Tag Archives: Rodney Howard-Browne laughter

What You Give Up – You Gain

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

Mark 10:17-31  (KJV)
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what   shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good?  there is none good but one, that is, God.

Jesus was not just a good man – He was God in the flesh.  He held the secret of eternal life – yield every area of your life to the Father and obey Him.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not,   Honor thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and   give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

The man kept the law and obeyed God as much as he was able, but his possessions meant more to him than God.  He was a good man; but when it came to the bottom line, he trusted in his riches more than he trusted in God.  He could not imagine his life without his possessions.  He could not see what God could have done with his life because he could not see beyond the things that he had in his hand. He could not see eternity because he was blinded by earthly things.

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of   God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for   them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

The “eye of a needle” was a small, after-hours gate in the city wall that a camel could squeeze through only if its load was removed. Jesus did not say that rich people could not go to heaven, as some people would have us believe.  He said that it would be hard – or difficult – for them to enter the kingdom of God, because they trusted in their riches too much.  Riches came between them and their salvation.  God did not have their whole heart.  If you want what God has for you, you must give Him your whole heart and let nothing else disturb or distract you.

26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

The disciples wondered “Who then can be saved?”  Everybody has a certain amount of possessions – some more, some less.  It is not your possessions, or lack of them, that determines your spirituality, but it is who has your heart.  Does your Father God have your total allegiance today, does He have your whole heart?

28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or   mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
30 but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands,   with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

The disciples had given up all that they had to follow Jesus, but even then, they could not take the credit for it or be proud of it like it was some great earth-shaking sacrifice.  Some people act like they did God some great favor and honor by giving up things for Him.  Yes, you sure sacrificed a whole lot by giving up that alcohol and those drugs, by giving up your rotten lifestyle and your bad attitude so that you could have His peace, His joy, His abundance, and His blessing!  There is nothing that you gave up for Jesus that was not worth the sacrifice and the return on your giving.
Jesus promised up to a hundred fold blessing in return in this life and the next!  Whatever you gave up is headed back your way and it’s exceeding abundantly above all you could ask or think!  God does not deprive you of anything because He wants you deprived.  He asks you to give to Him so that He can give to you.  He asks you to give Him everything that is important to you, the things that mean everything to you, so that He can truly be Lord of every area of your life!

Sure you may have to endure some hard things to serve God.  The world won’t like you as much as they used to.  But who cares about a few difficulties down here, when you can see eternity stretched out before you and the promise of wonderful, glorious eternal life in the presence of Jesus, our Lord and King?

FORGIVENESS FOR THE WORST SINNER

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

Luke 7:36-50  (NKJ)

36Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat   down to eat.

37And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,

38and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

39Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

40And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he said, “Teacher, say it.”

41″There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

42″And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”

43Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”

44Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.

45″You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.

46″You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.

47″Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

48And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

The character of God is wonderfully revealed in this passage as we see Jesus’ response to this “notorious” sinner woman, “a social outcast, devoted to sin” (Amplified Bible). He is eating at the house of a Pharisee called Simon, when this woman of bad reputation walks in with an alabaster box of precious ointment. The last place a sinner woman would willingly go would be to a Pharisees’ house, because it was very likely that she would be stoned! But, she was so desperate for God’s forgiveness, that she was willing to risk censure and even death.

Romans 2:4 (NKJ) says, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Many sinners long for forgiveness and release from the bondage of their sin, but they are told by the religious leaders that God hates them and that He rejects them. When they find out the true nature and character of God and that He loves, accepts and forgives them, they come running to bathe His feet with their tears!

The Pharisee began to doubt that Jesus was actually a prophet because he thought that Jesus had not discerned what type of woman she was. In his mind, Jesus, the prophet, should have rejected this woman, but he had the wrong idea about God as many people do. But it is a lie of the devil! Romans 5:8 (NKJ) says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loves sinners—He loves them right into His arms. Jesus Christ did not die for His friends, but for His enemies. He died for the unlovable and the unlovely.

The Pharisee, Jesus’ host, did not wash His feet, did not greet Him with a kiss, or even anoint His head with cheap, ordinary oil. But, this sinner woman wet Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiped them with the hair of her head, kissed His feet and anointed them with the rare, costly ointment. The woman had faith in the love and forgiveness of Jesus, the Son of God, and she received His mercy and forgiveness. Thank God—He loves us with an everlasting love that has nothing to do with our worthiness, but with His grace and His mercy extended toward us.

THE COMFORTER – PART FOUR

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

BOLDNESS TO BE A WITNESS

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leaveJerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 1:4-5 NIV

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses inJerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8 NIV

Jesus instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit –- the gift, the promise — that the Father had promised them. They had no idea what they were waiting for exactly or how it would come, but they knew that the Holy Spirit would baptize them in God’s power. The Holy Spirit would come upon them and fill them and change them — turning them into bold witnesses who would preach the Gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth with signs and wonders following! They did as Jesus said and on the day of Pentecost the wind of the Holy Spirit blew on them and changed the course of history. The Spirit of God changed them into new creatures that had never existed before (1 Corinthians 5:17) and filled them with the power to change the eternal destiniesof billions of people.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  Acts 2:1-4 NIV

When the power of God fell on the disciples, they spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. The fire of God was seen on them and they were so loud that people outside the room heard them. People heard them speak in their own languages, telling of the mighty and wonderful works of God! Some people were amazed and some mocked them, calling them drunks, but Peter, who had only weeks before denied the Lord, stood up boldly and proclaimed the Gospel to all the people resulting in three thousand conversions that first day!

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’  Acts 2:14-21 NIV

 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off– for all whom the Lord our God will call.”  Acts 2:36-39 NIV

When you get filled with the Spirit of God, you will be filled with boldness to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all men – those who want to hear and those who don’t. Stephen, who was full of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, faith and power, boldly proclaimed the Gospel in Acts 7 to a hostile audience and was martyred in the process. He was so filled with the power of God that he did not care what they did to him as long as he did what the Lord required of him. When we get filled with the power of God, we will not even be afraid of death, because we are so conscious of God’s presence that we choose to please Him and not man. We do not need to fear man, who can only kill our body — we need to have respect for God, who is in charge of our eternal destiny (Matthew 10:28)! The Holy Spirit gives you the power to please God, not man, and to do great things for God.

GOD’S WILL IS HEALING — SUBMIT TO GOD’S WILL

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

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.  Mark 1:40-42 NIV

If you ask most people, they will say that they know that God CAN heal – even those people who know little or nothing about Him. However, the argument really gets heated when you start to discuss whether or not He WILL heal. We believe that He is omnipotent, that He is ABLE to heal, but we are not sure if He is WILLING to heal. Even some of us who believe that God is willing to heal are not sure if He is willing to heal US. People think that God only heals SOME people, because that is our experience – we have only seen a few people receive their healing. However, our experience is not the measuring stick of God’s will – His Word is His will. Jesus is the Word made flesh, dwelling among us!

And when they had crossed over, they came to the land, unto Gennesaret.

And when the men of that place knew him, they sent into all that region round about, and brought unto him all that were sick, and they besought him that they might only touch the border of his garment:and as many as touched were made whole.  Matthew 14:34-36 ASV

Jesus was the manifest will of God – He did only that which He saw His Father do. God’s will was Jesus’ will. He declared that it was His will to heal and He healed everyone. Even though He died, rose again and then ascended to the right hand of the Father, He has not changed His mind. Jesus left the Holy Spirit here on earth with us to help us and the Holy Spirit is still carrying out the will of God today.

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.  Luke 5:17 NKJV

The power of God may be present to heal us, but if we are too deaf, dumb, blind or dishonest to see what God is doing or hear what He is saying then we will not comprehend what His will is and we will not receive what He has already provided for us.

So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ‘ “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.  Acts 28:25-29 NKJV

The enemy always opposes God’s plan and will. You can believe his lies or you can believe the truth of God’s word. God’s will is that we live in divine health – He has already signed, sealed and delivered it to us. All that is left is for us to come into agreement with God and His word and His will. Our faith in God’s word and His will is built up and strengthened as we spend our time hearing His word and meditating on it.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 NKJV

God’s will is an established fact. It will never change because God will never change. We need to realize that it is His will to heal us, we need to renew our minds to that fact and we need to submit to His will and go ahead and receive His healing power in our bodies.

ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH

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

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “according to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. 

Matthew 9:27-30 NIV

God will do His work in your life according to what you believe and what you receive. Jesus frequently told people that it was their faith that brought them the healing, deliverance and forgiveness that they needed. On the other hand – doubt and unbelief will hinder, and even stop altogether, the power of God from manifesting to meet your needs.

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.  Matthew 13:53-58 NKJV

You will not receive much from God if you look at things totally in the natural, are easily offended by the word of God and the methods He uses, or if you do not recognize His messenger. Jesus could not do many mighty works in His own hometown because of their unbelief – the NIV says, “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” All they could see was the kid they saw growing up in their midst – instead of the anointed Son of God that He was. He was God made flesh right before their eyes and they missed Him.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:17 NKJV

Faith begins where the will of god is known. When you recognize and acknowledge the truth of God’s word and when you align your self with it, instead of trying to get God to change and do things your way – you will receive your answer and your miracle.

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” and the woman was healed from that moment.  Matthew 9:20-21 NIV

God does not move on your behalf because you have a big need, but because you have big faith. God does not move on your behalf because you cry hard enough, but because you have persistent faith.

Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Luke 5:18-20 NIV

You are the one who determines your miracle by your attitude of gratitude and your faith in God and His word.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him-and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”  Luke 17:11-19 NIV

Build yourself up in the Word and then rise up in faith and receive your miracle!

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.