Tag Archives: The Great Awakening

Thirty Things that Grace Cannot Do – Part VII

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

14. Grace cannot prevent men from sinning if they choose to do so.

God has empowered man to use free will to choose to serve God or to not serve Him. None of us is a mere puppet. Grace cannot force you to do right or to not do wrong. Grace is not responsible for whether you do right or do wrong.

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:16-18 NKJV (see also Romans 6:16-23)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors — not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:5-13 NKJV (see also Romans 8:1-13)

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. 9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. Hebrews 6:4-9 NKJV

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31 NKJV

15. Grace cannot force obedience.

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17 NKJV

Grace cannot and will not force you to obey God. We must all come freely – of our own accord and our own desire – to receive the water of life, to be hungry for God, and to serve Him.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. John 3:16-20 NKJV

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. Galatians 5:4 NKJV

There is no law that can force you to obey God’s law. God’s grace is a gift that can only be received by faith. The Holy Spirit can influence you to obey God and help you to obey God, but He won’t force you to obey God. We, ourselves, are the ones who do both the sowing and the reaping.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Galatians 6:7-8 NKJV

ANOINTED WITH POWER TO DO GOOD

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

Foundation Scriptures: Acts 10:34-48 (NIV) Vs. 34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.  Vs. 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.  Vs. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Vs. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, Vs. 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.  Vs. 39 We are witnesses of everything He did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed Him by hanging him on a tree, Vs. 40 but God raised Him from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen. Vs. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen, by us who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.  Vs. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.  Vs. 43 All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”  Vs. 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  Vs. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.  Vs. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  Then Peter said, Vs. 47 “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”  Vs. 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

 

When you are baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit and power you know it.  It is not maybe or I hope so.  After receiving the Holy Ghost, they all spoke in other tongues.  When a believer gets hungry for God and desires to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, all they have to do is ask in faith and expect to receive.  God will always meet you at the point of your faith.

 

The Holy Spirit has been sent to every believer (if they will receive Him) anointing him with power (Vs. 38), so that they can go about doing good, healing and delivering all who are under the power of the devil!  Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (NIV).  Every time the Holy Spirit anoints a believer, He anoints them with power.  You are anointed with power to do good.  Healing people and saving and delivering them from the devil’s influence is doing good.  It’s a crazy world when you have ignorant and/or religious people calling healing and deliverance the work of the devil and then calling death and destruction the work of God!  Jesus came to show us the work of the Father.  Everywhere He went He displayed God’s power by healing, forgiving, delivering and raising people from the dead.  The power of the Holy Spirit was at Jesus’ disposal to do good.  When we are anointed, we display God’s power and anointing in our lives by doing good and delivering those under the influence of the enemy.

 

It is interesting to note that even though Jesus was the son of God, He did not begin to preach or do miracles until He was baptized in the Holy Ghost.  We are given the same Holy Ghost.  We can do the works of Jesus, because He lives in us and the Holy Ghost has anointed us, just as He anointed Jesus.

 

John 3:34-35 (NKJ)

Vs. 34 “For He who God has sent speaks the words of God, for does not give the Spirit by measure.”  Vs. 35 “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands.”

 

God gave Jesus the Spirit without measure because of His obedience and consecration. Even though we have the same Holy Spirit, we do not have Him in the same measure because we are limited by our carnality.  However, the more we yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, the more He cleanses and purifies us and the more He can flow through us.  The Holy Spirit can flow through us in great power as we yield our will to Him.

THE LIVING WORD

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

2 Timothy 3:14-17  (NIV)

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,

15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Millions of people, across the nations, have never seen a Bible. However, there are also countless numbers of people who do have Bibles, yet they never, ever open them up, nor do they apply God’s principles or commands to their lives. People are deceived into worshiping the Bible as a holy object that they proudly display in their homes, but the power and the glory of the Word can only be manifested in one’s life if the Book is opened and read and received and acted upon! Having a Bible in your house won’t help or save you. Having the Word in your heart and acting upon it, allowing it to work in you, is what will make the difference in you.

The devil would like to keep Bibles out of people’s hands. The Bibles that people do have, he would like to keep closed. If the Bible is kept closed, then it will have no impact on lives and families. Whole so-called “Christian” denominations all over the world have forbidden their members to read Bibles, telling them that the leaders of the “Church” will interpret the Bible for the masses. While there is nothing wrong with having someone explain and clarify the scriptures, the Bible stands on its own, with no explanation necessary. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, instructor and guide (1 John 2:27). He is the one who unveils God’s Word to our hearts.

The Bible is not hard to read or understand, unless you are reading with a veil over your own face (2 Corinthians 3:13-15). Even children can receive God’s Word and understand the Bible. The Bible should not be read with religious glasses and should be taken as literally as possible. God says what He means and He means what He says. You can take Him at His Word and you can believe everything He tells you.

2 Corinthians 13:1b  (NKJ)

1 “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”

The Bible is not a book written by mere man, like so many other publications that people regard as sacred. Man recorded the Bible, but it was breathed and inspired by God. Scholars have determined that even though many men wrote the Bible over a period of several thousand years, it fits and flows and agrees together so perfectly, that for it to have been fabricated by man, every man, who wrote a book of the Bible, would have had to write his book last! Any one with half a brain should realize that this is not a credible scenario. The Bible is undoubtedly the work of God and not man.

Hebrews 4:12  (NIV)

12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

God’s Word is not dead words on dead pages. It is real, alive and powerful. It will deeply impact and radically change your life, if you will give it the pre-imminence it deserves and if you will it allow it to have an influence on your heart and life!

THE MINISTRY OF RESTORATION BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE SPIRITUAL

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

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:19-24  NKJ

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. Galatians 6:1-5  NKJ

If we yield to the lusts and desires of our flesh as a way of life, the works of the flesh will be evident in our lives. If we allow the Spirit of God to work in our lives and wash us clean, the fruit of the Spirit will be made manifest in and through us. The more we allow God to do His work in us, the more truly spiritual we become. People think that spirituality is something you say or do, but it is who you are. People can try to act spiritual or try to talk spiritual and yet still be manifesting the works of the flesh, because they are still yielding to their flesh and by that they prove that they are actually still very unspiritual. You can be quite “normal” and yet be filled with the power and anointing of God – as opposed to being a super-spiritual “spooky” Christian with no power and no wisdom.

Being truly spiritual has nothing to do with a certain way of talking or acting, but it has to do with being totally yielded to the Spirit of God in every area of your life. When the Lord is allowed to have His way in your life, there is a sweetness, a holiness and a purity of attitude and speech that will be manifested in and through you that cannot be manufactured. The fruit of the Spirit is manifested through you even in the midst of extreme stress or pressure.

When a believer falls into sin, spiritual believers are required to help by ministering to them and helping to restore them back into fellowship with God and their spiritual family. A spiritual believer will not judge or criticize their fellow fallen Christian, but instead they will walk in love and kindly and gently help them to repent and find God’s forgiveness and be restored into fellowship with God. In this way we help to bear their burdens. Unfortunately, many believers who commit sins that badly destroy their fellowship with the Lord have a hard time finding help from the Church, because there are no spiritual believers to be found.

When you help to minister to a fallen believer, you get to know all their weaknesses and failures. If you have not dealt with your pride and if you think more highly of yourself than what you should, then you will begin to compare yourself with them or to judge them. If you do this, you will not be able to help them at all. If you are going to be of any help to your brother or sister, you must remain totally neutral. Do not judge or have any personal opinion, just speak the Word. God is the only One who has the right to judge. Do not condone the sin, but show mercy to the sinner as you know Jesus shows His mercy to them. Help them in the same way that you would like to be helped were you found in the same situation. Don’t discuss the situation with any one else either. Cover your fellow believer. Do not expose their personal situation to other people if they are looking to be restored. Some people disguise gossip about someone else by asking for prayer on their behalf and telling all the juicy details. Don’t do this.

Be sure to consider yourself and your own heart and your own attitude as you help another person. If you must bring a rebuke or a correction, do it in love, to help not to condemn. You may have a reason to judge another person, but you don’t have the right. Many people have judged another person for their sin and then ended up in the same sin or a similar sin within two years themselves. We are all responsible for only our own actions, not those of another person. Do not seek after spirituality itself. Seek after God and His presence and you will be filled with all the fullness of God and be a vessel that God can effectively use to minister to the hurting.

DO NOT GROW WEARY IN DOING GOOD – PART TWO

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

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

II Thessalonians 3:13 NKJ

 

Don’t grow weary in doing good. Don’t allow discouragement to stop you from doing what is right. If you know the right thing to do – do it – and don’t give up. The devil would love for you to quit doing good. He will lie to you and tell you that all the good that you have done is worthless and in vain. He will try to make you feel like a failure. But he is a filthy, rotten thief and liar and he is wrong about you! God sees and knows and has a record in eternity of all you have done for Him and it will never be erased.

 

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.  Luke 18:1 NKJ

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  Luke 18:1 NIV

 

God is watching you – and not from a distance either! He is listening to every word you speak. When you pray according to His will, He hears you and He answers your prayers. You cannot allow circumstances or the devil’s lies to distract you and make you think that God does not hear and He does not answer. If you say that you trust God and if you truly do trust Him, then you will not give up or lose heart – you will continue to talk to Him and to expect his reply.

 

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJ

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 NKJ

 

Because we have already received God’s mercy and we have experienced His life and His liberty, we should not give up or lose heart, but we should continue to allow the Spirit of God to transform us. There is nothing to go back to. Your past is past. It has nothing to offer you. Look forward to more of God and continue in the truth of God’s word.

 

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:13-18 NKJ

 

You cannot look just at outward things and judge the work of God in your life according to them. You must look at the inward things. Look at the work of God in your heart. Just because you face opposition and persecution it does not mean that you are in the wrong or that God has forsaken you. It could mean that you are doing precisely the right thing and you are just being persecuted for the word’s sake! We do not lose heart – we cling to the word of God and His promises, which we know, are true. His word is yes and amen – if He said it then He will do it. Don’t give up on God and He won’t give up on you!

 

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.  Revelations 3:5 NKJ

 

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  Revelations 3:21 NKJ

 

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.  Revelations 21:7 NKJ

UNLESS THE LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE

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

Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.  Psalms 127:1-2 NKJV

Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.

The word “house” here means a house in the greatest variation of applications, but it especially represents family. It could be used of your very own family or God’s family – the church. In either case, each member is a part of the whole house. You can try to build a family or a ministry, but unless God is at the helm of your vessel, even your best efforts will fail and come to nothing.

God is not our co-pilot. We need to make Him the pilot and we need to obey Him in everything. He is the author and the finisher of our faith. He is the architect and the builder. We must trust His judgment and His wisdom enough to follow it in spite of our own opinions to the contrary. God’s word is tried and proven and it stands as a rock and a testament to His truth and His faithfulness.

If you labor in vain – you labor uselessly. There is no fruit of your labor. The result you desired will not be achieved. Why spend all your efforts on something that is going to fail anyway? You need to step back, take your hands off of the helm and allow God to have His way – always, in everything. Only then will your efforts produce the desired result. You see – some people do nothing when they should be doing something, while others work really hard and yet they are both unfruitful, and they wonder why! You have to put an effort in, however, it must be led, guided and inspired by the Lord or it will be all your own efforts and it is destined to fail.

Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

If you serve and honor God in your life, He promises to watch over you and protect you in all your ways of obedience and service. Without Him, you are exposed to the elements. With Him, you are safe in the direst of situations. You cannot waste time worrying about your life. It won’t help one bit. All your worrying will be for nothing – you might as well just trust Him! You need to live your life, trusting in Him and He will take care of you.

It is vain for you to rise up early and to sit up late.

There is nothing wrong with getting up early or going to bed late unless you are doing it because of fear or because you are relying on yourself alone. You might as well get some sleep because you cannot do everything yourself – you need the Lord’s help anyway.

It is vain for you to eat the bread of sorrows.

“Sorrows” is grievous or painful toil. Deuteronomy 24:19 says that God will bless the work of your hands. If you are a believer, if you are serving God with all your heart, He will bless the work of your hands. It is unprofitable for you to work and sweat and struggle by your own efforts. Trust God, obey Him, allow Him to guide your way and your work will be blessed and fruitful. You will reap a multiplied harvest of blessing.

 For so He gives His beloved sleep.

You don’t need to worry

You don’t need to fret

God has never failed you yet

You can close your eyes and float away

As He watches over you until the light of day

You don’t have to stay up worrying about your way

He is in control every day

There is a rest for the people of God

It is faith in His power, His wisdom, His love

God loves you so and He watches you close

Give Him your all and rest in His hands

HONOR GOD WITH THE FIRST FRUITS OF YOUR INCREASE

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

9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.  KJV

9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.  NKJV

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;

10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.  NIV 

If you are truly a child of God, your desire is to honor the Lord. One of the first ways that you honor Him is with your substance; your possessions; your wealth. No one can serve God and mammon; money; possessions at the same time. You can only put one first place in your life.

“No servant 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.”  Luke 16:13 NIV

You honor God when you bring Him the first fruits of your increase. By offering the first fruits of the increase of your substance, you demonstrate that God is number one in your life. When you make God your priority, He will make you His priority! God says that if you will honor Him with your substance and your first fruits then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. You will be abundantly blessed. You will have more than enough. You will have enough for what you need today and for what you will need tomorrow!

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.  Genesis 4:1-8 NKJV

Cain and Abel both brought an offering to the Lord. Abel brought the firstborn of his flock and their fat, but Cain brought only an offering of the fruit of the ground – not the first fruit of his harvest. God accepted Abel’s offering, but He did not accept Cain’s offering. Cain was angry with God for rejecting Him, when it was he who had rejected God first because did not honor Him with his first and best. If we do not honor God in a way that is acceptable to Him, it is because we do not have the right heart attitude. If we do not have the right heart attitude, then sin will rule over us. God does not want sin to rule over us. He wants us to rule over sin, for our own sake.

Cain did not kill Abel because god had rejected him and his offering. Cain killed Abel because he had a jealous, covetous spirit. His covetousness was the reason God rejected him in the first place – because he kept the best for himself instead of offering it to God. God sees your heart and God sees your offering. Give of the first fruits of the increase of your substance with a willing heart and the Lord will accept you and your offering.

4 Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the LORD has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.  Exodus 35:4-9 NIV

As a church, we are going to honor God with the first fruits of our increase in the month of January 2002. All those, at The River, who are of a willing heart and mind are going to bring a week’s worth of our salaries and wages and we are going to offer it to the Lord as our first fruits. We are trusting the Lord for a blessing upon us and our families in this New Year, where our barns will be filled to overflowing, and our vats will brim over with new wine!

ANSWERED PRAYER – PART ONE

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

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

Let your requests be made known to God. Everything God does, He speaks out. He commands even the elements with His Word and they respond every time. He expects us to function as He functions. He designed us to function as He functions. Whatever we expect or desire, we must speak it out and pray it out to the Lord. Most people don’t have what they say, because they are to busy saying what they have! That means that whatever you speak out over your life that is what you will have. If we speak good things with our mouth, in faith, we will have good things in our life. If we speak doubt and unbelief and other bad things with our mouth, we will have bad things in our life. Sometimes we have bad things happening because we sowed those bad seeds with our mouth. Sometimes we have bad things happening because we have simply neglected to sow any good seeds with our mouth. Your life is like a garden – you have to weed the bad stuff out of it and you have to plant the good seeds in it.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 5:16b NKJV

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.   James 5:16b NIV

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].  James 5:16b AMP

When a righteous man prays a continued, earnest, heartfelt, prayer, there is a tremendous power that is released – a dynamic active power that effectively goes to work – producing the desired result. If we want our prayers to be answered, there are a few things that we must do to ensure the desired result – we must walk righteously before the Lord, we must pray sincerely and fervently – and very importantly – we must pray according to God’s will.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.  2 Chronicles 16:9a KJV

Sometimes, when we don’t get our prayers answered according to our timetable, we think that God can’t or won’t hear us, or that maybe He is just ignoring us, but if we are washed in the blood of Jesus and submitted to God’s Word, then that is not true. The Bible says that God is constantly on the look out for righteous people – those people whose hearts are perfect toward Him – so that He can show Himself strong on their behalf. His eyes go to and fro across the earth trying to find them. Not only are we searching for God, He is searching for us! When He finds that righteous person, He shows up in their situation and He moves on their behalf.

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 1 Peter 3:12 KJV

God’s eyes see every move the righteous make and His ears are open to hear every word they pray. He protectively watches over the righteous and He waits for and pays attention to their prayers. God makes His righteous family His responsibility, but He is not obligated to those who do evil – He turns His face from them – they are on their own with no defense against the devil. This is not God’s choice, but theirs.  God gives us the choice to obey and serve Him and to reap life and blessing, or the choice to serve ourselves and reap death and curses.

The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.   Proverbs 11:23 NKJV

Our righteousness is not our own, it is bought with a price – the precious blood of Jesus. We cannot buy it or earn it – we must simply surrender to His will in order to receive it. When we are yielded to God and we have allowed the work of the Spirit in our lives, our desires are in line with His desires.

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.

18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The LORDwatches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.   Psalms 145:17-20 NIV

God fulfills the desires of the righteous – those who fear Him. God answers the prayer of the righteous man or woman, who asks according to His will.

PRODUCE FRUIT IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE

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

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely-be content with your pay.”  Luke 3:7-14 NIV

When a change occurs in your heart, a change occurs in your mouth and in your actions. John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He commanded the people that they should, “produce fruit in keeping with repentance!” and he told them that, “the ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

John was straightforward and brutally honest with people – he called things as they were and he got people’s attention. They were either convicted of their sin and they repented, or they became really mad at John and continued in their sin. Once people repented and were baptized, they were hungry for righteousness.  They asked John questions about how they should conduct their lives from then on.

John encouraged all of them to be unselfish and to share whatever extra clothes and food that they had with those who had nothing. The tax collectors would usually take more from the people than what was owed and keep it for themselves. For this reason, they were hated and reviled by the populace. John told them to be honest concerning the taxes they collected and not to steal from the people. He told the soldiers not to use their authority to steal from, threaten, intimidate, or falsely accuse people.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  James 2:8-17 NIV

James writes, in his book, that, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” You may have faith, but until you put action to your words, your faith is not proven. You don’t have faith because you say you have faith – you have faith because you acted on your faith. Faith, by its very nature requires action!

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Galatians 2:20-21 NIV

Righteousness with God is not attained through your own works, actions or efforts – it is purchased with the priceless and precious blood of Jesus. However, once you have heard the gospel – once you have realized that Jesus died for you – you must take action. If you believe then you must speak – you must believe in your heart that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and you must open your mouth and confess that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. Otherwise you will not be saved.

James encourages us to, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” As the body of Christ, we are not judged as the world is judged, but we will be judged by the Word – whether what we believe is translated out into our life and our actions. Whatever is in your heart will be heard coming out of your mouth and will be seen manifested in your actions. Your fruit will reveal your root and all that is truly in your heart.

THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY

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

For whosoever keeps the Law [as a] whole but stumbles and offends in one [single instance] has become guilty of [breaking] all of it. 11 For He Who said, You shall not commit adultery, also said, You shall not kill. If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become guilty of transgressing the [whole] Law. 12 So speak and so act as [people should] who are to be judged under the law of liberty [the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about love]. 13 For to him who has shown no mercy the judgment [will be] merciless, but mercy [full of glad confidence] exults victoriously over judgment.  James 2:10-13 AMP

There are some legalistic Christians who say that without the law, you cannot be convicted of sin and therefore you cannot be saved. Also, many people, Christian and non-Christian alike, wrongly believe that your good deeds save you and your bad deeds damn you. This is not scriptural. You are saved by faith alone in the precious blood of Jesus and it is the goodness of God that leads you to repentance (Romans 2:4)!

If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited blessing). 5 For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope. 6 For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.  Galatians 5:4-6 AMP

Under the New Covenant, you cannot and do not rely on the law to save you or to help you, but on the Holy Spirit instead. If you are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything. Your own works and your own righteousness are worthless. The only thing that counts is your faith, which is activated, energized, expressed, and works through love.

James, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says that you, as a Christian, will not be judged by the Law of Moses, but you will be judged under the law of liberty! What is the law of liberty? The Amplified Bible says that it is “the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about love.” You will be judged by the Laws of Love! Jesus gave you your New Commandment, to love God and love your neighbor, which fulfills and supercedes all others. Paul repeats it here in Romans 13:8-10 AMP

Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements]. 9 The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire), and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law.

Love fulfills the law. When you stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ, you will be judged not on whether you kept the law or not, but you will be judged on your love walk! Did you walk in the love of God, which was shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Spirit? Did you show mercy and grace to other people or did you judge and condemn them?

You set the standard of your own judgment by the way you have treated others. If you have shown mercy, mercy will be shown to you. If you have been hard and judgmental, you will be judged by the same high standards of judgment that you meted out on others.

With this in mind, you would be wise to put a guard over your own mouth and mind your own business. You would be wise to judge your own heart, life and attitude and allow God, alone, to judge those around you. You would be wise to choose a lifestyle of love, mercy and graciousness toward others.

But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).  James 1:25 AMP