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Seeing Jesus Clearly

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi,

he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I

the Son of man am ?

 

And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist:

some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the

prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I

am?

MATTHEW 16:13-15

 

Jesus asked the disciples two questions. “Whom do men

say that I am?” And then, “Whom do you say that I am?” I believe

that these two questions will be asked of you as you read this

book. Jesus wanted to know who His disciples thought He was,

and now He wants to know who you think He is.

Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the

Son of the living God.

 

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou,

Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it

unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon

this rock [of revelation] I will build my church; and the

gates of hell will not prevail against it.

MATTHEW 16:16-18 (INSERT MINE)

 

I want you to notice something. Peter saw something that

day. His eyes were opened and he saw who Jesus really was. As

we step into this new millennium, what the world needs more

than anything is to see Jesus clearly. Unfortunately, most people

see Jesus through the eyes of religion and tradition.

 

When we went to Disney World to see their Christmas

production one year, we saw people put out their cigarettes and

stand there with tears rolling down their cheeks, singing about

the babe who was born in Bethlehem. Everybody can get tearful

about a baby. If you keep Him as a baby, you don’t have to

accept Him as the Lord of your life.

 

Jesus is born at Christmas and He dies at Easter. At

Easter, Jesus is on the cross. The world again stands with tears

rolling down their cheeks, this time about the fact that Jesus

died. But you know what? They still don’t make Him their

Lord. To be born again and make heaven their home, they have

to invite the risen Lord Jesus to come and make His home on

the inside of them. They have to see, and believe, that the tomb

is empty.

 

The world says that Jesus was just a good man. Some

say He was a prophet in a long line of prophets. Others say He

was an eccentric. Some say He was a martyr. And others say He

was a fairy tale. Children are raised to believe in the tooth

fairy; the Easter bunny; Santa Claus, and Jesus Christ. We’ve

put Jesus in there with the fairy tales, and when children eventually

find out the fairy tales are not real, they start to wonder

about Jesus too.

 

But Jesus is not a fairy tale; He’s a living reality.

What is very interesting is that every year is marked on

the calendar as the year of our Lord. 2000 AD. Anno Domini —

AD — is Latin for “year of our Lord.” You don’t see it written

down as “Year of Buddha 2000,” or “2000 Mohammed,” or

“2000 Confucius.” One man split the time of a whole planet,

and His name is Jesus. It’s more than just coincidence.

Jesus came to Jordan

Finally the day came when Jesus came to the Jordan to

be baptized. John the Baptist baptized Jesus and God Himself

spoke from heaven and proclaimed Him to be His own beloved

Son. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where He

fasted for forty days and forty nights and was tempted by the

devil. But He soundly defeated Satan with the Word of God.

(See Luke 4:1-15.)When Jesus came out of the wilderness, the

power of the Holy Spirit was all over Him to preach, teach,

heal, and deliver.

 

Everywhere Jesus went during His earthly ministry, He

left a trail of people who were set free and healed, who went

away walking and leaping and praising God. We count three

people raised from the dead: the widow’s boy outside the city of

Nain (see Luke 7:11-16), Jairus’ daughter (see Luke 8:49-56),

and Lazarus (see John 11:43-45). What’s more, at the end of his

gospel, John said,

 

And there are also many other things which Jesus

did, the which, if they should be written every

one,I suppose that even the world itself could not

contain the books” that should be written.

JOHN 21:25

 

Miracles were not the only unusual occurrences in Jesus’ ministry,

however. He habitually hung out with the despised tax

collectors and sinners. He didn’t act like them, but He didn’t

condemn them or make them feel inferior either. That’s why

they loved to be around Him, because they felt He accepted

them as they were. Then, when He looked at them with eyes of

love, and taught them the truth about God, they wanted to get

rid of their sin to get closer to Him.

 

Jesus has never been repulsive like religion can be. When

you see Hollywood’s idea of what they think God and God’s people

are like — condemning, mean, angry, and uncompassionate —

you know that they get it straight from religion. Religion focuses

on your sin and condemns you for it; but Jesus focuses on setting

you free. His love and goodness lead you to repent and give you

the power to overcome the sin in your life. Religion locks you

into sin; Jesus is the lover of your soul who sets you free from

sin.

 

God so loved the world, that he gave his only

begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn

the world; but that the world through him

might be saved.

JOHN 3:16-17

 

That was His whole mission. There was never a time that

Jesus did not keep in mind the divine purpose and plan for His

life. He came with one goal, and that was to pay the price at

Calvary for your sin and my sin. He was born to die — in a

remarkable, unparalleled act of love.

 

Yet if you listen to some preachers today; you’d think that

God only sent His Son into the world to tell the world, “You are

sinners and I am angry with you. I want you to burn in the flames

of hell.” Somehow they think that this is the gospel of Jesus

Christ. Jesus never came with a message of condemnation. Jesus

came with a message of love and forgiveness. We can see this

demonstrated through the story of the woman who was caught in

adultery:

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a

woman taken in adultery; and when they had set

her in the midst,

 

They said unto him, Master, this woman was

taken in adultery, in the very act.

 

Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such

should be stoned.” but what sayest thou?

 

This they said, tempting” him, that they might

have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and

with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he

heard them not.

 

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up

himself, and said unto them, He that is without

sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

 

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the

ground.

 

And they which heard it, being convicted by their

own conscience, went out one by one, beginning

at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was

left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

 

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none

but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where

are those thine accusers? Hath no man con –

demned thee?

 

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her,

Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

JOHN 8:3-11

The Enemy Wants to Steal

Satan tries to come with these things to sap the

very anointing from your life. He knows your weaknesses

and he’s had over 6,000 years of working on man to know

your shortcomings. He knows just what buttons to push.

 

He knows how to get you to react and he knows how to

get you to walk in a place where the anointing of God can

no longer rest upon your life. He wants to make you

ineffective.

 

As long as Samson had his long hair, as long as

Samson was under the anointing of God, he was

unstoppable. City gates meant nothing to him; he would

walk away with them. When you’re under the anointing

of God and you’re walking in that place of the call of

God, you are unstoppable in that which God has for your

life.

 

But Samson had a big weakness in his life. He

loved the world and he loved the things of the world. You

can’t have both. You can’t have the anointing of God and

the world. This is what people don’t understand. They

want to come to a meeting where the anointing of God is

and the power of God begins to move and then go outside

the door and carry on living like they did before.

 

You Cannot Live in Two Kingdoms

 

You cannot keep one foot in the world and one

foot in the kingdom of God. If you can sit in a church and

live a lifestyle that does not exemplify a child of God

without feeling convicted then I want you to know the

Holy Ghost is not a part of that place.

 

Samson was in bed with the world. Even though

the anointing of God would rest upon him, the desire for

the things of the flesh was greater in his life. Because of

the awesomeness of the presence of God, he thought he

could play with the world and get away with it. And he

began to compromise.

 

Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of

the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not

that the Philistines are rulers over us? What is this that

thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As

they did unto me, so have I done unto them.

 

And they said unto him, We are come down to bind

thee, that we may deliver thee into the hands of the

Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto

me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.

 

And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind

thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely

we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two

new cords, and brought him up from the rock.

 

And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted

against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily

upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms

became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands

loosed from off his hands.

 

And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth

his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men

therewith.

Judges 15:11-15

Paying the Price

Over a period of time, you start to find your niche.

You start to find your purpose, you start to find the plan,

you start to find the direction, you start to learn which

way God is taking you. It is not something that happens

overnight. The Bible says, “Many be called, but few

chosen” (Matthew 20:16). I could even term it this way,

“Many are called and some are frozen.”

 

God has called people and anointed people, but a

lot of them will never fulfill the call of God on their life

because they are not prepared to pay the price. They are

not prepared to do what God has called them to do. Or

they are not prepared to be faithful in the little. If you are

not going to be faithful in the little, God cannot make you

a ruler over much.

 

I believe God will use the whole Body of Christ in

this last day and I believe there are people in churches

right now who have been sitting there for ten, fifteen,

twenty years, receiving the Word, who in these last days

visitation from the Lord and God will send them in a

matter of two or three months. They will sell all their

possessions and go on to a foreign field and serve the

Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that with all my heart. So

never say, “God couldn’t use me.”

 

Everyone is called to stand in the ministry of

reconciliation, one on one, to tell others, to proclaim.

Everyone should be a preacher – a proclaimer – of the

blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can start in your

work place. If you are faithful with that, God might just

increase it and get you into some other places.

 

Don’t Go Without a Message

 

When I lived in South Africa, I was teaching at a

Bible school that had about four hundred students. I had

to teach them twice a day, five days a week, on different

subjects. I would say to them, “How many of you are

going to preach?” Everyone raised their hand. I said,

“How many of you have a message,” and no one

responded. “How many would like a place to preach?”

Everyone raise their hand. Then I said to them, “Get a

message from God first, and then get a place to preach.”

What is good in having places to preach if you

don’t have a message when you get there? Do you know

how many ministers are that way? They look for places to

preach and when they get there they haven’t got a

message to give. God will give you a message. God will

give you a word and when you are faithful to deliver that,

He might give you some more.

 

Such As I Have

 

As the Apostle Peter said, “Silver and gold have I

none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus

Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). We must

give what we have on the inside of us. It flows forth out

of us, bringing life wherever we go. People look at my

ministry today after thirteen years and say, “It is so

wonderful how things are going and God is blessing.” But

they don’t know we have been to hell and back to get

here.

 

We must have the determination to obey God and

to keep doing what God has called us to do. We cannot

worry about what other people say, or the rejection that

will come our way. We cannot be hindered by people

who will talk evil about us, who will make up stories

about us, who will slander us.

 

You make the decision in your heart to walk in

love and to obey God and do what God has called you to

do. Ultimately, when it comes down to the bottom line,

it’s you and God. No one else is going to make it happen

for you. If you are waiting for some hand out, you can

forget about it.

 

Start doing whatever your hand finds to do. There

is a progression into the things of God, into the anointing.

These things don’t come overnight. God is not going to

take a ministry, like some of the great men of God have

had, and suddenly give it to you in one day. It takes time.

What It Means to be Born Again

Understanding the New Birth Experience by Rodney Howard Browne

For God so loved the world, that he gave

his only begotten Son, that whosoever

believeth in him should not perish, but

have everlasting life.

John 3:16

 

Building Your Life on a Firm Foundation

 

I believe that there needs to be a greater

understanding of the basic truths of the Bible in the Church

today. When foundational truths are burned in our spirit,

there’s no devil in hell, no false doctrine, no deceiver that

can come and sway us away from the purpose, the plan,

and the will of God for our lives.

 

One of the reasons why people backslide and grow

cold in their Christian experience is because the basic truths

have never been branded inside them. Everywhere we go,

we find people coming to recommit their lives to God.

Belonging to a church does not make you a child of

God just as working in an automobile factory does not

make you an automobile. I don’t care who the person is. I

don’t care how long they’ve been in the church. I don’t

care if they were the founding members of that church.

 

Just because they belong to a church

 does not make them a Christian.

 

In the United States, people are under a

misconception. They think that America is a Christian

nation. And they think because they’re not a Jew or a

Muslim, they’re a Christian.

 

I’ve got news for them. Unless you are born again

of the Spirit of God, you’re not a Christian. And the

problem about that is you’re going to split hell wide open.

That’s a bold statement, but it must be said. We must

challenge others concerning the new birth.

 

The Lord said to me once, Don’t take for granted

that a person is born again even if they wear a bid badge

saying, “Smile, if you love Jesus,” and have a big bumper

sticker on their car and carry a Bible big enough to choke a

donkey and they walk around quoting scripture. Don’t ever

take for granted that they’re born again.

 

I asked the Lord, “Why are there hundreds of

people coming to the altar at our services? The churches

are filled with thousands of people, but some are the

biggest kooks in the business.” The Lord said to me, Many

of them are not even born again. They’ve never had a new

birth experience. They’ve never come to the foot of the

cross. They’ve stood in the line and said, “Jesus, I confess

You as my Lord and Savior.” But, they’ve never had a

change of heart.

 

The new birth is not external. Salvation is not mental.

Salvation is of the heart, and when a man comes with

the heart and accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior,

he’s born again. He’s changed. He becomes a new creature

in Christ Jesus. That’s the exciting thing about the new birth.

 

The scripture 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if

any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are

passed away; behold, all things become new.” Not he

thinks he is, not maybe he is, but he is a new creature. That

literally means a new species of being that has never

existed before. When you’re born again, old things are

passed away.

 

Don’t tell me you’re born again and you still live

like you did before you were born again. I will not believe

you. I don’t care if you go to the First Church of Whatever.

 

I don’t care if your father’s the deacon. I don’t care if

you’re the head elder. I don’t care if you’re on so many

boards that you’re bored. When you are born again, you

are changed. You become new.

 

People who think they can be born again and live

just the way they always did are fooling themselves. Their

hearts are not right with God, but they have camouflaged it

so well they don’t realize it. They have never come to the

place of repentance.

 

In fact, there are some people today who think God

Himself a deal because He got them. They think God owed

them salvation.

 

God didn’t owe us anything. The whole crux of

Christianity is God reached down to a lost and dying world.

He came down to restore man back to what Adam lost in

the Garden of Eden. God came through Jesus Christ to

restore mankind back to their rightful place. But God

didn’t have to do it.

 

He could have let us all go to hell. But because of

His love extended toward us while we were yet sinners, the

Bible says Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He knew who

we were.

 

Many are coming to church and merely praying a

mental prayer. But saying the right words does not cause

the new birth to take place. Something must happen inside.

There must be a time where you know you crossed the line.

 

The Bible says we know we have crossed from

death unto life because we love the brethren (First John

3:14). We know. Not we think so, not we hope so, not

maybe so. We know that we passed from death unto life

because we love the brethren. There’s a dividing live we

cross over.

 

You were once lost and now you are found. You

were once blind and now you see. You were once in

darkness and now you’re in the light. He took us and

translated us out of the kingdom of darkness and brought us

into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). You

were once in the family of the wicked one; now you’re in

the family of God. There’s a whole transition. It’s like

leaving one country and going to another.

 

It’s important to recognize this because thousands

merely mentally assent and say, “Yes, I accept Jesus Chris

as my Lord and Savior.” But they go out the door and

continue to live the life of a sinner. It grieves the Spirit of

God.

 

This is the reason why so many backslide today.

They have never had a true new birth experience. We’ve

made it so easy to become born again. Come and join the

club.

 

Today being born again is a fashionable thing. Are

you born again? “I’m born again but I tell you what, I’m

going to sue that guy for everything he’s got. I’m born

again, but I’m going to kill that guy.” The Bible says if

you can’t even love your brother whom you can see, how

can you love God who you cannot see (First John 4:20)?

 

Today in many churches with five to ten thousand

members, there could be as many as 40 percent who are not

born again. They may have come for five or ten years to

those churches, but there has been no change in their lives.

They continue the same old life. They continue to speak

the same language. They work the same crooked deals.

They commit the same sins.

 

I’m not talking about people who have a moment of

weakness or get tripped up by the devil. I’m talking about

people who habitually sin. The Bible says whoever is born

of God doesn’t sin, meaning that they don’t practice it as a

way of life (First John 3:9). When you practice sin as a

way of life, how can you be born again?

 

If you sin and you know you’ve done wrong,

immediately you can feel it in your heart. I look at some

people and say, “If they’re born again, how do they sleep at

night?” I couldn’t sleep at night if I were doing the things

they are doing.

 

It’s frightening to think that there could be as many

as 40 percent, and in some churches as high as 80 percent,

who are not born again. They dress up in a suit on Sunday,

carry a Bible big enough to choke a donkey, go to church,

sing hymns and put in an offering, yet they’re not born

again. Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

 

And the worst thing is to think that because you

grew up in a Christian family and your father was a

preacher and you’ve gone to church all of your life, you’re

automatically born again. There are some young people

who grew up in the church but they’ve never had a new

birth experience.

 

I was born again at the age of 5. I went to the altar

and made a commitment, but I had several experiences

between the time I was 5 and the time I was 18 years old.

At that time, I had an encounter with God so that I knew

without a shadow of a doubt I was born again.

 

I remember one night having a dream. I don’t talk

about this much, but it is (refreshed) in my memory every

now and then. I was about 13 years of age and I remember

I had a dream in which I saw Jesus.

 

We used to have little tracts with a picture of

millions of people going over a cliff and falling into the

flames of hell. There was a road going up on the side and

the cross. This left an impression on me. I’d always

picture myself going up that road.

 

The Bible says, “Broad is the way, that leadeth to

destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which

leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:13, 14). There are 260

million people in the United States and they estimate –

these are figures put out by religious orga nizations – that 60

million are born again. That means that 200 million people

in the United States do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and

Savior. This country – the United States of America – is

one of the greatest overlooked mission fields on the face of

God’s green earth.

 

I remember as a child looking at that tract. In my

dream, I was standing right there and I saw the millions of

people going over into the flames. I remember crying – I

don’t know how long it was. It seemed like two and half

hours. But I woke up and my pillow was soaking wet.

 

Jesus was standing right there. I can’t remember

what He looked like, but I knew it was Jesus because I was

talking with Him. I said, “O Jesus, what can we do? There

are millions of people going to a lost eternity,” I heard Him

say, “You must tell them. You must tell them. You must

tell them.”

 

I woke up and the next day when I went outside,

everything was new. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

I began to witness then even more to the kids at my school.

I began to tell them about the Lord Jesus and about His

coming.

 

It was from this experience that I knew it wasn’t

just something that my father had, or my mother had, or my

uncle had. I knew it was something I had. The new birth

was real to me. Jesus was real to me and I wanted Him to

become real to other people. When God gives you that,

something will arise on the inside of you that will cause

you to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

There’s something that will cause you to leave

everything you have – to forsake houses and lands, to leave

a job, and turn your back on everything else when you

know about the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That something, that truth burned deep into your heart, will

cause you to go through blizzards, earthquakes, famines,

and wars to obey the call of God. You’ll not quit until you

see what God has called you to do.

 

If things don’t go right in the ministry of some

people, they quit. They say, “I’m quitting. I’m leaving the

ministry.”

 

I’m so glad when Jesus hung on the cross He didn’t

say, “I’m quitting.” I’m so glad in the Garden of

 

Gethsemane He didn’t say, “That’s it, Father. Enough is

enough.” The Bible says He could have called 10,000

angels to rescue Him away, but I’m so glad He didn’t. He

looked down through the eons of time and He saw you and

me. He said, “I will pay the price. I will buy them back. I

will shed My blood for their redemption.”

 

The scripture 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He hath

made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might

be made the righteousness of God in him.” Jesus became

sin for you and me because we were sinners. He became

sin for you and me because we were sinners. He became

sin that you and I could be born again into the family of

God.

 

Someone asked me, “Brother Rodney, what must I

do to come to God? Must I change my life first and then

come to Him?” No! You come as you are. God wants you

as you are. God specializes in taking us “as is.”

 

Have you ever seen cars advertised “as is”? God

said, “Give me that sinner there, ‘as is,’ and watch what I

will do.” He’ll take a prostitute, a drug addict, a

homosexual, a down-and-out criminal who is full of sin and

He will transform that person in a moment, in the twinkling

of an eye. He will change them and He will put their feet

on higher ground. He will wash them in the blood of Jesus.

He will cleanse them and they’ll be like a brand new little

baby that has just been born.

 

That’s what the new birth is. God wants to restore

back to the Church the joy of their salvation. Some

Christians have forgotten why they were saved. They’ve

forgotten that they were saved. If you looked at some

Christians, you couldn’t even tell they were born again.

“Well I’m saved, Brother Rodney.” Saved from what?

God wants to restore you. I pray that you get a fresh

revelation of the new birth.

 

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.