Don’t Forget Where You Came From

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

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 22 from Deuteronomy

Don’t forget where you came from
Foundation scriptures: Deuteronomy 8 verses 10 – 20

When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for all the good land which He has given you. 11 Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His precepts, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them, 13 And when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all you have is multiplied, 14 Then your [minds and] hearts be lifted up and you forget the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, 15 Who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, but Who brought you forth water out of the flinty rock, 16 Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 And beware lest you say in your [mind and] heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. 18 But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and walk after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations which the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 8:10-20 AMP

1.  People have a tendency to forget where they have come from very quickly.

a.    They get their eyes off of the Lord and onto their circumstances.
b.    This is not only when they are in peril, but also when they are blessed.
c.    If it was important for the children of Israel to not forget from whence the Lord had brought them, how much more is it very important for us today?
d.    The Word warns us to be careful and not to be deceived by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
e.    We have to be anchored firmly in the Lord, and His Word, and not in possessions or people.
f.    We must remind ourselves, on a daily basis, where the Lord has brought us from, and where we could have been. We must keep a humble and a pure heart before the Lord.

2.  In this passage, God was warning His people not to forget Him, but to continue to gratefully remember Him.

a.    Some people turn to the Lord only in a time of extreme trouble, but when it all turns around, they quickly forget their deliverer.
b.    God says you must remember Him. It is HE who gives you the power to create wealth.
c.    Don’t ever be lifted up in pride, where you think it’s you, your talents, your abilities, and how great you are.
d.    It’s ALL Jesus and NOT us.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
The Lord provided for the Israelites in the desert, where there was no natural provision for them. Without God, they were as good as dead. But He also provided for them in the Land of Milk and Honey. ALL of it was from God. Just because you are in a good place and you seem to be able to provide well for yourself, don’t forget that it is God who has given you, not only the things you have, but also the very ability to provide for yourself. Nobody enjoys being taken for granted – especially the Lord. Never take the blessings of God for granted. Don’t treat Him only as your last resort. If you want to maintain the blessings of God in your life, you would be wise to always remember to thank the Lord for all that you have and thank Him and trust Him also for all you need – now and in the future. Look to Him as your source and supply and honor Him as such.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
I have had the privilege of observing many different people over the years and have noticed that modern day people are no different from the Old Testament saints. Many times, businessmen who become successful, forget Who got them there. Preachers are the same way. The Word plainly states that one of the things God hates above all others is pride. God tells us over and over that He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So take time today to reflect on where you’ve come from and give the Lord all the glory.

Prayer and Confession:
Father, I thank You that You are my source and supply. Without You – I am lost. I remember that You are the one who gives me the ability to make a living and to create wealth. I humble myself before You today and I continue to keep my eyes fixed firmly on you.

My Worship-In Spirit and In Truth

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

Foundation Scriptures: John 4:19-24

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:19-24 NKJV

1. You worship you know not what.

a.    This sounds like the modern-day church.
b.    As we have traveled around the world, it has been interesting – and in some cases, disturbing – to see what goes on in the “Church” under the guise of “worship”.
c.    Jesus said, in verse 23, that the Father is seeking TRUE worshipers. The Father is seeking people who will worship Him from their mouth AND their heart.
d.    You worship in vain if your mouth worships, but your heart is not submitted to God. Matthew 15:8-9 NKJV – These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
e.    It is unprofitable to offer a sacrifice of worship from a disobedient heart. 1 Samuel 15:22 AMP – Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

2. Being a true worshiper.

a.    Worship is from the heart.
b.    Worship is not a religious act of posture, stance, or tone. It is the heart crying out. Psalms 42:7 – Deep calls unto deep.
c.    10 lepers were healed – only one came back to say thanks. Nine were cleansed, but only one was made whole. Luke 17:15-19 KJV – And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
d.    True worship does not spring forth only in “good times”, it springs forth out of and in the middle of the darkest seasons of life.
–    Jonah in the fish’s belly
–    The three Hebrew children in the fire
–    Daniel in the lion’s den
–    David tending sheep
–    Paul and Silas in prison
–    Jesus in Gethsemane
–    All circumstances don’t have to be the best for worship to be true worship. True worship originates from a heart; whose trust, hope and faith are in the Lord and not in a temporary situation.

3. True worship comes from a pure heart.

a.    A heart that is pure and holy.
b.    A heart that is ablaze – on fire.
c.    A heart full of passion.
d.    A heart full of faith.

4. True worshippers worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.

a.    There is a difference between Old Testament worship and New Testament worship.
b.    OT – God inhabits the praise of His people.
c.    NT – God inhabits His people of praise!
d.    Rejoice and give thanks – always – for all things! Ephesians 5:18-20 KJV – And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
e.    Worship will never stop – for all eternity we will joyfully worship Him!

5. Let this month be a month of worship.

a.    Every day – thank Him and give Him praise for His goodness, mercy, and grace!

 

THE WORD THAT PREVAILS

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

Foundation Scriptures: Acts 19:20, Acts 12:24

So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
Acts 19:20 NKJV

But the word of God grew and multiplied. Acts 12:24 NKJV

The Power of God is in and on the Word.

Romans 1:16 NKJV – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
God’s Word is full of power to change a person; a city; a nation; the world.
The Word of God will prevail over sin, sickness, disease and death.

Faith Makes the Word Prevail.

Faith comes when the Word prevails over the thinking processes.
Matthew 8:23-27
The Word prevailed in Jesus’ lips over the laws of nature.
Matthew 8:5-13
Jesus’ Word prevailed over disease.
Matthew 14:14-21
Jesus’ Word prevailed over lack.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV – For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

The Word Prevails Over the Senses.

Romans 4:16-22
Faith prevailed over fear and hope and sense knowledge in the mind and heart of Abraham.
Hope is always in the future—it’s a dream—it’s never real.
Faith reaches out and grabs hope and brings it into the present.
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith gives substance to hope.
Faith is the evidence that you have it even when you still haven’t seen it.
Abraham’s faith in God’s Word to him brought God’s promise to pass.

The Power of the Word on Our Lips.

Acts 6:7 NKJV – Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
As they preached and practiced what they had learned from the Master’s lips, the Word of God increased.
The Word of God is eternal. Like God, it is ever young and ever new. The Word of God is not only a part of Him—it’s who He is!
Matthew 24:35 NKJV – Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Jesus, the Father and the Word are one.
John 14:9b NKJV – He who has seen Me has seen the Father.
John 12:49-50
Jesus was fearless in the presence of disease and demons. He spoke the Father’s words and He knew they could not fail.
2 Timothy 4:2 NKJV – Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
“Be ready” means: “be urgent” or “keep your sense of urgency”.
Jesus preached the Word and it healed the sick; it broke the power of demons over men.
The apostles preached the Word and the sick were healed, the dead were raised and multitudes received new life.
To preach the Word means to preach Christ, because He is the Word. To preach the Gospel means to preach the Word, the good news.

The Word Makes Us Love.

John 13:34-35 The Message – Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. 35 This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.
Love was the unseen power that governed the early church.
1 John 4:7-8 NKJV – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 3:14 NKJV – We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
When you walk in the love of God, you prove that you are born again and have passed from death into life.
1 John 2:10 AMP – Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin.
The love of God in your heart takes you out of the realm of weakness and failure. No longer will your words cause offence or your actions lead others to do wrong.

The Word Makes Us Conquer.

If you hate your brother, you are living in darkness. The Word has not prevailed in your life. You are walking as a common, unchanged man.
1 Corinthians 3:3 AMP – For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?
Many believers, because the Word has not prevailed over them, live in defeat in every area of their life.
As long as you only mentally assent to the word, but don’t act on it, you will struggle with sickness, disease and lack.
Philippians 4:19 AMP – And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
When the Word prevails in your life, you have plenty for yourself and to share with others.
Psalms 27:1 AMP – The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
2 Corinthians 3:5 AMP – Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God.

HONOR THE LORD WITH FIRSTFRUITS

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

All the firstling males that are born of your herd and flock you shall set apart for the Lord your God; you shall do no work with the firstling of your herd, nor shear the firstling of your flock. 20 You shall eat it before the Lord your God annually in the place [for worship] which the Lord shall choose, you and your household. 21 But if it has any blemish, if it is lame, blind, or has any bad blemish whatsoever, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 15:19-21 AMP

Many Christians have a way too casual attitude toward the things of God – starting with their tithes and offerings, their worship, their witness – that filters down to every area of their lives. It’s time for God’s people to get serious about the things of God, their life, and eternity. We are not living for ourselves, we are living for Him – to bring Him glory and pleasure – this is why we are created! Let’s look at what the Lord instructed His people to do.

It is very important to God that His people set aside and bring the firstborn of their flocks and herds to Him. They had to be firstlings – the firstborn of the flock – to show that God’s people trusted Him as their provider. It took faith to bring the firstling – you brought it in faith trusting God to provide and bless your “secondling”, “thirdling”, and “fourthling”, etc. This firstling was to be set aside ahead of time and then brought to the place of worship. It was sacrificed to the Lord at the place of worship and then eaten in His presence. The firstling could not be lame or blind – it had to have no blemish or imperfection whatsoever. It would need to be carefully inspected. If something is inspected, it means that it has to be considered and carefully looked at – with much contemplation and thought – rather than something brought haphazardly or as a mere afterthought.

And [we obligate ourselves] to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the first of all the fruit of all trees year by year to the house of the Lord, 36 As well as the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, as is written in the Law, and the firstlings of our herds and flocks, to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in [His] house. 37 And we shall bring the first and best of our coarse meal, our contributions, the fruit of all kinds of trees, of new wine, and of oil to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God. And we shall bring the tithes from our ground to the Levites, for they, the Levites, collect the tithes in all our rural towns.  Nehemiah 10:35-37 AMP

Even though this firstling/firstfruit command was given under the Old Covenant, why would we – under the New and Better Covenant – assume that we are free to dishonor God by giving to Him any other way? Maybe we don’t raise animals – but we do earn a living – we must bring the Lord the “firstling” – right off the top. We honor God by putting Him first, rather than last in our priorities. We should set aside our offering with much thought, contemplation and inspection – and then bring it to His house as an act of worship – to honor Him for His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His loving kindness, and all of His bountiful blessings.

If we really respect a person – a man or woman – and we really want to bless them, we will do something to honor them, such as bringing a gift that reflects our gratitude and appreciation. It is very appropriate – and in some cases, expected – that you bring a gift when you are meeting someone very important. Your gift sends a message. For instance, we give gifts to our husband, wife, family, or friends, on birthdays, or anniversaries, or other special occasions, that reflect how much we think of them. They would be offended if we forgot to bring something or if we gave an inferior gift. What about our Heavenly Father? Is He not more important – is He not more precious to us – than any mortal man? We expect His generous, abundant, timely blessings on us and so we should also honor Him in kind.

Everything we have comes from God. Nothing we have comes from ourselves. He loves us – we love Him. He blesses us – we bless Him. It amazes me how many people expect the blessing of the Lord in their lives and yet the Kingdom of God is neither their priority nor their concern. When we make the Kingdom of God our priority – when we put God’s house first and bless and honor Him – then He will bless and honor us. Let’s honor God by bringing our first and our best – not the last or the lame or the blind. If you want God’s Best then give Him your Best always in everything!

God Loved Us First and Most

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

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

In giving up His only begotten Son, God proved the infinite love He has for us and that His mercy is available to ALL. God did not send Jesus to die because we loved Him – He sent Him because He loved us! He was not motivated to sacrifice Jesus because of our merits – because we had no redeeming qualities to deserve such love – but He did it because of His own goodness and graciousness. In this is love: not that we loved God first, but that HE loved US first! And He wants to make it abundantly clear – we did not seek Him out – He sought us first – we are simply responding to the love He has shown to us.

Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. 8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.
  Romans 5:7-8 AMP

God clearly proved His love for us by sending Jesus to die on that cross for us while we were yet sinners. Never, in the history of the world, has there been such an unselfish sacrifice as this. People might be willing to give their lives for those who love them, but only God’s love gives His life for those who do not yet love Him. Love took a huge risk – love gave it all, holding nothing back – with the confident expectation that men could not resist such a great love, and indeed they could not! Thank God that we can find mercy and forgiveness, wholeness and restoration through His love!

See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! 1 John 3:1a AMP

The Wuest translation says: “Behold what exotic [foreign to the human heart] love the Father has permanently bestowed upon us.” This is a love beyond human experience or comprehension. A great love; a marvelous love; an incredible quality of love! Through Jesus, God introduced us to a new kind of love – His agape love. He sees us valuable and precious. We are His precious treasure. His love gives us our value.

Human love is limited, flawed and often selfish. Because of manipulation and control and a lack of demonstrated love in their formative years, many people have grown up to be emotionally unhealthy. They have a negative self-worth. This results in negative and destructive patterns of behavior, which in turn cause more heartache and pain for all concerned. However, as they grow in their knowledge of the Father and the love He has for them, they begin to be restored and made whole. As Christians, our sense of self-worth comes from knowing how much God loves us. He is not just our God – He is our Father, Abba, Daddy – and He calls us his children! The Father loves each and every one of us with the exact same infinite love, but the depth (or shallowness) of our understanding of His love determines the level of our confidence in His love and our responses to Him.

Your concept of yourself affects ALL your relationships. As you grow in your knowledge and understanding of how much the Father loves and accepts you, you will also begin to act and respond in a healthier, more constructive way in your interactions with others, which will have a positive effect on their lives as well. We must have a revelation of the Father’s nature and character. He does not merely show love – He IS love! We must realize and understand how much He loves us. We must learn to see ourselves through His eyes – as valuable and precious. We must learn to love, accept and forgive ourselves. Then we will be able to see others as He sees them and we will be able to love them as He does.

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

God is SO rich in mercy, and because of His great love, He reached out to us to bring us from our fallen, sinful, alienated state into His Kingdom and into His family. Not only are we adopted as sons and daughters, but we are also given an inheritance together with Jesus. We are seated in heavenly places with Jesus, at the Father’s right hand! None of it is because of our merits, but purely because of the greatness of His love, grace and kindness! We are created by Him and prepared to live and walk in His ways. By accepting His love, through Jesus, we step into this wonderful inheritance that He has prepared for us! How boundless, endless, fathomless, exhaustless and measureless is His love for us and how rich is His mercy!

 

THE GOODNESS OF GOD – PART 1

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

“Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. 2 [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. 3 And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? 4 Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? 5 But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed. 6 For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]: 7 To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath. 9 [And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). 10 But glory and honor and [heart] peace shall be awarded to everyone who [habitually] does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). 11 For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].” Romans 2:1-11 AMP

There is no excuse, before God, for those who judge others, especially when they are doing the same things themselves. Those who are judgmental of others show that they have underestimated, and even perhaps despised, the riches of God’s grace. They either do not realize or they have forgotten that it is the goodness of God that leads all men to repentance, including them themselves. If we deny that God is a good God, then we are being disobedient to the truth. Your stubbornness is opening the door for the judgment of God to come upon you. Remember that God is not a respecter of persons. That means that He loves us all the same and He treats us all the same. No matter what a man or woman has done; no matter how bad they have been; if God can have an opportunity to show His goodness to him or her, He will. It is His goodness that melts hearts and draws sinners to Him. How can you fight with someone who is only kind and loving toward you? It is a hard-hearted person indeed, who can reject such a wonderful Lord!

“Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly: 34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. 35 For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.” Nehemiah 9:33-35 KJV

Only the wicked despise God’s goodness. In God’s goodness, He blessed the Israelites and forgave them over and over, because of His love and because of His covenant promises to them as a nation. He was only good to them and blessed them with everything they could possible want and need and yet they rejected Him over and over. He did not reject them, they rejected Him, therefore He had to lift His hand of blessing and protection off of them and the enemy was able to afflict them. However, when they came to their senses and genuinely repented for their wickedness and rebellion, He always received them back into His blessing.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-11 NKJV

People quote this scripture out of context to explain tragedies: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” They blame God for the bad things that happen. However, in context, we can see that it is God’s love, mercy and forgiveness that is higher than our thoughts and higher than our ways. We have a hard time grasping how God can forgive certain people, because we think that some sins are too great to be forgiven. Sometimes we don’t want God to forgive someone, because we don’t want to forgive them. But God is good! And He never changes! Psalms 145:9 NKJV says, “The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.” The Lord is indeed good and He is good to ALL!

Cling to the Lord Your God


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

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV

God has a wonderful plan for you – His most valued and precious creation. He has good plans; plans full of hope; plans for a great future. Man was created with the ability and the right to choose his destiny. Since man was created, the Father has been declaring the truth. To every generation, the Lord makes this clear: there are two choices and two destinies for every man and woman; there is a choice to be made for life and blessing, or a choice to be made for death and cursing. His plan is the good one! God is always truthful with us; we can believe everything He says; He is not capricious; He is not deceptive; He does not play games with us. He means what He says and He says what He means.

Adam had the opportunity to choose life or death, blessing or cursing, just as every one of us has. Through disobedience, Adam made a choice for cursing and death. God only has good plans for us, but because of the fact that Adam sold out to the devil and gave him access into the earth, the devil also has plans for us – bad plans. The devil hates the truth – he doesn’t want us to know his terrible plans for us, because if we really understood what his plans were, we would run away from him and stay away from him. The devil’s main weapon is deception – as long as he can deceive us and keep us in the dark, he can succeed in his evil endeavors. God is always truthful – He is not afraid of the truth. When the truth is revealed, God is always proved right. The truth brings Him glory and honor.

Most people think that life just happens to them; that they have no choice or control over how they end up. While it is true that there are many things that come our way initially that we can’t predict; we can directly positively affect the outcome by making a good choice. By making good choices, we can head off or prevent many of the devil’s evil plans. By choosing the good, we can actually positively influence our future and the future of our children. Choosing life and blessing means actually earning the reward of life and blessing!

Verse 20 says that we can have life and blessing IF we love the Lord, obey His voice and CLING to Him!

The Hebrew word, dabaq (daw-bak’), translated “cling” or “cleave” means: to cling or adhere; to catch by pursuit. It is variously translated as abide fast; cleave (fast together); follow close (hard after); be joined (together); keep (fast); overtake; pursue hard; stick; take. The dictionary says that “cling” or “cleave” means: to adhere closely; to stick to; to hold tight, as by grasping or embracing; to be or remain close; to remain attached; to cohere; to remain emotionally attached; to hold on; to resist separation; to remain faithful. That means – get close, hold on and NEVER let go!

It’s not about receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior and then just coasting along, expecting Him to take full responsibility for your relationship. Even in human relationships, you will fail if you do not work on the relationship and if you leave everything up to the other person. Many Christians go along expecting God to hold onto them; to cling to them; to do everything for them. That is not how it works. WE are the ones who must cling to the Lord! By God’s design, just as it is instinctual for babies – human and animal – to cling to their mother and to stick close by her for provision and safety – so God has designed that we be the ones to chase after Him; to pull in close to Him; to cling to Him and never let go.

Joshua 23:8 AMP – But cling to the Lord your God as you have done to this day.

Joshua 22:5 AMP – But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you: to love the Lord your God and to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and to cling to and unite with Him and to serve Him with all your heart and soul [your very life].

Psalms 119:30-31a NKJV – I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. I cling to Your testimonies.

Deuteronomy 10:20-21 AMP – You shall [reverently] fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and by His name and presence you shall swear. 21 He is your praise; He is your God, Who has done for you these great and terrible things which your eyes have seen.

Take responsibility for your life and your blessing; do not be lazy, lackadaisical, or sloppy in your walk with the Father; don’t ever take Him for granted. If you want God’s best in your life, if you want His blessings, you must press in to Him and cling to Him and His word as if your life depends on it – because it does!

Operation Jubilee

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

Today we are launching “Operation Jubilee”.

The Year of Jubilee is a time of resting in God’s grace and His provision; a year of restoration and celebration; a year of independence and repatriation!

This year – 2011 – is a significant year for us personally and as a ministry. After many years of traveling and sowing into cities around the world, contending for revival and a great harvest of souls – with blood, sweat and tears – The Great Awakening Tour is now going live around the world every night, reaching people with the Gospel and empowering them to win the lost and reap a great harvest for the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a dream come true and a vision come to pass for us. The Lord has certainly done exceedingly abundantly above! On the personal side – I turn 50 in June and then Adonica and I, together, celebrate 30 years of marriage in October. It is a big year!

The River at Tampa Bay and our congregation has sown greatly into the harvest of souls around the globe and it is our time of reaping! We have been praying and seeking God for His direction and in the light of this “Jubilee Year”, we felt that it would be a great time to pay off our existing property before we look to building anything else. God wants His people out of debt – especially in the light of what is going on in the world today. We feel the wind of God on this and we believe that He will supernaturally bless His people and provide for us to eliminate the debt and be able to say that we “owe no man anything, but to love him”!

Today we are instituting a program that is a four-month pledge/commitment, over and above your tithe, to help reduce the principle. We will revisit this commitment again every four months. We will renew our pledge, as the Lord prospers us, over and above our tithe for one purpose and one purpose alone – the paying off of our property.

When we first took possession of these 83 acres back in 2001, it was by the grace of God and the favor of God. The Lord gave us stewardship over this land for His glory. Since then, literally hundreds of thousands of people have flowed through these doors over the years and have been touched by the power of God. They have been saved, healed, set free and delivered.

We have spent millions of dollars on the harvest in crusades around the world, in a decade, with just over 5 million people coming to know Jesus in that time. Rather than being focused on meeting only our own needs, we sowed into the harvest and into the extension of the Kingdom of God, but we believe that our time to reap has come. We have a mortgage on this property and the current mortgage holder would like to have us off their books – they have offered us a discount to refinance. We feel in our hearts that we need to trust the Lord to pay the property off in the next 36 months.

Therefore, we are launching Operation Jubilee, which will give you an opportunity to pledge and commit to giving, over and above your tithe. We are providing a special Jubilee offering envelope for this purpose. This amount, every month, will be paid over and above the basic mortgage payment and will come off of the principle – in this way greatly reducing the debt. At the same time, we are believing God to be totally debt free in three years!

The word God gave us at the beginning of the year was “the camels are coming” laden with the blessing of God and supernatural provision. You can join your faith with ours to believe that the camels are coming to your house too. Remember that no harvest can be reaped where no seed is sown, but as you sow specifically into the debt release of the house of God, that you can also claim debt release for your own household. The Lord knows that this is a great need for many, many people at this time. God’s plan for all His people has always been for them to be the lender and not the borrower!

I ask you today to hear the call of the Lord. It is imperative that we pay off this property and get out of debt as soon as possible, because of what is coming in the earth. Take one of the Jubilee offering envelopes, pray over it, and then make a commitment for the next four months. Stretch your faith together with us. We love you, River family, and there is no place that we would rather be than right here with you – in the will of God.

We love you with all our hearts,
Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard- Browne

 

To Know the Love of Christ

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

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height —  19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19 NKJV

God’s will for your life, is that Christ would dwell in your heart through faith and that you would be rooted and grounded in love. Many times, people will not run to God for help when they most need it, because they don’t know that He loves them. If you ever felt like you were not good enough to come to God, it is because you had no idea just how MUCH He loves you! Father God wants each one of us to KNOW – by experience – the love He has for us; to be able to comprehend the breadth and length and depth and height of that love. God’s love for us is immense and intense. His love is like the universe itself – ever expanding and never ending. Indeed, it fills and surrounds the universe and encompasses both time and eternity – past, present and future.

Father God wants us to know the breadth of His love – His love is boundless: infinite; vast; unlimited.
He wants us to know the length of His love – His love is endless.
He wants us to know the depth of His love – His love is fathomless; exhaustless.
He wants us to know the height of His love – His love is measureless; limitless

The Father wants you to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness – the very nature – of God! God is love! When you experience God’s presence, you experience His love. When you experience His love, you experience the fullness of His presence! God’s love passes mere knowledge; it is beyond mere understanding; it goes beyond the science or philosophy of man; no words or language of man can frame or describe it. Where man’s knowledge ends, God’s love still goes on. We may not be able to fully understand the extent of His love with our mind, but we can still feel and experience it in our heart and life. God’s love reaches down into the deepest gutter to touch fallen man and to wash away every trace and every remembrance of sin. God’s gift of mercy and grace, through the sacrifice of His Son, is the measure of His love for us. Jesus’ death on the cross is the measure of His love. The work of the Holy Spirit – to be willing to come down from heaven and to work down here in and through us – is the measure of the Spirit’s love for man.

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?] 34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us? 35 Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? 36 Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.  37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, 39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:33-39 AMP

There is NOTHING that can separate us from God’s love! There is NOTHING on earth, under the earth, or in heaven that can separate us from His love! NOTHING can or will ever hinder or prevent God from loving us! He loved us before the foundations of the earth, He loved us while we were yet sinners, He loved us into His family, and He is never going to stop loving us now or in the future! Who will bring a charge or an accusation against God’s elect – those whom God has redeemed? Not God! For God Himself has justified, acquitted and forgiven us. Who will condemn us? Not Jesus, who died and was raised from the dead for us and who, even now, intercedes for us at the right hand of God. When God forgives us, our slate is perfectly clean. God forgives and forgets our past – it is wiped away as if it never existed. How great is the love that washes us clean and gives us this blessed right-standing with God – the right and the privilege to come boldly before the Throne of Grace to ask for help! Even if we commit sin again, we do not run away from Him, we can run TO Him and humbly ask for His forgiveness. He is ever ready and prepared to forgive everyone and anyone who will repent of their sin.

Who or what could ever separate you from Christ’s love? Nothing in this natural world can separate you from the love of God and nothing in the Spirit realm can separate you from His love! Even the enemy – the evil one himself – cannot separate you from God’s love. On this earth we may have to endure all kinds of pressure, persecution, attacks and challenges, but none of it can get in the way of God’s love for us. Even in the middle of great opposition, persecution and/or trouble – because of God’s love – we are more than conquerors and we will gain a surpassing victory!

We can know and experience the love of Christ in every situation and every season of our life – even until we see Him face-to-face!

Testimony by Eddie

This past month, I actually got rebuked a few times. It hurt my pride, busy for class. I severely learned dearly from this is never, ever assume anything, ask questions, listen to all that is being said, and fulfill it to the letter. it turned out to not only be a good lesson, but a character building block of integrity as we all strive for perfection.

Rodney Howard Browne is making a difference