PERFECT PRAISE

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

Foundation Scripture:  Matthew 21:15-16  (NKJ)

15         But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant

16         and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise’?”

 

Before people get born again, they might find loud and joyful praise, strange or unusual. They might wonder why we sing, clap and shout before the Lord, but once they are washed in the blood of Jesus, they find that there is praise in their hearts that demands expression! Pure and unashamed praise comes from hearts that have been touched by the awesome power of God. Hearts filled with the love, peace and joy that only the presence of God can bring.

 

Psalms 8:1-2  (NKJ)

1           O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who set Your glory above the heavens!

2          Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

 

The word ‘strength’ as used in this scripture, has to do with loud and bold praise! Children, untouched by the negativity of the world, find it easy to openly praise the Savior, because they have not yet been taught to please men rather than God. Their little hearts are honest and pure and so they can worship with abandon. The angels worship in the same way. It is only when religious tradition is taught, or when sin begins to exert its power over us, that we lose the ability and the desire to worship God wholeheartedly.

 

Religious spirits, and other demons, stirred up by Satan, hate to hear people praise God. Satan (or Lucifer – before iniquity was found in his heart and he was cast out of heaven) had instruments built into his body, so that he could worship before the throne of God. He tried to exalt his throne above the throne of God. So know he hates to hear people praise God. He tries every way he can to make people hate and curse God. He lies to people, telling them that God is the author of death and destruction in their lives, so that they will curse him.

 

Praise unto God will stop the work of the enemy in your life. When God’s people begin to truly praise Him, in spirit and in truth, the demons cover their ears and run for cover. Shouts of praise brought down the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:5). Praise alone caused the defeat of the enemies of Judah (2 Chronicles 20:21&22). Praise, flowing from your lips, will stop the work of the enemy in your life. The very times you don’t feel like praising, are the times you should be praising, louder and longer than ever before!

 

We must praise God with our whole heart.

 

Psalms 9:1-3  (NKJ)

1           I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.

2          I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

3          When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence.

 

We must praise the Lord continually.

 

Psalms 34:1-4  (NKJ)

1           I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2          My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad.

3          Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.

4          I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

 

Praise God even when you don’t feel like it.

 

Psalms 42:11  (NKJ)

11         Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

 

We praise God because of all He has done for us. We praise Him because He is our strength, our salvation, our deliverer, our protector, our healer, our joy, and everything else, to and for us that words cannot express. But most of all, we praise Him simply because He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory! So lift up your hands and lift up your voice – and rejoice and magnify the Lord today!

KEEP YOURSELF FOR YOUR SPOUSE

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

Hebrews 13:4  (AMP) Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.

Proverbs 5:15-23  (NIV) Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer– may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife? For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.

Proverbs 6:23-35  (NKJ) For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, To keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; he may have to give up all the substance of his house. Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away. For jealousy is a husband’s fury; therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will accept no recompense, nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.

Proverbs 7:4-27  (NKJ) Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your nearest kin, That they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, a young man devoid of understanding, Passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house. In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night. And there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. She was loud and rebellious, her feet would not stay at home. At times she was outside, at times in the open square, Lurking at every corner. So she caught him and kissed him; with an impudent face she said to him: “I have peace offerings with me; today I have paid my vows. So I came out to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you. I have spread my bed with tapestry, Colored coverings of Egyptian linen. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; He has taken a bag of money with him, and will come home on the appointed day.” With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him. Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life. Now therefore, listen to me, my children; pay attention to the words of my mouth: Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.

The marriage union is precious in the sight of God. He created Eve and gave her to Adam in a marriage union. Some people act like all relationships between men and women are evil, but marriage is ordained and sanctioned by God. You dishonor yourself when you dishonor your marriage vows or when you have physical relationships with one or more people who are not your spouse. God gives us these parameters for the welfare and safety of our children and ourselves. If people would trust God and obey Him, we would not have the destruction in people’s lives that we see in the world today. God knows best. Whether you are married or single – keep yourself for your spouse and for them alone.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PATIENCE

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

Longsuffering, or patience, is a fruit of the Spirit. You cannot operate in the fruit of patience if you do not also first operate in the fruit of love, joy and peace. You need to walk in love in order to walk in patience, because love gives you a reason to be patient – love is patient and kind.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

You need to walk in joy because joy keeps your attitude straight while you exercise your patience. You need to walk in peace in order to walk in patience because you are trusting God to come through for you and the measure of your peace is the measure of your trust. You can be patient because your trust is in God who answers prayer and delivers you from all tribulations.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:1-5 NIV

Perseverance is patience in action. The Greek word in verses 3 & 4 translated patience in the KJV and perseverance in the NIV and NKJ mean cheerful and hopeful endurance and constancy. You will never know if you have patience unless you go through something that requires patience. The difficult situations that we go through, both call for patience, and also develop patience in us. Patience is something that grows as we use it.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4 NKJ

If you live on this earth – stuff happens. When you go through a trial or through adversity, you can rejoice in the middle of it, and you can rejoice in spite of it, because you know that something good will come out of it – you will grow in patience! Joy is an important part of your faith and your patience. When you encounter adversity, you need to know that the way you handle your situation determines the outcome of your situation. The trying of your faith produces patience. When you properly apply your joy and your faith in the middle of an adversity then your steady faith will produce patience. When patience is allowed to run its full course in your life then you will become perfected.

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Luke 8:11 and 15 KJV

When you have heard the Word and you allow it to be planted firmly in your heart and you patiently allow it to be watered and to grow, you will bring forth good fruit in your life.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10:35-36 (KJV)

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Hebrews 6:10-12 (NIV)

Our Father God has made us exceeding great and precious promises, but we will not be partakers of these promises unless we believe that what He has promised is true and unless we patiently exercise our faith in His Word.

 

PRIDE – THE ENEMY FROM WITHIN

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

Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.  Psalms 36:11 NKJV

In life, we are faced with two kinds of enemies – those from within and those from without. Pride comes from within and the wicked man comes from without. The way that this particular verse of scripture is rendered in certain other translations of the Bible, is to the effect that the foot of pride – or arrogance – belongs to another person coming from without. However, pride and arrogance will seek to claim your life whether coming from the inside or the outside – whether it is in your heart or your enemy’s heart. Most of the time – the outside influences are less potent against us than inside influences. Because God has promised to protect us from without – and He always does a good job – but we are responsible to guard our own heart and unfortunately we don’t always do such a good job.

And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”  Mark 7:20-23 NKJV

Pride is an evil thing that comes from the heart of man, defiling him.  It is as evil, in God’s eyes, as any other sin that man can commit. Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone proud in heart is anabomination to the LORD.” Proverbs 6:16-17 says, that of the seven things that are anabomination to the LORD and that He hates, one of them is a proud look. Psalms 101:5 says, “The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure.”  Proverbs 28:25-26 says, “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered. He whotrusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”

When you trust in yourself you are proud and you are foolish. The Lord will not tolerate pride in your heart or in your look or in your actions. Pride is destructive. Pride will destroy your own life. Pride causes division between man and man – and man and God. Pride will separate you from the presence of God. The pride in your life will not allow God’s grace to reach you and without God’s grace, you are lost. If you wish to please God and preserve your soul, you must walk in humility.

The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Proverbs 16:17-19 NKJV

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.  Proverbs 8:13 NKJV

If you have any fear or respect for God – you will deal with any prideful attitude that you have. You will treat pride like the sin that it is and you will humble your own heart before the Lord. You must lose your life – lay down your pride and your selfishness – to honor the Lord in your life.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 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

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  1 Peter 5:5-9  NKJV

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives moregrace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”  Thereforesubmit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.  James 4:4-10 NKJV

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!

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