they have done since I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they also do to you. So listen now to their voice; only solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them. So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked of him a king. And he said, These will be the ways of the king who shall reign over you:

1. He will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.

2. He will appoint them for himself to be commanders over thousands and over fifties,

3. He will appoint some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest

4. He will appoint some to make his implements of war and equipment for his chariots.

5. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.

6. He will take your fields, your vineyards, and your olive orchards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

7. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants.

8. He will take your men and women servants and the best of your cattle and your donkeys and put them to his work.

9. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves shall be his slaves.

We can either trust in God or we can trust in man. God asks for a tithe of the blessing He pours out upon us and He promises to continue to abundantly bless us as we serve and honor him. Except for the tithe, all the produce of the work of our hands is ours to enjoy. On the other hand, the government of man demands more and more of our own resources and makes us work to support them instead of our own families. We can see even in modern times, the more the people look to the government of man for support and sustenance, the more they give up – in freedoms and in prosperity. The government of man sees the people as their own personal piggy bank – there to meet their needs. The people become objects to be used and exploited.

God, however, sees us as His precious children – with value and worth – there for Him to bless and protect! It’s our choice whom we will serve. We can serve, honor and obey God as a nation and walk in prosperity and peace, or we can trust in the arm of the flesh and we can live as slaves to the system like all the other sinners, with only the illusion of freedom. When you have chosen to look only to man, and replaced God with government for your leadership and rule, then don’t expect the blessing of God on your life, because, unfortunately, it won’t be there.

In that day you will cry out because of your king you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not hear you then. 19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, No! We will have a king over us, 20 That we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles. 21 Samuel heard all the people’s words and repeated them in the Lord’s ears. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken to their voice and appoint them a king. And Samuel said to the men of Israel, Go every man to his city. 1 Samuel 8:18-22 AMP

Sound Instruction for a Blessed Life – Part Two

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine. Titus 2:1 NKJV

But [as for] you, teach what is fitting and becoming to sound (wholesome) doctrine [the character and right living that identify true Christians]. Titus 2:1 AMP

If we follow God’s guidelines in all things, we will prosper in all that we do. God’s Word gives us instructions and directions for every area of life.

4. Four Commands to Young Men:

Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Titus 2:6-8 NKJV

a. To be sober minded. To be of sound mind, or to be in your right mind, sane, and moderate. It seems as if young men are usually the complete opposite of this instruction. However, by the power of God, young men can be just as sober-minded and sensible as the older and more experienced men can.

b. To be a pattern of good works. Doing good works is one thing, but a pattern of good works means that you have a good character. God desires to see good character in all of us, and especially in young men. Many people excuse bad behavior in young men by saying. “Boys will be boys,” but God expects more of you. Young men should submit their lives to God and His word so that they can set their lives on a good course. The belief that young men need to “sow their wild oats” before marriage is a carnal, ungodly idea. God expects young men, who are believers, to conduct themselves in a godly way from their youth into adulthood. God needs godly men to be leaders of families, of communities, and of nations.

c. To be uncorrupt, grave, and sincere in teaching. In doctrine, show integrity, reverence, and incorruptibility. A young man raised in the ways of the world is not fit to instruct others, but a young man, raised in God’s word, has a great deal of wisdom to share with others – not because of worldly experience, but because of instruction in wisdom through the Word of God. It is vitally important that God’s word be taught – pure and uncorrupted.

d. To have sound speech that cannot be condemned. Sound speech is the kind of speech that will put your opponents to shame, and they will have nothing evil to say of you. Ephesians 4:29 AMP says, “Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.” Sound words are words that are in harmony with the Word of God. The word “sound” used here means sound and whole. It means healing words – the Gospel of healing for spirit, soul and body.

5. Five Commands to Servants:

Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

Titus 2:9-10 NKJV

This advice is good for employees and employers as much as for slaves and masters. God does not condone slavery, but since people insisted on keeping slaves, He gave direction to masters how to treat their servants and vice versa. The Bible gives bosses and workers godly instruction. Bosses should be kind, as well as firm, and workers should be faithful and loyal to their boss.

a. Be obedient. You will prosper in your employment if you are willing to take orders and to do what your boss asks you to do. Obey your own boss; respect the line of command. Do not allow others to undermine your boss, by obeying them above your boss.

b. Please your boss in all things. When you are obedient to the Word of God, you will please your boss. Your good attitude will earn you his/her respect.

c. Do not contradict or dispute orders. Do as you are told, with a good attitude. You are not always aware of the big picture, so cooperate with your boss without arguing or disputing. One day when you are in charge, you will want people to trust and obey you. Do not sow the seeds of discord, for you will reap them in the future.

d. Do not steal the goods of the master entrusted to you. “Thou shalt not steal” is the eighth of the Ten Commandments. An employee who steals is unfaithful and disloyal, and he opens the door to the devil to rob from his own life. One, who steals, is dishonoring God and harming his neighbor. He has no respect for God, and is an enemy, not a friend. Ephesians 4:28 NKJV says, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands w that hat is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”

e. Show faithfulness in all things. Jesus said that if you were faithful with that which belongs to another man, God would give you that which is your own. He also said that you are faithful in little; you will be faithful in much, and that if you are faithful with money, you can be trusted with the things of the Spirit. Faithfulness brings promotion.

When it comes time to hand out promotions, the boss will be much more likely to promote a person of integrity, who does all these things above, than someone who has a bad attitude, is dishonest, and unfaithful. These are instructions for a successful and godly life.

God’s Children Lack No Good Thing

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

Psalm 34:9-10  (NKJ)
9 Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.

There is no lack and no want to those who fear the Lord and who seek Him.  If you love and respect God and serve Him with all your heart, then you will always have what you need.  The Word of God promises and assures us of that.

Psalm 23:1  (NKJ)
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Word says that we, the Lord’s sheep, will not want.  Not – we might want.  Not – we hope we will not want. But – we will not want!   If Jesus is your shepherd, you will not want.  You will not experience lack.  If this is not your current state, then you need to stand up and claim God’s Word and His promises for your life and decide that you will have what God says you can have – you will not want.

Psalm 37:25  (NKJ)
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.

Are you righteous?  Your heavenly Father will not leave you or let you down and your descendants will never need to beg from others or ask for a handout.

1Thessalonians 4:11-12  (NKJ)
11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as  we commanded you,
12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.

In order to be in a position where you lack nothing, the Word tells us that we must live a life of integrity.  We must mind our own business –  not mind everyone else’s – and we must work with our own hands.  We should not look to others to get what we want.  We must not wait for a handout or search continually for “get-rich-quick” schemes.  We must work hard, be honest and treat everyone fairly, Christians and non-Christians.

2 Corinthians 8:15  (NKJ)
15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

We must not be greedy.  Being greedy is a sure path to lack and want.

Proverbs 28:8  (NKJ)
8 One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion gathers it for him who will pity the poor.

Proverbs 28:27  (NKJ)
27 He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.

If you want to be free from lack, you must be a giver.  You must give to those who cannot give back to you.  Don’t give just to those who can bless you back.  You must give freely, with no strings attached and no ulterior motives.

As a child of God, you have all of God’s blessings available to you at anytime.  He promises you no want and no lack, and that’s what He does for you.  You must find out what you need to do to be on the receiving end of those blessings.  You must conform yourself to His image and to His Word and you will have the reality of His promises manifested in your life.

Raising up Godly Offspring – God’s Desire for our Families

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

Malachi 2:14-15  (KJV)

14        Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.

15        And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

 

The Lord brings a man and a woman together as one and a reason for this is so that they can bring forth godly offspring.

 

1 Samuel 2:12

12        Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

 

The priest, Eli, had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. They were rebellious and would not walk in the ways of God. When we don’t deal with rebellious attitudes in our heart, it leads to evil and can causes the downfall of other people, too. Hophni and Phinehas would not respect the offering of God or listen to their father and it cost them not only their own lives, but also it also caused their father’s death.

 

1 Samuel 2:17

17        Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.

 

1 Samuel 2:22

22        Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

 

Hophni and Phinehas despised the offerings of the Lord and were fornicating with many women. Their sin opened the door to the enemy and caused the presence and glory of God to depart from Israel and the Ark of the Covenant to be stolen by the Philistines.

 

1 Samuel 4:17-18

17        And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.

18        And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

 

When Eli had heard of the outcome and how that the Ark of God was stolen, it was too much for him and he fell over backward off his seat. Because he was an old and heavy man, he broke his neck and died. This was not the way that God had intended for his end to be. He would not deal with his sons and it cost him everything including all of their lives.

 

1 Samuel 4:19-22

19        And his daughter in law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her.

20        And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it.

21        And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.

22        And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.

 

This is a sad story of a whole family negatively affected, because they would not take heed to God and His Word and His ways. Any rebellion in our lives must be stamped out and our attitudes must be dealt with and brought in line with the Word of God. Without exception, this applies to the minister as well as the congregation member.

 

This rebellion and ungodliness in the family of the priest was one of the reasons why God had to raise up Samuel. God used Samuel to give a message to Eli about his family to say that God would judge him because he would not deal with his sons.

 

1 Samuel 3:11-14

11        And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.

12        In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.

13        For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

14        And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

 

To have a family that loves God and His Word should be our desire and our goal. We should teach our children to love and respect God and His Word so that we raise up godly seed that respect and revere Him all the days of their lives.

THE COMFORTER – PART 6 POWER TO PERFORM SIGNS, WONDERS, AND MIRACLES

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

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  Acts 10:38 KJV

This is a very important Bible verse. It tells us that the oppression of sin, sickness, disease and torment originate with the devil. He is the author and the perpetuator of all that is bad in the earth and in our lives – not God! This verse says that God was WITH Jesus. He ANOINTED Jesus with the HOLY GHOST and with POWER so that He could do GOOD and heal ALL who were oppressed by the devil. God is the author of all that is good. Healing and deliverance are GOOD! Healing and deliverance bring glory to God!

Jesus was the Son of God, born into the world in human form. He was sent to the earth for a specific purpose – to cut an everlasting, unbreakable covenant between God and man. He was the mediator between God and man – the bridge that allowed man to stand once more in the presence of Almighty God without sin and without fear of judgement. Jesus, as a man, grew up like other men. He spent thirty years studying the Word of God and submitting His life to that Word. He never once performed any miracles before the day that John baptized Him in water and God baptized Him in the Holy Ghost.

After He was baptized in the Holy Ghost, He began to preach the Word of God and to perform signs, wonders and miracles. He did not do these things because He was the Son of God. He did them firstly because He was meeting people’s needs and demonstrating the love of God to them and showing them what was available to them if they would keep covenant with God. He came to undo the destruction that the devil had wrought on the earth after the fall of man. Secondly, He was demonstrating to us the power and authority that WE can walk in when WE are baptized in the Holy Ghost.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.  Mark 16:15-20 NKJ

We are baptized in the Holy Ghost for a purpose – so that we can do the same thing that Jesus did – bring glory to God by delivering all those who are oppressed by the devil, sickness and sin! We are to preach the Gospel, baptizing all those, who receive God’s word, in water and the Holy Ghost. We are to cast out demons, speak with new tongues, operate in the gifts of the Spirit, lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Even accidents involving snakebites and any other poison will not be able to destroy our lives if we believe. (We should not tempt God by deliberately allowing ourselves to be poisoned or we will most likely find ourselves in heaven before our time!)

There are people today who say that only the disciples and apostles did signs and wonders and that it has all passed away now. They do that to explain the lack of power in their lives and the fact that they themselves are not baptized in the Holy Ghost or speaking in tongues! They say that they have the Holy Ghost, but I think maybe that they have as much of the Holy Ghost as some people who have a cup of water poured on them when they are “water baptized.” You can’t have a just a little sprinkle – you need to get dunked – YOU NEED TO BE SOAKED AND SATURATED IN HOLY GHOST POWER! The Holy Ghost is a free gift. Why would you refuse a free gift. “No thank you. I already have enough.” We can NEVER have enough of God. We need all we can get!

Some people even credit the devil with healing people. But the last time I checked, God is still our healer and the Bible still says that that God is the SAME yesterday, today and forever! Jesus told His disciples to preach the Gospel AND perform miracles. According to Acts 6:7, as more and more people were added to the church, the number of disciples increased greatly. God did not put a limitation on who could be a disciple, neither was it just for a certain time period. Every one of us who commits to God and submits to His word is a disciple. If signs and wonders followed the original disciples as they preached the word then if we are disciples today, signs and wonders should follow us as we preach the word.

Jesus spoke personally to His disciples and to the people who lived at that time in Israel. Through His word, He is still speaking to us today. If His word about love and forgiveness and repentance, etc. applies to people then and now, then His word pertaining to signs, wonders and miracles applies to people then and now. Jesus gave us our instructions and He has not come back yet to reverse them or change them. Until He says differently, we should be doing the last thing that He told us to do. Preaching the Gospel and performing miracles, healing delivering and setting people free by the power of the Holy Ghost!

HE IS NOT THE GOD OF THE DEAD BUT OF THE LIVING

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

But about the resurrection of the dead-have you not read what God said to you, `I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.  Matthew 22:31-32 NIV

God is the God of the living – not the dead. But whom is He talking about? Who are the living and who are the dead? There are those whose bodies are dead, yet their spirits live on eternally. There are those whose bodies are alive and yet on the inside they are dead.

The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.  1 Timothy 5:5-6 NIV

If we are dead to God and alive to sin, then we are dead even while we live. If we put selfish, worldly lusts and desires above and before God, then we are dead on the inside – even though our bodies are alive on this earth. Death is a state of being where a person is cut off from God. However, if we are dead to sin and alive unto Him, then we live – both now and eternally.

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Sonhas life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  1 John 5:11-12 NIV

If we have the Son, we have life. We will live eternally – alive unto God – even after our bodies fail us and pass away. The Bible tells us that God will give us a new body one day – a glorified body – free from sin and death. We will eventually return to live in God’s presence on the earth – in the New Jerusalem! However, if we do not have the Son and our body dies – our spirits will continue to exist, but death will reign in us and will hold us captive in hell. At that point we will experience physical, spiritual and eternal death – we are cut off from God for eternity.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26 NIV

If we believe in Jesus, we will live even though our body dies. If we believe in Jesus we will never truly experience death. We will just pass from one life into another. The flame of our existence will never be extinguished.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyonewho believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  John 3:14-18 NIV

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”  John 3:36 NIV

Until you believe in Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior, you live in a state of condemnation before God. You are alienated from the presence of God. If you die physically in that state – the Bible says that you go straight to hell. Some people think that God would not send people to hell because He is a God of love. Yes, He is a God of love – that is why He sent Jesus to die in our place. After that, it is our choice to make. We must choose Jesus if we want to live in peace and love and joy eternally. We must choose Jesus if we want to live at all.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.  John 5:24-26 NIV

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.  John 20:30-31 NIV

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because ofrighteousness.  Romans 8:10 NIV

CHILDREN ARE A HERITAGE OF THE LORD

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

Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.  May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel.  Psalms 128:1-6 NIV

The man who respects, honors and reverences the Lord and walks in his ways is blessed, his wife is blessed and his children are blessed. He and his wife are blessed with many children and they also live long enough to see their children blessed with children.

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.  Psalms 113:9 KJV

God is the One who blesses us with children. If we want children, we can stand on His promises that say that He will bless us with children. Not only does He promise to bless us with children and make us mothers, but He will make us joyful mothers as well. Bearing children and raising them is a joyful experience if it is in the Lord.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.  Psalms 127:3-5 KJV

God gives children to us. They are a blessing, a reward and an inheritance (birthright) from the Lord. We should always value and treasure them as God-given. Ultimately, they belong to God – He gives them to us for a season and He expects us to fear Him and to raise them to fear Him. He expects us to raise them and to teach them so honor and serve Him. He expects us to love them, to teach them that He loves them and to teach them to love Him. We are to teach them, train them and prepare them for a godly life and then to launch them out as arrows from a bow.

If you want your arrow to fly straight and hit the target, you must take time to prepare it perfectly. You cannot rush it. The arrow must be perfectly straight, with no cracks or splinters. The point must be sharp and the feathers must be perfectly placed and attached. When it is ready to fly, the bow must be pulled back all the way. The arrow must not be released before its time or it will fall short of the mark. We must carefully nurture and train our children and release them only when the time is right. Feeding them, clothing them and housing them are not enough. We must teach them about God, about life and how to live godly lives.

When they are fully taught – we must not hang onto them, but release them to fly into the future that God has planned for them. If we do not teach them properly and if we send them out before their time or unprepared, they will not go very far or do very much good with their lives. How can you help others when you can’t help yourself? If we do teach them properly and if we send them out prepared, they will go far and they will be a blessing to many wherever they go. Their lives will count for God and they will make a difference in eternity.

They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.  Psalm 127:5 NIV

A righteous man, by raising godly children, strengthens not only his family, but also his family’s position in society. There is unity in a godly family and therefore there is strength. The enemy that tries to contend with them is confounded and defeated.

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Matthew 18:5-6 NIV

God holds us responsible for the spiritual welfare of our children and we should not take that responsibility lightly. Father God blesses us with our children and we are responsible to raise them in such a way that we can present them back to Him with joy.

EXPOSE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS

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

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  Ephesians 5:11 NKJV

The power of sin is in its secrecy. As long as you keep your sin hidden in the dark, you continue to “fellowship” with these unfruitful works of darkness and you will never be free. The only way to be free of sin is to expose it to the light.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Psalms 51:1-3 NIV

David was a man after God’s own heart. One of his strengths was that even though he sinned and made mistakes, like all of us do do, he was quick to acknowledge that sin was sin and that he had sinned. He exposed it before the Lord, asked for and received forgiveness. When you sin a sin and then try to convince yourself and everybody else that it isn’t really a sin, you are effectively living a lie. As long as you refuse to acknowledge that sin is sin, you will be bound by it. You must acknowledge that your sin is a sin and then that YOU have sinned. Until then, sin will control and dominate your life. You must say, “This is a sin. I committed this sin. Lord, please forgive me.” Then God is able to forgive you, wash you clean and remove that sin as far as the east is from the west. Then that sin will no longer dominate and control you. You will no longer be subject or bound to it. When sin comes to tempt you, you say, “NO – I know who you are. You are sin. I will not submit myself to you.”

1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Ephesians 5:1-5 NIV

If you are a child of God, you should be an imitator of your Father and live a life of love, not of impurity, immorality and greed.

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Ephesians 5:6-14 NIV

If the blood of Jesus has saved you, you were once in darkness, but now you are in the light. Live as a child of light and find out what pleases the Lord. Goodness, righteousness and truth please Him. You can expose your own sin and be forgiven or you can try to hide it and be exposed anyway, without forgiveness. Wake up and smell the coffee! Jesus died to free you from the power of sin. Let the light of Christ shine on you and set you free.

15 Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV

Be wise and not foolish. Understand what the will of the Lord is and make the most of every opportunity. Every day, choose to serve and obey Him and not yield to your fleshly desires or the temptations of the devil. Be filled with the Spirit – sing to the Lord and give Him thanks for everything. If you do this you will be fruitful and productive and the blessing of God will be on your life.

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.

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