CELEBRATE YOUR BRIDEGROOM

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

1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.  John 2:1-11 NKJV

The Word of God, on many occasions, likens the relationship between God and the Church to a marriage relationship. The wedding between a man and a woman is symbolic of our first true commitment to the Lord, when we are changed from within and when we become born-again from the dead. The marriage is symbolic of our ongoing relationship with Him – coming to know Him more and to love Him more every day.

The first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding, not healing anyone or raising up the dead, but changing water into wine. The wedding wine is symbolic of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It represents joy and rejoicing. Many people treat their relationship with God more like a funeral than a wedding. They come together at church – sad, somber and stiff – but it is not a funeral, it’s a wedding! We should be glad, we should rejoice, we should enjoy our time with the Bridegroom!

13 Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: 14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. 15 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. Deuteronomy 16:13-15 KJV

The feast of tabernacles was a “solemn” feast at which God’s people were commanded to rejoice. The Hebrew word for “solemn” means “to move in a circle; to march in a sacred procession; to observe a festival; by implication, to be giddy; to celebrate, dance, and to reel to and fro.” This sounds more like a celebration than a mournful occasion!

This solemn feast was a celebration of the goodness of God. Because the Lord God blesses us in all our produce and in all the work of our hands, we could and should be altogether joyful. In the New Testament, we are to celebrate the Lord. We are to celebrate His presence in our lives and His goodness to us every day, not just a few times a year.

Every time we come together to worship the Lord, it is like a wedding celebration. Even though a wedding has a serious and sacred purpose, it is also a happy occasion. Even though we come together to worship and honor the Lord, to seek His face and to offer ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice, we come with a joyful expectation that He will meet us there.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Psalms 22:3 KJV

But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Psalms 22:3 NKJV

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

God dwells in the praises of His people and in His presence is fullness of joy. We come together – as the Church, the Bride of Christ – to praise Him, to seek His presence, and to experience the fullness of joy that is found only in His presence.

TRUST THE LORD – NOT THE ARM OF THE FLESH

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

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. 3 May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. Selah 4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. 6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. 9 O LORD, save the king! Answer us when we call! Psalms 20:1-9 NIV

David wrote this psalm and began it with a prayer. The prayer asks that the Lord would answer you when you are in distress; that His Name would protect you; that He would send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion; that He would remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings; that He would give you the desire of your heart, make all your plans succeed and that He would grant all your requests.

David sings, “We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.” Whenever one of us is successful and victorious it is a time for all of us to rejoice. A victory for one is a victory for all because Jesus is the One Who gives us the victory.

The Lord saves His anointed children and answers them from his holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand. You can trust the Lord to save you and protect you when you call on Him. If you trust Him, He will not let you down. Even though some people love God, they still do not trust God. They trust in what they can do themselves – they trust in what they have in their own hand – and they utterly fail.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses – earthly resources and natural strengths – but they are brought to their knees and fall. We trust in the name of the Lord our God and – because we trust Him – we rise up and stand firm.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.  Zechariah 4:6 NIV

If we want the Lord to move mightily on our behalf, then we better wake up and realize that we are going to have to trust Him and not ourselves and that we must trust Him completely. We must allow Him to do things His way because He knows the best way. It is only when we demonstrate our faith in Him by showing that we trust Him, that He is able to supernaturally deliver us. When we run out of our own strength and power that is when we see His ability at work in our lives. It is not by our might nor by our power, but by the Spirit of God!

When God called Gideon and the Israelites to defeat the Midianites, Gideon had only about 32000 men on his side, but their enemies that had settled in the valley were as thick as locusts and their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore (Judges 7:12). The natural mind says that Gideon would have to find a lot more men than that to fight at his side before he could hope to defeat an army that large, but the LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands.” (Judges 7:2) To make sure that Israel could not boast against God that their own strength had saved them, God cut their numbers down to only 300 men  and only then did He send them up against Midian (Judges 7:7). God defeated Midian and Israel had to give Him the glory.

In Joshua 6:1-27, the Lord sent the priests out ahead of the people with trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant. Joshua and the people marched around the city as God told them to do and when they shouted, the wall of the city fell flat and they easily took the city. When we do things God’s way, it will always be the easy way in the end. Marching around the city did not make sense to their natural minds, but their obedience opened the door for God’s salvation and victory to be made manifest in their lives.

Don’t look for the answers to your problem in natural things or in your own talents and abilities. Look to the Word of the Lord. Obey what He tells you to do and see His saving hand give you the victory!

LET IT BE UNTO ME ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD

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

Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 To a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women! 29 But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean. 30 And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God. 31 And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David, 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end. 34 And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband? 35 Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. 36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. 38 Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.   Luke 1:26-38 AMP

Mary was a remarkable young woman. There is no indication from the scripture that she was sinless or that she was more holy or more divinely endowed with any characteristics or abilities more than any other young woman of her generation – except that she was a virgin, godly and pure, with a deep respect for God. The call of God was on her life, but the thing that set her apart was her humility, her obedience and her commitment to the will of God at any cost. God calls many people, but not many choose to accept His will for their lives over their own will and choices.

And at that time Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country to a town of Judah, 40 And she went to the house of Zachariah and, entering it, saluted Elizabeth. 41 And it occurred that whenElizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud cry, and then exclaimed, Blessed (favored of God) above all other women are you! And blessed (favored of God) is the Fruit of your womb! 43 And how [have I deserved that this honor should] be granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, the instant the sound of your salutation reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed (happy, to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord.  Luke 1:39-45 AMP

Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, was also a woman of God. The moment she heard Mary’s voice, the anointing fell on her. She knew, by the Spirit of God, that God had spoken to Mary and that she was carrying the Messiah in her womb. The power of God fell on Mary and she began to prophesy about the Salvation of the Lord:

And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord, 47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 For He has looked upon the low station and humiliation of His handmaiden. For behold, from now on all generations [of all ages] will call me blessed and declare me happy and to be envied! 49 For He Who is almighty has done great things for me–and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]! 50 And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age. 51 He has shown strength and made might with His arm; He has scattered the proud and haughty in and by the imagination and purpose and designs of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree. 53 He has filled and satisfied the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty-handed [without a gift]. 54 He has laid hold on His servant Israel [to help him, to espouse his cause], in remembrance of His mercy, 55 Even as He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.   Luke 1:46-55 AMP

When you first welcome and receive the Word of the Lord into your heart and life and you accept His will and His purpose for you, you also receive an anointing to do what He has planned for you. After that, it is up to you to believe God’s Word to you and to walk it out in the face of opposition and criticism.

And Mary remained with her [Elizabeth] for about three months and [then] returned to her [own] home. Luke 1:56 AMP

THE FAITH OF MARY

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

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].   Isaiah 7:14 AMP

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from the [latter] time forth, even forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.   Isaiah 9:6-7 AMP

Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 To a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women! 29 But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean. 30 And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God. 31 And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David, 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end.   Luke 1:26-33 AMP

Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would give birth to a son called Immanuel, God with us. The government would be upon His shoulder, and His name would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Everybody knew of this prophecy. Mary must have known of this prophecy, but still, it was undoubtedly a surprise to her to actually see an angel standing in front of her and to hear him talking to her about becoming pregnant with a son who would reign on the throne of David.

And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband? 35 Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. 36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. 38 Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.   Luke 1:34-38 AMP

At first, Mary’s thoughts went to the natural process of conception, pregnancy and birth. How was she to become pregnant when she was a virgin and not yet married? However, when the angel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, the power of the Most High would overshadow her and the holy Thing which would be born of her would be called the Son of God, she accepted it without any further questions or arguments. Most of us would have continued to argue and reason with our minds, as we do now when the Lord tries to direct us, but Mary accepted her heavenly assignment with grace and faith.

The angel assured her that with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. Mary believed the Word of God spoken by the angel and she said, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said.” We can all be very grateful that Mary was humble, yielded and obedient to the Lord. We can be grateful that she was willing to be used of God to bring Jesus into the world so that He could fulfill His destiny, which was to take our place, to save us from death and hell and to bring us into the family of God.

All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet, 23 Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel–which, when translated, means, God with us.   Matthew 1:22-23 AMP

This was not a small thing that Mary said yes to. Unlike this day and age, an unwed mother and an illegitimate child were completely unacceptable. Not only did she say “yes” to a pregnancy without a natural father, but she also said “yes” to persecution and rejection, because no one would believe her – except Elizabeth and Joseph, who had both heard from God on the subject.

This is the kind of faith and commitment that God looks for in you and in me – the faith that will say “yes” to that which is impossible in the natural and the commitment that will say “yes” even when misunderstandings and persecution are virtually guaranteed. We cannot refuse the Word of God – we must accept our destiny and contend for the will of God in our lives!

DO NOT BLUSH TO TESTIFY TO AND FOR OUR LORD

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

I am calling up memories of your sincere and unqualified faith (the leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), [a faith] that first lived permanently in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am [fully] persuaded, [dwells] in you also. 6 That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 8 Do not blush or be ashamed then, to testify to and for our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for His sake, but [with me] take your share of the suffering [to which the preaching] of the Gospel [may expose you, and do it] in the power of God.  2 Timothy 1:5-8 AMP

In Romans 1:16, Paul tells us that he is not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes it no matter who they are – whether Jew or Greek. Here in his second letter to Timothy, he encourages him not to be ashamed to preach the gospel or to testify about Jesus, firstly because he was anointed by the Spirit to do it and also because God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and of love and a sound mind. Fear is not from God, therefore, any time you experience fear, you know that it must come from somewhere else. The devil uses fear to intimidate you, hinder you, and stop you from accomplishing the will of God. God gives you the power to overcome fear. If you will put your trust in God and His word, you can put fear away from you and do what the Lord tells you to do.

We should never be ashamed or afraid to preach the gospel or to testify of what Jesus has done for us. If we are called by the Lord, then we are also anointed and empowered by Him to do what He has called us to do. We need to trust the Holy Spirit’s anointing on our lives and we must be bold to do and say what the Spirit tells us to do and say.

We should not ever be ashamed to preach the gospel and neither should we shrink back from persecution. A Christian is one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died and was resurrected for them, personally. Jesus was not ashamed to be physically and verbally abused, to be mocked and despised, or to suffer agonizing pain, and death on a cross, for our benefit. If we Christians want to partake in His resurrection life, we cannot afford to be ashamed to be counted as one of His. If we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us – because it means that we have not esteemed Him or His blood or His sacrifice. If we are ashamed of Him, it means that we have rejected Him and if we reject Him, how can we be a partaker of His eternal life? You cannot call Him Lord, privately and be ashamed of Him publicly. If He is not your Lord at all times, before all people, then He is not really your Lord. If you acknowledge Him privately, you must acknowledge Him publicly.

Paul encourages Timothy, and us, to take our share of the suffering to which the preaching of the Gospel may expose us. This is the same suffering that Jesus bore. The suffering that Jesus bore, was not sickness or disease, but was the suffering of intense persecution. The reason that some Christians shrink back from openly and boldly preaching the truth of the gospel, is because they are afraid that they may not be received and that people may be offended. You cannot afford to take it personally when people are offended because it is not your message, but God’s – you are just the delivery person; you are just the messenger.

If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. 20 Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. 21 But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the one Who sent Me.  John 15:18-21 AMP

The world hated Jesus and now that you belong to Him and represent Him, they will probably hate you too. The good news is that anyone who is hungry for God will welcome you and the message of hope that you bring. They will be so thrilled to hear and receive the gospel and to miss hell and make heaven their home. For this reason, for the joy of seeing people saved and set free, and for the rewards that await us in heaven, you and I can endure the persecution that comes with the territory!

THE WAY OF LIFE

There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.  Proverbs 14:12 AMP

Life is like a road. There is not just one road – there are many roads – and you make the choice of which road you go down. There is a right way to go and a wrong way. If you make a bad choice, you place yourself on a road heading for death, but if you make a good choice, you place yourself on a road to life. This scripture says that there is a way that seems right and appears straight, but obviously it is neither right nor straight, because the end of it is the way of death. How can you know which road is the right road; the road to life?

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.  Proverbs 16:9 AMP

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalms 119:105 AMP

Life is in the way of righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation), and in its pathway there is no death but immortality (perpetual, eternal life).  Proverbs 12:28 AMP

There is no way we can find the right road on our own. We need a guide. We need the Lord. He is our light and His word goes before us to show the way. You can try to think ahead and plan your way, but only God can direct you on a path that is straight and smooth and sure. If you choose righteousness; if you look to the Lord, honor Him and follow Him; He will lead you in the right direction and onto the right way that leads to life – eternal life; life more abundantly – both here and now, and in eternity!

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who listens to counsel is wise.  Proverbs 12:15 AMP

The fool thinks he knows everything and he is not willing to listen to counsel or take advice. The mere fact that he won’t listen to anyone else is a sign that he is a fool. Some fools do listen, but the problem is that they listen only to other fools – unrighteous, dishonest, and ungodly, people – that’s not very smart either. In contrast, a wise person knows they don’t know everything and they are open to counsel and instruction. If you know you need wisdom – take the first step – open your heart and mind to listen, and to receive, instruction in righteousness. Then you will find yourself walking on the road to life.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. 2 But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. 3 And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. 4 Not so the wicked [those disobedient and living without God are not so]. But they are like the chaff [worthless, dead, without substance] which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked [those disobedient and living without God] shall not stand [justified] in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous [those who are upright and in right standing with God]. 6 For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly [those living outside God’s will] shall perish (end in ruin and come to nought).  Psalms 1:1-6 AMP

Don’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly, don’t stand in the path where sinners walk, and don’t sit down where the scornful and mockers gather. Delight in the Lord and desire Him alone. Keep His word in your heart, your mind, and your mouth. Then you will be fruitful, productive, prosperous, and long-lived!  The Lord is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly will perish. It will end in ruin and come to nothing. The fool will have nothing to show for his life. In all the many things he did and said, his life had no eternal purpose, no eternal value, and in the end there is no eternal life for him either.

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

Proverbs 14:12 says that the end of the way, which seems right to a man, is death. That ought to give you hope. By God’s grace and His power – at any time while you are still on that road – you can look for God’s way, call on Him in faith and follow Him onto the right road – the path of life – where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore!

There is a way that seems right and a way that is right. Choose the right way – God’s way – the way of life!

A SABBATH REST RESERVED FOR YOU

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

So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; 10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. 11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

Hebrews 4:9-11 AMP

There is a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for God’s people. This rest is a rest of faith; a rest of trust in Him and His ability to meet every need you have or could ever have.

You are either laboring or you are resting. When people do not trust in God, they trust in themselves. Trusting in yourself or anything other than the Lord is unbelief and disobedience. It is also stressful. Trusting in God requires faith, obedience, and trust. Unbelief and disobedience will rob you of the blessings available to you as an obedient child of God. Unless you trust in God as your only source and supply, you will not enter into His rest. You have to cease from the weariness and pain of your own human labors. God wants you to know and experience His rest for yourself. You must be zealous; you must exert yourself; you must strive diligently to enter God’s rest. The only work you need to do is to place your trust firmly in God and obey Him in all things. What can you do to enter into God’s rest?

Cast your cares on Him:

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. 1 Peter 5:7 AMP

Don’t be double-minded:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8 NKJV

Be motivated by, and operate in, faith—not fear:

Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38 NKJV

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP

Know God’s Word. If you know His Word, you will know His will:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6a NKJV

Know that God’s Word is true and that He always keeps His promises:

Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it. Jeremiah 1:12 AMP

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Numbers 23:19 NKJV

Act on God’s Word. If you don’t DO the Word, you demonstrate that you do not really believe the Word. If you don’t believe the Word, you will not inherit the promises:

But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. 23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; 24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience). James 1:22-25 AMP

Always be full of joy and gratefulness:

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all of them, This day is holy to the Lord your God; mourn not nor weep. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then [Ezra] told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold. 11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, Be still, for the day is holy. And do not be grieved and sad. 12 And all the people went their way to eat, drink, send portions, and make great rejoicing, for they had understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:9-12 AMP

Demonstrate that you trust Him and that you know He is God and that He is still the boss, by your faith and obedience. Be STILL and KNOW:

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalms 46:10-11 NKJV

Food and Clothing

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

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go and will give me food to eat and clothing to wear, 21 So that I may come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God; 22 And this stone which I have set up as a pillar (monument) shall be God’s house [a sacred place to me], and of all [the increase of possessions] that You give me I will give the tenth to You.  Genesis 28:20-22 AMP

God Himself came to speak to Jacob to establish a covenant with him as He had with Jacob’s father and grandfather. Jacob agreed to keep covenant with God and promised to honor God with a tithe of all that God would give him. In return Jacob asked God to protect him and provide for him. He specifically asks for food and clothing and nothing more materially. Of course we know that God greatly blessed Jacob with more than that in his lifetime.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.   Luke 12:22-31 NIV

If you think about it, all we really need in life is food and clothing – everything else is gravy! We might want more things, but we can survive if we have these two things. Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear, because our Heavenly Father will provide for us. He tells us not to worry or to strive, but to trust God to meet all our needs. The sinner pursues these things – striving over and worrying about them – but the believer can have and enjoy God’s peace, because they have His promise to hold onto! Their provision becomes God’s responsibility and He always keeps His word! Jesus says, “Food and clothing – that’s nothing hard for God! There are more important things for you to focus on. Leave the food and clothes to God to provide!” If you obey God’s word and you put Him and His Kingdom first in your life – making Him and His will your priority – God promises that you will never have any lack in your life.

For we brought nothing into the world, and obviously we cannot take anything out of the world; 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied).  1 Timothy 6:7-8 AMP

In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul tells us to not be anxious about anything, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) And then in Philippians 4:11-13 he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Paul tells us that we need to make up our minds to be satisfied with our food and clothing and not make possessions our priority. That doesn’t mean that the Lord won’t give us more than that. Jesus just wants us to be free of worry and striving and to relax and trust in Him. Paul found the secret of being content in any and every situation and of not being anxious about anything. He tells us to let the Lord know what we need and trust Him to provide it. He tells us that God will give us the strength and the victory in any situation we have to face. Here are some promises from God’s word:

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger or temporary resident and gives him food and clothing.  Deuteronomy 10:18 AMP

He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant.  Psalms 111:5 NKJV

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.  Psalms 34:10 KJV

These all wait and are dependent upon You, that You may give them their food in due season. 28 When You give it to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, and they are filled with good things.  Psalms 104:27-28 AMP

The eyes of all wait for You [looking, watching, and expecting] and You give them their food in due season. 16 You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor.  Psalms 145:15-16 AMP

What About Pentecost?

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

MY TREASURE
Foundation Scriptures: Matthew 6:19-24

Dr. F.L.K. Howard-Browne was my uncle—a preacher, a teacher, a theologian and a fiery Pentecostal pioneer. He was a wonderful man of God and a great inspiration to me. This is one of his many inspiring messages:

WHAT ABOUT PENTECOST?
What’s in a name?  Some say that “Pentecost” means fifty.  Technically they are correct, but to every Spirit-filled child of God it means vastly more than a mere technical definition.  There are words in our language that mean more to us than mere technicalities.  For instance, the word “Sterling” stands for a certain quality in silverware.  When we buy Sterling silver we know that we are obtaining a certain definite standard of silverware.  We are assured of its genuineness.  We know it will stand the test of time.  We know it has value.  We also know there are cheap imitations on the market, and if we are looking for quality we know enough to let such spurious articles alone.
Pentecost!  What does it mean?  It represents a pattern—a standard.  It signifies, in its spiritual significance, an empowered church.  It represents a Spirit-filled experience.  It stands for revival fires.  It holds within its inner meaning a burden for the lost; conviction for sin; repentance and faith toward God.
The early church walked in the light of Pentecostal fires and these were the results that followed.  Not only was the Gospel preached uncompromisingly, but also signs and wonders accompanied the preaching of the Word.  Pentecost meant something more than a name to the early Church.  A Spirit-endued people aroused opposition from unbelievers.  Persecution not only meant glory and shouting and great joy; it meant also being despised by the world—hated—stoned—being beaten with stripes —imprisonments—and many other trials.
Pentecost!  What does it mean today?  From a Scriptural standpoint it means as much as it ever did.  It is a proven fact that those who are truly Pentecostal, with a Pentecostal message and a Pentecostal experience backed up with a Pentecostal life of holiness, will have Pentecostal results in Pentecostal meetings in a Pentecostal way.  Instead of putting the soft pedal on Pentecost, let us magnify the work of the Lord as manifested in Pentecostal power and glory.
Pentecost has meant something wonderful to us.  It has meant the mightiest revival the world has ever seen since the days of the apostles.  It has meant the conversion of hundreds of thousands.  Likewise, untold thousands have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and have been set on fire for God.  The sick and deformed have been miraculously healed.  Restitution has been made in numberless cases.  A life of holiness has been the experience of those who have come under the blessing of Pentecost.  Churches have been revived.  A great evangelistic movement at home and in foreign fields has been established.  Sadness and sickness, sin and shame, half-heartedness and indifference have given way before the mighty God-sent avalanche of Pentecostal revival.
By Dr. F.L.K. Howard-Browne (1905 – 1998) PhD, ThD, DD
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  Acts 1:8 NKJV

Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:1-4 NKJV
Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.  Matthew 9:37-38 AMP

But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. 19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:18-20 AMP

WHY WE RUN THE RACE


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

BULLETIN – 2 NOVEMBER 2008 – VOL. 12 NO. 50

 

MY CROWNS

WHY WE RUN THE RACE

 

Foundation Scriptures: Hebrews 12:1-2

 

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

 

  1. There is a day coming when all we, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, will all stand before Him at His Judgment Seat.
  2. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for the believer, not for the sinner.
  3. Some people are concerned only with getting their ticket to Heaven; however, there is more to Heaven than just getting there.
  4. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 AMP – Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth away from Him] or away from home [and with Him], we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].
  5. The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a place of condemnation where your eternal destination – heaven or hell – is decided, but it is a place where you receive your pay according to what you have done, whether good or bad.
  6. Each man and woman will have to give an account for their lives here on the earth.

 

  1. The fire of God will try your works.
  2. 1 Corinthians 3:8-15 NKJV – Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
  3. Jesus Christ – crucified and raised from the dead – is our foundation – the only foundation upon which one can build.
  4. You can’t earn salvation with good works – you receive God’s grace and mercy by faith.  Once Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you are going to heaven, but it is still important to do good works with right motives. This is where you earn your heavenly rewards.
  5. Your works are classified as either gold, jewels and precious stones or wood, hay and stubble, depending on what your motives have been.
  6. Your works will be tested as a basis for recompense of rewards. They will go through fire.
  7. 2 John 1: 8 Easy-to-Read Version – Be careful! Don’t lose the reward you have worked for. Be careful so that you will receive all of your reward.

 

  1. What will be judged?
  2. Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
  3. Your thoughts and motives will be judged.
  4. Matthew 12:36 AMP – But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak.
  5. You will be judged for your idle, thoughtless words. These are words that are not productive – they produce no life – gossip, grumbling and complaining, back-biting, judging, criticizing, etc.
  6. Matthew 25:13-30 NKJV – “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. 14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.  15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.  16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.  18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.  19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’  21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’  23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
  7. Our faithfulness will be judged. There is NO reward for unfaithfulness.
  8. So then these are things that will be judged:
  9. Time: did you use it wisely?
  10. Talents: did you multiply them or bury them?
  11. Treasure: money – what have you done with yours?
  12. Tongue: what words came out of your mouth?
  13. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NKJV – Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

Bringing Revival around the World