Tag Archives: Rodney Howard-Browne exposed

The Work of Your Hands

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

II Thessalonians 3:10-12  (NAS)

10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.

11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.

12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.

Paul gives very clear instruction and direction to the church in this passage concerning how they were to apply their time and resources. He told them to mind their own business, work and lead a disciplined life. You see their lives were turned upside-down when they received Jesus and were baptized in the Holy Ghost. They spent their time meeting in houses, learning more about Jesus. It was all so new and different for them. They gained new friends and lost some old ones. Everything changed for them. Some of them were called into full-time ministry. They left their jobs and went out preaching. But in the course of time, these new Christians needed to find some direction for their lives and Paul supplies it here.

The same thing happens today when we get born again.  Everything changes for us. We are different on the inside. We learn new things, some of which are totally contrary to the things we have learned in the past. In the world, we are told to hold on to what we have, but God tells us to give. In the world we wear ourselves out to supply our families with the basics, but God tells us that if we will obey and serve Him, He will meet our needs. This can be confusing for new Christians. Indeed, some people think that because God helps us we can sit back and do nothing and He will just do everything.

It does not work that way. God will help us and bless us, but we must do our part. We must be disciplined and we must love to work. Working with God on your side is different from doing it all by yourself, by the sweat of your brow. It is much easier because you have the mind of Christ. He leads you and gives you wisdom so that your labor is productive. He blesses the work of your hands; but, if your hands are not working, He has nothing to bless. If God has called you into ministry, He will not call you out of your job into NOTHING. He will call you into a time of study or preparation or He will call you into ministry which is WORK. Usually there is a transition time. One thing phases out as the other takes over. You start to minister and you get so busy ministering that you don’t have time to do secular work.

Some people claim that God has called them into a life of faith, so they quit working. Many times it’s not a life of faith, but a life of hope. “Gee, I sure HOPE that God comes through for me while I sit here doing nothing!” God will bless the work of your hands not the seat of your pants. Whether you work in business or in the ministry, it is all WORK. Being called of God is no excuse to be lazy. There is a joy and a satisfaction in working hard and doing something worthwhile with your life. When you make up your mind to discipline yourself, to work hard, and not be lazy or sloppy, God will begin to bless the work of your hands.

Psalm 128:1-4  (NIV)

1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.

2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive

shoots around your table.

4Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.

Training Your Children to Serve God — Part Two

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

Proverbs 29:15  (KJV)

15The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Many people, even highly educated ones, seem to lack wisdom or common sense. They know a lot, but it isn’t enough to help them to make a success of their lives. If we are wise parents and if we spank and instruct our children the way God tells us to, they will be wise children and we will not be ashamed of them when they are grown.

Proverbs 19:18  (KJV)

18Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

The NKJ says, “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.” And the NIV says, “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” The Hebrew word tiqvah (tik-vaw’) translated “hope” here, means literally, a cord (as an attachment); figuratively, expectancy. Translated in the KJV as expectation, expected, hope, live, thing that I long for. We need to bring correction into our children’s lives while there is hope for them. The younger your child is, the more hope there is.

Proverbs 13:24  (NKJ)

24He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

According to the Bible, if you love your child you will discipline him early in his life and you will not hold back from spanking him. Start correcting your children early in their lives – don’t wait until you see bad fruit before you try to bring correction. The root is the problem and the root is established when the “plant” is a seedling. In most cases, we only see the “fruit” in their teenage years which is almost too late. You must keep sowing spankings and correction and direction into their lives from babyhood and in due time you will reap the precious harvest of a soul who loves God and loves righteousness.

Proverbs 29:17  (NKJ)

17Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.

When we put the time and effort into raising our kids God’s way when they are young then we will have peace and joy in them when they are older.

Proverbs 23:24  (NKJ)

24The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.

Wise and righteous children are not born that way – they are shaped by wise and loving parents who will raise them God’s way.

The first thing you must do, as a parent, is to love your kids with all your heart with an unconditional love. The love you show them should not be dependant on the way they are or the way they behave, but just because you love them. They must know that you still love them no matter what they do or say. That is the way God loves us and we are God’s representatives to our children.

The second thing that you must remember is that you must be the person you want your kids to be. Children are born imitators. They act just like we do. Don’t expect your kids to do the right thing if you are doing the wrong thing. No matter how many times you tell them what to do and how to do it, they are going to follow you and do what you are doing. So set a good example, because they are going to be just like you.

The third thing you must do is to never correct them in anger. Correction is done for their benefit, to equip them to live as contributing members of society. If we are angry then the focus is on us and not on them. The issue is their bad behavior and not our feelings about it. They are not being corrected because we are angry, but because they are wrong. And they need to receive correction in a spirit of repentance.

The fourth thing is that the “punishment” should fit the “crime”. Don’t over or under discipline the child. Lies and a rebellious attitude are serious problems and should be dealt with accordingly. Also, silly mistakes are not the same as deliberate sin. Don’t be severe on the child when they have only made a mistake.

The fifth thing is that you should make sure that they repent of their sin, because it is sin in God’s eyes. They need to see you allowing the Word of God to be the final authority in your life and they need to be taught to govern their lives by the Word and the Spirit of God. The Word is the answer to all of life’s situations and our children need to see us allowing God to work in our lives and allowing Him to correct and discipline us. And then they will receive correction and direction from us. When children are spanked or corrected and do not repent, they become resentful and later they become rebellious.

Always reassure them that you love them. Make sure you hug them and that they hug you back and display a forgiving attitude toward you for being the one who brought the correction. Remember God’s Word always works!

OUR TRIBUTE TO AMERICA – PASTORS RODNEY AND ADONICA HOWARD-BROWNE

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

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  Psalm 33:12

 

This great land of the United States of America was founded because of man’s desire to be free and to have religious freedom. In this land, one can have a dream and can see that dream become a reality, regardless of race, color or creed. This is what America stands for. It is a nation founded by pioneers who had to brave the first winter and the ruggedness of this land to establish what is still known as the greatest country on the face of the earth.

 

God called us to America and opened the door for us to come here in 1987. He told us that just as America had sown missionaries into the nations of the world over the last two hundred years, so He was going to raise people up from other nations and send them to the United States. He told us to come and stir up the churches and tell them to get ready for the coming revival. Thank God that not only did He tell us to get ready for revival, but He also sent us a revival! We have an overwhelming desire to see America saved and changed by the power of God and filled with the fires of revival. That is what motivates us, compels and constrains us. We count it a great privilege to be called as missionaries to the U.S.A. We have made America our home and are proud to be Americans – living in the land of opportunity, choosing to be pioneers, and braving new frontiers.

 

Let us share with you a few bold statements that have been made about America and about the things that make her such a great nation and that reflect the way we feel about her.

 

Bring me men to match my mountains. Bring me men to match my plains.

MEN WITH EMPIRES IN THEIR PURPOSE AND NEW ERAS IN THEIR BRAINS.

– Sam Walter Foss

 

America has been settled by people of all nations. All nations may claim her for their own. We are not a narrow tribe of men. No, our blood is made as the flood of the Amazon, made up of a thousand noble currents all pouring into one. We are not a nation, so much as a world.

– Herman Melville

 

You who have been born in America I wish I could make you understand what it is like to not have been born an American, not to have been an American all of your life, and then suddenly with the words of a man in flowing robes, for that moment and forever after, one moment you belong with your Fathers to a million yesterdays, the next you belong to America to a million unborn tomorrows.

– George Magar Mardikian

 

Throughout the centuries there were men who took the first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.

– Ayn Rand

 

What kind of a man would live where there is no daring? I don’t believe in taking foolish chances, but nothing can be accomplished without taking any chance at all.

– Charles Augustus Lindbergh

 

Our way of living together in America is a strong but delicate fabric. It is made up of many threads that have been woven over many centuries, by the patience and sacrifice of countless liberty loving men and women.

– Wendall Lewis Willkie

 

AMERICA by Dr Rodney M. Howard-Browne.

From the harbor brightly shining, the lady her beacon beams

To all those tired and weary, come to freedom’s dream

And now that freedom threatened, revival her only hope

America your time has come, to fulfill your heavenly goal

From the grandeur of Alaska, to the blue of the Florida Keys

From the Aloha of the Islands, to Maine it’s plain to see

Fifty nations, it seems to fill your shores, as weary travelers come

To seek the joy that freedom brings, and to bask beneath your sun

The cry my heart desires, as one born out of due time

The burning cry of revival, from one of your newest sons.

America, America, may your Eagle soar again

High above the clouds of darkness, back into His glory once again.

DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD

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

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:17-32 NIV

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. How do you grieve the Holy Spirit? You grieve Him by ignoring Him; by speaking or acting in a way that is contrary to His will; and by refusing to obey Him when He speaks.

How do you please the Holy Spirit? You must acknowledge Him every day in every way. You must not only believe and say that He is Lord and Master of your life, but you must behave that way too. You must hear Him and obey Him when He speaks.

When your heart is hard, you are insensitive to God and ignorant of the truth; your understanding is darkened and your thinking is futile; you are separated from the life of God. You sin constantly and it doesn’t bother your conscience at all—because you don’t have a conscience. You have seared your conscience and hardened your heart. Even if the Holy Spirit spoke to you, you would not hear Him. Being spiritually deaf is like being physically deaf. When you are physically deaf, sound does not cease, rather there is sound all around you, but you cannot hear it. It is the same in the spirit. The Holy Spirit could be talking, but you will not hear Him.

The Holy Spirit will prosper your way if you will let Him minister to you. If you want the Holy Spirit to minister to you, help you, teach you, guide you, and warn you, you must open your spiritual ears to hear Him; you must acknowledge His voice and presence in all your ways; you must be yielded to Him and submitted to Him. Just as you would honor a certain person by paying attention to him, listening to what he has to say and doing what he tells you to do—so you should also treat and honor the Holy Spirit, because He is greater than any man.

You cannot tell me that you are a Christian who hears and listens to the Holy Spirit if you are negative, critical and deceitful, because the Holy Spirit is going to shine His light on you and convict you of your sin. If you say something mean about another person, you will sense in your heart that the Holy Spirit is grieved. Then you must quickly repent, so that the Lord can forgive you.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  1 John 2:20 NIV

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.  1 John 2:27 NIV

The Holy Spirit is your teacher. He will tell you the truth and He will lead you into the truth. Listen to Him, acknowledge Him and give Him place in your life.

USE YOUR TALENTS OR LOSE THEM

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

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 “His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with the two talents also came. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. `Master,’ he said, `I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “`Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  Matthew 25:14-29 NIV

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. He gave them one, three and five talents—most likely in accordance with their abilities and proven faithfulness—and then he went off and left them to do what was required of them. Two of the servants, who had three and five talents respectively, went out and put their money to work, doubling their investment. However, the servant who had the one talent did absolutely nothing with it. He was so afraid of his master and so afraid to fail that he did nothing at all. He went out and hid his talent in the ground.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. He was very pleased with the servants who had used their talents and increased their initial investment, but he was angry with the servant who wasted his talent by hiding it. He called him wicked and lazy. The first mistake the servant made was to be motivated by fear—believing that the master was hard and unfair—at least that was his excuse! The second mistake he made was to be lazy—he tried to take the path of least resistance. However, the “easy” way turned out to be the hard way—he ended up losing his talent, his job and his place in the master’s house.

God is not a master to be feared—unless we are wicked and lazy servants. However, He is a master to be respected. We show our respect by our submission to God—to do His will—not just doing what we want to do. God expects us to work. He gives us talents and abilities and He requires that we work and use them.

God is not angry with us when we try and we fail. He is angered by our laziness, wastefulness and lack of faith. We should not be afraid of using the gifts and talents God has given us. He gives the abilities—we work and use them. As we prove ourselves faithful and trustworthy, we are entrusted with more, until we are promoted permanently into a place of honor in His presence. Take the talents that God has given you and put them to work. Use them so that you will be pleasing to the Lord Who made you and graced you with those gifts.

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!