REMEMBERING THE GOODNESS

Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 26 verse 1 – 16

When you have come into the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance and possess it and live in it, 2 You shall take some of the first of all the produce of the soil which you harvest from the land the Lord your God gives you and put it in a basket, and go to the place [the sanctuary] which the Lord your God has chosen as the abiding place for His Name [and His Presence]. 3 And you shall go to the priest who is in office in those days, and say to him, I give thanks this day to the Lord your God that I have come to the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us. 4 And the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God. 5 And you shall say before the Lord your God, A wandering and lost Aramean ready to perish was my father [Jacob], and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and numerous. 6 And the Egyptians treated us very badly and afflicted us and laid upon us hard bondage. 7 And when we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our [cruel] oppression; 8 And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great (awesome) power and with signs and with wonders; 9 And He brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 And now, behold, I bring the firstfruits of the ground which You, O Lord, have given me. And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God; 11 And you and the Levite and the stranger and the sojourner among you shall rejoice in all the good which the Lord your God has given you and your household. 12 When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce the third year, which is the year of tithing, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger and the sojourner, the fatherless, and to the widow, that they may eat within your towns and be filled, 13 Then you shall say before the Lord your God, I have brought the hallowed things (the tithe) out of my house and moreover have given them to the Levite, to the stranger and the sojourner, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed any of Your commandments, neither have I forgotten them. 14 I have not eaten of the tithe in my mourning [making the tithe unclean], nor have I handled any of it when I was unclean, nor given any of it to the dead. I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God; I have done according to all that You have commanded me. 15 Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us as You swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey. 16 This day the Lord your God has commanded you to do these statutes and ordinances. Therefore you shall keep and do them with all your [mind and] heart and with all your being.  Deuteronomy 26:1-16 AMP

1.  The children of Israel were given strict instructions on what they were to do with the first fruits and tithes.

  • They were to go to the place the Lord had chosen to place His Name and Presence
  • They were to confess and to acknowledge where they had come from, how God delivered them, and how He had brought them through into victory and blessing
  • They were to talk about the land the Lord had given them and to be thankful, to worship the Lord, and to rejoice
  • They were also to declare that their tithe was not eaten or handled in mourning, but with joy
  • They were to remind the Lord (and themselves) of the covenant that He swore to their fathers

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
The thing that jumps out at me in this passage is how much our attitude counts before God when we bring Him offerings, first fruits, and tithes. God would not accept any offerings that had any death or mourning attached to them. As Cain learned, it’s not what you bring, but what God accepts, that counts! God made the Israelites bring the offering in a specific way. He made them do and say specific things. Not because He loves empty rituals, but because He was training them to live a lifestyle that was focused on the goodness of God. If we forget what God has done, if we don’t expect Him to do anything for us in the future, then we have no reason to serve Him today, never mind bring Him an offering. Everything they were to do and say was to give them many reasons to keep serving and worshipping the Lord God and not to go off track to worship and serve any other foreign gods. Everything they were to do and say was a reminder to them, so they would remember what God had done, so that they would be grateful for what God had done and so that they would to continue to believe that He would fulfill His future promises! All this was for their blessing and benefit as it is for ours today.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
The Lord laid out a clear plan for His people in this passage. The tithe and the first fruits were a reminder to them of His deliverance – to them and all their generations. It was a way for them never to forget where they had come from. As you bring the Lord your tithes, your offerings and your first fruits, remember where He has brought you from and where you could have been and then rejoice!

Prayer and Confession:
Father, thank You that You have delivered me from sin, hell, sickness, disease, poverty, lack, judgment, torment, and eternal death. Today I honor You with my substance and I rejoice in Your goodness!

LET NO MAN SAY

Thoughts on Stewardship
Lesson No. 4 from Genesis

Let no man say that he has made you rich except Almighty God!
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 14 verses 18-24

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. 21 Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’–24 except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”  Genesis 14:18-24 NKJV

There was a battle that occurred between nine kings —four on one side and five on the other. In the process, Sodom and Gomorrah were plundered of goods and people and Abram’s nephew, Lot, and his family and possessions were taken into captivity. Abram heard about it and took his servants—318 of them—and attacked, routed, and ran them off. He took back the goods and the people, including Lot and his family. When Abram returned, he was met by the king of Sodom. The king asked for the people back, but told Abram to keep the goods for himself. Abram flatly refused. He said, “I promised God that I would take nothing that is yours, so that you can never say that you made me rich!” God had promised Abram that He would greatly bless him and He had. Everything Abram had was given to him by God and God alone would get all the glory.

1. The hand of the Lord is on Abram’s life

a. Abram goes with his servants and kills the enemy and plunders them.

b. He meets Melchizedek—priest of the Most High.

c. Melchizedek blesses Abram and Abram gave a tithe of everything that he had taken.

d. The Priest blessed Abram and Abram paid a tithe in worship to God for his deliverance.

e. Then the King of Salem came and wanted to make a deal with Abram.

Abram declared:  I WILL NOT TOUCH EVEN A SHOE-LATCHET—I WILL NOT TOUCH ANYTHING THAT IS YOURS. LEST YOU SAY I HAVE MADE ABRAM RICH. IN OTHER WORDS: “LET NO MAN SAY, “I HAVE MADE ABRAM RICH,” EXCEPT ALMIGHTY GOD.”

Pastor Adonica’s thoughts:
Abram’s faith was in God alone. He had followed God out from his home and family, had made God his source and supply, and he would never again trust in man or the arm of the flesh. We are the children of Abraham if, by faith, we have received Jesus as Lord and Savior. We must fill our heart and head with the Word and promise of God. We must see God always as our source and supply and not man. If you get your eyes on man and expect people to meet your need you are bound to be disappointed, because they will let you down. Some people use others to get what they want or steal from them, because they see that as the only way to get what they want. God says let the thief steal no more, get a job, and give to those who are in need. Get your eyes on God. See Him and Him alone as your source. Ask Him to meet your need. Expect Him to answer your prayers. Don’t drop hints to people. Don’t ever look for God’s provision to come through a particular avenue. Let God meet your need however He sees fit and praise Him for it!

Pastor Rodney’s thoughts:
Over the years I have watched a very interesting scenario develop between certain wealthy people and ministries. It is as though, on the one side, these wealthy individuals desire to give, but they also want there to be strings attached. They want to dictate exactly how that money will be used. Now, it is possible to give a designated gift for something specific, but that is different than trying to call the shots and manipulate the minister or the ministry. Many a preacher has lost the anointing because he became dependant on someone other than God Almighty to direct and to guide him. Over the years I have walked away from millions of dollars that had strings attached, because I realized that the day I gave in and trusted in man to meet my needs, I would lose the anointing as well as the ministry. Remember, when you give, you are not giving to the preacher or the ministry, you are giving to God. Remember that no one person or one thing is your source of supply except Almighty God. He is your source of supply. Don’t compromise your integrity. Let no man say that he has made you rich except Almighty God!

Prayer and Confession:
Father, please help me to always keep my eyes upon you and to realize everyday that you alone are the source of my supply.

The Giants Are Bread for Us

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

Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Faith must be released in word through your mouth.

If you’re not satisfied with what you have then check on what is coming out of your mouth. All that you have, and all that you are now, is the result of what you have believed and said in the past.

Proverbs 6:2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

It doesn’t take the devil’s efforts to interfere with things in your life when you take the initiative to snare yourself with your own words.

Don’t ever talk failure or defeat! Don’t ever acknowledge, for one moment, that God’s ability or power cannot put you over the top. If you’re talking failure and defeat with your lips, you’re declaring that God cannot and has not put you over.

1 John 4:4 “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

You can’t side with the majority when they are opposed to the Word of God – the plan of faith and God’s will.

Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it!

Caleb didn’t deny the existence of the giants but he said that they were well able to overcome them.

Numbers 14:9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

Doubt and fear is rebellion against the Lord! Rebellion is as witchcraft. The giants were bread for Israel! Bread is a staple of life. You need it to survive. You grow by eating it!

Faith ALWAYS has a good report!

I believe what the Word says whether things seem like it’s the way the Bible says or not.

If mountains / obstacles are not enough of an issue to God to mention to you, before you get to them, then they should not be an issue to you when you encounter them.

Throughout history people following God’s plan have faced challenges. None of these challenges have changed God or altered His Word.

A mountain cannot defeat anyone. What defeats people is fear!

You were created to be an Overcomer!

Satan’s lie, processed by fear, will come to pass! God’s promise (TRUTH), processed by faith, will come to pass!

Exodus 14:8-15

Moses faced the Red Sea on one side, and the Egyptian army on the other, but God’s plan hadn’t changed – “Go Forward!”

Don’t become paralyzed by fear and overcome with doubt!

Hebrews 3:12-19; 4:9-11

Unbelief in God’s promise causes you to stay and die in the wilderness. Get out of the “wilderness experience” by total trust and obedience to God! Enter into the rest today!

RECOGNIZING JESUS

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

Luke 2:25-32  (NKJ)

25           And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

26           And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

27           So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,

28           he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29           “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;

30           For my eyes have seen Your salvation

31            Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

32           A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

 

The Bible says that there was a man, whose name was Simeon, a righteous and devout Israelite. He was a truly godly man, filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led him to Jesus and he prophesied of the salvation of God through Him. He recognized the hand and the work of God in Jesus, the Messiah. Anna was a prophetess, who had served God with fasting and prayers in the temple for about 60 years. She saw Jesus in Simeon’s arms, heard his words and recognized Him as the Messiah, proclaiming Him to be the redeemer that God had promised (Luke 2:36-38).

 

The shepherds believed the angels, came to see Jesus the Messiah, and told everyone what the angels had declared to them – praising and glorifying God (Luke 2:8-20). The wise men from the East traveled many hundreds of miles to see and acknowledge the King of Kings, bowing down to worship Him and bestowing their wealth upon Him (Matthew 2:1-12).

 

Matthew 2:2   (NKJ)

2              saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

 

Even the centurion who was responsible for the execution of Jesus recognized Him as truly the Son of God.

 

Mark 15:39  (NKJ)

39           So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

 

The scribes, pharisees and chief priests did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, because they were religious, but they were not godly. They could not find anything wrong with Jesus, but they killed Him because of the unrepentant sin in their own hearts. The truth of His words cut them to the heart, but they refused to yield to God’s discipline.

 

Mark 15:31-32  (NKJ)

31            Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.

32           “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.

 

Will you recognize Jesus when He comes to you? Will you recognize the hand of God at work or will you oppose the move and the will of God? The state of your heart determines your viewpoint and opinion. Just as Jesus manifested Himself in the flesh for the first time, He comes to us today in the move of His Spirit. If we love Him and if our hearts remain humble before Him, we will recognize Him when He comes to us and we will acknowledge the move and the work of the Spirit in the earth today. The true meaning of Christmas is this – not that He came to us 2000 years ago, but that He is here with us today. Let us celebrate His presence today!

JESUS, THE INNOCENT – SENTENCED FOR US, THE GUILTY

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

Luke 23:34  (NKJ)

34      Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

 

Jesus, on the cross, was not angry with the people who crucified Him – He was forgiving. He knew that He was the sacrificial lamb, born to die for all mankind, that they might be forgiven and brought into right standing with the Father. They had no idea that they were fulfilling God’s plan as they crucified Jesus. They were sacrificing God’s perfect Lamb – pouring out His blood for the remission of sin. Even the high priest that pronounced the sentence of death on Jesus, in the same way that he pronounced sentence every Passover on the lambs sacrificed to cover the sin of the people with their blood. Jesus’ blood totally washes away sin.

 

Hebrews 4:15  (NKJ)

15      For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

 

1 Peter 1:18-19  (NKJ)

18      knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,

19      but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

 

Jesus was not sacrificed as a sinner, deserving of punishment. He was sacrificed as the innocent and righteous – bearing the burden, punishment, and penalty for sin, that was not His own. Taking the place of those whom had no entrance into the presence of God and no rights with God.

 

Luke 23:39-41  (NKJ)

39      Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

40      But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?

41      “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

 

The religious were blinded by their religion and their jealousy and pride, but one of the sinners on the cross next to Jesus recognized Him as innocent and undeserving of the sentence of death passed down upon Him.

 

Luke 23:46-48  (NKJ)

46      And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.'” Having said this, He breathed His last.

47      So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”

48      And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.

 

When He died the centurion glorified God and acknowledged His uprightness – that He was innocent and just. The throngs who gathered to watch the spectacle of the crucifixion of the “King of the Jews” – left, beating their breasts – with the sense (no doubt) that a great injustice had been done.

 

Acts 2:24  (NIV)

24      But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

 

God, the Father, raised Jesus from the dead because He was innocent. He was in hell illegally. It was impossible for death, hell and the grave to hold Him. We were destined for hell without God. Jesus took our place in death and came back from where we could not. He exchanged places with us so that we could be partakers of His life and go with Him to heaven instead of to hell where we belonged. The innocent died for the guilty. Thank God for Jesus, the spotless, sinless Lamb of God, who died and rose again for our salvation and redemption and for the remission of our sins.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GENTLENESS

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

There are several different words translated as gentle or gentleness throughout the Word of God. The Greek word gentleness in this passage means usefulness in the sense of having moral excellence in character or demeanor. Words for gentleness are also translated as goodness, kindnessor clemency. In other passages the Greek word translated gentle means to be affable, mild or kind. It is sometimes translated as moderate or patient. Affable means to be friendly, good-natured, amiable, agreeable, easy-going, courteous, pleasant, cordial, and sociable,

A gentle person is not a weak person, but a person of strong moral character who is humble and who esteems others above themselves. A gentle person is someone who is kind, considerate and merciful and who gets along well with others. A gentle person would make a great friend. You might say to yourself, “Being good-natured and easy-going is not who I am and so I will leave that to others who are naturally that way. It is easy for those other people, but that is just not my character or personality!” I have news for you – God can do something about your personality! You can change – you must just be willing! If we do not have these attributes, we need to allow the Lord to help us to develop the fruit of gentleness in our lives.

But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:14-18 NKJ

Gentleness is not pushy or demanding – it does not insist on its own rights or its own way. It is not envious, boastful, proud or self-seeking. It is not hypocritical nor is it a respecter of persons. Gentleness is not easily angered. Gentleness is patient and kind. Gentleness is truthful and yet merciful and willing to yield – gentleness will allow you to disagree without being disagreeable. Although gentleness makes peace a priority – it never compromises the Word of God.

But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:23-26 NKJ

As ministers of reconciliation, ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, and representatives of the truth of the Word of God, we are not to argue, strive or try to shove what we believe down anyone’s throat. We can share the Gospel with people, but we cannot force them to make a choice. Even God does not force anyone and we certainly do not have that right. According to the Word of God, we are not to bring ourselves down to the level of those who just want to argue for the sake of arguing. They are not interested in the truth – only their version of it. Do not even enter into a conversation with these individuals. Politely decline to argue with them.

If you argue and strive, you will be opening the door to the devil in your life and that is something you cannot afford at any cost. You work so hard to stay in the will of God and under His protection – don’t blow it by getting into stupid, unproductive, strife-filled arguments! We can really only minister effectively to those who are prepared to hear what we have to say or who actually want to hear what we have to say. You can even have a civil discussion concerning a difference of opinions, but do not fight and argue, not ever!

Sometimes we get defensive when we are attacked or criticized by others and react in the flesh and begin to attack them back. If you are doing the will of God, you have nothing to defend and no reason to be defensive. God will defend you since He is the One who called you, anointed you, and gave you your assignment. The fruit of gentleness helps you to keep a good attitude even under very trying circumstances. Always remember, if you are in the will of God, then He is with you and for you and if God be for you – who can be against you!

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; your right hand has held me up, your gentlenesshas made me great. Psalms 18:35 NKJ

BUILD GOD’S HOUSE FIRST

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

In Revelation 2:2-4 the Lord spoke to the church in Ephesus:

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. NIV

In the Bible, God gives us our standards and our priorities. If we pay attention and do things God’s way, we will prosper and He will see to it that our dreams and desires are fulfilled. Our first priority is God, Himself – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is – or should be -Number One in our lives. We should worship, praise and exalt Him above all others. We should make His words the standard we live by – above the words of all others. We should carry out His will for our lives and ignore all other voices that speak contrary to His word. He is our first love!

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:24-34 NIV

We must seek first the kingdom of God. That means that we must turn the focus of our attention away from the world, and its pull, and turn it toward God and His word. We must focus our energies toward finding His will for us and then walking it out in our actions. God tells us that the things that we think are so important – are not important at all. We think that we must spend all our time and talent in striving for and accumulating things, but He says that those things are not important – there are other things more worthy of our time, attention and effort. God’s kingdom is where our time, energies and resources should go. As for those other things that we think are so important – God says, “That’s not a big deal! Every day I feed the birds and clothe the flowers and you are way up on My priority list! You see to it that you do My kingdom work and leave the rest to Me!” Of course, we all know that when God does something – He always does a far better job than we could. He blesses us way more than we could ever hope to bless ourselves. Don’t sell yourself short – give God a chance to take care of you for a change!

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, `The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.'” Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”  Haggai 2-11 NIV

We must make building God’s house a priority and then He will make building our house a priority! If we focus only on our own needs and build only our own houses, then all our efforts will produce little or no results. We will work hard and yet never seem to have enough. We will save and yet never have much left over. I don’t know about you, but I want God to build my house! He will do a much better job than me, any day. He will take the little I have and turn it into much.

We must let God set the level of prosperity in our lives. We must purpose to give what we have to build God’s house. Then we will always have our fill and be satisfied with good things!

BLESS THE POOR AND GOD WILL BLESS YOU – PART TWO

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

The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.  Mark 14:7 NIV

Jesus, Himself, told us that we would always have poor people around who would need our help. He also gave us some priorities. There are many avenues that we can take in our giving. We can give to the poor, we can give to the church, we can give to bless a minister of the Gospel, we can give to help a non-believer, we can give to help or bless a fellow believer, we can give to a family member and we can give to a stranger. God counts it all as if we are giving it to Him! Giving is giving and we need to be willing to give every time an opportunity presents itself. In this case, the woman anointed Jesus with very expensive perfume and some of those present were indignant because they felt that it was a waste. It was their opinion that it because it was worth more than a year’s wages, that it could rather have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus did not agree with them. He told them that the woman was anointing Him for His burial and also that this was a testimony that would be remembered and told all over the world for as long as the Gospel was preached.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”   Luke 4:18-19 NIV

If you are poor – it is because you are lacking in one or more areas. You could be lacking spiritually, mentally, emotionally or materially. Men could be used by God to make up your material lack. Mentally and emotionally, men can help you to a limited degree. But only God can do a work in your spirit. What men can do is to give to support the preaching of the Gospel so that the poor in spirit should be poor no more!  As believers, we must give to the poor to meet their material need and also their spiritual need.

However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. 6 For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you. 7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.  Deuteronomy 15:4-11 NIV

The Lord says that there will always be poor people in the land. However, He also says that there should be no poor among us because of His plans to bless us all. God’s plan for us requires our obedience. Firstly, we must honor Him and His word and give Him first place in our lives and our giving so that He has a right to do what He desires to do in and for us. Our giving to His kingdom gives God the right to bless us as He sees fit. Secondly, we must work with our hands to make an avenue of blessing for Him to use because He promises to bless the work of our hands. Thirdly, we must generously and openhandedly share the blessings we have received to make sure that our brothers and sisters in the Lord do not lack. God blesses you to bless you and yours and He also blesses you so that you can give and share and be a blessing to others.

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.”   Leviticus23:22 NIV

The Lord’s blessing is on the cheerfully, generous person who thinks of others and not just himself or herself. God has blessed you – make sure that take every opportunity to bless others!

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”   2 Corinthians 9:6-9 NIV

BLESS THE POOR AND GOD WILL BLESS YOU

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

He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.  Proverbs 19:17 NKJV

He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.  Proverbs 19:17 NIV

When we obey God and are kind to the poor, it is as if we are lending to the Lord, Himself, and because of this, He will reward us and pay us back what we have given. God likes to have an even playing field. He is not satisfied until everyone is equally blessed. If one has a lot and another has very little, then it is up to the one who has a lot to bless the one who has little.

There are those who are poor because they are lazy, but there are many others who are poor because of circumstances beyond their control. God’s will for us is that if we see a need and we have what it takes to meet that need, that we should meet that need.

27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”– when you now have it with you.  Proverbs 3:27-28 NIV

I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.  Psalms 140:12 NIV

21 He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. 31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.  Proverbs 14:21+31 NIV

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.  Proverbs 21:13 NIV

He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.Proverbs 28:27 NIV

Whether we deliberately oppress the poor or whether we just ignore them, we show contempt for God, Who made them, and we are sinning in God’s eyes. If we ignore the poor, then we will be ignored when we cry out in our time of need. If we give to the poor, we will lack nothing, but if we close our eyes, we bring many curses on ourselves. God loves every one of us and His desire for us is that we would all be equally blessed.

We have an opportunity to be used as an extension of His arm to those in need, when we choose to give and help and bless those who have a need. When you give – you become God’s hands on the earth – doing God’s will on the earth. You might think that that is a radical thing to say, but 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that each one of us is either an organ or a limb in the body of Christ. You need to get the revelation that you are God’s child, that you are part of His body and that you are responsible to do the things that He would do if He were here walking with us.

Freely you have received, freely give.  Matthew 10:8 NIV

He is the source and the supplier of every need on the earth. We are the hands that take what we have been given by God and pass it on to those whom He tells us to bless. Many times the need is overwhelming to us and so we do nothing, but we must remember that God has not called us, as individuals, to provide for the whole world, but only to meet the need of the individual He places in front of us.

If we have the means and the opportunity to help and if at that point we turn our back, God will not be pleased with us at all. He knows what you are capable of and He knows what is out of your reach, but sometimes He wants us to just stretch our faith to believe Him to be able to bless others with even the little that is in our hand. If we will give even the little we have to help and bless another, then God will make sure that we, too, are blessed and more than adequately provided for.

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9 NIV

He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.  Proverbs 28:8 NIV

1 Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. 3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. 5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. 9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.  Psalms 112:1+3+5+9 NIV

FAITHFUL TO REJOICE

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

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!   Philippians 4:4 AMP

God instructs us in His Word to always rejoice in Him and delight in Him.  Not just occasionally or when all conditions are favorable, or only when we feel like it, but ALWAYS! We must be faithful to Him and faithful to rejoice in Him.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.Psalms 37:4 AMP

When you delight yourself in the Lord and rejoice in Him, He will give you even those things that are the secret petitions of your heart, the things that you have never even spoken of or asked for out loud.

For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5 NKJV

In His Word, the Lord uses the marriage relationship as a parallel of His relationship with us, the Church. God is completely and utterly faithful to us just like a very good husband, and all He asks in return is that we would be faithful to Him. He adores us and rejoices over us like a new groom rejoices over and delights in his new bride.

Let your fountain [of human life] be blessed [with the rewards of fidelity], and rejoice in the wife of your youth.  Proverbs 5:18 AMP

When we obey God and do things His way, we will always be blessed. Fidelity and faithfulness bring their own rewards. The spiritual follows the natural—if we can be faithful in a marriage relationship, then we can be faithful to God.  In both relationships, it is possible to develop a bad attitude and to become ungrateful and lose the blessing of the relationship.  However, if we retain a good attitude, appreciate one another and make a decision to rejoice in each other, then we will have a good marriage that lasts a lifetime and a wonderful relationship with our Heavenly Father that lasts into eternity!

The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17 AMP

God is the perfect husband—He is faithful, He rejoices and exults over you, praising you and telling you, and everyone else, what a wonderful wife you are and He never reminds you of your faults or your mistakes.  Every woman would be so blessed to have a husband like that!

Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy. 9[At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:8-9 AMP

Even in the midst of severe trials and persecutions, you can walk in heavenly joy—joy unspeakable and full of glory—because you know what lies before you and the glory He has promised.

Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 2Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2 AMP

But Christ (the Messiah) was faithful over His [own Father’s] house as a Son [and Master of it]. And it is we who are [now members] of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ]. Hebrews 3:6 AMP

We are truly members of Christ’s household if we continue to hold fast and firm, our joyful and exultant confidence in our hope in Christ. This rejoicing we do with a sense of TRIUMPH—anticipating the victory! We don’t rejoice only when things go well, but we are faithful to rejoice always—in all things—confident in our God and confident of final victory because we know that He is completely and utterly faithful to us.

Rodney Howard Browne is making a difference