A CAPABLE, INTELLIGENT, AND VIRTUOUS WOMAN

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

10 A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.
12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
13 She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].
14 She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household’s food from a far [country].
15 She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.
16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.
18 She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].
19 She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].
21 She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].
23 Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles [or sashes that free one up for service].
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!
26 She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].
27 She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying],
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.
30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]!
Proverbs 31:10-31 AMP

COVENANT OFFERING

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

I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.7And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” 9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.”  Genesis 17:6-10 NKJV

Almighty God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants – He made a forever commitment to them and asked them to make a forever commitment to Him. A covenant is a committed promise. You commit to the terms of the covenant and you also commit to never break the covenant – that is what makes it a covenant. Father God committed to be a God to his people – to protect and provide for them. He asks His people to commit to Him, to worship Him only and to honor Him with their hearts, their mouth, their actions and their offerings.

All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God.  Deuteronomy 28:2 NIV

However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.  Deuteronomy 28:15 NIV

Jesus died to remove your sins and your sicknesses and to destroy the work of the enemy in your life. When you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you also accepted Him as your Lord and Master. There is a blessing for you as you commit to the Lord and keep your covenant promises that you made to Him, but there is a curse that comes on you if you break your promises.

A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is the [reverent] fear due Me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise My name. You say, How and in what way have we despised Your name? 7 By offering polluted food upon My altar. And you ask, How have we polluted it and profaned You? By thinking that the table of the Lord is contemptible and may be despised. 8 When you [priests] offer blind [animals] for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Present such a thing [a blind or lame or sick animal] now to your governor [in payment of your taxes, and see what will happen]. Will he be pleased with you? Or will he receive you graciously? says the Lord of hosts.  Malachi 1:6-8 AMP

If God is your Father, then you should honor Him as a Father. If Jesus is your Lord and Master, then you should reverentially fear Him as your Lord and Master. If you brought a blind, lame, or sick offering to your governor as payment for your taxes, he would not be pleased with you and would probably punish you. Why do God’s people pay their taxes to human governments, but bring God nothing? Why do God’s people pay all that they owe on their taxes, but bring God their dregs and way less than their best?

“I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.  Malachi 3:6-12 NIV

If God is your God – if He is your Father, your Lord and your Master – then show Him your honor and your respect by giving Him your first and your best. Bring your tithes – the tenth of your income – to the storehouse first, before you pay your bills or buy the things you need and want and God will bless what you have left over and give you even more. Don’t be a God-robber, don’t break your covenant promise to serve and obey Him. Don’t think of your tithe as money you are losing out on, but as an investment into the kingdom of God and a maintaining of your covenant promise to honor Him. God never ever breaks His covenant promises to you, but if you break your covenant promises with Him then He cannot protect you from the enemy. God always keeps His covenant – make sure that you make your commitment and keep your commitment to Him and you will always see the blessing and favor of God on your life.

SUCCESSFULLY DEVELOPING YOUR CHARACTER

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

Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. 22 That is why his [Abraham’s] faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God). 23 But [the words], It was credited to him, were written not for his sake alone, 24 But [they were written] for our sakes too. [Righteousness, standing acceptable to God] will be granted and credited to us also who believe in (trust in, adhere to, and rely on) God, Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].  Romans 4:21-25 AMP

Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness – right standing with God. These words were not written just for his sake, but for yours as well, because through every generation, with or without the law, faith was required in order to be counted righteous, Works alone, no matter how good, cannot purchase righteousness. Righteousness comes only by faith – it is a free gift. Jesus was betrayed and put to death because of your misdeeds and mine. God raised Jesus from the dead to secure your justification (your acquittal) making your account balance (He paid the debt you could not pay) and absolving you from all guilt before God. You can come boldly and confidently into the throne-room of grace to find mercy in your time of need.

Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).  Romans 5:1 AMP

You are justified through faith and you have peace, and can enjoy peace, with God through your Lord, Jesus Christ, but it doesn’t completely benefit you unless you become aware of it and understand it

Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.  Romans 5:2 AMP

Through Jesus, you have access by faith into grace – God’s favor. This grace and favor is secure – as long as you believe in Him – it will always be yours. You can relax and know that God’s grace and favor rests upon you now and you can rejoice as you look forward to experiencing and enjoying the glory of God, in a measure here, and in it’s fullness in eternity.

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.  Romans 5:3 AMP

When you know how much the Father, Son and Holy Spirit love you, how much favor you have with them and how wonderful heaven is going to be – there is not much left that can scare you. For you to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:29)! You are so full of Jesus and so full of joy that you are not afraid of trouble or hardship. When you go through something hard you have two choices – you can let it take you out or you can take it out! When you decide to fight the good fight of faith, place your confidence in God, and bear up under the pressure, you are going to come out better than when you went in. You are going to come out the other side with more patience than you had before and an ability to endure much more than you could before. The devil is not going to be able to push you around so easily the next time! You will be toughened up!

And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. 5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Romans 5:4-5 AMP

When patient endurance is developed in your life, it also develops maturity of character. This kind of character produces the habit of joyful and confident hope – a hope that will never disappoint you. Some people are afraid to hope in case things don’t work out and they are disappointed, but when you have gone through some hard things and you have trusted in God and He has come through for you, you are encouraged to develop the habit of a hopeful attitude. This hopeful attitude will always serve you well and will not disappoint you. Hope is the foundation for your faith and you know that it is only your faith in God that causes Him to pour out His grace, mercy and favor on you when you ask for it. Therefore, when you face your next challenge – and you will – you can face it with confidence, remembering that God came through for you last time and knowing that He is sure to come through for you again this time, as you put your trust in Him.

DELIVERED DAILY BY THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION LIFE

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

Therefore since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one). 2 Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2 AMP

While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly. 7 Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. 8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one) died for us.  Romans 5:6-8 AMP

Because we were born into sin, there was nothing we could do to save ourselves from the penalty of sin – which is death. We were powerless to help ourselves. Sin made of us an enemy of God. When Jesus died, He did not die for His friends, He died for His enemies – the ungodly – in order to make them His friends. Jesus came to save us from our own sin, acquit us of all wrongdoing and give us an entrance into the presence of God by His own blood, which was shed for every man, woman, boy and girl. We are justified by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The fact that Jesus died for us when we were still sinners proves how much God loves all mankind.

Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.  Romans 5:9 AMP

Jesus has delivered us from death and from judgment. He brought into a right relationship with God and we can have confidence that He will save us from the indignation and wrath of God that the unsaved will experience when they die.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [resurrection] life.  Romans 5:10 AMP

If God brought us from the place of being His enemy to being His friend and His child, then how much more certain is it that we shall be delivered daily from sin’s dominion in our life through Hisresurrection life? If you will give the Holy Spirit access to your life, the same resurrection life thatsaved you will now keep you. The same resurrection life that made you a new creature – made your Spirit brand new – will continue to work in your mind and body every day, delivering you from the power and control of sin.

Not only so, but we also rejoice and exultingly glory in God [in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received and enjoy [our] reconciliation.  Romans 5:11 AMP

If you are a Christian, who is truly washed in the blood of the Lamb, and who has a revelation of everything Jesus has done for you, you would be loving your life right now, and really enjoying your relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You would be rejoicing and exultingly glorying in God’s love and perfection in your life.

Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned. 13[To be sure] sin was in the world before ever the Law was given, but sin is not charged to men’s account where there is no law [to transgress]. 14 Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] as Adam did. Adam was a type (prefigure) of the one Who was to come [in reverse, the former destructive, the Latter saving]. 15 But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.  Romans 5:12-15 AMP

Sin came into the world through one man – Adam – and death came as the result of sin. Death spread to all men, because all men sinned. No one was able to stop it or to escape its power. Even so, God’s grace, that restores man, is so much more profuse than the sin that destroys man. Grace is more powerful than any power of sin. Sin is powerless before God’s grace. Sin cannot prevent God’s grace and His resurrection power from reaching and transforming all those who will receive it!

THE DEATH OF A SEED AND A BOUNTIFUL HARVEST OF LIFE

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

Don’t love your life more than you love Jesus

And Jesus answered them, The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified and exalted. 24 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest. 25 Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.] 26 If anyone serves Me, he must continue to follow Me [to cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying] and wherever I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. 27 Now My soul is troubled and distressed, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour [of trial and agony]? But it was for this very purpose that I have come to this hour [that I might undergo it]. 28[Rather, I will say,] Father, glorify (honor and extol) Your [own] name! Then there came a voice out of heaven saying, I have already glorified it, and I will glorify it again. 29 The crowd of bystanders heard the sound and said that it had thundered; others said, An angel has spoken to Him! 30 Jesus answered, This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sake. 31 Now the judgment (crisis) of this world is coming on [sentence is now being passed on this world]. Now the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world shall be cast out (expelled). 32 And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw and attract all men [Gentiles as well as Jews] to Myself. 33 He said this to signify in what manner He would die.  John 12:23-33 AMP

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just one grain – it never becomes more – but if it dies, it produces many more and yields a rich harvest. There is always a price to pay to see a harvest. Jesus had to die – sown as a seed – to reap the harvest of millions and millions of people. Hebrews 12:2 AMP says that Jesus, “for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

There is a price that we have to pay – there is a seed that must be sown – to see the harvest of souls come to the Lord in this generation. We must follow Jesus and conform to His example in all things. No, it is not possible, neither is it necessary, for us to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus. He had a specific purpose in dying and was the only one who could die to save us from sin, but if we want to be used by God it is important that we do take the steps necessary to crucify our own flesh. We must lay down our own life and allow our flesh, plans, desires, will, opinions, and selfishness to die. As we give up our life into God’s hands, only then can He anoint us and use us to further His kingdom on this earth.

And the word of the Lord came to me: 3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and put the stumbling block of their iniquity and guilt before their faces; should I permit Myself to be inquired of at all by them? 4 Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Every man of the house of Israel who takes his idols [of self-will and unsubmissiveness] into his heart and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity [idols of silver and gold] before his face, and yet comes to the prophet [to inquire of him], I the Lord will answer him, answer him according to the multitude of his idols, 5 That I may lay hold of the house of Israel in the thoughts of their own mind and heart, because they are all estranged from Me through their idols. 6 Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.  Ezekiel 14:2-6 AMP

Self-will and unsubmissiveness are idols and are as unacceptable to God as much as idols of silver and gold. Anyone who loves their life too much to lay it down and to give it into God’s hands will lose it. If you have no respect for your eternity and are too focused on the world and your life in the world, you will lose your life and see hell. Jesus was completely unselfish and utterly yielded and obedient to the Father. Jesus did not love His life more than He loves His Father or more than He loves us. He was willing to obey God and lose – give up – His life for our sakes. If you will lay your life down, if you will have no love or concern for it, you will find it. If nothing on this earth, in this world, is more important than Jesus, than God’s will for you, you will find your life and see heaven.

You must be prepared to make the sacrifices that are required in order for you to be like Jesus, follow after Him, and continue to do His work on the earth as you represent Him to the world. The Father honored Jesus for his obedience and sacrifice. If you will make the sacrifices, He will do the same for you!

 

GOD DID NOT GIVE US A SPIRIT OF FEAR

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

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

God did not give us a spirit of fear – God is not the author of fear – God is love and perfect love casts out fear! All fear comes from the devil. Not one kind of fear comes from God. The devil sows fear into people and then uses their fears to control and intimidate them. Faith is complete and absolute trust in the living God. Fear manifests itself in the absence of faith. There was no fear in the Garden of Eden until trust was broken and sin and guilt entered in through temptation and disobedience. We open the door to fear when we start to believe the lies of the enemy. You could say that we have faith when we believe the word of God and we have fear when we believe the word of the devil.

Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death–that is, the devil–15 And also that He might deliver and completely set free all those who through the [haunting] fear of death were held in bondage throughout the whole course of their lives.  Hebrews 2:14-15 AMP

Fear is paralyzing and keeps people in deep bondage. The strongest fear people have is the fear of death. Jesus came to die and rise again, defeating the devil and taking back the keys of death, hell, and the grave. Now, if you believe what Jesus has done for you and receive him as Lord and Savior, you lose your fear of death, because you know that even when this physical body dies, you will continue to live on. Eternal life is yours from now on, into eternity. If the worst thing that can happen to you is dying, and you no longer have a reason to fear death, then why should you be afraid of anything else or anyone else, ever again? Jesus told us to not be afraid of man – those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. He told us rather to be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). God is the One we should be in awe of – not any man, nor any devil. God is the One whose opinion counts; He is the One we should respect; He is the One whose word will never pass away.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid What can man do to me?”   Hebrews 13:4-6 NIV

The only way to get rid of fear is to apply the word of God and your faith to the situation. Faith comes through the knowledge of God and His word – no other way. God said He would never leave you or forsake you. You can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” If God is for us then who can be against us? If God is on our side there is nothing that can touch us and no one who can harm us (Romans 8:31; Psalms 118:6). His word tells us that he has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. God gives peace of mind in the midst of chaos.

God has given us a spirit of power. We have power over the devil, power over fear, power over temptation, and every other evil thing that comes our way on a daily basis.

God has given us a spirit of love. Perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Fear brings with it the thought of punishment, but when we have a revelation of God’s love for us, and His mercy and forgiveness; we have no fear of what He might do to us. Only those who don’t know the Lord are afraid of Him – or they should be.

God has given us a spirit of calm and well-balanced mind. Fear does not need to rule your mind! When you know what God’s word says, you can and should take authority over your mind. Take authority over your thought life. Take authority over your will and your emotions. Your mind is like a child. If left to its own devices, it will run wild. You need to take charge of your mind and tell it what to think. As a sinner, your mind was programmed with all kinds of junk and fear. As a believer, you have a responsibility to yourself to kick all that junk and fear out and reprogram your mind with the life-altering principles of God’s word.

God has given us a spirit of discipline and self-control. Fear does not need to rule your life! You can take authority – by the power of the word and the Holy Spirit – over fears that manifest themselves in and through your body. You can speak peace to your body. You need to tell your body what to do – not the other way around. You can walk victoriously in this life through the power of the word of God!

REQUIREMENTS FOR LEADERSHIP FROM FIRST TIMOTHY 3 – PART 2

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

The saying is true and irrefutable: If any man [eagerly] seeks the office of bishop (superintendent, overseer), he desires an excellent task (work).  1 Timothy 3:1 AMP

He must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control, with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and keeping them respectful. 5 For if a man does not know how to rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?  1 Timothy 3:4-5 AMP

The same qualities that are required to be the head of the house, to earn the respect of your wife, and to raise godly children, are also the qualities needed to lead God’s people. If it doesn’t work at home – in your own house – don’t export it. Do not ever make ministry your first priority. Make your own relationship with God your first priority and your spouse and children second and third before ministry. Make sure you take responsibility for them. Too many people in ministry are minding other people’s business ahead of their own. Minister to your family – make sure that you love them, provide for them, protect them, direct and correct them. Then you may bring direction and correction to others outside of your family. What good is it if you save the whole world, and your own family goes to hell?

He must not be a new convert, or he may [develop a beclouded and stupid state of mind] as the result of pride [be blinded by conceit, and] fall into the condemnation that the devil [once] did.  1 Timothy 3:6 AMP

People who are newly born again should not be placed in a place of leadership. Even if someone is older in years or a leader in business or the community, that does not qualify them to lead God’s people. Those who want to be in leadership must be mature in the things of God. There are some young people, who have served God all their lives – like Timothy – who are more qualified to lead in the Body of Christ, than an older person who was only recently saved and sanctified. Grey hair does not automatically give you wisdom, but the fear of God, and obedience to Him and His word, is the beginning of wisdom. A spiritually immature person is too vulnerable to pride to be in leadership. A potential leader must learn humility – they must learn the lesson that God is in charge. They must learn not to be moved by persecution or by praise. It all goes to God. The Lord wants to protect you from pride, because pride is the devil’s way of deceiving you and leading you astray.

Furthermore, he must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside [the church], lest he become involved in slander and incur reproach and fall into the devil’s trap.  1 Timothy 3:7 AMP

Some people behave one way in church and another way in the world. They are little angels in church, but when they are not in church, they act just like the world, because they are carnal. You will never win sinners to Jesus by acting like them. Those who want to be in leadership must carry themselves in a godly way all the time, wherever they are. Being godly is not being “super-spiritual” or religious. It is just consistently walking in the love of God and being a blessing to others– not promoting one’s self, but putting the welfare of others first.

In like manner the deacons [must be] worthy of respect, not shifty and double-talkers but sincere in what they say, not given to much wine, not greedy for base gain [craving wealth and resorting to ignoble and dishonest methods of getting it]. 9 They must possess the mystic secret of the faith [Christian truth as hidden from ungodly men] with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tried and investigated and proved first; then, if they turn out to be above reproach, let them serve [as deacons].  1 Timothy 3:8-10 AMP

Deacons must also adhere to the same standards with a clear conscience. No matter what your level of involvement, no matter what position of leadership you aspire to, the same standards apply. Those who want to be in leadership must not be two-faced or critical of others. Matthew 5:37a NKJV says, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.'” and Ephesians 4:15 AMP says, “Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).”

[The] women likewise must be worthy of respect and serious, not gossipers, but temperate and self-controlled, [thoroughly] trustworthy in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of but one wife, and let them manage [their] children and their own households well. 13 For those who perform well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves and also gain much confidence and freedom and boldness in the faith which is [founded on and centers] in Christ Jesus.  1 Timothy 3:11-13 AMP

Women generally like to talk more than men do and sometimes are more open to temptation in the area of gossip and criticism. Both men and women who desire to be used by God need to put a guard on their lips. Psalms 34:12-13 AMP says, “What man is he who desires life and longs for many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” and Psalms 141:3 AMP says, “Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.”

If you do all these things, then God will be able to use you. You will promote God’s Kingdom – not your own – and be a blessing to all the people whose lives you touch.

 

Let no man say that he has made you rich except Almighty God!

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

Thoughts on Stewardship
Lesson No. 4 from Genesis

Let no man say that he has made you rich except Almighty God!
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 14 verses 18-24

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. 21 Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’–24 except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”  Genesis 14:18-24 NKJV

There was a battle that occurred between nine kings —four on one side and five on the other. In the process, Sodom and Gomorrah were plundered of goods and people and Abram’s nephew, Lot, and his family and possessions were taken into captivity. Abram heard about it and took his servants—318 of them—and attacked, routed, and ran them off. He took back the goods and the people, including Lot and his family. When Abram returned, he was met by the king of Sodom. The king asked for the people back, but told Abram to keep the goods for himself. Abram flatly refused. He said, “I promised God that I would take nothing that is yours, so that you can never say that you made me rich!” God had promised Abram that He would greatly bless him and He had. Everything Abram had was given to him by God and God alone would get all the glory.

1. The hand of the Lord is on Abram’s life

a. Abram goes with his servants and kills the enemy and plunders them.

b. He meets Melchizedek—priest of the Most High.

c. Melchizedek blesses Abram and Abram gave a tithe of everything that he had taken.

d. The Priest blessed Abram and Abram paid a tithe in worship to God for his deliverance.

e. Then the King of Salem came and wanted to make a deal with Abram.

Abram declared:  I WILL NOT TOUCH EVEN A SHOE-LATCHET—I WILL NOT TOUCH ANYTHING THAT IS YOURS. LEST YOU SAY I HAVE MADE ABRAM RICH. IN OTHER WORDS: “LET NO MAN SAY, “I HAVE MADE ABRAM RICH,” EXCEPT ALMIGHTY GOD.”

Pastor Adonica’s thoughts:
Abram’s faith was in God alone. He had followed God out from his home and family, had made God his source and supply, and he would never again trust in man or the arm of the flesh. We are the children of Abraham if, by faith, we have received Jesus as Lord and Savior. We must fill our heart and head with the Word and promise of God. We must see God always as our source and supply and not man. If you get your eyes on man and expect people to meet your need you are bound to be disappointed, because they will let you down. Some people use others to get what they want or steal from them, because they see that as the only way to get what they want. God says let the thief steal no more, get a job, and give to those who are in need. Get your eyes on God. See Him and Him alone as your source. Ask Him to meet your need. Expect Him to answer your prayers. Don’t drop hints to people. Don’t ever look for God’s provision to come through a particular avenue. Let God meet your need however He sees fit and praise Him for it!

Pastor Rodney’s thoughts:
Over the years I have watched a very interesting scenario develop between certain wealthy people and ministries. It is as though, on the one side, these wealthy individuals desire to give, but they also want there to be strings attached. They want to dictate exactly how that money will be used. Now, it is possible to give a designated gift for something specific, but that is different than trying to call the shots and manipulate the minister or the ministry. Many a preacher has lost the anointing because he became dependant on someone other than God Almighty to direct and to guide him. Over the years I have walked away from millions of dollars that had strings attached, because I realized that the day I gave in and trusted in man to meet my needs, I would lose the anointing as well as the ministry. Remember, when you give, you are not giving to the preacher or the ministry, you are giving to God. Remember that no one person or one thing is your source of supply except Almighty God. He is your source of supply. Don’t compromise your integrity. Let no man say that he has made you rich except Almighty God!

Prayer and Confession:
Father, please help me to always keep my eyes upon you and to realize everyday that you alone are the source of my supply.

THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

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

Foundation Scriptures: John 14:16-19; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-14

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Indwelling of the Father and the Son 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.  John 14:16-19 NKJV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:26 NKJV

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.  John 15:26 NKJV

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.  8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me;  10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;  11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.  15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.  John 16:7-15 NKJV

•    The Personality of the Holy Spirit:
•    He convicts of sin – John 16:8
•    He teaches – John 14:26
•    He only speaks about Jesus – John 15:26
•    He guides – John 16:13; Romans 8:14
•    He comforts – Acts 9:31
•    He helps our infirmities – Romans 8:26
•    He searches the deep things of God – 1 Corinthians 2:10
•    Omnipresent – everywhere – Psalms 137:7-16
•    Omnipotent – all powerful – Luke 1:37
•    Omniscient – knows all – 1 Corinthians 2:10

•    The Names of the Holy Spirit:
The Spirit of God; the Spirit of Jehovah; the Spirit of Lord Jehovah; the Spirit of the Living God; the Spirit of the Holy God; the Spirit of Jesus Christ; the Spirit of His Son; the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit and Fire; the Holy Spirit of Promise; the Spirit of Holiness; the Spirit of Truth; the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding; the Spirit of Counsel and Might; the Spirit of Knowledge and Fear of the Lord; the Spirit of Power, Love and a Sound Mind; the Spirit of Life; the Oil of Gladness; the Spirit of Grace; the Spirit of Grace and Supplication; the Spirit of Glory; the Spirit of Adoption; the Eternal Spirit; the Comforter; the Promise of the Father.

•    The Holy Spirit is a Perfect Gentleman.
•    Matthew 3:16-17 NKJV – When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
•    Gentleness; tenderness; lowliness; innocence; mildness; peace; purity; patience.
•    Not religious; does not bring heaviness; brings liberty; does not bring bondage.
•    2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJV – Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
•    Galatians 5:1-2 NKJV – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
•    He does not condemn, but He convicts. (John 16:8)
•    He is love. (1 John 4:8&16)

•    The Symbols of the Holy Spirit:
•    Dove – gentleness
•    Fire – purging
•    Wind – refreshing; energizing
•    Water – thirst quenching
•    Oil – lubrication and fueling
•    Wine – new wine; celebration

Names of Jesus – Jesus Christ the Messiah

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

NAMES OF JESUS – JESUS CHRIST THE MESSIAH

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout [cautiously and carefully observing the divine Law], and looking for the Consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been divinely revealed (communicated) to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 27 And prompted by the [Holy] Spirit, he came into the temple [enclosure]; and when the parents brought in the little child Jesus to do for Him what was customary according to the Law, 28 [Simeon] took Him up in his arms and praised and thanked God and said, 29 And now, Lord, You are releasing Your servant to depart (leave this world) in peace, according to Your word. 30 For with my [own] eyes I have seen Your Salvation, 31 Which You have ordained and prepared before (in the presence of) all peoples, 32 A Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was before unknown] and [to bring] praise and honor and glory to Your people Israel. Luke 2:25-32 AMP

All Jewish baby boys were brought to the priest and dedicated to God as babies. Simeon is the priest who dedicated Jesus. He had a promise from God that he would not die before he saw the Messiah; the Savior Israel was waiting for; the Seed that would bruise the devil’s head as promised in Genesis 3:15. The Messiah’s name is Jesus Christ. Christ means Anointed One or Messiah.

1. Jesus is the Messiah.

– Luke 2:11 AMP- For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!

– Hebrews 5:5-6 AMP – So too Christ (the Messiah) did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed and exalted by Him Who said to Him, You are My Son; today I have begotten You; 6 As He says also in another place, You are a Priest [appointed] forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

– John 1:40-41 AMP – One of the two who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first sought out and found his own brother Simon and said to him, We have found (discovered) the Messiah! — which translated is the Christ (the Anointed One).

– Luke 4:41 AMP – And demons even came out of many people, screaming and crying out, You are the Son of God! But He rebuked them and would not permit them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ (the Messiah).

2. He is the Anointed One – anointed to do good.

– Acts 10:38 AMP – How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him.

3. The spotless Lamb of God – Christ the Messiah – died and gave His life for us.

– Romans 5:8 AMP – But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.

– 1 Peter 1:19 AMP – But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.

– Colossians 1:22 AMP – Yet now has [Christ, the Messiah] reconciled [you to God] in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His [the Father’s] presence.

– Romans 5:17 AMP – For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

– 1 Peter 3:18 AMP – For Christ [the Messiah Himself] died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous (the Just for the unjust, the Innocent for the guilty), that He might bring us to God. In His human body He was put to death, but He was made alive in the Spirit.

4. There is only One way to God for any man or woman on the earth – it is through Jesus Christ the Messiah.

– Acts 15:8-9 AMP – And God, Who is acquainted with and understands the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit as He also did to us; 9 And He made no difference between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith (by a strong and welcome conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God).

5. There is only one foundation you can lay for your life – Jesus Christ. If you believe in Him you will be born-again.

– 1 Corinthians 3:11 AMP – For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

– 1 John 5:1 AMP – Everyone who believes (adheres to, trusts, and relies on the fact) that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) is a born-again child of God; and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him (His offspring).

6. The Word of God calls liars those who refuse to acknowledge Him as the Christ; the Messiah.

– 1 John 2:22 AMP – Who is [such a] liar as he who denies that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah)? He is the antichrist (the antagonist of Christ), who [habitually] denies and refuses to acknowledge the Father and the Son.

7. All heaven declares that He is Lord and Messiah and He shall reign forever.

– Revelation 11:15 AMP – The seventh angel then blew [his] trumpet, and there were mighty voices in heaven, shouting, The dominion (kingdom, sovereignty, rule) of the world has now come into the possession and become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (the Messiah), and He shall reign forever and ever (for the eternities of the eternities)!

Rodney Howard Browne brings good news to America