WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOR?

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

Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” 26He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?” 27He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence–and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” 28″Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.” 29Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define “neighbor’?” 30Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. 31Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. 32Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. 33″A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. 34He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. 35In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, “Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill–I’ll pay you on my way back.’ 36″What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” 37″The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:25-37 MSG

Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him). 1 Peter 4:9 AMP

Withhold not good from those to whom it is due [its rightful owners], when it is in the power of your hand to do it. 28Do not say to your neighbor, Go, and come again; and tomorrow I will give it–when you have it with you. Proverbs 3:27-28 AMP

Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood–being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 AMP

Thank you to everyone who has donated so much to help our neighbors on the Gulf Coast, who have been so devastated by Hurricane Katrina. By doing this, YOU ARE helping your neighbor and taking care of your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Keep believing God this week for doors to open to you to send more supplies to the Gulf Coast region. Extend your faith this week for favor with places of business to donate money towards the relief effort or goods that are needed so we can send in more trucks to the devastated areas. Believe the Lord this week to put you in the right place at the right time so you can be a blessing to your neighbors. You have the power within your hand to help your neighbor in their time of need. The Lord wants to use you everyday to help those around you, yield yourself completely to Him everyday and you can always expect the Lord to use you in a mighty way.

There will always be good causes that we can always donate to, but don’t wait for tomorrow – do what you can today. Don’t pass your neighbor by and wait until another day. Give what you have in your hand today and believe God to prosper you, so you might do more to help those around you.

GREATER IS HE

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

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1 John 4:1-8 KJV

Many people study Old Testament prophecy and the book of Revelation and other end-time predictions and then they start looking for any sign of the antichrist himself. They are so afraid of this one man who is going to do all these bad things, but they miss the fact that there is already an antichrist spirit in the world today and it has been here a long time. We need to have knowledge of the truth and we need to be aware of what is going on around us in society and in people. People are so worried about the devils in the atmosphere, but it’s the devils on the ground, in the people, that are our greatest threat. The strongholds we need to break are in the minds of men.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NKJV

Verse 5 in the Amplified Bible says, “[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).”

We don’t need to see demons around every bush, but we do need to know how the devil operates and know how to deal with him when we encounter him. People, who have not humbled themselves before God and acknowledged that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and received Him as their personal Lord and Savior, are living in darkness. Their father is the devil. They may not necessarily be evil people and they may not mean to do the wrong thing, but because their reasoning is darkened, they make bad choices. There are other people, who have yielded themselves to the temptations of their flesh and allowed the devil to have their mind and body, who do evil things intentionally. All of these people have an antichrist spirit. This spirit in them works constantly against the will, purpose and plan of God in the earth and, as a consequence, against those who are blood-washed and Spirit-filled and who acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.

Notice it also says, “…being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. “ We must be submitted to God if we want to start taking authority over the devil, wherever he is, whether in our own thought processes or in other people or situations. James 4:7 AMP says, “So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.”

We know who belongs to Jesus. They are the ones who walk in the love of God. There are even some Christians who will not walk in the love of God. They still allow the devil to influence them. Instead of yielding their mind, heart, and flesh to God, they yield to the devil. If you are a Christian, who will not make a commitment to walk in the love of God, you will be vulnerable to be used of the devil to sow seeds of strife, confusion, and destruction. No Christian in their right mind wants to be used by the devil. Evaluate your own heart, mouth, and life now and make the changes.

Yes, there is an antichrist spirit that operates in the world, through people, but the Word of God also says that, if you are of God, if you are His little child, then greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world! You are victorious in Him! They may come out against you one way, but they will flee seven ways! (Deuteronomy 28:7) No weapon formed against you shall prosper and every tongue that rises against you in judgment, you will condemn! This is the heritage of the obedient child of God. Your righteousness is of Him. (Isaiah 54:17)

The Peaceable Fruit of Righteousness – Part Three

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

Hebrews 12:11 AMP says, “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.”

Discipline – consisting of instruction, training, and correction – is not pleasant at the time it is being administered, but it produces righteousness in the person being disciplined and ultimately it produces peace. If you value and desire the fruit of righteousness and peace in your life, you must submit to God’s discipline – through His Word and His Spirit.

My son, do not despise or shrink from the chastening of the Lord [His correction by punishment or by subjection to suffering or trial]; neither be weary of or impatient about or loathe or abhor His reproof, 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:11-12 AMP

The dictionary meaning of chastening or chastisement is: to discipline; punish; humble; purify; simplify; to correct by punishment or reproof; to take to task; to restrain, to subdue; to rid of excess; refine. Chastening or chastisement is an infliction of punishment, usually in the form of a whipping or a beating. In the Bible, the term chastisement usually refers to punishment or discipline inflicted by God for the purpose of education, instruction, and training and corrective guidance and discipline. Chastisement, discipline and correction are not done for the benefit of the Father, but for the benefit of the child – to quench the will and desires of the flesh, and to bring them under control, and bring forth and release the fruit of the Spirit.

David was a wise man – a man after God’s own heart – and he passed that wisdom on to Solomon. David’s wisdom came from God’s Word as he spent time in God’s Word; as he submitted himself to it; as he applied it to his life. Don’t shrink from the Lord’s chastening; don’t avoid God’s correction and discipline; don’t get tired of, or impatient with, or despise, God’s reproof. Remember that God only corrects those He loves.

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

God corrects us for our good. We should love, welcome, and embrace His discipline; being willing and eager to repent; burning with zeal to be like Him – to be pure as He is pure. We must be hungry for righteousness. We must be enthusiastic about getting right with God, having clean hands and a pure heart. When the Lord corrects us, we should not be petulant or defensive; we should not pout or try to justify our actions. We should rather welcome the positive input, cheerfully make the corrections in our attitude and our life, and be grateful that we have received the truth because we know that all of it is for our good and benefit!

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, 13 That You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked.  Psalms 94:12-13 AMP

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7 AMP

The person on the receiving end of God’s discipline and instruction is a blessed person. God’s discipline and instruction gives you the power to keep calm when everything goes wrong around you. God blesses us with a Spirit of power, of love, of a calm and well-balanced mind, discipline, and self-control. As we receive God’s discipline, we grow and learn and our senses and mental faculties become trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). God disciplines us and trains us, bringing us to a place of self-discipline. Discipline should come from within and, until it does, it must come from without. Outer boundaries must be in effect until inner boundaries are properly established. Immature people need outer boundaries; mature people have developed appropriate and effective inner boundaries.

For if we searchingly examined ourselves [detecting our shortcomings and recognizing our own condition], we should not be judged and penalty decreed [by the divine judgment]. 32 But when we [fall short and] are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined and chastened, so that we may not [finally] be condemned [to eternal punishment along] with the world.  1 Corinthians 11:31-32 AMP

We must humble ourselves, search our own heart and judge ourselves and, then when we fall short, we must welcome God’s discipline and yield to it. The Lord wants to have the opportunity to burn with His holy fire through us, burning up sin and rebellion and every ungodly presence and force. He wants us to have His fire now so we don’t have to burn with hell’s fire later. God’s judgment and chastisements, here on earth, are a much better option than eternal judgment. You do not want to be judged and punished with the world! God has no desire to condemn you or judge you – He only desires to pour his mercy out on you (John 3:17-18). By respecting and submitting to His authority, you give Him that privilege and opportunity.

As For Me and My House

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

MY FAMILY

Foundation Scriptures: Joshua 24:1-28

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:15 AMP

1. The reason most people fail in their life is because they do not understand authority, they do not recognize legitimate authority and they do not make a proper response to authority.

  • God is Supreme authority—He created everything and is over everything. Every created thing must bow to Him.
  • Isaiah 45:23
  • Romans 14:11
  • Philippians 2:10-11
  • God created man in His image and gave them authority over the earth.
  • Genesis 1:27-28 AMP
  • The devil is an illegitimate authority. He stole man’s authority from Adam and Eve.
  • Even though he took man’s authority by deception, God still could not just snatch it back from him. Jesus took it back on behalf of man. The devil never would have crucified Jesus if he had known God’s plan to take back man’s authority and to restore man once again into right-standing with God.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:8
  • God uses His authority for GOOD! God is LOVE, His primary motivation is MERCY and His desire is to BLESS!

2. If you want to succeed in every area of your life, you must submit to legitimate authority. By doing so, illegitimate authority can have no place in your life.

  • You must personally submit your life to the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
  • James 4:7 KJV—Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
  • Do not give the devil any place in your life.
  • Recognize all authorities that God has placed in the earth. Romans 13:1-10
  • Make a decision to walk in the love of God toward all men at all times.  That includes—and is especially applicable to—your own family.

3. Husbands and fathers—God has set you in place as the head of your home. You not only have authority, but you have responsibility.

  • Make the decision that Joshua made: as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
  • You cannot force your family into serving God—you must influence them in.
  • Set the example of a godly man, who honors the Lord and is submitted to Him in all things.
  • According to God’s plan, you should be the most unselfish person in your house—not the most selfish—as is often the case.
  • You are the head of the house—not the dictator and not the wimp!
  • Recognize that your wife is not as tough as you are and live considerately with her so your prayers will be answered.
  • 1 Peter 3:7
  • Do not be like a bull in a china shop with your children, but do not abdicate your responsibilities to raise them right either.
  • Don’t irritate and provoke them—raise them tenderly. Correct them and teach them. Ephesians 6:4
  • Do not break their spirit. Colossians 3:21
  • You are the protector or your family. Protect your wife and children from anything that could harm them physically, mentally or spiritually. Protect them from corrupting influences.
  • You are there to bless your house and to be a blessing to them.

4. Wives and mothers—God has given you your place, under the headship of your husband, to have authority over your household.

  • Submit to your husband in the fear of the Lord. Submission is not just allowing someone to walk all over you against your will. Do not make your husband force submission on you by rebellion or indifference. Don’t be a bucking bronco or a whipped puppy. You must make the decision for yourself. Decide to submit to your husband—in faith—out of respect to God’s Word.
  • Submit without giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you. 1 Peter 3:6
  • God has given you a pattern in Proverbs 31:10-31
  • Your husband should be able to confidently trust you, because you only do him good as long as there is life within you. Proverbs 31:11-12
  • Be secure in the Lord; prepare for the future in faith; speak kindly; take care of your family, while keeping your nose out of everyone else’s. Proverbs 31:25-27

5. Children (of all ages) respect the authority of parents that God has placed in you life. They are there for your good—not your harm. God will hold them responsible for your care and well being.

  • Obey your parents in the Lord.
  • Ephesians 6:1-3 AMP—Children obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right. 2 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother–this is the first commandment with a promise–3 That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.
  • Colossians 3:20 AMP—Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.

NB Every one of us will give our own account to God for our own thoughts, words and actions. Whether we are in authority or under authority, let us each one honor the Lord in our choices. In doing so, we will fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and we will leave a trail of blessing and not a trail of devastation in our wake!

Thirty Things That Grace Can Do – Part I

1. Grace can save the world.

Genesis 6:8 AMP – But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

2. Grace can give one all good things.

Psalms 84:11 NKJV – For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.

3. Grace can bring men to repentance.

Zechariah 12:10 AMP – And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace or unmerited favor and supplication. And they shall look [earnestly] upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn.

4. Grace can impart great blessings.

Acts 4:33 AMP – And with great strength and ability and power the apostles delivered their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace (loving-kindness and favor and goodwill) rested richly upon them all.

5. Grace can bring salvation.

Titus 2:11-12 AMP – For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. 12 It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world.

Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV – But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

6. Grace can impart faith.

Acts 18:27 NKJV – And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace.

7. Grace can justify.

Romans 3:24-25 NKJV – Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith.

Titus 3:7 NKJV – That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8. Grace can overcome sin.

Romans 5:20 NKJV – Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.

9. Grace can reign in life if permitted.

Romans 5:21 NKJV – So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

10. Grace can make one God’s elect.

Romans 11:5-6 NKJV – Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

11. Grace can give boldness.

Romans 15:15 NKJV – Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God.

12. Grace can make the unclean, clean.

1 Corinthians 10:29-31 KJV – Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? 30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

13. Grace can give power.

1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Jesus—The Lamb Of God by Rodney Howard Browne

Worship Soundtracks from RMIRiverSong on Vimeo.

The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!  John 1:29 AMP

All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.  Isaiah 53:6-7 AMP

But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot. 20 It is true that He was chosen and foreordained (destined and foreknown for it) before the foundation of the world, but He was brought out to public view (made manifest) in these last days (at the end of the times) for the sake of you. 21 Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God.  1 Peter 1:19-21 AMP

At Passover, there were specific things that the Israelites were to do and specific procedures they had to follow. All this pointed to what Jesus would do and go through and was fulfilled in Him.

Comparison of the Passover lamb and Jesus, the Lamb of God:

1. Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover in this month (Deut 16:1).

“Abib was the Egyptian word for green ears, referring to the green barley that was offered as the firstfruits to God in that month. The Septuagint calls it the month of new things. Nisan is substituted for Abib after this. It means the month of flowers or blossoms” (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible). On the 10th day of Abib, later called Nisan, a year-old sacrificial lamb was to be selected from the flock. The chief priests and the scribes were already looking for their opportunity to arrest Jesus secretly and kill Him without causing a riot, because Jesus was popular with the people (Mark 14:1-2).

2. Sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God, of the herd and the flock, in the place where God chooses to place His name (Deut. 16:2). Do not sacrifice the Passover in your homes, but at the place where the Lord shall choose to place His name (Deut. 16:6).

No family could observe the Passover in their own home. The lamb was to be sacrificed where God chose—Jerusalem—where the tabernacle was located. At the beginning of the week of Passover that culminated in the sacrifice of the perfect lamb, the disciples asked Jesus, the Lamb of God, “Where do You wish us to go and prepare the Passover supper for You to eat?” (Mark 14:12). This same 10th day was the day Jesus made His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem!

3. Thoroughly inspect the lamb for spot or blemish for 5 days (Ex 12:3+5).

Only perfect specimens were acceptable. The chief priests and the scribes had Jesus arrested. They cross-questioned Him ruthlessly and brought false accusations against Him, but no charge would stick and no fault was found. In spite of that, they dragged Him before Pilate to try to get him to do their dirty work. Pilate tried to have Him released, saying three times, “I find no fault in Him!” (John 18:38; John 19:4+6).

4. Eat no leavened bread with the Passover. Eat unleavened bread for seven days, during the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. Leavened bread shall not be seen in all your houses or land for seven days (Deut. 16:3-4).

Leaven—yeast—represented sin. Jesus had no sin in Him—He had been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning (He 4:15). The sin of the world was placed on Him. Hebrews 7:26 AMP says, “[Here is] the High Priest [perfectly adapted] to our needs, as was fitting—holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens.”  He took our place; He took our sin upon Himself; He gave us His life in exchange. 1 Corinthians 5:7 AMP says, “Purge (clean out) the old leaven that you may be fresh (new) dough, still uncontaminated [as you are], for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed.” We must be washed in His blood and walk in purity before the Father.

5. Sacrifice the Passover at evening, before the sun goes down.

The acceptable animal was to be sacrificed on the evening of the 14th day—the ceremony led and initiated by the High Priest (Ex 12:6). The High Priest ordered Jesus to be crucified on this day.
6 PM was the start of the next day, so the lambs were slaughtered at 3 PM (the ninth hour of the day). At the exact time the lambs were killed, Jesus cried out to the Father and breathed out His last breath (Luke 23:44-46).

6. Roast and eat it in the chosen place and go to your tents in the morning (Deut. 16:7).

The lamb was to be roasted and eaten—symbolizing us partaking of His body—receiving all He has for us. We look to Him for life and sustenance; we live on His Word—not bread alone.

7. Neither shall the flesh of the animals sacrificed be left overnight (Ex 12:8-10).

Jesus was taken down from the cross and buried in haste, because preparation for the next day—the Sabbath—had already begun.

8. The leftovers were to be burned—nothing left behind.

For when the blood of animals is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin, the victims’ bodies are burned outside the limits of the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also suffered and died outside the [city’s] gate in order that He might purify and consecrate the people through [the shedding of] His own blood and set them apart as holy [for God]. Hebrews 13:11-12 AMP

9. Eat unleavened bread six days, and on the seventh day you shall have a solemn assembly to the Lord, and do no work on it (Deut. 16:8).

There is a rest for the people of God. “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.”  Hebrews 4:9-10 AMP

Thank God that He sent Jesus, the Lamb of God, Who was sacrificed for your sin and mine—so that we might have favor with God and receive, as a free gift, His grace and mercy.

Blessed is the Nation Whose God is the Lord

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…Psalms 33:12a

The nation who honors God as their God – God of that nation – is a blessed and happy nation. Conversely, the nation who will not recognize God and who dishonors Him is a nation who has a curse on it and its people. People tend to blame the leadership of their nation for all the problems of their nation – and indeed the leadership is responsible before God – but it is the people who choose the leadership! If the people are submitted to God, they will choose leadership who honor God. However, if they are rebellious against God and they elect those who are just like them, then all the people will suffer.

When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but when the ruler is a man of discernment, understanding, and knowledge, its stability will long continue. Proverbs 28:2 AMP

When the people sin against God their nation will be very unstable. We can see that in all the nations of the world. Every one of them is being rocked to the foundations. There are wars and rumors of wars, there is economic collapse, immorality is the order of the day, people openly worship their pagan gods, the family has broken down, children are abused and neglected, covetousness and greed are tolerated and even encouraged, crime is rampant, slavery is increasing, peoples’ safety is threatened, and – worst of all – the Church is lukewarm and compromised and even ice cold in some instances. However, when the people repent and turn to God, they will not tolerate an evil ruler, but they will install a wise and godly leader who honors God – then he will bring peace and stability to the entire nation.

When the [uncompromisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh. Proverbs 29:2 AMP

When the wicked are in authority, transgression increases, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall see the fall of the wicked. Proverbs 29:16 AMP

The only way to change a nation is to have a revival in the Church that leads to a Great Awakening in the nation. 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” If the Church is not fully submitted to God and His Word, then how can they expect the world to do what is right?

The Church spends too much time telling the world what they should be doing, instead of doing it themselves. We must lead by example. Many Christians think that they will win the favor of the sinners if they compromise, but it never works out that way. The sinners despise compromised Christians. Sure, they’ll encourage a Christian to sin, but they will secretly despise his weakness in their hearts. Christians compromise for two reasons – either to avoid persecution or to win the world’s favor – but they will accomplish neither. It would be better to be on fire for God and persecuted, than compromise and lose your credibility.

Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” The responsibility of leadership has been put onto the Church – the Body of Christ – who are to be completely submitted to the will of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The reason that the Christians are not in leadership is because they’ve believed the devil’s lie that they are to allow the worldly to rule. However, this is contrary to the Word of God. God says that when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh, but when the [uncompromisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice!

Notice that it says that things go well when the uncompromisingly righteous rule. Notice that it doesn’t say the compromising, sometimes righteous person will be a great leader – it says that the uncompromised person is what the nation needs. One of the most difficult jobs in the world is to be a godly leader. It seems as if all hell is let loose on you, but you can’t afford to give in or give up. If you stand strong on your godly principles and if you do right, you can expect God to come through for you and to promote you.

By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down. Proverbs 29:4 NIV

Covetousness will destroy an individual, a family, a business, a church and a nation! When someone makes decisions based on the money, when someone can be bribed, they are already under the sway of the enemy and it’s only a matter of time before the whole thing collapses and is destroyed. 1 Timothy 6:10 says that, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

Like a roaring lion or a ravenous and charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people. 16 A ruler who lacks understanding is [like a wicked one] a great oppressor, but he who hates covetousness and unjust gain shall prolong his days. Proverbs 28:15-16 AMP

A ruler who hates covetousness and refuses to be bought seems to be a rare commodity these days. Way too many of those in leadership allow themselves to be bought by the highest bidder. Their job is to be fair to ALL the people and not to show special favor to those who line their pockets. Once you accept a bribe, you lose your freedom and your independence; you no longer have any autonomy. You can no longer judge fairly or impartially and the people are the ones who will suffer. God will judge all those who take bribes and who allow evil men to prosper and oppress the poor and the weak – those who cannot defend themselves.

It’s time for the Church to submit to God and resist the devil. It’s time for the Church to take responsibility to lead in the nation! That is the only way to bring back the blessing of God to the nation.

The king who faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established continuously. Proverbs 29:14 AMP

The Tithe

Abraham brought the tithe to Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God:

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. Genesis 14:18-20 NKJV

The word “tithe” literally means “a tenth”. Abraham brought his tithe to God through Melchizedek long before the Law was instituted. Through the ages, paying tithes is not a matter of Law, but a matter of FAITH and COVENANT!

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Hebrews 7:1-10 NKJV

Jesus is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek:

Where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:20 NKJV

Abraham brought tithes to God through Melchizedek – a type and shadow of Jesus, our High Priest. When we bring our tithe in faith and obedience, we are bringing it – not to man – but to Jesus, Himself.

Jacob considered the tithe a just return for all of God’s blessings:

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” Genesis 28:20-22 NKJV

Before the Law was given, Jacob promised God that he would give Him a tenth of all that with which God would bless him. The order is this: first we receive the blessing of God, and then we give back to Him the tenth that is due Him of ALL He has given to us.

The Tithe belongs (is holy) to the Lord:

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. Leviticus 27:30 NKJV

And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. Leviticus 27:32 NKJV

If the tithe belongs to God, then we have no business keeping it one day longer than we ought. If you have any respect for God and His word, then the moment your harvest (income) comes in, you will set it aside to bring to the Lord the very next time you go to church. When the Israelites brought the tithe to the temple, they were to speak a confession over it – that it was truly the tithe of their income and that it had been handled, according to God’s word, like a holy thing.

Tithe on ALL that God has given you:

You shall surely tithe all the yield of your seed produced by your field each year. Deuteronomy 14:22 AMP

Then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord. Deuteronomy 12:11 NKJV

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10 NKJV

Since tithe means tenth – we are to bring the whole tenth of our income to God. We don’t tithe off of our leftovers, but off of the top. God knows when we bring Him the tithe or if we bring Him less. He is the source of our blessing and the one to whom we are accountable. Why would we even want to cheat God, when we know that we will be the only ones cheated (of a blessing). We bring our whole tithe because we love and honor our Father God and because we are both grateful for all He has provided and expectant for all that He will do to provide for and bless us in the future.

Recent Student Testimonies

Sunday, December 13, 2009 was a life changing day for me. It was my second time to be apart of the bus ministry that morning, and it was awesome. I saw so many people get on that bus ready and excited about the opportunity to go to church and receive what God had for them that morning. The children mostly were the ones that touched my heart. After we got off the bus I took the kids to Kids Church and stayed there in the 6-12’s class help out.

That morning God used those kids to minister to me in such a profound way. I knew that the heart of God was for souls, and I knew that He wanted to touch and change peoples lives with the power of the Gospel. But after seeing the Gospel given to those kids, after seeing them go up on the stage to receive Jesus Christ in their hearts for the first time, it did something in me that I cannot describe…especially when I saw the very same kids that were on my bus that morning go on that stage to commit their hearts to God. I felt so humbled, and so honored to be apart of this ministry. I had come from Pastor Bob Nichols church in Fort Worth, Tx and it was there that I had first learned about Gods heart for souls, and now after coming to the River Bible Institute and being apart of the River Church here, the Holy Spirit has burned my heart even more with this passion of His. I was able to serve and see others lives changed for all eternity, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to be apart of history. I want every one of those kids to walk away with the fire of the Holy Spirit and passionate love of God burning inside of them. And I know with every seed planted, and the Word of God that’s being instilled into them every single Sunday, this is exactly what is going to happen. We are touching generations, and we are truly effecting eternity.

Sarah M

Matters of the Heart | Scotty Griffin Testimony

Worship Soundtracks from RMIRiverSong on Vimeo.

Last week God opened my eyes to many things that I have had misconceptions about and/or had been doing wrong. From things concerning submitting to authority to issues dealing with marriage for the future, I learned many things to carry on with me.

Matters of the Heart dealt with many things, among them, and for me being one of the biggest and hardest hitters, was submitting to authority. By this I mean being able to accept all correction when given. Through it all I learned that if I’m too weak to accept discipline for an issue, then that issue will be a problem for the rest of my life. To go along with this the Bible says that those that don’t listen to correction are foolish or stupid. Also, any fears of being embarrassed by correction can be dispelled because if we have a humble heart already, then there isn’t anything to be embarrassed about.

When we die, we will face the judgment seat of Christ. When we’re there, if we accepted correction from the Holy Spirit on the earth, then we will be able to enter into Heaven. I have two points to make by saying this statement: 1. we will all give an account for what we’ve done on the earth, and 2. we can have correction either here on earth, or later on judgment day.

In dealing with marriages, the first and most important relationship in our life is with Jesus Christ. If we keep it this way, then the spouse would come next, with children following after that. When we keep Jesus first in our lives, there is no chance of us ever abusing or doing something to our families or friends that could hurt them. Another important thing is to marry someone who compliments who you are in Christ and who loves who you are in Christ. If each person in the marriage gives one hundred percent of themselves to Jesus and into the marriage, then it will work, no matter what storms you go through.

Lastly, the Holy Spirit always speaks the truth, no matter what. He speaks to the heart, not the head. Emotions come to the head, thoughts come to the head, they’re all part of the soulish part of us. To truly understand spiritual things, we need to have a revelation of who God is. We must allow our hearts and minds to be changed to line up with the Word of God. If our hearts aren’t line up with the Word, then any preaching or ministering we do won’t be either.

Matters of the Heart opened my eyes to many things I had not known. From authority to marriage to learning more of the Holy Spirit and how He works, I learned many things.

Pastor Rodney Howard Browne and the Great Awakening Tour

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