REPROOF BRINGS WISDOM

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

2 Timothy 3:16-17  (NKJ)
16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Reproof means: conviction of sin, punishment or refutation of error. Correction means: a straightening up again, a rectification or a reformation.

Instruction means: tutorage, education, training or disciplinary correction. It is translated in the KJV as chastening, chastisement, instruction or nurture.

The word of God is given to us to convict us (make us aware) of our sin. The word straightens us up, chastises, trains and corrects us. If we receive the word into our lives and hearts and if we allow it to do its work in us, we are wise and we will be even wiser. In other words it takes a measure of wisdom to have a heart open to instruction in the first place and as we allow the word into our hearts, it makes us even wiser. As you grow in God, you are continually learning from Him and being corrected and straightened up by Him.

Proverbs 10:17  (NKJ)
17He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.

God’s instruction leads us into life and produces life. When we won’t hear God’s instruction, we go astray – we make mistakes, we make wrong decisions and we go in the wrong direction.

Proverbs 12:1  (KJV)
1Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

Brutish basically means stupid. Part of the meaning of the Hebrew word, translated brutish is – to be consumed by fire. When people refuse God’s wisdom in their lives, they will end up in the Hot Place!  I don’t know about you – but I don’t want to be stupid or hot!  I think that I would rather receive God’s rebuke now, than His judgement later!

Proverbs 13:18  (NKJ)
18Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.

Proverbs 15:5-6  (NKJ)
A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent. 6In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.

Proverbs 15:31-32  (NKJ)
31The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. 32He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.

Poverty, shame and trouble are the punishment of fools, who will not receive God’s instruction or the wise instruction and correction of their parents. Honor, wisdom, understanding and treasure are the reward of those who hear and obey God’s correction and instruction.

Proverbs 29:15  (NKJ)
15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

When we were children, our parent’s discipline and the spankings they administered controlled our flesh and carnal nature. As we grow up, we must allow the word of God to minister to us and thereby deal with the sin and foolishness in our carnal nature. We grow in wisdom as we allow the word to discipline and correct us.

Proverbs 17:10  (NKJ)
10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool.

It is a wise man or woman who will have a humble, teachable spirit and who will allow God’s word to reprove, correct and instruct them – even if it is painful to the flesh. A fool will not heed or obey God’s word. Not even a beating can straighten out a fool. Be a wise man/woman and receive God’s word as discipline and correction and instruction in your life and you will always be blessed in every area of your life.

Hebrews 12:11  (NKJ)
11Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

SPEAK TO YOUR MOUNTAIN

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

Mark 11:11-14  (NKJ)

11       And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

12      Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.

13      And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. And when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.

14      In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.

 

Mark 11:20-24  (NKJ)

20      Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

21      And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”

22      So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

23      “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.

24      “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 

Jesus spoke to the fig tree, cursing it, as He passed by. The next day it was withered away. His disciples were amazed, but Jesus was not. Jesus was present when the world was created. It was created by and through Him. God spoke and the world came into being.

 

John 1:1-3 (NKJ) says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”  Hebrews 11:3 (NKJ) says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

 

Jesus spoke to things and they did exactly what He commanded. He instructed us to do the same. He said that we must speak to objects in faith and they would obey. Jesus said that if we believe without doubting as we tell the mountain to move – that it would move.

 

Jesus spoke to the fever and it left Simon’s mother-in-law in Luke 4:38-39 (NKJ) “Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.”

 

Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea in Mark 4:36-40 (NKJ) “Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

 

No matter what situation you are facing – according to the Word of God – you must speak to it, in faith, and it must change. As long as you are obedient to the Word of God in every area of your life you can command every situation in your life to line up with the Word of God. Speak to your body – command it to be strengthened and to function as God created it to function. Speak to sickness and disease – command it to leave. Speak to your finances – command the blessing on your financial affairs.

 

Speak to the mountain!

LIVE IN THE LIGHT

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

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:9-14 NIV

Several things happened to you, at the same time, on the day that you repented of your sins, accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and were born-again. You were redeemed by the blood of Jesus and forgiven of your sins. You were made a saint of God and qualified by God to share in an inheritance in the kingdom of light, together with all the other saints. And on top of all that your Father has delivered you and drawn you to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness. Sin has no more dominion over you. The devil has no more authority over you. You have been delivered from the power and control of sin and the devil. So many Christians live below the standards that God has ordained for them because they are ignorant of His will and His plan for them. They have no idea what He has already done for them and in them.

Paul prayed that the Colossians would be filled with a full, deep and clear knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and a spiritual understanding. Many people think that God’s will is unknown, but if God wanted His will to be hidden then why does Paul pray for us all to know it? You can know the will of God. His will is His Word. The Spirit of God will instruct you and reveal God’s will for your life. As you walk worthy of the Lord you steadily grow and increase in the knowledge of God. You must live and conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Lord – fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things – bearing fruit in every good work.

You cannot please God if you yield to sin or the devil in any way. The tragedy is that it is the devil who harasses and torments Christians and then gets them to believe the lie that it is God’s will when all along God is telling them that He has delivered and saved them from all the devil’s power and authority. The devil’s influence over you ended on the day you were washed in the blood of Jesus.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJ

The disobedient (sinners) are subject to the devil and his evil influence, but not the children of God. You were once in bondage to the devil, but now you have been saved by God’s grace and His great love and rich mercy. You are raised up and seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Live and walk worthy of His great love and the grace and mercy that He has lavishly poured out on you. Don’t treat His salvation as a weak, ineffective force. You are saved and redeemed from the darkness and all the power of the enemy. Walk as a child of the light. Walk free from sin and darkness and walk all over the devil. Don’t give him any place or any attention. Take authority over him and walk in the light of the fact that Jesus already defeated him. All you have to do is enforce his defeat by reminding him of what Jesus already did. Live in the light of God!

BLESSED IS HE WHOSE TRANSGRESSIONS ARE FORGIVEN

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

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”– and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.   6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10    Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Psalms 32:1-11 NIV

 

According to the Amplified Bible, when you are blessed you are happy, fortunate and to be envied. The most wonderful thing that can happen to us is to have our sins permanently washed away by the blood of Jesus and to know that we have God’s forgiveness permanently exercised upon us. It is awesome to know that any sins – past, present and future – are not held against us as long as we confess our sins and ask God for forgiveness. By rights, we should all pay for our own sins and transgressions with our lives, but thank God, Jesus paid the price for us.

 

Nothing in the whole world can compare with the joy of a heart that is at peace with God because it is forgiven! No money, alcohol, drugs, fame or power can compare with the experience of the favor of God together with the joy of a clean heart.

 

When we have sin in our lives, we cannot be truly happy until we confess it to God. The most unhappy situation we can be in is to be living with unconfessed sin.

 

We must be sorry for our sin, admit that we are wrong and ask God to forgive us. God is just waiting and longing to forgive us – He is just waiting for us to take a step toward Him. He took the first step – He offered Jesus up as a guilt-offering on our behalf. The next move is ours. We can live in great peace, in spite of our outward circumstances, as long as we know that we have the favor of God upon our lives.

 

We must acknowledge all our sin and not try to hide anything from Him and He will instantly forgive us. When you walk in the knowledge of the total and complete forgiveness of God on your life, the waters of adversity are not able to overwhelm your spirit. When we are stubborn and unteachable, we will have many troubles and problems, but if we walk in God’s ways, we will also walk in His protection and guidance.

 

When we trust God with our lives enough to lay down what we want and to bow our knee in repentance, then we will experience His preservation and His joy. The wicked have no peace, but the righteous walk in continual peace and joy.

ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN THE LORD

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

For even when we arrived in Macedonia, our bodies had no ease or rest, but we were oppressed in every way and afflicted at every turn – fighting and contentions without, dread and fears within [us]. 6 But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus. 7 [Yes] and not only by his coming but also by [his account of] with which he was encouraged and refreshed and cheered as to, while he told us of your yearning affection, of how sorry you were [for me] and how eagerly you took my part, so that I rejoiced still more.  2 Corinthians 7:5-7 AMP

We can all find reasons to be sad or depressed or angry or bitter with life, with circumstances, with other people or even with God. Even Paul went through some moments of discouragement and of feeling sorry for himself. Some people fall into depression very easily, but even normally very positive people experience a certain amount of mental and physical pressure in their daily lives and can be tempted from time to time to think negative thoughts and to begin to feel depressed. It is easier to feel better and have a more positive outlook when you are refreshed, when your body and mind have had some rest and comfort. However, when you have had no opportunity to rest and refresh yourself, when you are pressured from every side, fighting and contentions without, dread and fears within – if it isn’t one thing it is another – then it is not hard to become really discouraged and depressed.

In their discouragement, depression and despair, many people even become angry with God for their circumstances. This is because we don’t think that it could have anything to do with us at all and we choose to find fault with someone or something outside of ourselves. We think – wrongly – that God is our servant and that He is supposed to line everything up in our lives in a way that should always benefit us. We are fine until something goes wrong, or until we are inconvenienced and then we throw our little tantrum, we blame God and everybody else for our problems, and we sink into feeling sorry for ourselves and into discouragement and depression. Many times, the depression and discouragement we feel involves a fair amount of ungratefulness. We do not consider nor appreciate God’s blessing upon our lives.

We need to remember that God gives us a choice of good and bad, death and life, cursing or blessing. We live in an imperfect world and are subject to that world system. We need to remind ourselves that God is not our problem, but He is our answer. Stuff happens, but God is our way out. It is God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking! If you are a child of God then it is God Who is the One Who is on our side. God is the One Who is for us not against us. When we remember that God is the answer, then we will begin to be grateful for His blessings and we will become encouraged once again.

So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.  1 Samuel 30:3-6 KJV

The NKJV says, “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” And the NIV says, “But David found strength in the LORD his God.”

The Israelite men were grieved at the destruction of their city and the loss of their wives and families. Then they became angry and bitter and they looked for someone to blame. David was as upset as they were, plus he felt the pressure of being at the receiving end of the wrath of his men. Then David did something that was key to his survival and key to his prosperity and the blessing of God upon his life – he turned to the Lord instead of from Him. Many times we take the tragedies of our lives as a sign that God doesn’t like us anymore, but that is not true. Many times, we trust in the strength of our own hand, but at times like these, God is the only One we can turn to and Hewill come through for us.

David was successful, because he chose to encourage himself in the LORD his God. David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. David found his strength in the LORD his God. When we feel discouraged, disheartened and depressed, we need to remind ourselves that God loves us, He is on our side, He is working for us not against us, and He is the way out, the answer to all our problems and the source of all we need.

GOD’S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN OURS

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

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”

 declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

God’s ways are higher than our ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. But what are His ways? People use this scripture to justify their theories about God. They make ignorant and misguided statements about God, His character, His ways, His thoughts and intentions and then tell us that we cannot understand God – that His plans and purposes do not make sense. But that is just not true!

God and His ways make perfect sense. Even though we cannot fully know God here on earth – it is only because of our human limitations – not because God is hiding His nature, character and intentions from us, because He has already revealed Himself to us in His Word and by His Spirit. Let us look at what God says about Himself right before He says that His ways are higher than ours.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.  Isaiah 55:6-7 NIV

God is a merciful God. He freely pardons those who turn to Him. He chooses to forgive us. In fact He longs to show us His mercy. He is not willing to abandon us to our destruction. We are given the choice, to choose life or death, blessing or cursing, but God’s plan and desire for us is life and blessing! (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV

For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.  Lamentations 3:31-33 NIV

Because God is a good, kind, loving, compassionate God – and He never changes – mankind has been graciously spared through the ages even though we have severely tested God’s patience, love, grace and forgiveness.

“For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.  Malachi 3:6 NKJV

“I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.  Malachi 3:6-7 NIV

As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is God’s love for those who fear Him. In our mind, God should hate us and be angry with us, because we are all sinners. He should punish us, because we deserve it. We also think that God should send all those who offend us, wrong us, or who commit evil against us straight to hell with no chance of redemption. In our ungodly, human thinking – without the washing of the water of the word – we expect God to behave as we would if we had the fate of our enemy in our control. However God does not behave as we think He would. He responds with grace – and it is this grace that we cannot begin to understand unless we allow God to do a work in our heart and the Word to renew our minds.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.  Psalms 103:8-18 NIV

The LORD has compassion on those who fear him just as a father has compassion on his children. From everlasting to everlasting the love of the Lord is extended toward those who fear him, and who keep his covenant and who obey his precepts. His righteousness is offered to their children’s children. God is a good God and it is His ways of His grace, mercy and forgiveness that are beyond our human comprehension and higher than ours.

ANSWERED PRAYER – PART FOUR

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

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 you want your prayers to be answered, there are a few things that you must do to ensure the desired result – you must walk righteously before the Lord, you must pray sincerely and fervently and you must pray according to God’s will.

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 when you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.   James 4:1-3 NIV

James tells you that you don’t have the things that you want, because you have not asked God for them. Many times, people do terrible things to each other, because instead of looking to the Father as their source and supply, they look to get things from other people. They are jealous over their neighbor’s stuff and they covet it. They see it, they want it and they go to help themselves to it – instead of working for their own stuff or asking for it from the Lord. Christians, especially have no business coveting and fighting over their neighbor’s stuff – they should know where to go to get it – from God. And when you do ask for stuff, make sure that you ask with the right motive. Your heart must be yielded to the Lord – He is not your servant, but He is your Master! Don’t ask for selfish things that only gratify your own flesh. God will bless you, but He expects you to be a blessing to others, too.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6 NIV

Don’t worry! Ask your Father! In everything by prayer and petition and supplication – let God know what it is you want. When you get to heaven, you cannot go to God to complain about all the things that He never gave you that you never asked for! If you ask correctly, then He will answer. He will give you the things that you ask for in faith. You must persist in your faith and your asking as if you expect an answer and you will get one.

7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.   Matthew 6:7-8 NKJV

Being persistent in your heart and your faith and your prayers is not the same as praying the same thing over and over and over and over. Jesus tells you not to use vain repetitions like the heathen do – saying the same words over and over. The heathen think that God will hear them and answer them if they say the same thing enough times, but whether they realize it or not, they are trying to manipulate God and He doesn’t respond to manipulation. God responds to our faith and our obedience. Most of the time people try to get God to do things for them, but they don’t want a relationship with Him. However, God wants us to build a relationship with Him first and foremost. He knows what you need before you ask and the moment you ask Him correctly, He moves to bring the answer to your prayer to you.

18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.  1 John 3:18-24 NIV

How do you know if God is listening to your prayers? If your heart is right with God, then His Word says that He hears your prayers. If you have a relationship with God and His Spirit lives in you, then your heart will keep you in line and make sure that you have a good attitude and that you stay willing and obedient. Sin negatively affects your relationship with the Father. If your heart convicts you of sin, then you know that it is time to repent before you come to God to ask for anything. If your heart is at peace with God, then you can boldly come into His presence to ask for what you need. First you obey, then you ask and then you receive.

PUT AWAY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS FAR FROM YOUR HOUSE

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

Job 22:23

If you return to the Almighty [and submit and humble yourself before Him], you will be built up; if youput away unrighteousness far from your tents. AMP

If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. KJV

If you return to God and put right all the wrong in your home, then you will be restored. TLB

Job 22:23 says that you must put away iniquity and unrighteousness from your tabernacle – the place you live – your tent or your home. The tabernacle could be the tabernacle of your attitude, the tabernacle of your body, the tabernacle of your house, or the tabernacle of your family. If you want the blessing of God on your life, then you need to humble your heart, submit to the Lord, and deal with and eliminate any form of sin – whether in thought or deed, in your heart or in your home.

132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. 133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.  Psalms 119:132-133 NIV

Sin, iniquity, and unrighteousness seek to dominate, control and destroy you. You may think that you are in control of sin, but once you yield to it, sin is always in control of you. The only way to be free of sin is to confess your sin, to ask God for forgiveness and to yield to righteousness.

Psalms 66:18-19

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. 19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. NKJV

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

19 but God has surely listened. NIV

18 He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. 19 But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it! TLB

The first place that sin abides that must be dealt with is our own heart and mind. This is the root that must be eliminated in order to prevent the growth of the trunk, the branches and, eventually, the fruit.

20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.'”  Mark 7:20-23 NIV

In order to get rid of sin, you must expose it. You must confess it to the Lord and receive His forgiveness.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”–and you forgave the guilt of my sin.  Psalms 32:5 NIV

The second place that you must deal with sin is in your body.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  Romans 6:12-14 NIV

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  Romans 8:12-14 NIV

Deal with sin in your own heart and mind and then in your body. Then deal with and eliminate all sin from your house and your family. Charles Finney would not allow anyone – relative or friend – into his house or around his children, if he thought that they would be used by the devil to corrupt either their morals or their manners. You should set the standard in your home and your family. Do not allow sin in your house – chase it away when it comes knocking at your door – so that God’s blessing is welcome to come to reside and abide at your house. You need to decide whom it is that you serve. If you serve God then sin must be ousted from out of your house!

19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  2 Timothy2:19 NKJV

TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA

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

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.   Revelation 2:8-11 NIV

Smyrna is a city which lay on a gulf with the same name. It lay a little north of Ephesus. Around about 627 BC, the original city was destroyed. It lay deserted and in ruins for four hundred years. The new city was built a short distance south of the ancient one, and became the finest city in Asia Minor. It was known as “the glory of Asia.” It was one of the cities which claimed the honor of being the poet, Homer’s, birthplace. The Smyrnaeans erected a splendid temple to his memory. Apparently, he was said to have composed his poems in a cave in the neighborhood of the city. Smyrna’s fine harbor made it a commercial center; but it was also well known for its schools of rhetoric and philosophy. The city was a seat of the worship of Cybele the Mother of the gods, and of Dionysus or Bacchus. The church of Smyrna suffered much from persecution and Polycarp, who was the first bishop of this church, was said to have been martyred in the stadium of the city, A.D. 166 at the instigation of and with the support of the Jews.

“These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.” Jesus Christ is the first and the last. He is the first – for by Him all things were made. He was before all things with God and was God himself. He is the last, for all things are made for Him, and He will be the Judge of all. Jesus is God from everlasting to everlasting. He is an unchangeable Mediator between God and man. Jesus is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. He was dead and is alive. He was dead, and died for our sins; He is alive, for He rose again for our justification, and He ever lives to make intercession for us. He was dead, and by dying purchased salvation for us; He is alive, and by His life applies this salvation to us.

“I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich!” They may have been poor in goods, but they were rich toward God and rich in grace – their spiritual riches being set off by their outward poverty. Where there is spiritual plenty, outward poverty may be easier to bear. When, for the sake of Christ and a good conscience, God’s people are impoverished in natural goods, He makes all up to them in spiritual riches, which are much more satisfying and enduring. Obviously they suffered powerful persecutions and tribulations, even to the spoiling of their goods, which contributed to their poverty. They were willing rather to give up their goods and have Jesus, than to deny Him and have plenty and therefore they were spiritually prosperous. Not one of these sacrifices went unnoticed by Jesus.

“I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”  Jesus is aware of the enemies of the cross and of His people – they will not get away with the things they say and do to the true church. They may claim to be God’s people, but they are tools of the devil, used to do his work. They may claim to represent God as they persecute the people of God, but they will be judged and punished for their blasphemy. Their cousins are still around today. In Smyrna, the Jews claimed to be the only truth even as they supported the murder of Christians, but they were full of and used of the devil. Even today, there are so-called Christians who claim to be the only ones who hold the truth as they persecute the people of God. They are as much the “synagogue of Satan” as were the Jews who violently persecuted the church in Smyrna in the first century.

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  God foreknows the future trials of His people, He forewarns them of them, and fore-arms them against them. They are prepared and also encouraged, because they know that God is with them and there is a reward awaiting them. Jesus proposes and promises a glorious reward to their fidelity: a crown of life – a crown, to reward their poverty, their fidelity, and their conflict. A crown of life, to reward those who are faithful even unto death, who are faithful till they die, and who part with life itself in fidelity to Christ. The life so worn out in his service, or laid down in his cause, shall be rewarded with another and a much better life that shall be eternal.

“He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.”  There is not only a first, but a second death, a death after the body is dead. The expression, “second death” is peculiar to the Book of Revelation. It is defined as “the lake of fire” – the death awaiting the wicked after judgment.

In the book of Revelation, everyone can see and hear what passes between Christ and His churches – how He commends them, how He comforts them, how He reproves their failures, and how He rewards their fidelity. As the world observes God’s dealings with His own people, they may learn instruction and wisdom from it.

 

TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN PERGAMUM

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

Revelation 2:12-17 NIV

“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city-where Satan lives. 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Pergamum was situated in Teuthrania in Mysia, in the Caicus Valley, about fifty-five miles north-east of Smyrna. It was in a district watered by three rivers, one of which flowed into the sea. The original city was built on a lofty hill, which afterward became the citadel as houses sprang up around its base. It was a great political and religious center. Eumenes II (B.C. 197-159) extended Pergamum and embellished it with many great buildings, including a fantastic library with 200,000 volumes, which was second only to Alexandria. The kingdom of Pergamum became a Roman province 130 BC. All the main roads of Western Asia converged there. Pliny called it “by far the most illustrious city of Asia.”

Pergamum was celebrated for the manufacture of ointments, pottery, tapestries, and also parchment, which derives its name (charta Pergamena) from the city. The great glory of the city was the Nicephorium, a grove of great beauty containing an assemblage of temples – belonging to Zeus, Athena, and Dionysos – rivaling Ephesus. Next to this was the celebrated and much-frequented grove and temple of AEsculapius (or Asklepios), the god of healing, with a university for medical study. AEsculapius was also called the god of Pergamum, worshipped in the form of a living serpent, kept and fed in the temple. On the coins struck by the town, he often appears with a rod encircled by a serpent.

The city has been described as a sort of cross between a pagan cathedral-city, a university-town, and a royal residence. It was enlarged and improved during a succession of years by several wealthy kings. Pergamum was the first city in Asia (A.D. 29) with a temple for the worship of Augustus (Octavius Caesar). Hence, in the Apocalypse, Pergamum is a very center of emperor-worship “where Satan dwells.” The Nicolaitans also flourished here as in Ephesus and Thyatira. Like Ephesus, this city is called temple-sweeper (neookoros) for the gods. All forms of pagan ungodliness prevailed openly in this city.

In Numbers, chapters 22 through 24, Balak tried to get Balaam to curse the Israelites, but all he could do is bless them because God would not allow him to curse them. He knew what was right and wrong, and yet he chose to ignore his conscience, oppose God’s will, and do what was wrong. He could not curse Israel or do anything to destroy them from the outside, so he tried to do it from the inside – he encouraged the daughters of Midian and Moab into sexual relationships with the Israelite men. In this way, the introduced the worship of Baal of Peor into the Israelite camp and brought a curse upon Israel (Numbers 31:16). The sins of Balaam were idol worship, including eating foods offered to idols, and sexual immorality.

The Church in Pergamum remained faithful to the name of Jesus Christ, even though they suffered persecution and were surrounded by extreme ungodliness on every side. However, they had been a little too tolerant of those among them who clung to vile and immoral, ungodly beliefs and practices. This was unacceptable to the Lord and He calls on them to repent or else He would deal with them using His two-edged sword – the sword of the word – bringing judgment upon them.

“To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.”  Jesus is the Manna – the Bread from heaven – hidden from all, and unappreciated by all, except those who embrace Him. He is the life and sustenance of those who love Him and love His Word. He is all we need!

I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”  The white stone was regarded as a token of favor, prosperity, victory or success everywhere. It represents your allegiance. The white stone also represents heaven and the presence of God. In some cultures, it was the prize the victor received for winning the competition. As such, it would denote that the Christian, to whom it was given, would meet with the favor of the Redeemer and would have a token of his approval. In eternity, the favor and approval of man counts for nothing, but the favor and approval of Almighty God means everything!

Rodney Howard Browne bringing Revival to North Miami Beach