Tag Archives: The Great Awakening

The Door of the Sheep

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. John 10:1-6 NKJV

When Jesus spoke to the people and told them, “He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep,” He was referring to Himself. Jesus is the Shepherd of the sheep, who came through the door. He did not try to sneak in any other way, but He came in the honest, open, right and legal way.

The “door” of the sheepfold that He is speaking of here is natural birth. The Son of God came down from heaven and was born a man child; born of a virgin; and became one of us in order to save us. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

“Water” represents natural birth – specifically amniotic fluid – we are conceived, grow and develop in our mother’s womb for 9 months, then we are born into this world as we are pushed out of the womb and take our first breath. Every one of us is born into this earth through the process of natural birth – including Jesus. The difference between us and Jesus was that He didn’t have a natural father – He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and His Father is Almighty God.

In order to save us from our sins and be able to legally represent us in His death, burial and resurrection, God had to come down and actually become one of us. Jesus, the Son of God, was the Father’s legal representative – born to die – taking our sin and death and exchanging it for His eternal life! That is why there is salvation ONLY through Him! Anyone else, or any other gods, who claim to be the Way to Almighty God are only thieves, robbers and liars.

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:7-10 NKJV

Jesus came through the natural “door” of birth so that He could become the Door through which all men must go in order to be saved from sin and enter into eternal life. He didn’t come to “take” – He came to “give”! When you believe on Jesus, and receive Him as Lord and Savior, you walk through the Door – leaving sin and death behind you as you enter into a new life in Christ! Jesus said in John 3:13-15, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus is the ONLY Door to the Father, the only Doorway into heaven, eternal life, and the presence of the Father. The good news is that ANYONE who believes in Him is able to come through this door and experience God’s eternal life!

Arriving there, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had accomplished with them and how He had opened to the Gentiles a door of faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom we obtain salvation in the kingdom of God].
Acts 14:27 AMP

Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. John 14:6 AMP

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36 NKJV

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40 NKJV

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
John 20:30-31 NKJV

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31 NKJV

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:9-13 NKJV

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. John 10:1-6 NKJV

When Jesus spoke to the people and told them, “He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep,” He was referring to Himself. Jesus is the Shepherd of the sheep, who came through the door. He did not try to sneak in any other way, but He came in the honest, open, right and legal way.

The “door” of the sheepfold that He is speaking of here is natural birth. The Son of God came down from heaven and was born a man child; born of a virgin; and became one of us in order to save us. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

“Water” represents natural birth – specifically amniotic fluid – we are conceived, grow and develop in our mother’s womb for 9 months, then we are born into this world as we are pushed out of the womb and take our first breath. Every one of us is born into this earth through the process of natural birth – including Jesus. The difference between us and Jesus was that He didn’t have a natural father – He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and His Father is Almighty God.

In order to save us from our sins and be able to legally represent us in His death, burial and resurrection, God had to come down and actually become one of us. Jesus, the Son of God, was the Father’s legal representative – born to die – taking our sin and death and exchanging it for His eternal life! That is why there is salvation ONLY through Him! Anyone else, or any other gods, who claim to be the Way to Almighty God are only thieves, robbers and liars.

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:7-10 NKJV

Jesus came through the natural “door” of birth so that He could become the Door through which all men must go in order to be saved from sin and enter into eternal life. He didn’t come to “take” – He came to “give”! When you believe on Jesus, and receive Him as Lord and Savior, you walk through the Door – leaving sin and death behind you as you enter into a new life in Christ! Jesus said in John 3:13-15, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus is the ONLY Door to the Father, the only Doorway into heaven, eternal life, and the presence of the Father. The good news is that ANYONE who believes in Him is able to come through this door and experience God’s eternal life!

Arriving there, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had accomplished with them and how He had opened to the Gentiles a door of faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom we obtain salvation in the kingdom of God]. Acts 14:27 AMP

Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. John 14:6 AMP

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36 NKJV

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40 NKJV

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31 NKJV

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31 NKJV

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:9-13 NKJV

The Spirit of the Lord

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because be hath anointed

me to preach the gospel to the poor; he bath sent me to

heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,

and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty

them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

LUKE 4:18-19

 

This is the message Jesus declared all during His earthly

ministry. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath

anointed me to preach the gospel…, and the Gospel is Good

News! There are too many bad news preachers in the earth today.

 

All they want to do is bring doom and gloom. Some people seem

to think they’re Old Testament prophets, called to rail out against

sin. But thank God we’re under a new covenant. The message of

this new covenant is the same message that Jesus proclaimed: the

Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and He has anointed me to preach

the Gospel, the Good News.

 

The Gospel is Good News, my dear friend. Good News! I

bring you Good News! I bring you glad tidings. I bring you Good

News! Hallelujah! I get happy just thinking about the Good

News!

 

We all know the world is full of bad news. You can turn on

television news and all you hear is bad news. The last thing you

need is a preacher bringing you more bad news. We need to hear

the Good News of the Gospel: that Jesus still saves, Jesus still

heals, Jesus still sets free, and that Jesus is coming again. That’s

the Gospel!

 

The problem is that many Christians are confused. They

have a little bit of the old covenant, a little bit of the new

covenant, and they’ve made up their own covenant. Their own

covenant brings them under condemnation and bondage one

minute, and it sets them free the next.

 

In their confusion, they think God is blessing them one moment and the next moment He is saying, “I’m going to kill you.” They walk around waiting for God to beat them and hurt them for reasons known only to Him.

 

That’s not the Good News! The Good News is the same as it was when

Jesus walked the earth. Do you know why it’s still the same? Because

Jesus is still the same. Jesus has not changed!

 

The question I pose to you is, “What happens when Jesus shows up?” What happens when Jesus walks in the door? I want you to know that when Jesus walks in the door, the very atmosphere of the room changes. When Jesus walks in the door, sickness and death and poverty and the curse of hell go out the back door, saying, “It’s time for us to the leave.”

 

When Jesus walks in the door, you will know that He is there. You can see His nature and His character in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. What happens when He shows up? Jesus answered that Himself.

 

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it

more abundantly.

JOHN 10:10

 

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from

the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested,

that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 JOHN 3:8

GOD’S WORD IS LIFE

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

Foundation scripture: Proverbs 3:1-2  (NKJ)
1My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; 2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.

Proverbs 4:20-23  (NKJ)
20My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; 22For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. 23Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

In God’s word we find life. Life springs from God. God is life. There is no death in Him. Every action of God produces life. Every word of God produces life. What is life? Life is every good thing. Life is blessings, life is abundance. Life is everything you could find in God’s presence. Life is healing and wholeness for your spirit, soul and body.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20  (NKJ)
19″I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20″that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Life is a choice we make. We choose to have life and to walk in life. We choose life by choosing God, choosing His word above all other words, choosing His ways before all other ways, choosing His voice above all other voices.

Proverbs 3:13 & 18  (NKJ)
13Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding;

18She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.

God’s wisdom is a tree of life to us. We allow God to plant His tree in us and it produces the fruit of His abundant life in and through us.

Proverbs 11:30  (NKJ)
30The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.

We become a tree of life to others. Because of the life and nature of God on the inside of us – everywhere we go, we bring life and blessing to others. Everywhere we go, people get saved, healed, delivered and set free – because God’s life lives on the inside of us and flows out of us. We cannot contain it.

Proverbs 21:21  (NKJ)
21He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness and honor.

Proverbs 22:4  (NKJ)
4By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.

When we follow after God earnestly. When we desire Him more than anything else this world has to offer. When we love Him, honor Him, and humble our hearts before Him, He will fill us with His life and His blessing and His life and blessing will be all that we experience. Death and cursing will depart from us as we walk in the presence of the life of God.

GOD IS READY AND WILLING TO SAVE AND REDEEM YOU

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

2 Peter 3:9  (NKJ)

9        The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

God is very, very patient with us – earnestly desiring that we should come to repentance. He wants us to realize that we are hopelessly unable to save ourselves and to throw ourselves on His grace and mercy. Many people are under the false impression that God sends people to hell and that He is seeking every opportunity to do so. On the contrary, He is seeking any opportunity to send us to heaven! If He wanted us to go to hell He should not have sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be born of a virgin, suffer, die and be raised up again for our deliverance and salvation. He should have and could have left us alone, because we were already going to hell all by ourselves.

 

John 3:16-21  (NKJ)

16      “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17      “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18      “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19      “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20      “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

21      “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

 

God does not condemn us. We condemn ourselves by our refusal to accept the way He has made for us. The gospel is as simple, as it is powerful. People try to complicate it, but the truth is not hard to understand for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Jesus bore the penalty of our sin so that we could be born again into the family of God.

 

John 14:6  (NKJ)

6        Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

 

All we do is repent of our sin, believe that Jesus died and rose again, and accept Him as Lord of our life. From that moment on you are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light and you become a partaker of God’s eternal life. Your heart will be forever changed from within and you will live in the presence of God eternally.

 

Ezekiel 36:24-27  (NKJ)

24      “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.

25      “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

26      “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

27      “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

 

God’s love and mercy have been extended toward you. He wants you in His family – He wants you as His child and He wants to be your Father. He loves you – you are valuable and precious to Him. He has done everything He can for you – in Jesus – and He is waiting for you to take the next step toward Him. He will meet you at the point of your faith and you will never be the same again!

GOD’S GRACE AND MERCY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING

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

People all over the earth make New Year’s Resolutions at the end of every December, but they usually don’t last even into the 2nd of January! We have a hard time acting out our good intentions even if we have the help of the Holy Spirit. But no matter how many times we make mistakes or mess up, God walks patiently with us to help us and to reach out to forgive us the moment we repent and turn to Him. Just as every 1st of January is a New Year and every morning is a new day – in God there is a new beginning for every one of us! In fact, we don’t even have to wait for a New Year. God extends His mercy and grace to us new and fresh every day.

Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJ

Every morning, God is ready to forgive us again. His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is immeasurable. We may break our covenants and let Him down, but He never breaks a covenant and He never forgets or neglects His promises, even to a thousand generations.

You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:5-6 NIV

“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9 NKJ

People are intimidated and held in bondage by the devil because they are focused on the fact that because of the sins of the fathers the curse is passed down to the third and fourth generations. But that pales in comparison to God’s covenant of blessing and mercy which is extended to a thousand generations of those who love Him! Beside all that, the curse was on those who hate God. Do you hate God? No, you love Him. He is your Lord and Savior. The curse was removed the moment you said, “I do” to God. You said, “I do repent and turn from sin. I do believe that Jesus died and poured out His blood to save me. I do believe that God raised Him from the dead. I do believe that He is coming back for me”. When the devil tries to treat you the same old way, lying to you and trying to put you back into bondage to the curse, tell him to pack up his lies and go back to where he came from. You can boldly stand up to walk in the fullness of your covenant with Almighty God, because His blessing is on your life and His tender mercies are extended, fresh and new, to you every morning!

 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22 NKJ

Jesus tells us to forgive each other an unlimited number of times and He does what He tells us to do. The blood of Jesus washes away all sin – past, present and future. While we do not deliberately sin as a way of life, when we do do something wrong He is ever ready to forgive us up to seventy times seven every day!

 Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.           “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:6-9 NKJ

God’s ways of mercy, grace and pardon are what are so much higher than ours are. We think that God should judge and destroy, but He chooses to love and forgive. We cannot understand how God could love us so much that He would send His only begotten Son to suffer and die and yet He did it. We don’t understand how God could love and forgive the most rotten sinner and make them the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and yet He does.

Our God is great and He is worthy of our praise and adoration. Thank God for His abundant and most precious mercy and grace. Just because it is free, does not mean that it is cheap. God’s grace, purchased at a great cost with the blood of Jesus is offered to us at the inexpensive price of simply believing.

WHAT DO YOUR EYES SEE?

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

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  Ephesians 1:15-23 NKJV

When the Bible talks about your “eyes” as it does in this passage of scripture, it means “eyes” in a figurative sense. It is referring to your attitudes and opinions – the way you see God, yourself and others. Your attitudes toward God, the world around you and other people, is colored by your experiences and the information your have received through your five physical senses. You are what you know and you are what you believe. In a sense you do not and cannot choose what information comes to you to try to influence you, but you can choose what you will receive. You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from making a nest in your hair! You can decide what to hear and what to see out of all the information that comes your way. You can close your eyes and ears to the negative and all that is bad and open your eyes and ears to all that is pure and good.

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Genesis 3:4-11 NKJV

Adam and Eve had the most wonderful relationship with the Father, at first. They had not known or experienced evil in any form. Disobedience opened their eyes to know evil. They were naked before they sinned, but they were not ashamed. Their “eyes” saw only the good in everything. Sin changed their focus. Their eyes were suddenly opened to shame and guilt.

The Father wants us to be restored to Him in our attitudes and outlook. He wants us to see the awesome things that we have in Him and where we are in relationship to Him. He wants the eyes of our heart and our understanding to be enlightened so that we might know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe

You chose the way you see things. You choose the way you see your world by what you feed yourself on – what you see, hear and meditate on. You need to feed yourself on God’s word so that your eyes will be enlightened to what you have in Christ Jesus. The Father wants us to open our eyes to understand and know Him and His kingdom. He wants us to understand what He has done in us and for us and to understand the relationship He desires to have with us. Open your eyes to see Him!

RELIGION OR RELATIONSHIP

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

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  Matthew 16:24-26 NIV

The Bible contrasts the difference between those bound by religion and tradition – who put their trust in their own efforts – and those who trust in God alone. The Lord has reached out to us with life and liberty – if we will lay down our (lower) life, we can take up His (higher) life.

Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  Luke6:20 NIV

If we read the whole of the word of God in context, we will see that it is the blessed of God who are not poor. Every one who willingly obeys God eats of the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19). Every one who serves God with their whole heart is blessed and prosperous (Joshua 1:8). Wealth and riches are in the house of the righteous (Psalms 112:3). “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God means that we need to recognize that we are nothing without Jesus.

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Luke 6:24 NIV

If we think that we don’t need Jesus – we are wrong. If we think that we can earn our salvation – we are very wrong. We need Him! In Him we live and move and have our being. Those who think that they don’t need Jesus, have all the blessings they are ever going to have. Earth is the only heaven a sinner will ever know and the only hell the child of God will ever know!

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.  Luke 6:21 NIV

Revelations 3:17 NIV says, “You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  We need to be hungry for God. We need to recognize that we need Him. We cannot afford to be self-confident or self-sufficient. God is our source and our supply. We need to recognize Him as our all-in-all. We need to be prepared to weep – to give Him our best – to commit to Him no matter what it takes – no matter what we have to lay down. We need to be willing to lay everything down for Him.

Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.  Luke 6:25 NIV

If we put our needs above His – if we think of ourselves first and take care of ourselves first – we will be found lacking.

Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.  Luke 6:22-23 NIV

Those who stand up to be counted as a child of God, those who preach the unadulterated word of God and those who will contend for the supernatural will be persecuted. However, it is not something to be sad about, but to rejoice about. We are not being treated any differently than our Lord and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.  Luke 6:26 NIV

You can be religious and you can try to please people and tickle their ears and they will speak well of you, but it is nothing to be proud of. The fact that people like you is no indication that God is pleased with you as well. On the contrary, if you will please God and not man, the devil is sure to stir up people against you to oppose you. Rejoice if you are being persecuted for the word’s sake – it means that you are on the right track!

THE DOER OF THE WORD LIVES A STABLE LIFE

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

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.   James 1:2-8 NIV

Why does it seem as if some people are stable and solid and blessed whilst others seem to be constantly unstable and always in the middle of a crisis?

These unstable people are blown all over the place by every wind of adversity that comes their way. Their circumstances totally control them – controlling their attitude, their mouth and their actions. They are full of doubt and fear. The word of God says that if you are a doubter, you are like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. You don’t know what it is that you believe. You are double-minded and therefore unstable in all you attempt to do. Because you are unstable and you don’t know what you believe and you can’t make up your mind what it is you want – you don’t receive anything from the Lord!

On the contrary, the man of faith – who knows what he believes and in whom he believes and what it is that he wants – is solid and stable. Because he asks clearly and he believes absolutely that God’s word is true, he receives what he asks for!

“Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”   Luke 6:46-49 NIV

You can call God your Lord, but do you really believe that He is your Lord? Do you really act like He is your Lord? “Lord” means “Master” – the boss! The boss tells you what to do. Do you do what He tells you to do? The only ones who have a right to call God “Lord” are those who do what He tells them to do and who put His words into practice. The person, who is a doer of the word, digs down deep to build the foundation of his house. He digs down into God’s word and he lets God’s word dig down deep on the inside of him! He builds his house – his life – on the foundation of God’s word by receiving it as if it is written to him alone and by applying it as if it is a command to him.

The person who hears God’s word, but does not receive it personally by doing it or acting on it is building his house – his life – without any foundation. Even though it may look good on the outside it is neither solid nor secure and the first storm is going to blow it away!

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.  James 1:22-25 NIV

Those who hear the word and still do not receive it as written to them, nor put it into practice, are trapped in the bondage of self-deception. God’s word gives freedom. Those who receive God’s word and don’t forget it, but are careful to do it, will be blessed in all that they do.

If we want to be blessed, we should read God’s word as if it says on every page, “This means YOU!”

A REASON TO REJOICE

“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

When you have faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, you are justified, acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God. As a sinner, you may have done some very bad things, but from the moment you acknowledged your need of a Savior, repented for your sins, asked the Lord to forgive you and received Jesus as your Lord, God forgave you. Your sins are forgiven and washed away as if they never existed. God wants you to grasp the fact that you have been reconciled to Him and to enjoy the peace you have with Him. Father God has forgiven and forgotten your past and He expects you to forget your past as well and to leave it behind you. You need to become unconscious toward your former unrighteousness and become conscious of your new righteousness through Jesus Christ. You need to walk like a righteous person, talk like a righteous person, and act like a righteous person. Through faith in Jesus Christ you are introduced to God’s grace and you have access to His favor. This is not a flimsy or a temporary grace, but a grace in which you firmly and safely stand. Because of this grace, you have a hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. You have a reason to rejoice!

7 But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ’s sake. 8 Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed one), 9 And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed one), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.  Philippians 3:7-9 AMP

Our prayer, for the last thirteen years, has been, “Lord, burn out every bit of religion and tradition out of us. We only want that which is of You and of Your Word and of Your Spirit.” There is nothing that any of us can do, in our own strength or power or goodness to save ourselves or help ourselves. We all need Jesus – we all need the Spirit of God. The sooner you realize how much you need the Lord – the better off you will be. Growing in grace, growing in the Lord has more to do with you realizing how much you need Him and coming to know His heart than it has to do with you acquiring mere knowledge about Him.

As we celebrate The River at Tampa Bay’s sixth birthday, we remind ourselves of who we are and why we are here. When Jesus is lifted up, men are drawn to Him. We are here to lift up the Name of Jesus. He is our first love. We are here to give Him all the glory and the praise. We are here to preach His Word boldly and without apology. We are here to enjoy our relationship and fellowship with the Lord for Jesus is the joy of our salvation. We are here to preach faith in God and not works. We are here to demonstrate His power and to meet the needs of the people. We are here to bring people into a relationship and fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are here to do the Spirit’s bidding and we are here to be a Church where the Spirit of God has His own way and where He is allowed free rein. Let us not allow religion or tradition to dilute our enthusiasm, but let us – by the Spirit – maintain the zeal of our salvation and remember that Jesus is Lord!

GOD ANOINTS OBEDIENCE

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

He Who comes from above (heaven) is [far] above all [others]; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and talks the language of earth [his words are from an earthly standpoint]. He Who comes from heaven is [far] above all others [far superior to all others in prominence and in excellence]. 32 It is to what He has [actually] seen and heard that He bears testimony, and yet no one accepts His testimony [no one receives His evidence as true]. 33 Whoever receives His testimony has set his seal of approval to this: God is true. [That man has definitely certified, acknowledged, declared once and for all, and is himself assured that it is divine truth that God cannot lie]. 34 For since He Whom God has sent speaks the words of God [proclaims God’s own message], God does not give Him His Spirit sparingly or by measure, but boundless is the gift God makes of His Spirit! 35 The Father loves the Son and has given (entrusted, committed) everything into His hand. 36 And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life. But whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the Son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the wrath of God abides on him. [God’s displeasure remains on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.]   John 3:31-36 AMP

Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit when creation was created (John 1:3). He is one with the Father and equal with Him. And yet He humbled Himself to come down to earth in the body of a man, to endure what we endure and to pass the test, resist the temptations, take our place, to die and to rise again. He humbled Himself, submitting patiently to the verbal and physical abuse and pain that He endured on our behalf.

He humbled Himself to lay down His own will and desires to do and say ONLY what the Father instructed Him to do and say. Because He was so utterly and completely submitted and obedient to the Father, He was anointed with an unlimited supply of the Holy Spirit.

And the Lord said to me, They have well said all that they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet (Prophet) from among their brethren like you, and will put My words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not hearken to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. 21 And if you say in your [minds and] hearts, How shall we know which words the Lord has not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or prove true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.   Deuteronomy 18:17-22 AMP

Because Jesus speaks the Words of God, you have an obligation to listen to Him and obey Him. You must obey Him for your own sake – for your own eternity and your own blessing. Every one who hears what Jesus says and obeys Him is blessed, but those who won’t listen or obey will suffer the consequences of disobedience. What you have to understand is that we all live in a world that is under the influence of the enemy. God knows what you need to do to walk free from the devil’s influence and control. If you want to walk in victory and peace, you must hear and obey Him.

Jesus died to save you from sin and deliver you from the curse of the law. He died and rose again to make us all children of God and to empower us all to do the same works that He did. If you want to be anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit, you must obey the Holy Spirit. You must speak what He tells you to speak and do what He tells you to do.

There are people who claim to speak for God and yet they speak their own opinions. This is not a small matter to the Lord – He holds us responsible for every word we speak on His behalf. Speaking on God’s behalf is a sacred trust and we should not treat it lightly. Under the Old Covenant, a prophet who spoke his own words and not God’s words, or who spoke in the name of other gods was sentenced to die! God tells us not to continue to listen to prophets whose words do not come to pass.

If you want God to use you, if you want Him to anoint you, you must press in to His presence, to hear His voice and you must do everything in your power to obey His voice. Then you will be blessed by Him and you will also be a blessing to others.