We are Stewards of What God Has Given to Us

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

Thoughts on Stewardship  – Lesson No. 12 from Genesis

We are Stewards of What God Has Given to Us
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 1:26–28

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, accord­ing to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV

1. God said, “Let us make man in our own image and let him have dominion.” God gave man stewardship over the earth and everything in it.

a. We are not here on earth by accident, but by divine design.

b. You and I are placed here on this earth by God as stewards of the earth and we must give an account of that which has been entrusted to us.

2. Our stewardship covers the earth and everything in it:

a. We have been given authority over the creatures of the earth and over the earth itself. With this authority comes the responsibility as well. You cannot have one without the other. A person who wants authority without responsibility is a dictator. A person who takes the responsibility without exercising authority will be frustrated in their efforts. There is not any one person who can take dominion over the entire earth, but we can all take authority and responsibility for that which God gives us and administer it wisely.

b. We must take dominion. God told us to populate the earth and subdue it. We are here to bless the earth—not to destroy it or each other! God placed more than enough resources in the earth to meet every need. Then why do people lack? Why are they poverty stricken? Because of wickedness and spiritual darkness. When people bow their knee to Almighty God, blessing and prosperity come to them. Ungodly people are greedy and covetous and will not share with others, but godly people do what they can to be a blessing, and are blessed in return.

c. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve exercised their faith to achieve their goals. After the Fall, they had to do it with their own hands, by the sweat of their brow. The devil stole the authority and dominion with which they were entrusted. Jesus bought back the dominion and authority that was man’s in the Garden and returned it into the hands of His blood-washed believers. You need to know what authority is available to you and you need to exercise that authority by faith, just as Adam did! God promises to bless the work of your hands. If you do things God’s way and if you look to Him for guidance, He will prosper your way.

3. God will bless the work of our hands if we busy ourselves with His eternal purposes.

a. We will give account of what we do with our time.

b. We will give an account of what we do with our talents.

c. We will give an account of what we do with our treasure.

d. We will give an account of what we do with our tongue.

N.B. God has entrusted much to us—it is vital that we take dominion over and be good stewards of what He has placed in our hands.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:

God has given us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). God has given us resources—tangible and intangible; abilities and things—and with them come authority, and responsibility. We are given stewardship in order to be a BLESSING—not so we can selfishly take advantage. 1 John 3:17 AMP says, “But if anyone has this world’s goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him?” Use what you have to be a blessing not a hindrance. Don’t allow the devil to lie to you and tempt you to be selfish and fearful. Realize that God has provided everything you will ever need and all you need to do is to obey Him in your giving and receiving. God cannot increase you until you obey and give out. Be a blessing wherever you can and then use your faith to receive from the Lord all that you need.

 

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:

We must realize that we only have one life to live and that we must to redeem the time, because the days are evil. You and I are stewards, because God has placed talents in each of our hands, for which we will need to give an account at the Judgment Seat of Christ. One of these “talents” is our money. What are we doing with it? How much of it is being used for the Kingdom and for eternity? The choices we make now make a difference, not only personally, but to many, many other people. This includes things you do and things you don’t do that you could or should do. These choices could affect generations. Let’s take stock of our life and choices today and purpose to use our finances wisely from now on. It is vital that you obey God and tithe (10%) of your income to the Kingdom and then give offerings, over and above your tithe, as you have purposed in your heart and with the Lord’s leading. Everyone needs to fulfill their obligation back to the Gospel.

 

Prayer and Confession:

Father, help me to be a good steward of all that you have placed in my hands so that on that day I might not be found wanting! I purpose to be a good steward of that which God has placed in my hands.

Good News of Great Joy

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

Good News of Great Joy

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. 11 For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!
Luke 2:10-11 AMP

Christmas is a time of great joy. There was great joy at Jesus’ birth—not just because a cute, little baby was born, but because of all He was destined to do for mankind, in His death, burial, and resurrection!

You have loved righteousness [You have delighted in integrity, virtue, and uprightness in purpose, thought, and action] and You have hated lawlessness (injustice and iniquity). Therefore God, [even] Your God (Godhead), has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy and gladness above and beyond Your companions.  Hebrews 1:9 AMP

In Psalms 45:6-7, a prophetic word is given concerning the Messiah, which Paul quotes here in Hebrews. Jesus was anointed with the oil of joy and gladness above and beyond His companions because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity. Joy was His reward. True joy—the joy every human heart is so hungry for—is only available to the heart that is submitted to Almighty God! Jesus is God, Himself, but still, He submitted Himself to the will of the Father. His obedience was absolutely necessary for the fulfillment of the Father’s plan of salvation for mankind, however, Jesus did not obey because He had no choice or because He was forced to; He obeyed because He chose to, and therefore, He was anointed with the reward of great joy.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, 2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2 AMP

The good news is that Jesus never yielded to the temptations of sin, or His own flesh, or His own will or desire—He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, because of His expectation of the joy that would follow as a result of His great sacrifice. Jesus knew the terrible things He would have to endure and still He committed Himself to do everything that was required of Him, without complaint or argument. This was the course of His appointed race. You and I also have an appointed race. It is not an easy race—it is very tough, at times—but there is a joy-reward that lies before us when we obey God and run our assigned course. There is no reward for disobedience—there is no blessing in choosing our own way— we are blessed when we choose to go God’s way for our lives!

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8 KJV

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight].  Jude 24 AMP

Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself.  Revelation 19:7 AMP

The Good News for the believer is that there is joy unspeakable and full of glory—wonderful, triumphant joy and exultation (unspeakable, ecstatic delight)—waiting for us in the presence of the Lord. If we, the Bride of Christ, prepare ourselves for heaven, by obeying the heavenly call, we will live to join the lavish, joy-filled, heavenly celebration that has been prepared for us—the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11 AMP

From life’s first cry to final breath—and on into eternity—if we remain in God’s presence, we will continue on in His joy.

Prayer that Gets Results

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

PRAYER THAT GETS RESULTS
Foundation Scriptures: Ephesians 6:18; Luke 18:1

Ephesians 6:18 AMP
Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

Luke 18:1
NKJV: Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.
AMP: Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up).

  1. Prayer is communication with your Heavenly Father.
  2. Prayer changes things—prayer changes people.
  3. If you want results when you pray, you must follow the rules.

    • There are different kinds of prayer in the Bible. You cannot pray the same prayer for every situation.
    • With different kinds of prayer, there are different rules just as different sports have different rules even though they are all sports.
  4. Prayer of consecration.

    • Some people say, “If it be Thy will” every time they pray, but this not the only way to pray.
    • This is a prayer of consecration. Even Jesus only prayed that once—in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Luke 22:42)
    • When it comes to getting something from God, we do not pray, “If it be thy will.” We already have God’s promise in His Word.
  5. God’s will.

    • We need to realize that it is God’s will that all our needs—spiritual; physical; material—be met.
    • Isaiah 1:19 AMP – If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.
    • 3 John 2 NKJV – Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
  6. Prayer of petition.

    • When you pray—when you ask God for anything— you must pray in faith and expectation.
    • Mark 11:24 NKJV – Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
    • Mark 11:24 AMP – For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. You can only pray this prayer for yourself.
  7. Praise and answered prayer.

    • There is a time to ask and a time to praise and worship God.
    • When Jehoshaphat and Judah were faced with several nations—a great multitude—coming to fight with them, they chose to praise and worship God and He delivered them.
    • 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NKJV – And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.” 22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
    • Paul and Silas were beaten and chained up, but when they began to praise and worship God, they were delivered.
    • Acts 16:25-26 NKJV – But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
    • Tell God what you want and then just worship Him and thank Him.
  8. Don’t worry.

    • Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
    • Be anxious for nothing means: do not worry about anything.
    • 1 Peter 5:6-7 AMP – Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, 7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
    • Cast ALL your cares—not just some of them—on Him.
    • When you believe God’s Word and refuse to worry, some people think that there is something wrong with you.
    • Casting your cares does not mean that you ignore your situation; it means you give it to the Lord—you put it in His hands.
    • Psalms 37:5 AMP – Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.
    • When you cast your cares on the Lord and commit your ways to Him, you demonstrate trust and faith in Him to bring it to pass.
    • Many people do not get their prayers answered, because they won’t stop worrying and won’t cast their cares on the Lord.
  9. United prayer.

    • If we, as the Church; as the Body of Christ, join our hearts, faith and voices together to pray and ask God for anything, we will see God do mighty things.
    • Acts 4:23-24a NKJV – And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord…
    • Acts 4:29-30 NKJV – Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.
    • Prayer that is prayed in agreement—in one accord—is answered prayer.
    • Matthew 18:19 NKJV – Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

JESUS BECAME POOR SO YOU COULD BECOME RICH

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

For you are becoming progressively acquainted with and recognizing more strongly and clearly the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (His kindness, His gracious generosity, His undeserved favor and spiritual blessing), [in] that though He was [so very] rich, yet for your sakes He became [so very] poor, in order that by His poverty you might become enriched (abundantly supplied).
2 Corinthians 8:9 AMP

Because Jesus became poor, you and I have been made rich – rich in every way – not just spiritually. We know this, especially since this scripture, taken in context, is talking about money and material things. How did Jesus become poor? There is no evidence that Jesus, or His family, were any poorer than any of the other people among whom they lived. Rather, Jesus became poor by voluntarily becoming a man – giving up His rights and privileges, as God, and becoming human. He became subject to human limitations such as place and time. He was still essentially God, in the flesh, but He set aside His glory and His rights to experience everything we experience and ultimately, to take our place and bear the punishment for our sins and sickness and death and lack. Hebrews 2:17 AMP says, “So it is evident that it was essential that He be made like His brethren in every respect, in order that He might become a merciful (sympathetic) and faithful High Priest in the things related to God, to make atonement and propitiation for the people’s sins.”

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 KJV

Jesus Christ humbled Himself to come and serve us. He became “poor” when He became human, because He gave up, and set aside, so much on our behalf – even His reputation. However, He never went without anything that He needed. He had a money bag and a treasurer (Judas), He had houses to stay in and people to serve Him and provide for Him. He never went without. When Jesus had a need, He knew exactly where to find it every time. In this way, He demonstrated the provision of God that would be available for all God’s children if they would believe and obey.

When Jesus needed temple tax, He got it out of a fish’s mouth:
However, in order not to give offense and cause them to
stumble [that is, to cause them to judge unfavorably and unjustly] go down to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel. Take it and give it to them to pay the temple tax for Me and for yourself. Matthew 17:27 AMP

When the multitudes needed food, He fed them from only five loaves and two fish (and still had leftovers):
Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:19-21 NKJV

When He needed transportation, He knew where to go to get it and who would willingly give it up for His use:
When He came near Bethphage and Bethany at the mount called [the Mount of] Olives, He sent two of His disciples, 30 Telling [them], Go into the village yonder; there, as you go in, you will find a donkey’s colt tied, on which no man has ever yet sat. Loose it and bring [it here]. 31 If anybody asks you, Why are you untying [it]? you shall say this: Because the Lord has need of it. 32 So those who were sent went away and found it [just] as He had told them. Luke 19:29-32 AMP

Paul learned the secret. He knew that he would never lack anything if he put his faith in God. He did not need to worry or fear, because the Lord was his source and supply:
I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. 13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Philippians 4:12-13 AMP

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 AMP

The Lord is my Shepherd – I will not lack! (Psalms 23:1) If you are a tither and a giver, then you are not dependant only on an earthly bank account – you have a heavenly bank account! Whatever you need is available to you, when you need it, because Jesus became poor so that you could become abundantly supplied! Hallelujah!

Hearing the Voice of God

 

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

Foundation Scriptures: Romans 8:14

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14 AMP

I.  The sons of God are led by His Spirit.

  • As a child of God, one of the greatest and most important things that you and I can learn and master is the ability to hear God’s voice and to be led by the Spirit.
  • Romans 8:16
  • NKJV – The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
  • AMP – The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.
  • Proverbs 20:27 KJV – The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
  • God will enlighten us; He will guide us; through our spirits.

II.  We need to become Spirit-conscious.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 KJV – And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I am a Spirit being—I have a soul—I live in a body.
  • Your Spirit is instantly made a New Creation when you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
  • Your soul is a work in progress.
  • The difference between Spirit and soul:
  • Hebrews 4:12 AMP – For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:14 NKJV – For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
  • James 1:18-21 NKJV – Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. 19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
  • You cannot receive the Word of God or the things of the Spirit of God while you are filled with the spirit of the world and yielding yourself to sin and uncleanness.
  • Present your body to the Lord:
  • Romans 12:1 NKJV – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:27 NKJV – But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

III.  The Number One way God leads us is through the Inward Witness.

  • God does not lead you through your head – your thoughts – He leads you only through your spirit man!
  • He leads you through an inward intuition.
  • When God leads you in a direction, you might feel: a desire in your spirit toward that thing; a peace; a green light; or a go-ahead.
  • When you are heading in the wrong direction God will restrain you, you might feel: a check; a red light; or be grieved in your spirit.
  • 1 John 5:10 NKJV – He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
  • Romans 8:16 AMP – The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.
  • 1 John 3:24 NKJV – Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
  • 1 John 3:14 NKJV – We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
  • Ezekiel 36:26-27 NKJV – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
  • Never put out a fleece.
  • Judges 6:36-40 NKJV – So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said — 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.
  • The enemy can influence circumstances.

IV.  Following the Inward Witness.

  • Psalms 18:28 NKJV – For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
  • Isaiah 28:16 KJV – Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
  • You can train your spirit and you can trust the inward witness of the Spirit to lead and guide you.

ONENESS

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

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth. Genesis 1:26-28 AMP

Almighty God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – Creator of heaven and earth, created man in His image and likeness. He created them male and female. Both the male and the female, together, are created in the likeness of God. There is not one who is inferior to the other, but rather, they are complementary to one another.

Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every [wild] beast and living creature of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name. 20 And Adam gave names to all the livestock and to the birds of the air and to every [wild] beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. 22 And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man. 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.
Genesis 2:18-25 AMP

God first created one being, called Adam. But He said, “It is not good, satisfactory, or acceptable that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper – a mate – who is suitable, adapted and complementary for him.” He made Adam fall into a deep sleep and out of his rib – his side – he formed Eve. The Hebrew word, used to describe how God created Eve is different from the word used to describe how He created Adam. It literally means “built” or “skillfully formed”. God skillfully formed a mate for Adam, who would be specially adapted to him and complementary to him in every way. Eve was especially and specifically designed to be Adam’s complementary opposite – his counterpart. She would be suitable for him, intellectually, morally, and physically. He needed her; he could not do without her. Indeed, without her, he did not only lack companionship, but it would be impossible for him to be fruitful, or multiply, or replenish the earth!

Adam said, “This woman is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” God took some things out of Adam and put them in Eve; He left some things in Adam that He didn’t put in Eve. They need each other. God created them to desire each other – to desire the oneness of their unity. Woman is said not to have been taken out of man’s head to be lorded over by him, nor from his feet to be trampled on by him, but from his side to be equal with him, from under his arm to be protected by him, and from near his heart to be loved by him. This is God’s plan for a husband and wife!

He replied, Have you never read that He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united firmly (joined inseparably) to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder (separate). Matthew 19:4-6 AMP

But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave [behind] his father and his mother and be joined to his wife and cleave closely to her permanently, 8 And the two shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has united (joined together), let not man separate or divide.
Mark 10:6-9 AMP

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Ephesians 5:31 AMP

God gave marriage as a special gift to Adam and Eve – they were created perfectly and complementary for each other. God ordained marriage – marriage is not a man-made thing – it was not brought about by culture, neither is it just for convenience. Marriage was instituted by God and involves three basic aspects: (1) the man leaves his parents and, publicly promises himself to his wife; (2) husband and wife are joined together by their commitment to each other – by taking responsibility for each other’s welfare and loving their mate above all others; (3) the two become one flesh in the intimacy and commitment of the sexual union that is reserved for marriage. Strong, healthy marriages include all three of these aspects.

Throughout the Bible, God treats this special partnership very seriously and if we are married, or plan to marry, then we should as well. Marriage requires commitment – are you willing to make that commitment that makes the two of you one? The goal in marriage should be much more than friendship; the goal of marriage should be oneness.

Four Ways to Draw Near to God

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-23 KJV

We draw near to God:

1. By boldness:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. Hebrews 10:19

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 KJV

We can come boldly into the Father’s presence – the throne of grace – because of Jesus and His righteousness. He has made us worthy to come into His presence. If we understand the perfect righteousness that has been made ours, then we can come in boldly. If we try to come in timidly, we may as well not come in at all. You come – not based on your righteousness – but on His.

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:17-19 KJV

Even on the Day of Judgment, we can have boldness because we know that our sins are washed away, and we stand righteous before him, because of the love of God for us through Jesus.

2. By the blood of Jesus:

“…to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus…” Hebrews 10:19

The only way we can come anywhere near to God is by and through the blood of Jesus.

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:20-21 KJV

Jesus’ blood made peace between God and man and reconciled us to Himself.

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Hebrews 12:24-25 KJV

He is the mediator of the New Covenant established through the shedding of His blood.

3. By a new and living way:

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh. Hebrews 10:20

It’s a new way – a New Covenant – and because He is alive forever – a living way.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 KJV

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Galatians 6:15 KJV

Sin cannot stand in the presence of God. When we receive Jesus, He gives us a brand new heart and makes us a new creature. Now we can come into His presence, the righteousness of God in Christ.

4. By the high priesthood of Christ.

“And having an high priest over the house of God…” Hebrews 10:21

Under the Old Covenant, the only way into the presence of God was through the high priest. Under the New Covenant, Jesus is our High Priest forever. We must come through Him to the Father.

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17 KJV

He is a merciful and faithful High Priest – showing mercy – not judgment. Anyone, who comes to Him, can be reconciled to God.

See Hebrews 4:14-16 above

Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are – He went through everything we go through, yet He did not give in to sin or temptation. Only a sinless man could go to the Cross on our behalf. He knows exactly what we go through, He understands, and He has made a way to the Father for us – through His blood. We can come to Him, not on the basis of our good works (because none are good enough), but on the basis of what He did for us.

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:11-12 KJV

We have the right to come into God’s presence and stay there – eternally – because our High Priest – Jesus – obtained that redemption for us.

ONE FLESH

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

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28 NKJV

And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:23-25 NKJV

Marriage is God’s idea. God gave one woman to one man and instructed them to have children – to be fruitful and multiply. There is only one natural way to produce children – a man and a woman becoming “one flesh” in an intimate, sexual union. Many people have the mistaken idea that there is something sinful about the sexual union, even within a marriage union. This is totally false. Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed. Where there is no sin, there is no shame either. There is nothing sinful or shameful about the sexual union of a husband and wife, who are committed and faithful only to each other. God has reserved this privilege for marriage and when we understand this and show our respect for His laws, we will reap the blessing of it. There is nothing better than loving and being truly loved by that one special, fully committed person!

Hebrews 13:4 KJV says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” The AMP says, “Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.” And The Message Bible says, “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.”

Marriage is good and honorable and so is the marriage bed. However, God will judge those who have casual and illicit sex outside of marriage. Sex is reserved for marriage, because within the marriage union, it is a blessing to both partners. Inside a loving, committed marriage, it brings peace, joy and fulfillment. Outside of marriage it brings devastation to all concerned – spirit, soul and body.

Drink waters out of your own cistern [of a pure marriage relationship], and fresh running waters out of your own well. 16 Should your offspring be dispersed abroad as water brooks in the streets? 17 [Confine yourself to your own wife] let your children be for you alone, and not the children of strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain [of human life] be blessed [with the rewards of fidelity], and rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant doe [tender, gentle, attractive] — let her bosom satisfy you at all times, and always be transported with delight in her love. 20 Why should you, my son, be infatuated with a loose woman, embrace the bosom of an outsider, and go astray? 21 For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, and He [Who would have us live soberly, chastely, and godly] carefully weighs all man’s goings. Proverbs 5:15-21 AMP

The only way for a man to avoid having many children – dispersed abroad as water brooks in the streets – with many different women, is to keep himself for the one woman he will marry and commit himself to. It is important that you are faithful to your marriage mate both before and during your marriage! In order to grow up into emotionally healthy adults, children need to have a healthy relationship with both their father and their mother. Children need parents who are fully involved in their lives. If a man irresponsibly sows his seed all over town, with no regard as to the consequences, those children will grow up without their father’s love and protection. God requires that men take full responsibility for their offspring and not pile it all on the mother alone. The only sure-fire way to prevent pregnancy outside of marriage is to keep oneself pure and to reserve sex for marriage alone.

The Bible says that the way for a man to be truly happy in his marriage, is for him to commit to love his wife and to keep his eyes only on her and himself only for her. A wise man will do what it takes to keep his love for his wife alive through their entire marriage – till death parts them. Love is not merely a feeling – it’s a committed decision! It is primarily the husband’s responsibility to keep the flames of romance alive in the marriage. Men – don’t panic! This is not an impossible task. It is not merely the grand romantic gestures that do the job. It is all the small, kind and thoughtful things you do on a daily basis that let your wife know how much you love and appreciate her, that keeps her interest in you alive and well.

But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights (goodwill, kindness, and what is due her as his wife), and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights]. 5 Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 AMP

The sexual union is instituted by God and should be respected and nurtured by the husband and the wife. It is not to be used as a reward or withheld as a punishment. It is an expression of love and consideration that each demonstrate to the other. Women especially need to make sure that they respect their husband’s need for this intimacy and regular physical contact and that they make themselves available to him. Husbands need to remember that it is easier for a wife to make herself available to her husband when he is kind and considerate and loving through the day and not only when he wants her favors. If you want a happy, long-lasting marriage, do not refuse or deprive or defraud each other of your due marital rights.

The Blessing of Godly Offspring

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

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28 NKJV

Of the five commands God gave man before the fall – a) be fruitful; b) multiply; c) replenish the earth; d) exercise dominion and do not give it to another; e) do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – the first three all have to do with reproducing and bearing children. God is the One who instituted marriage and a stable, healthy marriage creates the best environment for raising children. It has been said that the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother, because if a man makes a real commitment to his wife and his marriage, at the same time, he is also making a commitment to his children. This is a God-given responsibility that we should take very seriously.

And this you do with double guilt; you cover the altar of the Lord with tears [shed by your unoffending wives, divorced by you that you might take heathen wives], and with [your own] weeping and crying out because the Lord does not regard your offering any more or accept it with favor at your hand. 14 Yet you ask, Why does He reject it? Because the Lord was witness [to the covenant made at your marriage] between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously and to whom you were faithless. Yet she is your companion and the wife of your covenant [made by your marriage vows]. 15 And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth. 16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate divorce and marital separation and him who covers his garment [his wife] with violence. Therefore keep a watch upon your spirit [that it may be controlled by My Spirit], that you deal not treacherously and faithlessly [with your marriage mate]. Malachi 2:13-16 AMP

In this passage, God again puts the responsibility on the husbands to treat their wives honorably and not to abandon them for other women. It is not acceptable before God, for a man to selfishly use women for his own sexual gratification – whether before marriage or during his marriage. It is not acceptable for a husband to cheat on his wife. It is not acceptable for a husband to dump one wife for another, simply because he isn’t getting what he wants – or because a better model comes along. Wives are not like cars or houses – you don’t get rid of the one you have so you can have another better, younger, prettier model! It is the man’s responsibility to please his wife and spend his life doing that. If men took this commitment seriously, I’m sure they would be much more careful, and prayerful in their selection of a marriage mate!

Marriage is not just a formality sealed with a signature on a piece of paper. It is not a disposable institution. Marriage is a covenant promise witnessed by God, Himself. Right here, God tells us why He made the two – husband and wife – one flesh. He did it because He sought godly offspring from their union! For the sake of our future offspring, we should count the cost before we say, “I do”, and when we do say, “I do”, we need to commit to the marriage and also commit to live a godly life, so that we can raise godly offspring, according to the purpose and plan of God for our lives. The rewards of fidelity are a strong marriage and healthy, happy children!

Drink waters out of your own cistern [of a pure marriage relationship], and fresh running waters out of your own well. 16 Should your offspring be dispersed abroad as water brooks in the streets? 17 [Confine yourself to your own wife] let your children be for you alone, and not the children of strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain [of human life] be blessed [with the rewards of fidelity], and rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:15-18 AMP

God has a plan for good – for hope and a future for you. The devil also has a plan – to destroy lives – and many people sadly find themselves experiencing much less than God’s best in their marriage and family. Many homes are broken and split apart and can’t be repaired, and it is the children who suffer the most. Because most people today do not exercise sexual restraint, there are many children who are born into single parent households. This makes them more vulnerable to poverty, neglect and abuse than children from intact families, living with their own biological parents. Some children are disadvantaged because a parent has died, but so many more are vulnerable because of poor or selfish choices their parents have made. Children are born into single parent homes for many reasons – by a planned or an unplanned pregnancy, or because the father is irresponsible, abusive or neglectful, or simply because people are having sexual relations with people whom they don’t love or who don’t love or care about them. The ones who suffer are the children. It’s time to stop all selfish behavior and for parents – or potential parents – to think about the consequences of their actions and to make responsible, unselfish choices. We are not evolved animals who follow their animal instincts – we are made in the image of God and are fully capable of conquering our fleshly desires and walking a pure, godly life!

God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalms 68:6 AMP

There is good news! No matter what our situation or how we got there, thank God, He has promised to be both Husband and Father to us and to meet every need we might have. If we humble ourselves and look to Him and trust in Him, He will restore us and protect and provide for us and bless our families.

Testimony by Taylor M.

Jeremiah 29:11. He knows the thoughts and plans He has for me. Thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, not of evil, and to give me hope in my final outcome! I know that He has plans for my very well-being! This gives me the assurance that no matter how many times I mess up, God still loves me and will never change the course He has for me!

Rodney Howard Browne bringing Revival to North Miami Beach