FOOD AND CLOTHING

rodney howard browne

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go and will give me food to eat and clothing to wear, 21 So that I may come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God; 22 And this stone which I have set up as a pillar (monument) shall be God’s house [a sacred place to me], and of all [the increase of possessions] that You give me I will give the tenth to You.  Genesis 28:20-22 AMP
 
God Himself came to speak to Jacob to establish a covenant with him as He had with Jacob’s father and grandfather. Jacob agreed to keep covenant with God and promised to honor God with a tithe of all that God would give him. In return Jacob asked God to protect him and provide for him. He specifically asks for food and clothing and nothing more materially. Of course we know that God greatly blessed Jacob with more than that in his lifetime. 

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.   Luke 12:22-31 NIV

If you think about it, all we really need in life is food and clothing – everything else is gravy! We might want more things, but we can survive if we have these two things. Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear, because our Heavenly Father will provide for us. He tells us not to worry or to strive, but to trust God to meet all our needs. The sinner pursues these things – striving over and worrying about them – but the believer can have and enjoy God’s peace, because they have His promise to hold onto! Their provision becomes God’s responsibility and He always keeps His word! Jesus says, “Food and clothing – that’s nothing hard for God! There are more important things for you to focus on. Leave the food and clothes to God to provide!” If you obey God’s word and you put Him and His Kingdom first in your life – making Him and His will your priority – God promises that you will never have any lack in your life.

For we brought nothing into the world, and obviously we cannot take anything out of the world; 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied).  1 Timothy 6:7-8 AMP

In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul tells us to not be anxious about anything, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) And then in Philippians 4:11-13 he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Paul tells us that we need to make up our minds to be satisfied with our food and clothing and not make possessions our priority. That doesn’t mean that the Lord won’t give us more than that. Jesus just wants us to be free of worry and striving and to relax and trust in Him. Paul found the secret of being content in any and every situation and of not being anxious about anything. He tells us to let the Lord know what we need and trust Him to provide it. He tells us that God will give us the strength and the victory in any situation we have to face. Here are some promises from God’s word:

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger or temporary resident and gives him food and clothing.  Deuteronomy 10:18 AMP

He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant.  Psalms 111:5 NKJV

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.  Psalms 34:10 KJV

These all wait and are dependent upon You, that You may give them their food in due season. 28 When You give it to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, and they are filled with good things.  Psalms 104:27-28 AMP

The eyes of all wait for You [looking, watching, and expecting] and You give them their food in due season. 16 You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor.  Psalms 145:15-16 AMP 

DON’T BE AN ESAU CHRISTIAN

rodney howard browne

Jacob was boiling pottage (lentil stew) one day, when Esau came from the field and was faint [with hunger]. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, I beg of you, let me have some of that red lentil stew to eat, for I am faint and famished! That is why his name was called Edom [red]. 31 Jacob answered, Then sell me today your birthright (the rights of a firstborn). 32 Esau said, See here, I am at the point of death; what good can this birthright do me? 33 Jacob said, Swear to me today [that you are selling it to me]; and he swore to [Jacob] and sold him his birthright. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils, and he ate and drank and rose up and went his way. Thus Esau scorned his birthright as beneath his notice.  Genesis 25:29-34 AMP

In Bible times, a birthright was the right, privilege or possession of the firstborn son; that to which he is entitled by virtue of his birth. In Israel, and the rest of the ancient world, the firstborn son enjoyed a favored position. His birthright included a double portion of his father’s assets upon his death. Another benefit was that he received a special blessing from his father and the privilege and responsibility of leadership of the family, including the spiritual leadership. He became responsible for the younger brothers, the widows, and the unmarried daughters.

The title of firstborn was sacred in ancient Israel. When Esau transferred his birthright to Jacob for a lentil stew, he showed utter disregard for the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the firstborn. He showed that he did not value, nor had he any respect for, his heritage, his parents, the promise of God, or the spiritual privilege connected with this inheritance: being progenitor (the forefather) of the promised Messiah! At that moment, Esau turned God down and chose not to follow or obey God. He chose not to accept the leadership of the next generation. He chose not to be named in the bloodline of the Messiah. Esau did not have a heart after God. Later, he wanted the blessing from Isaac, but he never did accept the boundaries of obedience that God required of him.

When Esau was 40 years old, he took, not one, but two women as wives from among the Hittites. They made life bitter and a grief of mind and spirit for Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34-35). Esau obviously did not respect God or his parent’s opinions, because he did not consult them concerning his choice of wife. He did not look for a godly wife or ask God for the one He had for him. Your choice of spouse is the second most important choice in your life after you choose your God/god – who you will serve and where you will spend eternity. You need God’s guidance – you need to respect the authority of parents and those who are older and wiser than you – wiser in God’s ways not worldly ways.

In Genesis 28:1-9, Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and commanded him not to marry one of the women of Canaan. He told him to go to Padan-aram and take a wife from Rebekah’s family, one of the daughters of Laban. Isaac blessed Jacob with the blessing of Abraham and sent him away to do as he had instructed. Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Padan-aram to take him a wife from there, and given him a charge that he should not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Padan-aram. Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father, Isaac, so he went to Ishmael – the son of the bondwoman not the son of the promise – and took one of his daughters as an additional wife!

In God’s family, every one of us is considered “firstborn” in God’s eyes, but many Christians behave like Esau. They call themselves Christians – members of God’s family – but they don’t submit themselves to God and His will for their lives. They do not esteem their birthright. They don’t appreciate the blessings or the responsibilities of being a firstborn child of God. They don’t take the time to find out what God wants for them and from them. They pursue relationships that are detrimental to themselves and others; they don’t marry the one chosen by God, and who serves God; they settle for less; they just follow their flesh and the lusts and desires of their flesh; they only do what feels good to them in the moment.

“Esau” Christians are oblivious to spiritual things – they have no respect for God. When they hear another Christian talk about God’s leading in their lives saying something like, “God told me not to marry a Canaanite,” they decide not to “marry a Canaanite” either, but they still don’t go and marry a godly woman. They go for the daughter of the flesh – Ishmael. We are not only talking about who you marry, but all of the decisions you make every day.

Some Christians live their lives oblivious to the Spirit of God and the word of God. God’s word is not their standard; they live life according to the world’s standards. They do not even understand the dynamics of the covenant relationship between the obedient Christian and the Father. They may be envious of that relationship and of the blessings that go with it, but are unmotivated to make the changes in their own life to have this relationship with the Father themselves. Even when they hear what the Father requires, they still try to put their own spin on it and still end up doing their own thing. They always assume and presume.

The “Esau” Christian will never have God’s best and not because God doesn’t have a wonderful plan for them, but because they place no value on God’s plan and will for them or the blessings of obedience. These people go through life envious of obedient Christians, but never stop to look at themselves in the mirror, evaluating their own heart attitude, or trying to do things God’s way for a change! Don’t be an “Esau” Christian!

PROSPERITY AND SUCCESS

rodney howard browne

This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save now, we beseech You, O Lord; send now prosperity, O Lord, we beseech You, and give to us success!  Psalms 118:24-25 AMP

No one, in their right mind, deliberately wants to be a failure. Every one wants rather to prosper and be a success. The one thing every one must recognize is that success in only one area is not true success. If you make a lot of money and lose your own integrity, have you truly succeeded? If you reach all your goals and lose your family, what have you truly gained? The first step toward prosperity and success is to recognize that it comes only from God, not us. No one can claim to be “self-made.” At the very least, there were other people along the way who helped you achieve your goals. How much more do we not all need the Lord to help us? Really, if it is not God who prospers us, we are not prosperous at all. Everything we have is His and comes from Him!

Ultimate prosperity – true success comes only when every area of your life is well and blessed: your spirit; your soul; your body; your marriage; your family; your relationships; your work; your finances. Ask God for your prosperity – look to the Lord for your success!

Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may deal wisely and prosper in all that you do.  Deuteronomy 29:9 AMP

Obedience to God’s will and His word are what brings ultimate success and prosperity. God’s wisdom is the source of true prosperity.

Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.  Joshua 1:6-8 AMP

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. 2 But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. 3 And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].  Psalms 1:1-3 AMP

Joshua and David both learned the key to prosperity: keeping God’s word in their heart and mouth every day. They meditated in the word daily and it began to change them from the inside out. They became strong and bold as they received revelation from God’s word. They trusted more and more in God and His word. They did nothing without His help and guidance and God’s hand was upon them to succeed and prosper in everything that they did!

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.  Proverbs 1:32-33 KJV

Prosperity destroys fools! They do not know how to handle it. They use their blessing to destroy themselves. They become arrogant; they become wasteful; they devalue relationships; they love money and use people; they trade in their current spouse for a new one; they believe that they don’t need anyone – even God!

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider that God has made the one side by side with the other, so that man may not find out anything that shall be after him.  Ecclesiastes 7:14 AMP

Life is full of ups and downs. When you are walking in prosperity, it is important to remember to be grateful. Never take the blessing for granted. Always appreciate what you have right now – no matter how big or small. Tell God how much He means to you. Show Him how much you appreciate Him and His blessing on your life.

On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come.  1 Corinthians 16:2 AMP

Give according to the increase. Every week, remember to set aside something, from the blessing and prosperity that has come in to you, to give back to God. As long as you give back to God out of what He has given you, you will remember that it is He who gives you the ability to get wealth and no one else (Deut 8:18) and as long as you continue to obey, serve, and acknowledge Him in your life – He will continue to prosper and increase you.

If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity and their years in pleasantness and joy.  Job 36:11 AMP

JESUS – OUR RULER AND LAWGIVER

rodney howard browne

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from the [latter] time forth, even forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.  Isaiah 9:6-7 AMP

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace! He was born to rule. Not only was He born to rule, He earned the right to rule by His sacrifice – His death, burial, and resurrection. His authority is over everything and everyone in the entire universe! The devil is not in charge – Jesus is. Adam gave the authority, given him by God, to the devil when he ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Then Jesus took this authority back from the devil and gave it back to all those who love Him and serve Him.

Unfortunately, at this time, Jesus cannot just wipe the devil from the face of the earth without wiping out all those who still belong to the devil – people who have not yet made Jesus the Lord of their lives. Jesus wants them to have the opportunity to receive Him as Lord and Savior – so, for now the devil has a limited lease on the earth. However, the Word of God says that of the increase of Jesus’ government and of peace there shall be no end! In the end, Jesus will have the last word. The devil will be done away with and Jesus will rule ALL. Peace will prevail!

Right now – peace rules in the lives of all those who receive His leadership in their lives. Jesus rules over and upholds His kingdom with justice and with righteousness. Justice and righteousness is what upholds and extends the Kingdom of God. It is the Law of the universe – that which is good and right and truth will always endure beyond that which is not.

The scepter or leadership shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh [the Messiah, the Peaceful one] comes to Whom it belongs, and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. 11 Binding His foal to the vine and His donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washes His garments in wine and His clothes in the blood of grapes.  Genesis 49:10-11 AMP

The scepter represents authority. Jesus is our Ruler and Lawgiver. He commands respect and obedience. The foal represents royalty – royalty would ride on white foals. The vine represents the Body of Christ and wine represents the Holy Spirit. This scripture prophesies that Jesus would be the Prince of Peace – anointed by the Holy Spirit. Jesus fills us, the branches of His vine, with His Holy Spirit.

After that I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse [appeared]! The one Who was riding it is called Faithful (Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, Steady) and True, and He passes judgment and wages war in righteousness (holiness, justice, and uprightness). 12 His eyes [blaze] like a flame of fire, and on His head are many kingly crowns (diadems); and He has a title (name) inscribed which He alone knows or can understand. 13 He is dressed in a robe dyed by dipping in blood, and the title by which He is called is The Word of God. 14 And the troops of heaven, clothed in fine linen, dazzling and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth goes forth a sharp sword with which He can smite (afflict, strike) the nations; and He will shepherd and control them with a staff (scepter, rod) of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath and indignation of God the All-Ruler (the Almighty, the omnipotent). 16 And on His garment (robe) and on His thigh He has a name (title) inscribed, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.  Revelation 19:11-16 AMP

Some people like to remember Jesus as a little baby in a manger and get all sentimental about Him. Some people like to remember Jesus on the cross, but He is not on the cross! He is not even in the grave. He is risen and He is glorious and powerful and mighty and seated on God’s right hand! This is Jesus as He is now – King of kings and Lord of lords!  He rides a white horse. His eyes are like fire and on His head are many crowns. He is dressed in a robe dyed by dipping in blood. He is called The Word of God. From His mouth goes forth a sharp sword with which He can smite the nations, He will shepherd and control them with a staff of iron, and He will tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. He has been given authority to pass judgment and He does so in righteousness!

There is no one like Jesus and no one who can even be compared with Him! Hallelujah! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalms 150:6)

LOVE THAT PRODUCES PEACE

rodney howard browne

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. 35 By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].  John 13:34-35 AMP

Jesus gave us – His children; His disciples – a commandment to love one another. Love is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. The unselfish love we continue to show each other is what tells the world that we are not like they are; that we are like Jesus; that we are His disciples.

But concerning brotherly love [for all other Christians], you have no need to have anyone write you, for you yourselves have been [personally] taught by God to love one another. 10 And indeed you already are [extending and displaying your love] to all the brethren throughout Macedonia. But we beseech and earnestly exhort you, brethren, that you excel [in this matter] more and more, 11 To make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you, 12 So that you may bear yourselves becomingly and be correct and honorable and command the respect of the outside world, being dependent on nobody [self-supporting] and having need of nothing.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 AMP

Love is not love until you DO something. We must extend and display our love for one another, living together quietly and peacefully. Believers need to take care of each other so that none of us are dependant on the world for anything. We must be a blessing to one another. We need to be able to get help from each other when we need it, without taking advantage of each other. We also need to care for one another without poking our nose into each other’s business. We need to mind our own business first, making sure that we faithfully attend to our own responsibilities, and making sure that we have a right attitude at all times. When we bear ourselves becomingly and when we carry ourselves correctly and honorably, we will command the respect of the outside world.

I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service, 2 Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. 3 Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.  Ephesians 4:1-3 AMP

Paul begs us to lead a life worthy of the divine calling to which we have been called. He encourages us to behave in a way that is a credit both to God and to the call of God on our lives. If we want to serve God and we say we are serving Him, then there are requirements we must fulfill. The way we conduct ourselves tells the story – it testifies as to whether we are serving God or ourselves. God asks us to humble ourselves and be meek and patient with each other, to bear with each other and to make allowances because we love each other. This does not just come naturally, without the influence of the Spirit of God, but it is something we must cultivate and develop with His help. God expects us to submit to the Holy Spirit and to eagerly work to preserve harmony and oneness between ourselves. Peace is the result and peace is what binds us together. This peace testifies to the world that we are His.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:1-4 NIV

Selfish ambition and vain conceit cause division and strife amongst people – even God’s people. Love and humility is the antidote. Therefore, it is so important for us, the Body of Christ, to be humble and to consider others better than ourselves. We need to be like-minded; we need to have the same love for one another; we need to be one in spirit and one in purpose. We need to not only think of ourselves and our needs, but we should care about each other and make sure that we are a blessing to one another. If we ALL do this, we will accomplish the will and purpose of God.

Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.  2 Timothy 2:22 AMP

If we, the Body of Christ, are to live together in peace and harmony, then it is essential that we all make a quality decision to personally press into God, allowing Him to have His way in our lives, and also to walk consistently in the love of God toward one another.

DON’T QUIT

rodney howard browne

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

 

2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3 AMP

 

Jesus was not distracted from His purpose by what He had to go through. He endured grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself from sinners – the very people who needed the salvation He offers the most. He endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame. He kept His eyes on the expected end result – the joy of obtaining the prize.

 

Paul tells us to follow Jesus’ example, comparing what He went through with what we are going through, so that we do not grow weary or exhausted, or lose heart, or give up hope, or faint in our minds. If Jesus could make it through what He had to endure, then surely we can make it through our trials as well. The thing most people fear the most is death, but the Bible tells us that, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

 

If there is no fear in death, then we should have no fear concerning anything else we must endure!

 

Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12 AMP

 

God rewards those who are patient through trials and who resist temptation. When you have stood through the trials and tests that life throws at you, God has a crown of life for you. This crown has been promised to those who love God. You demonstrate your love for God by your obedience and by your submission to His word.

 

Everyone who believes (adheres to, trusts, and relies on the fact) that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) is a born-again child of God; and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him (His offspring).

 

2 By this we come to know (recognize and understand) that we love the children of God: when we love God and obey His commands (orders, charges)–[when we keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and His teaching].

 

3 For the [true] love of God is this: that we do His commands [keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and teaching]. And these orders of His are not irksome (burdensome, oppressive, or grievous).

 

4 For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:1-4 AMP

 

For I am already about to be sacrificed [my life is about to be poured out as a drink offering]; the time of my [spirit’s] release [from the body] is at hand and I will soon go free.

 

7 I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.

 

8[As to what remains] Henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day–and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return). 2 Timothy 4:6-8 AMP

 

Don’t quit – don’t give up. The victor’s crown of righteousness is available to all those who have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. If we keep our eye on the prize, as Jesus did, it will motivate us to keep going through the opposition, through the persecution, through the fight, through the pain, through the disappointments, through the temptations, tests, through the trials, through the rejections of life, until we see our precious Savior face to face. God’s will for us is not that we just endure, but that we are ultimately victorious!

 

For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4 AMP

 

BE STILL AND KNOW – PART 1

rodney howard browne

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalms 46:10-11 NKJV

 

BE STILL! KNOW that HE is GOD! Men and women, all over the world, are working and striving to come to know God their own way. There is a way to know God, but it is not man’s way, it is God’s way!

You can never know God by trying to figure things out in your mind – your carnal mind is enmity against God (Romans 8:7).

 

Your senses can be trained to know God, but you can only come to know God with your heart. You must be still – cease from your efforts – and allow God to direct you into His ways. It is only when you still your mind, stop trying to figure everything out, and cease from your works program, that God can begin to reach you. God is always speaking and showing Himself to mankind, but men are so busy doing all the talking and doing that they cannot hear or see Him. It is time to BE STILL so God can have His way in and through us! God has all the answers – it is up to us to still our own minds, with all our own solutions, and hear what God is saying to us.

 

So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;

 

10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.

 

11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

Hebrews 4:9-11 AMP

 

BE STILL! There is a rest reserved for God’s people. It is a rest of faith. People struggle so hard with faith in God and His promises, because they think that the answer comes only by their work and effort. Whilst it is true that faith requires corresponding action, God says that faith is a rest. Unbelief and disobedience will keep you from that rest. Some people think they have faith toward God, when in fact their faith is actually all in their own efforts. They have faith in their own works. The rest of faith is faith in God alone – stepping back and allowing God to do it.

 

Some people think that faith is the same as determination – if they mentally commit and decide that something will happen, that it will. They believe that they can make things happen through sheer force of will, but they are bound to be disappointed. You can’t make something happen with your own mind. While it is true that you can accomplish some things through your will and determination, there are just some things that will never happen without God’s intervention. Some things will never come to pass without faith in God and His ability.

 

You can only have faith in God for something He has promised you – either in a general sense as a promise in scripture, or as a word spoken directly to you by the Spirit of God – not just in something that you want. Anything God promises you will always line up with His word. Once you know what God has said, you place your trust in Him to bring it to pass. You do your part, but you allow Him to lead and guide and open the doors along the way. You pray and then you begin to rejoice – you praise Him and you thank Him until you see the end result – and then you praise and thank him some more!

 

No matter how challenging the circumstances, there should be a peace in your heart! We have a saying in our ministry: If you have to force it – it’s not God! If we are heading in a direction and are blocked at every turn, then we back off and allow God to change our direction. If God is the author of it, then He will fulfill it.

 

It is important for us to cease from the weariness and pain of human labors and to be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter God’s rest. Don’t work at carrying the whole load – work at entering His rest. How do we do this? We must pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on us. Some people pray like it all depends on them and work like it all depends on God. God will not do your job – He will not do what you can do – and you cannot do His job, so don’t even try. Everyone knows that you can work better when your heart is at peace. Even your work then becomes a joy and a labor of love, instead of a life-draining, joy-killing drudge! Take a spiritual vacation!

 

BE STILL! Being still means: that you recognize God and His Lordship over your life; that you know that He is in charge and in control; that you have cast your cares on Him; that you know that He will see you through! Even in the middle of chaos you can be still on the inside. Take time to step back and plug in to heaven. If you feel like your world is coming undone – switch it off for a moment and focus on God and His word. Allow His word and His Spirit to minister to you and He will refresh you and renew your hope and your spirit.

 

COVENANT OF PEACE

rodney howard browne

Sing, o barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord.

 

2 Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes,

 

3 For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

 

4 Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed, for you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.

 

5 For your Maker is your Husband–the Lord of hosts is His name–and the Holy one of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth He is called.

 

6 For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken, grieved in spirit, and heartsore–even a wife [wooed and won] in youth, when she is [later] refused and scorned, says your God.

 

7 For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion and mercy I will gather you [to Me] again.

 

8 In a little burst of wrath I hid My face from you for a moment, but with age-enduring love and kindness I will have compassion and mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.

 

9 For this is like the days of Noah to Me; as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be angry with you or rebuke you.

 

10 For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:1-10 AMP

 

Because of God’s great love for us, He has made a covenant with us to take care of us: to bless us, protect us, and provide for us. Covenants are never one-sided. They require the active participation of both parties in order to be in force. The Bible says that God has never ever broken a covenant. That means that it has always been man who broke the covenant. Thank God that He sent Jesus to cut an unbreakable covenant. Jesus, representing God, and Jesus, representing man, cut the covenant and sealed it in His own blood. He will never break this covenant and so it is an eternal covenant.

 

There are many times that men have let God down and out-rightly rebelled against and defied Him. He had every reason to be angry with them and leave them to be destroyed by the devil. You see, the devil is the destroyer. God is the only One who can save you from him. God has put boundaries and limits on the devil. He cannot violate your free will and he only has the power over you that you have given him. The devil is a liar and a thief. His plan is to keep you ignorant of the Word of God and ignorant of his own devices so that he can attack and destroy you. The devil hates you because you are God’s crowning creation. God created you and He loves you. You are His precious treasure!

 

But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness and truth. Psalms 86:15 AMP

For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime or in His favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalms 30:5 AMP

 

It takes a lot to make God angry and it takes a long time to make God angry, and even if He does finally get really angry, it takes very little for Him to turn around and show His mercy once more.

 

As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe]. 14 For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust. Psalms 103:13-14 AMP

 

God is so kind and loving and understanding with us. He is aware how fragile we are. He knows what we go through living in this body of flesh (dust).

 

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but one Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Hebrews 4:15 AMP

 

Jesus is our High Priest who has walked in our shoes. He has been through want we have been through; He has been tempted with the same things we have been tempted with. He knows us and He understands us. Because He loves us, He has compassion on us. He promised that if we will just turn to him and not away from Him that, no matter what happens, His love and kindness will never depart from us, neither shall His covenant of peace and completeness be removed.

 

GODLY LEADERSHIP

rodney howard browne

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

 

Many times people blame their leaders for all their problems, but God puts the responsibility on both leaders and followers to be righteous and to do righteously so that they can all be blessed and prosper – especially when the people are in a position to vote for their leaders. When a nation is disobedient and rebellious, their land is unstable and they have many different rulers.

 

When a nation is righteous, they will have a righteous ruler – a man of discernment, understanding, and knowledge – and will be stable over the long term. The people of a nation must decide to honor and serve God and then He will be able to bless them and give them godly, consistent leadership.

 

Those who forsake the law [of God and man] praise the wicked, but those who keep the law [of God and man] contend with them. Proverbs 28:4 AMP

 

When people are unrighteous, they admire those who are wicked. That is why they end up with wicked people in leadership. Those who keep the law of God will challenge ungodly people and unrighteous leadership.

 

When the [uncompromisingly] righteous triumph, there is great glory and celebration; but when the wicked rise [to power], men hide themselves.

Proverbs 28:12 AMP

 

When the wicked rise [to power], men hide themselves; but when they perish, the [consistently] righteous increase and become many. Proverbs 28:28 AMP

 

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

 

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

 

When the wicked rise to power and are in authority – the people hide themselves and groan and sigh and transgression increases in the nation. However, when the righteous triumph and are in authority the people rejoice – there is great glory and celebration – and the righteous increase in number.

 

Evil men do not understand justice, but they who crave and seek the Lord understand it fully. Proverbs 28:5 AMP

 

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

 

Evil people have no idea what justice is, neither do they know how to rule justly. A wicked ruler is one who lacks understanding. He is a great oppressor of the poor – he is like a roaring lion or a ravenous and charging bear. Only those who earnestly and sincerely seek the Lord understand justice – they understand their responsibility toward the poor and the helpless – those who need to be protected. They know that they have no right to take advantage of others just because they have a position of authority. The righteous hate covetousness and unjust gain and, because of it, they conduct themselves honorably and therefore God will bless them and will extend their own life.

 

The [consistently] righteous man knows and cares for the rights of the poor, but the wicked man has no interest in such knowledge. Proverbs 29:7 AMP

 

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink,

 

5 Lest they drink and forget the law and what it decrees, and pervert the justice due any of the afflicted.

 

6 Give strong drink [as medicine] to him who is ready to pass away, and wine to him in bitter distress of heart.

 

7 Let him drink and forget his poverty and [seriously] remember his want and misery no more.

 

8 Open your mouth for the dumb [those unable to speak for themselves], for the rights of all who are left desolate and defenseless;

 

9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and administer justice for the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:4-9 AMP

 

The wicked do not care about the poor or their situation or their rights. However, God expects those in authority to faithfully and righteously judge the poor – to know and care for their rights. In order for leaders to lead and judge righteously, they must not abuse alcohol, drugs, or any other addicting or hallucinogenic substance.

 

A good leader is sober, exhibits self-control in mind, body and spirit, is not greedy or selfish, does not think more highly of himself than he ought, and puts the needs of others above his own. If those in authority rule faithfully and righteously God will bless them and cause them to remain in leadership.

 

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

 

CONFORMED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS

rodney howard browne

Gracious is the Lord, and [rigidly] righteous; yes, our God is merciful.

Psalms 116:5 AMP

The Lord is [rigidly] righteous in all His ways and gracious and merciful in all His works. Psalms 145:17 AMP

For Christ [the Messiah Himself] died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous (the Just for the unjust, the Innocent for the guilty), that He might bring us to God. In His human body He was put to death, but He was made alive in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 AMP

Because of religious tradition, men have an erroneous image of God and His nature and character. They assign Him attributes that are way off the mark. In the mind of religious tradition, to be rigidly righteous is to judge sin and condemn and reject sinners – an image of punishment delivered. God may be rigidly righteous in all His ways, but He is also gracious and merciful in all His works. He is gracious and merciful toward those who least deserve it. Most people are not righteous in their ways and yet they feel free to judge others all the time, but God is personally rigidly righteous and yet merciful toward us at the same time!

In these bodies of flesh, we struggle to fully understand who He is and what He does, but if we will submit to His will and accept Him at His word, we can begin to put together a picture of Him, and when we do, we will realize how truly wonderful and precious He is, how great is His love for us, and how little we deserve it. Even though we are unworthy of His mercy, to turn Him down or to turn His gift down; would be nothing short of prideful. Knowing full well that we deserve no grace and no mercy, out of respect for Him, we must accept the gift He offers – the gift of His Son; His blood poured out; the sacrifice of the Innocent for the guilty, the Just for the unjust.

Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. 24[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, 25 Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment. 26 It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26 AMP

God demonstrates His righteousness by forgiving, justifying, and accepting as righteous, all those who have faith in Jesus. He did not expect us to keep the Law in order to be saved. He, more than anyone, knew that it was impossible for sinful man to keep the Law. Before He created us, He had a plan to rescue us. Before we sinned and fell from grace, He set in motion the plan to restore us by and to His grace!

But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do]. 28 And now, little children, abide (live, remain permanently) in Him, so that when He is made visible, we may have and enjoy perfect confidence (boldness, assurance) and not be ashamed and shrink from Him at His coming. 29

If you know (perceive and are sure) that He [Christ] is [absolutely] righteous [conforming to the Father’s will in purpose, thought, and action], you may also know (be sure) that everyone who does righteously [and is therefore in like manner conformed to the divine will] is born (begotten) of Him [God]. 1 John 2:27-29 AMP

When we receive Jesus, we also receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit and thereby the ability to live for Him and to serve Him. We cannot hope to fix ourselves up to be acceptable to Him – we must come as we are and humble ourselves to allow Him to change and transform us from within. Jesus and His anointing change us from the inside out – there is nothing on earth that can change us from the outside in.

His anointing teaches us to abide in Him, live in Him, and never depart from Him.

We must be rooted in Him and knit to Him. When we abide in Him, remaining and living permanently in Him, and He in us, we are able to be confident and bold in His presence. When we abide in Him, we will be like Him. We will neither be ashamed to stand before Him nor shrink from Him at His coming. Jesus Christ is absolutely righteous and He conforms completely to the Father’s will in every way – in purpose, thought, and action. You can know for sure that someone is born of God, and one of His children, if they do righteously and are just like Jesus, conformed to God’s divine will in their purpose, thought, and action.