Jesus Our Healer by Rodney Howard Browne

He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.  Psalms 107:20 KJV

Father God sent His Word to heal and deliver us. Proverbs 4:22 tells us that God’s Word is, “Life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.” Jesus is the Word made flesh. John 1:14 says that, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Father sent Jesus, not only to save us from our sins, but also to heal our bodies. Everything that Jesus took upon Himself, when He offered up His life was done for you — to remove all traces of the fall; to restore back everything that was lost. On the cross, it was not only your sin that was removed, but also your sickness and disease.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  Isaiah 53:4-5 KJV

On the cross, Jesus bore our griefs. The Hebrew word “griefs” means malady; anxiety; calamity. It is translated in different passages as disease, grief and sickness and should have been translated here as sickness. Jesus bore all our sickness and disease in His own body while hanging on the cross and becoming a substitute for us. Jesus also bore our sorrows. The Hebrew word here means anguish or affliction and is translated as grief, pain and sorrow. Because Jesus bore our griefs and sorrows, if we believe God’s word to us, we can walk free from all and any sickness, disease, anxiety, anguish and affliction! He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed!

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed.  1 Peter 2:24 NKJV

Notice that Isaiah 53:5 is in the present tense and 1 Peter 2:24 is in the past tense. Neither of them says, “You will be healed one day, in the future, maybe…” — they both make healing a “done deal” for you. In other words, as far as the Father is concerned, you are in fact healed — you just need to activate it in your life by adding your faith to His Word. God told the Israelites, “I am the Lord who heals you” (Ex 15:26). Psalms 103:2-3 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives ALL your iniquities, Who heals ALL your diseases.”

Meditate on these scriptures — God’s Word to you — and allow them to minister to you and to build your faith:

Proverbs 3:7-8 AMP – Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil. 8 It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones.

Malachi 4:2 AMP – But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

Matthew 4:23-24 AMP – And He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every weakness and infirmity among the people. 24 So the report of Him spread throughout all Syria, and they brought Him all who were sick, those afflicted with various diseases and torments, those under the power of demons, and epileptics, and paralyzed people, and He healed them.

Matthew 8:16-17 KJV – When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Mark 6:56 AMP – And wherever He came into villages or cities or the country, they would lay the sick in the marketplaces and beg Him that they might touch even the fringe of His outer garment, and as many as touched Him were restored to health.

Luke 5:17 NKJV – Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

Luke 7:21 AMP – In that very hour Jesus was healing many [people] of sicknesses and distressing bodily plagues and evil spirits, and to many who were blind He gave [a free, gracious, joy-giving gift of] sight.

Luke 9:11 AMP – But when the crowds learned of it, [they] followed Him; and He welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed restoration to health.

Acts 8:5-8 NKJV – Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

Revelation 22:2 NKJV – In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

The Blessings of Trusting in God

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. Psalms 2:12b NKJV

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalms 34:8 NKJV

Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Psalms 40:4 NKJV

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. Jeremiah 17:7 KJV

When you confidently trust the Lord, He will compass you about with mercy and with loving-kindness:

Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on the Lord shall be compassed about with mercy and with loving-kindness. Psalms 32:10 AMP

When you trust God, He will keep you in perfect peace:

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust.

Psalms 4:8 AMP

Trusting God results in enjoyment of all temporal and spiritual blessings:

When you cry out, Let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry them all away, A breath will take them. But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land, And shall inherit My holy mountain.

Isaiah 57:13 NKJV

Those who trust in the Lord are happy that they did:

He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.

Proverbs 16:20 NKJV

Those who trust God can shout for joy and rejoice:

But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. Psalms 5:11 AMP

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.

Psalms 33:20-21 NKJV

Trust in God and He will show Himself faithful – He will fulfill all His promises:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. Psalms 37:3-5 NKJV

Those who trust God are delivered from their enemies:

Show Your marvelous loving-kindness, O You Who save by Your right hand those who trust and take refuge in You from those who rise up against them. Psalms 17:7 AMP

And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.

Psalms 37:40 NKJV

The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. 3 I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

Psalms 18:2-3 AMP

Whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe:

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25 NKJV

Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! 20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues.

Psalms 31:19-20 NKJV

Those who trust in the Lord are solid and stable:

Those who trust in the Lord Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Psalms 125:1 NKJV

Trust in God and you will prosper:

He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered. Proverbs 28:25 NKJV

Trust in God and He will keep you from fear:

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? Psalms 56:3-4 NKJV

In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalms 56:11 NKJV

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ Isaiah 12:2 NKJV

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV

Trust in God and He will keep you from slipping and sliding:

Vindicate me, O Lord, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip.

Psalms 26:1 NKJV

Trust in God and you will not be condemned or ashamed:

The Lord redeems the lives of His servants, and none of those who take refuge and trust in Him shall be condemned or held guilty.

Psalms 34:22 AMP

In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness.

Psalms 31:1 NKJV

Do not trust in man:

It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in princes.

Psalms 118:8-9 NKJV

THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE

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

Foundation scripture: Ephesians 2:1-11  (KJV)

1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wath, even as others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Once we were dead in our sins, but God, who is rich in mercy and who loves us with His great love has quickened us together with Jesus Christ. Quicken – means to make alive. We were dead to God and alive to sin – now, with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are dead to sin and alive unto God! Verse 4, in the Amplified Bible, says that His love for us is great, wonderful and intense. We are saved by grace so that in the ages to come He might clearly demonstrate the immeasurable, limitless, surpassing riches of His free grace (unmerited favor) in His kindness and goodness of heart toward us (Amplified – verse 7).

We are not just saved by grace, so that we can barely make it into heaven. Being saved by grace is only the doorway into all the wonderful things that God has for us. Through the ages to come, throughout all eternity, forever and ever, our Heavenly Father will be expressing to us the riches – the exceeding, immeasurable, limitless, surpassing riches – of His wonderful, unmerited, undeserved, free grace and favor as He reveals and extends to us, His goodness and His kindness.

We cannot even begin to comprehend, with our limited mental abilities as people, the love that our Father has for us. We cannot comprehend the riches of His grace and favor and goodness and kindness. Many people do not believe that God loves them and wants to bless them, but even those who do believe it, have a hard time grasping the unlimitedness of God’s love and grace toward them. We feel that we are not worthy, and so we accept only little tidbits at a time of His love and grace and favor, but it has absolutely nothing to do with being worthy, and everything to do with how He feels about us.

He wants to show us His favor and He wants to bless us – not because of any worthiness on our part, but simply because that is the nature of the love of God. He loves the undeserving – He showers blessings on the undeserving. God blesses us because of His nature and in spite of ours. It makes no difference how we feel about it – it is so anyway. If you can even begin to understand free grace and unmerited favor, you will realize what a slap it is in God’s face for men to think that they should, or even could, earn His favor.

It is impossible to pay this debt we owe to God. The debt was paid in the blood of Jesus – far too high a price for us to earn, even over a lifetime. The best we can do is realize the price has been paid and humbly and sincerely and wholeheartedly receive our free gift, knowing that we will never be able to repay it. Realizing the extent of God’s love and blessing – even though completely undeserved – causes us to want to serve Him, to love Him and obey Him. He paid so high a price – the very least we can do is give Him everything we are and everything we have as He continues to pour out on us and show us His love and His kindness throughout all eternity and the ages to come.

Romans 2:4  (KJV)
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

The Anointing on the Ministry of Helps

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

Foundation Scriptures: Luke 4:14-19

If you are faithful, and follow God’s plan for your life, He will put a desire in your heart to help in the ministry. God is not looking for pew warmers, but for people who will be used of Him to touch the lives of others.

Acts 6:1-4  (NAS)

1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing {in number,}a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic {Jews} against  the {native} Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving {of food.} 2 And the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3 “But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”

The ministry of helps is anything that helps the five-fold ministry get the job done.  Of those seven men who were chosen, we hear  later only of Philip who became an evangelist.  Stephen was a man full of faith and the Holy Ghost and did great wonders and  signs among the people. He became the first martyr of the Church.

Who falls into this category of the ministry of helps?

The ministry of helps includes psalmists, intercessors, deacons, and elder among others. The ministry of helps—helps to get the job done. We see this in the ministry of Jesus when He fed the five thousand.  He instructed the twelve to seat everyone in groups. Then He broke the bread and the fish and gave it to the disciples. They, in turn, gave it to the multitudes. They helped Jesus do the job.

The moment the ministry of helps ceases to be a help anymore, is the moment it becomes a hindrance instead. It is a fact that deacon boards hinder many churches instead of helping, or there are elders who don’t support the vision of the pastor. They are not a help at all. Deacons should hold up the pastor’s hands as Moses’ helpers supported his hands, but instead of lifting the hands of the pastor—they tie them! Financial boards or administrators, who control the finances as though they were their own, create the same problem. Instead of working to support and facilitate the vision of the church, they work to control and limit it.

Negative incidents have arisen because of psalmists who get lifted up in pride and who think that their music ministry is more important than the ministry of the Word. Instead of working together to compliment the pastor’s ministry, they compete with it. They cause problems for the pastor and some even end up splitting the church.

Notice in Acts 6, that the prerequisite for being a deacon is to be a person full of faith and the Holy Spirit.  I believe that this applies to everyone in the ministry of helps.  There is nothing worse than having people alongside you in the ministry, whom you have to carry.  They are a dead weight because they are full of doubt and unbelief.  You have probably heard the saying, “It is hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys!”

Some people are anointed psalmists, intercessors, administrators, deacons and elders, and they are such a blessing when they effectively lift up the hands of the minister and help him to function in his place of ministry.  But, oh, what a dead weight they are, when they are blinded by a negative attitude and cannot see God’s plan.  Many that might even have been called to be a godly check and balance to the minister, have ended up being a dead weight around the neck of the servant of God.

Many an anointed man has fallen, because he surrounded himself with people who were not led by the Spirit. Some were just working in the ministry as a job and had no anointing to stand in that place of ministry.  They were a hindrance and not a help.  Some were “yes men” that agreed to everything that he said.  Instead of giving him a godly warning, they watched as he was led astray, out of the plan and the purpose of God for his life and ministry.

Different Kinds of Anointing

We see that in the Word of God there are different kinds or types of anointings given to man.  Ephesians 4:7 says, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”  The word “grace” means enablement, ability, or anointing. The anointing is the supernatural equipment to get the job done, whether it is for the ministry of helps or the five-fold ministry.

God graces you to do the job He has called you to do. It is up to you to supply the faithfulness and the good attitude.

GOD JUDGES US ACCORDING

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

1 Peter 1:15-19  (NKJ) says, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

God judges us impartially according to our works. It is up to us to see that we live in a manner that pleases our Father God. God is a holy God, and as His children, we need to walk holy and talk holy and act holy. We can walk in holiness because the precious blood of Jesus has redeemed us. The blood of Jesus has washed away our sins, stripped sin of its power over us, and caused us to be able to continue to walk free from sin.

John 3:16-18  (NIV) says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

God does not judge us according to some standard that we know nothing about and that is out of our control. He judges us according to our own choices and actions. In other words—we choose our judgement—not God. He offers us the choice of life or death and then acts according to what we have chosen. It is not up to God—it is up to you and me. God did His part—He sent Jesus as a sacrifice to cut a covenant between God and us, so that life and blessing would actually be one of our choices. Without Jesus—there is no choice—death and cursing would be our destiny.

Isaiah 11:1-4  (NIV) says, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.”

God judges in righteousness and justice. To “judge” simply means “to make a decision”. God makes a decision concerning us according to the decision we make for and about ourselves.

Romans 2:4-11  (NKJ) says, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.”

God is not partial. He does not like one better than the other. He does not have “favorites”. He treats everyone the same. Whatever we sow—we will reap.

Acts 10:34-35  (NIV) says, “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.’”

TO THE PURE ALL THINGS ARE PURE – PART TWO

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

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.  Titus 1:15-16 NKJ

 

Matthew 12:34 says that, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If your heart is pure then your words will be pure and your works will be pure. 1 Samuel 16:7 says that, ”the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” God is always concerned primarily with our heart condition because as Proverbs 4:23 tells us that we should keep our heart with all diligence, “for out of it spring the issues of life.” The condition of our heart determines the course of our life and our eternal destiny. That is why we should guard carefully what we allow to enter our mind and heart through our eyes and ears and make sure that it is pure.

 

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.Philippians 4:8-9 KJV

 

Before you were born again you allowed all kinds of things into your life. Your heart and mind were callused and hard. But when you were born again, God gave you a soft and sensitive heart. For instance, before Jesus, you cussed up a storm, but afterward, when other people used the Lord’s Name in vain, you felt like someone had punched you in the stomach. Now that you are a citizen of Heaven and a child of the King, you need to filter the information that enters your eyes and ears, because what you know that what you hear and see is what you will be thinking on. You need to be meditating and thinking on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and a good report if you want to walk in the peace of God. Isaiah 26:3 says that God will keep the person whose mind is stayed on Him and who trusts in Him, in perfect peace.

 

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  James 3:13-18 NKJ

 

The earth’s wisdom is envious and self-seeking, resulting in confusion and evil. However, the wisdom that comes from God above is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. God is pure and honest and His motivation is pure and honest, putting others first. We are made in His image, and when we see Him, we will be like Him. We will not walk in any degree of peace in our lives unless we walk in the purity and honesty that He walks in! Peace follows when we are in the will of God in every area of our lives, especially our attitude.

 

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.  I John 3:2-3 NKJ

 

Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  2 Timothy 2:22 NKJ

 

When the Holy Spirit and the Word of God have purified your heart, you desire to please God, you desire righteousness, faith, love and peace and you actively pursue them. When you allow God to do a purifying work in your life, as you submit to everything that He tells you to do, then you will begin to have pure desires. You cannot walk in purity and allow unclean desires to rule in your flesh at the same time. Whatever your age, whether you are eight or eighty, you need to flee the lust of the flesh and pursue righteousness with a heart that is pure, and you will walk in peace and blessing all the days of your life.

ARE YOU A BIG WATERED TREE OR LITTLE DRY SHRUB?

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

Thus says the Lord: Cursed [with great evil] is the strong man who trusts in and relies on frail man, making weak [human] flesh his arm, and whose mind and heart turn aside from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub or a person naked and destitute in the desert; and he shall not see any good come, but shall dwell in the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. [Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.  Jeremiah 17:5-8 Amplified

The man who believes in, trusts in and relies on the Lord is blessed. The Lord is his hope and confidence. He is like a tree planted by the waters—spreading out his roots by the river of God—drawing water and nourishment from the fertile soil of God’s Word and His Spirit. He will not feel the heat of the enemy’s attack and he will have no reason to fear it. His leaf is green all the time. He is not anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor will he cease from yielding fruit.

On the contrary, the man who is strong in his own strength; who trusts in and relies on frail man; whose power comes from weak, human flesh and whose mind and heart turn away from the Lord is cursed with great evil. He is like a shrub—like a naked person—destitute in the desert. He will not see any good come to his life, but he will remain permanently in the parched places—in the wilderness—in an uninhabited salt land.

Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.  Revelation 3:17 NKJV

You can put your trust in God and you can drink from the river or you can put your trust in yourself and live in a parched wilderness. You can choose to draw your life and your strength from the Lord or you can struggle out there on your own. When you put your trust in the Lord, you are not afraid of the weather, you are not afraid of what life may throw at you. When you trust in and rely on the Lord—no matter what comes your way it will not hinder or prevent you from prospering.

You can choose to serve God and honor Him, or you can serve your own interests and dishonor Him. You can choose to be blessed or you can choose to be cursed. You can be a big tree next to a river or you can be a little shrub in the hot desert. You can be gloriously attired in green leaves or you can be a naked, small bush. You can spread your roots out—increasing your capacity to receive nourishment, life, strength and blessing. You can tighten your grip on God and draw in closer to Him—your life can become ever more entwined in His life and it will be even harder to remove you from your foundation.  But if you have little shrubby roots, they could just be ripped from the soil.

You can yield much fruit or you can be devoid of any fruit at all. You can have your roots in the water and your branches covered in green leaves and not be afraid of the heat or you can be dried up and destroyed by it. You can live in comfort, peace and safety or you can live in fear and anxiety—exposed to the elements, constantly fearing for your life.

You can be comforted in God’s presence or you can be destitute in the desert. The shrub in the desert has nothing to offer anyone—no shade and no food. But the tree planted by the river gives shade, protection and fruit. Those who trust in the Lord will be abundantly blessed and will be a blessing to all those they touch, but those who trust in themselves have nothing to offer anyone else because they are in need themselves. The blessed man only knows abundance, but the cursed man only knows lack.

Make up your mind to trust in the Lord, to look to Him for guidance and sustenance. Firmly plant yourself on the banks of His river, yielding to His will, His Word and His Spirit. When you remain in His presence, drinking the waters of life, you will live a long, prosperous life of peace and safety.

WISDOM LOVES PEACE

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

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:13-18 NIV

Everybody thinks that they are wise, but only if you compare your words and deeds to the Word of God, can you know for sure. Good deeds that originate from a humble heart are evidence that a person is wise. However, if a person harbors bitter envy and selfish ambition in their heart, then they are not wise at all, but they are foolish.

You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?  Corinthians 3:3 NIV

Jealous and quarrelsome Christians are behaving like people who have not yet been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. They are worldly and they behave like the world. As children of God, we should live our lives in a way that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

NIV – He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction. TLB – Sinners love to fight; boasting is looking for trouble.  Proverbs 17:19

If you fight and quarrel and love it—you are a sinner and most likely an arrogant and boastful one at that. Pride and strife are partners. They usually go together. At the very least, a proud person will be touchy and defensive. At their worst they will aggressively pick fights with others. They are touchy and reactionary and it doesn’t take much to make them angry. Jesus tells us to love God and to love our neighbor. It is a very proud person who has little or no respect for God and who thinks nothing of fighting and striving with their neighbor.

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  James 3:16 KJV

Where you allow strife to exist—you also allow confusion and evil to manifest. This is why devils make stirring strife a priority. Learn to recognize when the devil is stirring strife and cut him off. The problem is that we look at the people we can see and we think that they are our problem, when really it is a spiritual problem and we have to deal with it in a spiritual way. We need to choose a path of peace. You cannot make another person behave one way or another, but you can control your own feelings, emotions and reactions. Eliminate strife and you will shut the door on the devil.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Philippians 2:3 KJV

Humility is a good antidote for strife. A humble person is not concerned about winning the fight or being “right.” The wisdom that is from above is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. If you are wise, you will conduct yourself in such a way that you promote peace in your life and your relationships.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Romans 12:17-18 NIV

It doesn’t matter who tries to fight with you, you can make the choice to eliminate strife, live in peace and do right.

THE HERITAGE OF THE SERVANTS OF THE LORD

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

“Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. 4 “Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is his name–the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit–a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. 7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.  Isaiah 54:1-8 NIV

This passage of scripture is addressing the nation of Israel, but the same principles apply to us as Christians. We are spiritual Israel. We know that the Lord never changes – He loves Israel, He loves Christians, and He even loves sinners! In reality, every one of us without God in us, are sinners, whether we are born to a Jewish family or a Gentile family. It is our faith in God that saves our souls. God is merciful and compassionate beyond what we have a capacity to understand. At our human best, we feel compassion for other people and we try to help them and rescue them and save them. Many people have a heart of compassion for animals and spend their lives saving them and taking care of them. God’s love, mercy and compassion are way beyond our human understanding!

Religion paints a picture of a stern, judgmental God, Whom we must appease so that He does not squash us like a bug. But this is so far from the truth. He is kind and compassionate, patient and long-suffering with us – ever ready to remember the covenant we broke and bring us back into fellowship with us. His greatest desire is for an unbroken fellowship with us. Who are we, who are so unworthy and yet the Almighty Lord of Heaven and earth would consider us worthy of His love and mercy and He would and pour out His life for us?

9 “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

11 “O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. 13 All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.  Isaiah 54:9-13 NIV

God will never stop loving those who are in covenant with Him, and compassionately reaching out to them when they return to Him. He promises to build us a shelter – not just of wood and stone, but precious stones! This is one more great example of His lavish generosity toward us. It is hard for us to grasp how God can be so kind and so generous to people who are so inconstant and inconsistent! He even makes promises to us about how He will teach and bless our children. If you give the devil an open door into your life – he will come in with plans to utterly destroy you. If you give God an open door into your life – He will come in with plans to bless and prosper you!

14 In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. 15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. Isaiah 54:14-15 NIV

If you are established in righteousness, you will have nothing to fear. Whoever and whatever comes against you will just have to surrender to you, because God is on your side. You don’t have to fight the enemy in your own strength – just be submitted to God and He will fight the battle with you and for you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; 17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 54:16-17 NIV

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper. Every tongue that rises against you in judgment, you will show to be wrong. This is the heritage of the children of God and the servants of the Lord. Your righteousness and vindication are from the Lord.

GOD GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE – PART 2

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

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?   6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  James 4:1-10

If you want God’s grace in your life, then you owe it to yourself to lay down your pride and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Pride prevents the blessings of God in your life, but humility welcomes and makes way for them.

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?  James 4:11-12

When you slander or criticize your fellow Christians, you are setting yourself up as a judge. The problem is that there is only one Lawgiver and Judge. If you realized that when you judge another you are trying to take a place and a position that belongs only to the Lord, then you might be quicker to put a guard on your lips. This judgmental attitude—setting yourself up as better than another—stems from your pride. Your pride will always get you into trouble!

John 3:17 AMP says that, “God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.”  If Jesus does not even judge you, then you certainly have no right to judge each other. Remember—you might have a reason to judge others, but you still do not have a right.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.  James 4:13-16

As many of you may already have found out, you cannot say, “I will do this” or “I won’t do that” to the Lord. Just when you make up your mind, He changes your direction. You must lay down the pride that causes you to try to do things on your own—trusting in your own judgment, intelligence and wisdom—and yield to His superior wisdom and understanding. When you humble yourself to daily receive direction and wisdom from the Lord, then you will prosper in everything that you do.

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.  James 4:17

You are accountable for what you know. If you know what is the right thing to do—then do it. Otherwise it will be counted as a sin to you. Make sure that you are a doer of the Word and not merely a hearer. Humble your heart to receive both correction and direction from the Lord and He will prosper your way.

Bringing you closer to God