UNFRUITFUL WORKS

“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

Works of darkness are the evil things you do- the things that are wrong; the things that bring harm to yourselves and also to others; the things you do that are sin in God’s eyes. These works of darkness are unfruitful – they are unproductive – they produce no good fruit.

Ephesians 5:3-5 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or ofany kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 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.” These are unfruitful works of darkness. They are unproductive and a waste of time and ability. God is never pleased or satisfied with waste, unfruitfulness and unproductiveness.

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, `For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “`Sir,’ the man replied, `leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”  Luke 13:6-9 NIV

A good farmer does not waste his time and resources on a tree that does not produce. It is wasting the soil and water that would be better used to feed and water a productive tree. If there is no fruit, there is no food. If there is no food, everything that relies on that fruit for food will die. It is not a small thing – it is a very important matter. God made everything to produce after its own kind. The fruit that a tree produces is food, but it is also seed for the next generation. Healthy living things always produce fruit. If a tree is dead and lifeless, it will not produce. Because dead things do not produce, God cuts down every thing that is dead.

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  John 15:1-8 NIV

You are a branch in the kingdom of God. Branches that do not bear fruit are eventually cut off and burned. Branches that bear fruit are pruned for more productive growth. Nobody wants to be cut off and burned and therefore you need to allow the Lord to prune you. In the pruning process, you must deal with the sin in your life, because it is unfruitful and it will make you unfruitful. You must bear good fruit in order to remain connected to the vine.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he isnearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.  2 Peter 1:5-9 NIV

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.  Titus 3:14 NIV

If you do not want to live an unproductive life, you must devote yourself to doing what is good!

THIS DAY IS THIS SCRIPTURE FULFILLED IN YOUR EARS

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

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.  Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV

Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, was sent from the presence of the Father, born as a man, and anointed of the Spirit of God for a specific purpose. Isaiah prophesied the wonderful things that Jesus would come to do for us and Luke 4 records that Jesus Himself read from Isaiah in the synagogue, proclaiming, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears!”  Jesus was anointed to preach the good news – the good news is that everything that God had promised Abraham and his descendants was about to be fulfilled.

Jesus was sent to bind up the brokenhearted – to reach down into the hearts of men and women and make them whole again. More than physical pain, the greatest pain in people’s lives is psychological pain, caused by abuse and injustice. Doctors can alleviate most physical pains, but only Jesus can heal psychological pain.

Jesus was sent to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Whatever holds you captive, Jesus can break its hold on you. Jesus is anointed to destroy yokes of bondage – yokes of fear, yokes of addiction, yokes of oppression, and any other yoke of the devil that men carry on their necks.  Acts 10:38 says that 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.

Jesus was sent to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God. God’s Year of Jubilee had begun – a time when all that had been stolen from God’s children would be restored to them and all those who had robbed God’s children would be brought to account.

Jesus was sent to comfort all that mourn. Jesus is our comfort in times of sorrow. Jesus has good news for all those who mourn – He has removed the source of your grief. Even death has no more power over the believer. Your loved ones in the Lord may have died and yet they live on in eternity, waiting your arrival. You may miss them now, yet, at the same time, you rejoice in their passing because they are fully free and you will see them again.

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.  Psalms 30:5 KJV

Jesus was sent to give you beauty for ashes. Only Jesus can make something beautiful out of the devastation that sin, sickness and the devil have wrought in your life.

Jesus was sent to give you the oil of joy for mourning. Oil smoothes out the rough spots – the oil of joy makes everything easier. Joy lightens your load and makes the road seem much shorter and smoother. Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Jesus was sent to give you the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. In Jesus you have a reason to rejoice. When Jesus takes over your life, all the heaviness and weariness of life is lifted and peace and joy fill your heart. You wear your praise like a garment – instead of heaviness, you are covered with joy.

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  Habakkuk 3:18 KJV

Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.  Isaiah 51:11 KJV

Jesus was sent that you might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. You are a righteous tree in God’s garden. Righteousness is not earned – it is bestowed upon you by God’s grace – but you must walk in the reality of your righteousness and leave sin behind you. When you do this, your righteousness brings glory to God.

THE WAGES OF THE LABORER

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

Come now, you rich [people], weep aloud and lament over the miseries (the woes) that are surely coming upon you. 2 Your abundant wealth has rotted and is ruined, and your [many] garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are completely rusted through, and their rust will be testimony against you and it will devour your flesh as if it were fire. You have heaped together treasure for the last days. 4[But] look! [Here are] the wages that you have withheld by fraud from the laborers who have reaped your fields, crying out [for vengeance]; and the cries of the harvesters have come to the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5[Here] on earth you have abandoned yourselves to soft (prodigal) living and to [the pleasures of] self-indulgence and self-gratification. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and have murdered the righteous (innocent man), [while] he offers no resistance to you.  James 5:1-6 AMP

It is not a sin to be rich, neither is it holy to be poor. The Bible shows us that all of God’s obedient covenant friends were blessed beyond measure – for instance, Genesis 13:2 AMP says that “Abram was extremely rich in livestock and in silver and in gold” – God promises to bless all of His children, who obey His Word. God made Abraham rich – not man and not Abraham himself. It is not wealth that ruins people’s lives – it is covetousness. You are covetous when you trust in your wealth and possessions more than you trust in God and if you find it difficult or impossible to give them away.

God has a great plan for the peoples of the earth – His will is that every person would hear and know what He has done for them and that they would be delivered from sin and from hell and that they would receive eternal life. Every person who hears and receives the Gospel and who has been transformed by the saving grace and the blood of Jesus Christ has a godly responsibility to share this great news with the world.

If you are a Christian then you have God’s heart – or you should. You are part of the family – you have the privileges and the responsibilities of a family member. The Lord promises that if you lend to the poor He will repay you and if you bless the ministry, then God will overtake you with blessings. You have to realize that God blesses you in order to make you a blessing and when you are a blessing, He blesses you some more! He is unwilling to abandon or to do without a cheerful, generous, prompt-to-do-it giver!

It is not angels who bring money and provision to God’s laborers on a daily basis – that is not their function – that is our function – you and me. The devil is not going to fund the gospel! The world is not going to build God’s kingdom! You represent God and if you don’t do your part, if you don’t do the right thing – the kingdom of God will suffer!  You are God’s arm on the earth to bring relief, blessing and sustenance, on God’s behalf, everywhere you go. If you do not use your resources to fund the preaching of the gospel then who will? God does not have anybody else but you and me.

Ministers – you are commissioned to obey God and His Word and to be faithful with your call, your anointing and everything else that God has placed in your hands, including money!

Christian business people – You are called to support those who preach the Gospel! You are commissioned to be faithful with the call that is on your life and with the financial resources that God has placed in your hands! You have a holy obligation to share the blessing of the Lord with those who work in the harvest fields. God does not even call it a gift – He calls it “wages” as if it is owed as payment for work done.

Don’t think that those who are called to ministry are the only ones who have to give an account for how they use their money and their time – you will have an opportunity to give an account to God for how you used your money and your time as well! Always remember that any wealth that you give into the kingdom of God is stored away, incorruptible and immovable for your eternity. However, any wealth that you store up here on earth is subject to the elements – it could get moth-eaten, rusted, corroded, ruined and wasted.

Your wealth will be a testimony for or against you. The wealth you give to God and to the preaching of the Gospel and to the building of God’s kingdom on the earth will testify in Heaven of your trust in God and your love for Him, your obedience and your faithfulness and you will be rewarded. The wealth you wasted, the wealth you trusted in and held onto and stored up here on earth will testify against you. It testifies of your rebellion, selfishness, fear, covetousness and unfaithfulness and you will lose out on all the rewards that could have been yours.

It is not a sin to be rich, but it is a sin to be covetous and selfish. If you would make it your responsibility to share your wealth with those who labor in the harvest fields, then God will see to it that you are richly rewarded here on the earth and also in Heaven.

STAY WITH THE TRUTH

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

James is an apostle who does not beat around the bush. He feels very strongly about issues of integrity and character and he gives us firm guidelines for conducting our lives in such a way that we can walk in the blessing of God.

But above all [things], my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath; but let your yes be [a simple] yes, and your no be [a simple] no, so that you may not sin and fall under condemnation.  James 5:12 AMP

You should not swear by the Lord or try to pull God’s name into your conversation to back up what you are saying. Don’t ever say that “God said” or “God told me” if He really didn’t. James says that you should not try to be something you are not. You should not promise things and then not do it. You should not say things that you do not mean just because you are afraid of people or because you are trying to impress them. Be truthful in your relationships. Say “yes” when you mean “yes” and say “no” when you mean “no”.

Is anyone among you afflicted (ill-treated, suffering evil)? He should pray. Is anyone glad at heart? He should sing praise [to God].  James 5:13 AMP

If you are facing a battle, don’t use it as an excuse to behave badly or to have a bad attitude. If Jesus is your Lord, then you can call on Him when you are in trouble or when you have a problem. Don’t be whiney or grumpy or ungrateful – just pray. Talk to the Lord, who can do something about it, not to people, who can’t do anything about it.

If you are happy then praise the Lord. Recognize that everything you have comes from Him. Always maintain a joyful, grateful spirit and you will always walk in His blessing. Even when you go through hard times, you will come out on top because the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Is anyone among you sick? He should call in the church elders (the spiritual guides). And they should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name. 15 And the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. James 5:14-16a AMP

The Father intended the Body of Christ to be a blessing to each other – to pray for one another, lift each other up and protect each other. We need to recognize that our fight is with the devil – not each other. We need to be able to come to our fellow Christians for help, for prayer, for support, for restoration. We should love one another in such a way that we cover one another. We should be able to be transparent, to expose our weakness and find mercy, compassion and restoration and not judgment, criticism or rejection.

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. 17 Elijah was a human being with a nature such as we have [with feelings, affections, and a constitution like ours]; and he prayed earnestly for it not to rain, and no rain fell on the earth for three years and six months. 18 And [then] he prayed again and the heavens supplied rain and the land produced its crops [as usual].  James 5:16b-18 AMP

God has empowered Christians to pray and receive the answer. Have faith in God, have faith in His Word, and pray in faith, expecting God to hear and to answer your prayers.

[My] brethren, if anyone among you strays from the Truth and falls into error and another [person] brings him back [to God], 20 Let the [latter] one be sure that whoever turns a sinner from his evil course will save [that one’s] soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins [procure the pardon of the many sins committed by the convert].  James 5:19-20 AMP

So many times, when a Christian makes a mistake, other Christians condemn them, criticize them and gossip about them. However, God expects us to love one another, cover one another and protect one another. When we humble our heart to pray for a fallen brother or sister and speak the truth to them, and we help them find their way, through repentance, back into the will of God, then we will save their soul from death and we will please the Father. The only thing we can take with us is the souls of men. It is not only important to lead people to Jesus, but also to support them as they run their race and to help them to finish their race and cross the finish line.

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU LOVE GOD?

“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 wants us to come to know Him more and more clearly. He knows that we can only come to know Him better as we allow Him to do a work IN us and He really wants to do His work in us! The process is that we come progressively to know Him by observation and experience as we press in to His word and His Holy Spirit. We get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him as we submit ourselves to His will and His life and nature are displayed through us. The more we yield ourselves to Him, the more usable and useful we become to Him. The evidence in your life that you know God and that you are coming to know Him even more is in your love walk. If you walk in love toward your fellow man and woman, you demonstrate that you are indeed acquainted with God.

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. 11 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 4:9-12 AMP

The essence of love is this: not that we loved God first, but that God loved us first and sent Jesus – His only begotten, unique Son – to die for us long before we met Him, long before we ever even came into the world. For all that God has done for us and loved us so greatly, we owe it to Him to walk in love to other people. Even though no one on the earth has actually seen God, they can see Him in us when we walk in the love of God.

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. 16 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 4:13-16 AMP

We know that God loves us because He tells us in His word that He does and He also demonstrated it by sending Jesus to die for us. When we have faith in that love, we walk in the blessings of that love and God, Himself, comes to make his permanent dwelling in us!

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

Because we know how much the Father loves us, we have an expectation that we will be able to stand confidently before Him on the Day of Judgment with no fear of punishment. The more our love walk matures, the more confident we are of God’s loving acceptance toward us and that He will hear and answer our prayers. When we need to ask Him for something, He will accept us and receive us.

We love Him, because He first loved us. 20 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 4:19-21 AMP

When we know that God loves us then we can reach out and love others. So many Christians are fighting with their brothers and sisters in the Lord, rather than loving them. They say that they love God, but by their actions, they demonstrate that they do not. When we are yielded to God’s will, we will obey Him in everything. If He says, “Love your neighbor,” then we should take it to heart and do exactly that. This is not optional – it is a command. If we don’t love our neighbor then we don’t love God. If we love our neighbor, then we do love God.

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!

Answered Prayer

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

•    Let your requests be made known to God
•    Let God know what it is you want from Him. Don’t just think it – speak it.
•    Don’t be anxious. Rejoice.
•    Do it with thanksgiving. With gratefulness for what He has already done and a joyful expectation of what He is about to do.
•     God’s peace will protect your heart and mind.
•    You can go about your business, knowing that He is in control!

•    Single-minded
•    James 1:5-8 NKJV – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
•    If you ask – ask in faith.
•    Do not be double-minded. If you allow doubts to sway you, you will be pulled in two different directions and the result is that you will be double-minded and unstable.
•    If you are double-minded, don’t be surprised when your prayers are not answered.
•    Every one is tempted with doubtful thoughts, but you can shut them down, allow faith to arise from your heart and stay steady until the answer comes.

•    Be persistent.
•    First – know your rights!
•    Luke 18:1-8 The Message Bible – Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. 2 He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. 3 A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’ 4 “He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. 5 But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice — otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black and blue by her pounding.'” 6 Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? 7 So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? 8 I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”
•    Second – Press in until you get it.
•    Some Christians don’t ask God for what they need because they think He would be bothered or irritated by their requests. Or maybe it’s because they actually don’t have faith in Him to answer.
•    Over and over, God has told us in His Word that He cares, that He listens and that He answers. When we wake up and get that revelation, we might actually start to ask in faith and receive what we asked for!
•    God expects us to be persistent in prayer and not give up until we get the answer.
•    The lesson of this parable is that if even an unjust judge will respond to a woman who knows her rights and won’t quit until she receives, how much more will our righteous Father work justice for His kids who stand on their rights in faith?

•    No vain repetition allowed.
•    Matthew 6:7-8 AMP – And when you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking.  8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
•    Repeating the exact same word, phrase, or prayer over and over is not the answer. Repetition is just words – no faith is involved.
•    It’s persistent faith – not nagging words – that moves God.
•    Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
•    Ask once for what you want – then continue to thank Him and praise Him for the answer.
•    If the devil comes with doubts – open your mouth and praise God – he will leave!

•    You do not need to pray long prayers.
•    Matthew 23:14 NKJV – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
•    Long prayers cannot compensate for bad behavior.

•    Ask – expecting an answer.
•    Hebrews 11:6
•    NKJV – But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
•    The Message Bible – It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
•    Luke 11:5-13 NKJV – And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
•    Ask, and it will be given to you – everyone who asks receives.
•    Matthew 7:7-11 AMP – Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? 11 If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him!
•    Your Father in heaven gives good gifts to those who ask Him

•    Ask with right motives.
•    James 4:1-3 Easy-to-Read Version – Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that make war inside you. 2 You want things, but you don’t get them. So you kill and are jealous of others. But you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You don’t get what you want because you don’t ask God. 3 Or when you ask, you don’t receive anything, because the reason you ask is wrong. You only want to use it for your own pleasure.
•    Unspoken requests are not heard or answered. If you don’t ask then you won’t receive.
•    Selfish prayers are not answered either.
•    The Message Bible says you don’t receive because the reason you ask is wrong. “You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.” James 4:3b

•    Obey, ask and receive
•    All God’s promises are conditional.
•    1 John 3:18-24 NKJV – My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 24 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.
•    Keep His commandments and He will answer your prayers.
•    John 15:7-8 NKJV – If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
•    When God’s Word becomes so much a part of us that it influences and directs everything we think, feel, say and do, then He will absolutely give us everything we ask for.
•    He wants us to be fruitful in every way.
•    Your fruitfulness and answered prayers bring glory to God.

Pastor Rodney Howard Browne and the Great Awakening Tour