“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!