WHAT ABOUT PENTECOST?

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

By Dr F.L.K. Howard-Browne (1905 – 1998) PhD, ThD, DD

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

What’s in a name?  Some say that “Pentecost” means fifty.  Technically they are correct, but to every Spirit-filled child of God it means vastly more than a mere technical definition.  There are words in our language that mean more to us than mere technicalities.  For instance, the word “Sterling” stands for a certain quality in silverware.  When we buy Sterling silver we know that we are obtaining a certain definite standard of silverware.  We are assured of its genuineness.  We know it will stand the test of time.  We know it has value.  We also know there are cheap imitations on the market, and if we are looking for quality we know enough to let such spurious articles alone.

Pentecost!  What does it mean?  It represents a pattern – a standard.  It signifies, in its spiritual significance, an empowered church.  It represents a Spirit-filled experience.  It stands for revival fires.  It holds within its inner meaning a burden for the lost; conviction for sin; repentance and faith toward God.

The early church walked in the light of Pentecostal fires and these were the results that followed.  Not only was the Gospel preached uncompromisingly, but also signs and wonders accompanied the preaching of the Word.  Pentecost meant something more than a name to the early Church.  A Spirit-endued people aroused opposition from unbelievers.  Persecution not only meant glory and shouting and great joy; it meant also being despised by the world – hated – stoned – being beaten with stripes – imprisonments – and many other trials.

Pentecost!  What does it mean today?  From a Scriptural standpoint it means as much as it ever did.  It is a proven fact that those who are truly Pentecostal, with a Pentecostal message and a Pentecostal experience backed up with a Pentecostal life of holiness, will have Pentecostal results in Pentecostal meetings in a Pentecostal way.  Instead of putting the soft pedal on Pentecost, let us magnify the work of the Lord as manifested in Pentecostal power and glory.

Pentecost has meant something wonderful to us.  It has meant the mightiest revival the world has ever seen since the days of the apostles.  It has meant the conversion of hundreds of thousands.  Likewise untold thousands have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and have been set on fire of God.  The sick and deformed have been miraculously healed.  Restitution has been made in numberless cases.  A life of holiness has been the experience of those who have come under the blessing of Pentecost.  Churches have been revived.  A great evangelistic movement at home and in foreign fields has been established.  Sadness and sickness, sin and shame, half-heartedness and indifference have given way before the mighty God-sent avalanche of Pentecostal revival.

8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  Acts 1:8 NKJV

1 Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:1-4 NKJV

GOD CALLS THINGS THAT ARE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE

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

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed-the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.  Romans 4:16-17 NIV

The God of Abraham and his offspring – both physical (natural seed) and spiritual (those who share Abraham’s faith in the promise) – gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” 3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”  Genesis 17:1-8 NIV

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”  Genesis 17:15-16 NIV

Even though it looked as if Abram’s body and Sarai’s womb were dead and totally unable to produce a child, God renamed Abram, Abraham – father of many nations – and Sarai, Sarah – princess. God called Abraham and Sarah, father and mother, even though they had never had a child together and were now physically unable to have one. God called Abraham, “father of many nations”, and that is exactly what he became. God spoke it into existence.

11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” 13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” 14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” 15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”  Judges 6:11-16 NKJV

God called Gideon “you mighty man of valor” even though he was weak and afraid. He was hiding from the Midianites and he had no self-confidence. Even after speaking with the Angel of the Lord, he asked for one sign after the other. He seemed to be neither brave nor courageous. One might think that God had made a mistake in calling Gideon a mighty man of valor, but God calls things that are not as though they were. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, he did as he was instructed.

Judges 7:12 NKJV says, “Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.”  Even though there were so many of the enemy, God cut the Israeli army down from 32,000 to just 300 and then, when they had surrounded the enemy, they defeated them with nothing but trumpets, pitchers and torches. And God got all the glory for it.

God always speaks to your future and He always expects the best of you. Who you think you are or what you think you have got does not count for anything at all. When God has a plan for your life, He may change your name, He may call you something that you know you are not, but when He calls those things that are not as though they were, you can be sure that it will come to pass exactly as He has said!

OUR INTERCESSOR

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

26 So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. 27 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.  Romans 8:26-27 AMP

When Jesus left earth to go and sit at the right hand of the Father, He did not leave us helpless, as orphans – He left the Holy Spirit behind to be our

Comforter. He is our Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby. The Holy Spirit comes to our aid, bearing us up in our weakness – He makes up for the things we lack. The Spirit intercedes and pleads before God in behalf of the saints, according to and in harmony with God’s will. An intercessor is almost like an attorney. An attorney speaks to the judge on the person’s behalf. He knows the law and the right words to say even when the person has no idea of his rights or is unable or unwilling to make his own case. The Spirit is your attorney in the courts of heaven.

14 And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. 15 And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.

1 John 5:14-15 AMP

If we pray according to God’s will He always hears us and He always answers, but without the Holy Spirit, we do not know what prayer to pray, or how to pray according to His will. The Holy Spirit prays through us a worthy prayer. He pleads on our behalf and makes supplication for us through our own mouth as we pray in the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit in an invaluable ally of the believer – the devil is helpless to prevent the will of God in your life when you pray in the Spirit. This is why he has tried so hard to make Christians either afraid or ashamed of the Holy Spirit. He has deceived them into thinking that being baptized in the Holy Ghost is something bad or wrong or not for today. But when you get the revelation of the power of God that lives in you by the Holy Spirit – you will be unstoppable and the devil will wake up feeling like he just got run over by a steamroller!

28 We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. 30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being].   Romans 8:28-30 AMP

As we work with God and He works with us, everything works together, fitting into a plan for good for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose. God has a wonderful plan for every one born on the earth. We can submit to His will and have His plan for our lives or we can rebel and have the devil’s plan for our lives. Father God gives us the choice.

According to Hebrews 7:22-25, Jesus is our eternal High Priest, able also to save to the uttermost – completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity – those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.

As well as the Holy Spirit, we have another intercessor, Who sits at the right hand of God, always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for us – Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. He is the perfect High Priest, Whose office will exist forever – He will never die and never cease to intercede on our behalf. If we could realize how much we have going for us – Jesus and the Holy Spirit on our side – we would rise up and take our place as the son and daughter of God that we are, shake off the bondage of sin and stand boldly in the presence of God. It is time for us to realize what God has called us to and for us to work with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do our personal part to see the will of God done in the earth.

BE A VESSEL SET APART, USEFUL AND PROFITABLE TO THE MASTER

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

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also [utensils] of wood and earthenware, and some for honorable and noble [use] and some for menial and ignoble [use]. 21 So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.  2 Timothy 2:20-21 AMP

In a big house, there are all kinds of vessels – some fancy, expensive vessels and some plain ordinary vessels. The gold and silver vessels can be used for most occasions and are particularly useful for special occasions. They are appropriate when someone very important comes to dinner or even when only the family eats together. However, the wooden or earthenware vessels have a limited usability. These vessels are used mainly for preparation and almost never for presentation.

In the Body of Christ, every one of us starts off as the equivalent of a wooden or an earthenware vessel. When you are born again, you have eternal life, but you are not instantly perfect. When you are saved, you are not immediately ready to be used by the Holy Spirit for any and all occasions, but you CAN be used – even if it is in a limited way. Everyone in the Body of Christ is called to be a witness, to be an ambassador who represents Jesus Christ to the world. However, when you are first saved, you are not prepared for certain aspects of ministry.

If you want God to use you, if you feel called to do the work of the ministry, then you need to be prepared to work “in the kitchen” of the church before you go to the “dining room.” If you have ever prepared a meal, you know that very important and vital work goes on in the kitchen, out of sight, with many “ignoble” vessels. They may not be pretty, they may not be perfect looking, but they are useful nonetheless. Every one of us must start out in the kitchen, in the ministry of helps, behind the scenes. When you have learned to serve in the kitchen, faithfully, and allowed God to do a purifying work in you, then you will become fit for use in the dining room.

Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.  2 Timothy 2:22 AMP

God can use the earthenware vessels as well as the golden vessels, but that is no reason for you to stay earthy! You need to cleanse yourself of all those things that are ignoble and unclean, and separate yourself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences. Then you will become a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.

It is your choice to yield your self to the Master and allow Him to do a purifying work in you. You can stay forever as a little clay pot or you can become a golden vessel – it is your choice. God made you and He called you and anointed you to do His will. You do not choose the direction that you are going or your function in the Body of Christ, God does that. You don’t choose whether or not you are a jug, or a bowl, or a butter dish, but you can choose whether or not you are a wooden vessel, or an earthenware vessel, or a gold vessel, or a silver vessel.

The Word says that we should shun youthful lusts. In fact it says that we should FLEE from them. That means RUN away from lustful desires, the works of the flesh, and all that does not please the Father. But you must RUN TOWARD – AIM AT and PURSUE – righteousness and all that pleases God. You cannot be passive or ambivalent about sin – you have to make a determined effort to move as far away from sin as possible!

Clay vessels can be molded when they are cold – all you need is water – and then they are baked to make them firm. Wooden vessels are simply carved out of the natural material. However, this is not the case with gold and silver. They need to be heated up in the fire to very high temperatures before they can be molded and shaped into a vessel that pleases the Master! If you want to be used by the Lord as a vessel of honor, there is a price to pay. There is a price to pay to stand in the five-fold office of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. Every Christian has the potential to be a golden vessel after God does His work in them – however, too many people want to take their little clay pot into the dining room without first allowing the Lord to refine them into what they could be.

When you humble your heart and you allow the fire of God to do a cleansing, purifying work in your heart, you will begin to change from being someone who is earthy and focused on the natural to someone who is godly and who is sensitive to the Spirit of God, someone who is keenly aware of His presence and how to please Him. When the Holy Spirit is allowed to have His way in you – spirit, soul and body – you will become a vessel fit for the Master’s use!

DON’T BE ASHAMED OF JESUS

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

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”  Mark 8:38 NKJV

We live in an adulterous and sinful generation; a generation which has no fear of God; a generation that calls bad good and good bad; a generation that mocks and persecutes those who serve and fear God and who obey His word. If you want to be popular, you will go with the crowd, but if you want to honor God, you will definitely be swimming upstream against the flow of the ungodly. The devil will not let you just quietly serve God, he will stir up people to get you to back down and deny the blood of Jesus, because that is what you are doing when you are ashamed of the Lord and of the gospel. You have to realize that the darker the world gets, the more even a small light will shine. You cannot hide your light and if you can’t hide it then you might as well let it shine brightly!

Sometimes people are ashamed of their family, but they are usually very careful not to act like it in front of them so that they don’t offend them. It hurts to know that a family member is ashamed of you. It is even worse to be ashamed of Jesus, Who poured out His blood for you on the cross. Jesus wasn’t ashamed to hang on a cross and take abuse for you! If you are afraid of what people think of you and you allow their opinions to cause you to be ashamed of Jesus then you trample His blood underfoot.

If you are a Christian, washed in the blood of Jesus, there is nothing to be ashamed of. If you are ashamed of Jesus and His word, He will be ashamed of you when He comes. You don’t want Jesus to be ashamed of you!

For both He Who sanctifies [making men holy] and those who are sanctified all have one [Father]. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren; 12 For He says, I will declare Your [the Father’s] name to My brethren; in the midst of the [worshiping] congregation I will sing hymns of praise to You. 13 And again He says, My trust and assured reliance and confident hope shall be fixed in Him. And yet again, Here I am, I and the children whom God has given Me. 14 Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death–that is, the devil–15 And also that He might deliver and completely set free all those who through the [haunting] fear of death were held in bondage throughout the whole course of their lives. 16 For, as we all know, He [Christ] did not take hold of angels [the fallen angels, to give them a helping and delivering hand], but He did take hold of [the fallen] descendants of Abraham [to reach out to them a helping and delivering hand]. 17 So it is evident that it was essential that He be made like His brethren in every respect, in order that He might become a merciful (sympathetic) and faithful High Priest in the things related to God, to make atonement and propitiation for the people’s sins.  Hebrews 2:11-17 AMP

Jesus is not ashamed to call you His brothers and sisters. Even though you were an unworthy sinner, He was not ashamed to wash you in His blood and forgive you and treat you like family, because that is what you become when you accept Him as your Lord and Savior.

Jesus came down from heaven, was born as a human being, lived among us, was anointed by the Holy Spirit, loved and helped people, and in the process, made enemies who tried to kill Him, but could not, until He, Himself, laid down His life. He suffered and endured enormous opposition, persecution, lies, criticism, abuse, beatings, excruciating pain, the weight of the sin of the entire world, and finally an extremely slow and painful death because He loved us and because His mission was to make atonement and propitiation for the people’s sins. He was not ashamed to die for you, don’t be ashamed to live for Him!

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 8 Do not blush or be ashamed then, to testify to and for our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for His sake, but [with me] take your share of the suffering [to which the preaching] of the Gospel [may expose you, and do it] in the power of God.  2 Timothy 1:7-8 AMP

 

DON’T BE ASHAMED OF JESUS – PART 2

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

So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore. 13 These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. 14 Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country). 15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it. 16 But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God–the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:12-16 AMP

The book of Hebrews, chapter 11, is a report of great people of faith. They were not some special breed of people, born differently from the rest of us. They were not made-up heroes like the imaginary people of myths and legends. They were ordinary people just like us. The only difference is that they chose to believe the word of an extraordinary, supernatural God, and they acted on what they believed, resulting in great signs, wonders, and miracles! Many of the early men and women of faith are mentioned by name, but after that, there are too many to be individually named. People who are ashamed of God and His word will see no miracles. The only way to see miracles is to be unashamed of God and His word. They were not ashamed of God or His word and therefore He was not ashamed to be called their God.

How can you join the ranks of these named and unnamed individuals, who saw such great victories, who brought such glory to God, and of whom He is not ashamed to be called their God? God gets no glory when people have no faith in Him or His word. He has limitless power at His disposal, but unless someone calls on Him in faith, drawing on His miracle-working power, nothing will happen. Think of it this way: if you don’t trust His word, you can guarantee that nothing will happen, but if you dare to trust His word you can guarantee that something will happen! It takes as much energy to be in faith as it does to be in fear – rather activate your faith – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

We prove that we are not ashamed of Him or His word when we boldly proclaim and do His word – because that is what will activate His miracle power – even in the midst of an unbelieving generation. It takes guts to be a believer and a doer of God’s word. The devil will do his best to oppose you by placing seeds of doubt and unbelief in your own head and also by using other people to be a negative influence in your life. Some people will try to stop you because they don’t like you or agree with you, but some are well-meaning and trying to “help” you by preventing you from making a fool of yourself by daring to step out in faith. We cannot listen to anyone who speaks contrary to the word of God in our life, no matter how well-intentioned they are. It is not very difficult for the devil to hinder and prevent some Christians from believing the word of a God they cannot see – they are so worried about what other people think that they never do anything for God. However, for those of you who push past your own fear and who care more what God thinks than what man thinks, you will see great victory!

And now, little children, abide (live, remain permanently) in Him, so that when He is made visible, we may have and enjoy perfect confidence (boldness, assurance) and not be ashamed and shrink from Him at His coming.  1 John 2:28 AMP

Let us live our lives in such a way that we are not ashamed of our words, our deeds, or ourselves, when we stand before Jesus! Many Christians act like they are ashamed of Jesus and His word. They care more what other people think, than what God thinks. If you care more about what people think about you than about what God thinks of you, then you do not have a full revelation of Who He is! The only way to get a revelation of Who He is; the only way to build up your faith so that you are not ashamed of Him and therefore not ashamed before people; is to live permanently in Him. How do you do that? You live in His word. Put the word in your heart. Permanently let the word live in you and make sure that you live permanently in His presence by your worship and commitment to obey His word.

When we trust God and His word, we bring glory to Him. People have a tendency to think that what they choose and what they do affects only themselves, but as we can see from the faith chapter, our choices and decisions, as personal as they may seem at the time, could affect generations of people, even those yet unborn!

SHAKING THE NATIONS

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

For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake and make tremble the [starry] heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations and the desire and the precious things of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house [with its successor, to which Jesus came] shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place will I give peace and prosperity, says the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:6-9 AMP

God says, “I will shake the nations and the desire and the precious things – the treasures – of all nations shall come in.” Come in where? Come into the hands of the just.

A good man leaves an inheritance [of moral stability and goodness] to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner [finds its way eventually] into the hands of the righteous, for whom it was laid up. Proverbs 13:22 AMP

The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just! This treasure will come into the hands of the righteous, who have been faithful with their tithes and offerings.

Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with the curse, for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer [insects and plagues] for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:8-12 AMP

God says that His people rob and defraud Him when they withhold their tithes and offerings. Notice that not only do they rob Him by holding back tithes, but they rob Him by holding back offerings too. A tithe is a tenth – the first tenth – of your income and it goes to the place where you get fed the Word of God. If you don’t have a church, you really need to find one. Wherever you are getting fed is where your tithe needs to go. Then – once you have paid your tithe – don’t forget to pray about your offerings and cheerfully sow them into good ground.

If you are stingy, selfish and covetous, not only will you be robbing God, but you will be robbing yourself. It is so important that you and I are faithful with our giving to ensure that we are positioned appropriately for this great end-time transfer of wealth! The purpose of this end-time transfer is for the funding of the end-time harvest – to bring in the greatest harvest of souls that the world has ever seen and the end-time purposes of God will be made manifest!

So be patient, brethren, [as you wait] till the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land. [See how] he keeps up his patient [vigil] over it until it receives the early and late rains. James 5:7 AMP

The husbandman (the farmer) waits patiently for the precious fruit of the earth. The precious fruit of the earth is people and it is going to take a great release of finances to get the job done!

Come now, you rich [people], weep aloud and lament over the miseries (the woes) that are surely coming upon you. 2 Your abundant wealth has rotted and is ruined, and your [many] garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are completely rusted through, and their rust will be testimony against you and it will devour your flesh as if it were fire. You have heaped together treasure for the last days. James 5:1-3 AMP

The rich people, who trust in their riches rather than in God, have heaped together treasures for the last days. These are the last days! It is now time to see the release of these finances into the hands of God’s ambassadors so the nations can be shaken by the power of God! God says, “The silver and the gold are mine” and also that He is going to fill this glorious end-time church with splendor. God is going to bless His church in a major way, but only as they obey Him and make His priority their priority. As we, the Church, go to shake the nations, God will fill His Church with His splendor and place the silver and the gold into our hands.

The wealth of the sinner is coming into the hands of God’s people for God’s purposes! Make sure that you are doing your part so that God can do His part and the nations will be shaken!

DON’T CALL UNCLEAN WHAT GOD HAS CALLED CLEAN

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

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the Ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” 4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. 19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” Acts 10:1-20 NKJV

Cornelius was an Italian, a gentile by birth, but he was a God-fearing man and also a generous one. Because the honor he showed the Lord; because of his continual prayers and his generous, consistent giving; he got God’s attention. God promised Abraham that through his Seed – Jesus – ALL the nations of the earth would be blessed. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from: when you humble yourself before Almighty God and you seek him and act in accordance with His word, God will make a way to get to you and show Himself real and alive to you.

God had showed Himself to the Israelites and made them many promises. He had a special plan for them. He would use their nation to be a blessing to all nations through Jesus Christ of Nazareth, an Israelite by birth. However, they did not appreciate this honor. They took God for granted and did not serve Him with their whole heart. Many of them were downright rebellious and prostituted themselves with foreign gods. They forgot that God blessed them by choice, not because they were anything special themselves. God’s grace extended to them was a privilege, not a right.

By the time Jesus was born, many Israelites were very religious – pious on the outside and rotten on the inside. They were judgmental and exclusive. They wanted God to be a respecter of persons, but God wanted to include ALL and so He gives ALL an opportunity to receive Him – not by works or by lineage – but by faith alone. Faith is the great equalizer – all men have the exact same opportunity to receive God’s precious gift of Life.

The Israelites wanted all of God’s favor for themselves, but they did not honor or serve Him. We must do the opposite – honor and serve Him and reach out to ALL men from every nation, on His behalf! Do not judge another man after the flesh. Do not exclude anyone. If any are to be excluded, let it be by their own choice. You share the Gospel to ALL men and give ALL men the same opportunity to receive the Lord. Jesus paid the price for every person in every nation!

When God showed Peter the vision and told him not to call common and unclean that which God called clean, He was not talking abut food, He was talking about MEN. God was thinking about the three men who were sent by Cornelius at the direction of the angel. God was thinking about Cornelius and his household – his family, friends, and servants. God was thinking about millions of people who now had an opportunity to receive the Son of promise. God was thinking about you and me! For generations before Jesus was born, God had bided His time, waiting for this moment when people from ALL the nations would enter into His blessing by receiving new life through their faith in Jesus: faith the blood of Jesus; faith in His death, burial, and resurrection!

Through faith in Jesus Christ you are clean! Let no man call unclean what God has called clean!

God Loves Children

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

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV

When God created Adam and Eve, He instructed them to have children and for those children to have children. God loves us and He loves our children. He wants to bless us and our children. God wants to bless us with children. In a perfect world, no one would have any difficulty conceiving or giving birth to healthy offspring, but we do not live in a perfect world. Many people have a difficult time producing children and many never do. However, God’s Word is still true. We can stand on God’s Word concerning children, just as we can for healing or for finances. If it is not possible for us to have our own children and if God has not made us a specific promise about it that we can attach our faith to, and we still would like to raise some children, there are many options open to us. God loves ALL children and commands us to take care of ALL of them as a society. It is God’s people, who have more love in their hearts than anyone, when it comes to children.

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; 8 That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. 9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.  Psalms 113:7-9 KJV

God promises to make the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children! Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for Isaac. It took that long for Abraham’s faith to grow so solid and so unshakeable in the promise of God, so that when Isaac was a teenager, he did not hesitate to obey God and give him back to God as a sacrifice, expecting God to raise him up from the ashes! If he had not had 25 years to build strong faith in God and His promise, he may have hesitated to obey God at that moment.

Hannah waited for years for children and had none, but when she made a vow to God, to give Him her firstborn, He heard and answered her fervent prayer. He gave her the desire of her heart and this son was the great priest, Samuel. Hannah gave Samuel to God and He blessed her with many more children. God also gave children to other barren women, with the proviso that these children would be separated unto Him. God spoke to Manoah’s wife and gave her the child named Samson. He spoke to Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to John the Baptist. These families were so grateful for the children that God gave them, that they were more than happy to obey Him in the naming and raising of these children.

If God gives you an assurance in your heart about your own children, then, by all means, put all your trust and faith in His promise. You see, when you know that the answer is already yours, you know it in your heart – you have not one doubt. You might have an occasional doubtful thought that tries to intrude into your head, but your heart is fixed on God and His promise! If you are just hoping, but you have doubts in your heart, first talk to God some more. Clarify the issue in your heart before God. Whatever you have a release for in your heart, you can apply your faith to. Whatever you have a “scratchiness” or uneasiness about requires more prayer and time in God’s Word. You can only extend your faith into areas that God has said, “Yes” to not the things that are “No” or “I don’t know.”

This is a prayer you can pray every time you bless your food:
You shall serve the Lord your God; He shall bless your bread and water, and I will take sickness from your midst. 26 None shall lose her young by miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. Exodus 23:25-26 AMP

God’s promise to us always comes with a condition. Serve God so that He can bless you. If we meet the condition, He will keep His word. Remember, it is always according to your faith – not merely your hopes or your wishes. God wants to bless you and He already has a plan for your life. Sometimes, we want to give God the plan and ask Him to bless it. Find out what God’s plan is for you – it is already blessed! When it comes to believing God for children, it seems as if more people get messed up in this area than any other, because it’s such an emotional issue. God wants us to love children, protect them and provide for them – whether it’s your own or another’s. Whether we raise our own children, adopt children, build orphanages, or give money to those who take care of abandoned or orphaned children. God loves children and will bless those who bless them!

May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children. 15 May you be blessed of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth! 16 The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth has He given to the children of men.  Psalms 115:14-16 AMP

God’s Supernatural Provision

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

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 21 from Deuteronomy

God’s Supernatural Provision
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 8 verses 1 – 10

All the commandments which I command you this day you shall be watchful to do, that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers. 2 And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothing did not become old upon you nor did your feet swell these forty years. 5 Know also in your [minds and] hearts that, as a man disciplines and instructs his son, so the Lord your God disciplines and instructs you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and [reverently] fear Him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8 A land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey; 9 A land in which you shall eat food without shortage and lack nothing in it; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for all the good land which He has given you.  Deuteronomy 8:1-10 AMP

1.    In verse 1 the Lord says that if His people are watchful to do all His commandments then they will live and multiply.

a. God’s plan is to bless His people and to provide for them.
b. One of the greatest problems we deal with today in believer’s lives is that they don’t see their heavenly Father as their Provider.
c. He loves us so much and wants to provide for us. He wants us to recognize Him as our source of supply.
d. He wants us to go in and possess the land He has provided for us.

2. In verse 2, the Lord reminds His people of their journey through the wilderness – how they were dependant upon Him for absolutely everything – and He does not want them to forget it. He wants them to continue to keep their eyes on Him.

a. A wilderness journey is where you find out what you are made of – everything that’s in you will come out. You will find out if your heart really belongs to God; whether you will continue to obey and serve Him; whether you will trust Him or blame Him.
b. Man shall not live by bread alone – but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Life is about more than food for your mouth right now – it’s about eternal choices.
c. The Lord tells His people that they should respect Him and receive His correction.

3. God promised His people certain things if they obeyed Him. For 40 years:

a.Their clothing would not become old upon them.
b.Their feet would not swell.

4. The land that God was bringing them into was:

a. A good land.
b. A land of brooks of water.
c. A land of fountains and depths that spring out of valley’s and hills.
d. A land of wheat and barley, vines and fig trees and pomegranates.
e. A land of olive oil and honey.
f. A land in which they would eat their bread without scarceness and in which they would not lack anything.
g. A land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills they could dig brass.

5. God says when you have eaten, and are full, then you should bless the Lord your God for the good land that He has given you.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
The Lord constantly tried to remind the Israelites of what He had done for them and emphasized that they should tell their children about it too. Not because He is an ego-maniac, but because if they forgot that God was their source and supply and giver of life, they would go off and serve the devil and take a curse on themselves. God never wants you cursed – He only ever wants you blessed. You are a stupid person if you forget Him after He has blessed you and you go and serve your enemy!

Gratefulness for the past ensures blessings for the future. Be grateful for what the Lord has already done for you; be grateful for what you have right now. Thank Him for His provision for tomorrow. Having faith for God to provide for you is not just about asking – it’s about thanking and praising Him for those things for which you have already asked.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
In this passage it is evident what the Lord has in mind is to bless His people abundantly! All He asks is that, when you are blessed, you thank Him for His abundant, supernatural provision. Many times I just stop and thank God for all His abundant blessings upon my life, remembering where He brought us from and where I could have been, and thanking Him once again for His goodness.

Prayer and Confession:
Father, I pray that I will always bless you for blessing me and that I would always remember where all my blessings come from. Please help me to remember to always be grateful, and to pass the blessing on to others. As I remember to thank and serve You, I thank You for Your continued blessings on my life.

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