Tag Archives: Rodney Howard-Browne 2015

Joshua’s Call – Part II

And I have declared that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.  
Exodus 3:17 AMP

Therefore you shall keep all the commandments which I command you today, that you may be strong and go in and possess the land which you go across [the Jordan] to possess.  Deuteronomy 11:8 AMP

When the Lord says that He is going to do something – He WILL do it! However, He needs a man or a woman of faith to take a stand and to trust Him and to obey Him, in order to bring it to pass!

When Moses was getting ready to obey God and take the Israelites into the Promised Land, he sent twelve scouts ahead – one from each tribe into Canaan – to spy out the land. Even though it truly was a land of “milk and honey”, ten of the spies brought a bad and fearful report about the people living there, and only two brought a report of hope and faith in the Word of Almighty God! Joshua and Caleb testified to the Israelites in Numbers 14:7-9 AMP: “The land through which we passed as scouts is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, neither fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their defense and the shadow [of protection] is removed from over them, but the Lord is with us. Fear them not.” The people were so negative and fear-filled at that time, that they reacted angrily to Joshua and Caleb’s faith and even wanted to stone them. Now God was calling Joshua to stand up and finish what Moses started and lead this same nation – albeit the next generation – into their promised land! In the natural, it was a daunting task. Would the people follow Joshua and his faith in God, or would they do what they did to Moses? Joshua had no way of knowing. He needed faith and he needed courage; most of all he needed the Lord’s help in a powerful way, every day! Whatever God has called YOU to do – you are going to need faith and courage to accomplish it!

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. 7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the Lord He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:6-8 NKJV

And [the Lord] charged Joshua son of Nun, Be strong and courageous and firm, for you shall bring the Israelites into the land which I swore to give them, and I will be with you.
  Deuteronomy 31:23 AMP

In Joshua 1:1-9, God gives Joshua his winning strategy:

– Be strong
– Be confident
– Be of good courage
– Do according to the law which Moses commanded you
– Turn not from My words to the right or the left
– This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth
– Meditate on it day and night
– Observe and do according to all that is written in it

This is not just Joshua’s winning formula, but it is mine and yours, too. If we want to see victory and success in our own lives, then we need to do what Joshua did!

First, we need God’s personal plan for our lives. God does have a plan for each of us! We must find out what that plan is and obey God in it.

Secondly, we need to believe that God is for us, not against us. We need to have strong faith in His Word and His promises. We need to throw away all our fear; we need to stand up and be strong, confident, and of good courage. Nothing and no one can stand before us, when God is on our side!

Thirdly, we need to obey God precisely. We must be personally submitted to God’s written Word and we must also obey the Spirit of God, when He directs us. God’s will is His Word! You can only receive and experience the blessings of God when you are in the will of God. Don’t think that you can be rebellious, disobedient to God’s Word, and carnal, and still have the blessing of God on your life! Don’t turn from God’s Word – to the left or the right! We must consistently measure our lives against God’s Word and be making the adjustments to line our heart and life up with His will.

Fourthly, we must spend time in God’s Word to build our faith. Romans 10:17 NKJV says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We can’t be courageous if we don’t have faith in God. We can’t have faith in God if we don’t have God’s Word in us.

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.  Psalm 27:14 AMP

The Lord tells Joshua – if you do these things then:

– You will cause these people to inherit the promised land
– You will prosper wherever you go
– You will make your way prosperous
– You will deal wisely
– You will have good success

Then the Lord reminds Joshua again:

– I’m commanding you
– Be strong
– Be vigorous
– Be very courageous
– Do not be afraid
– Do not be dismayed
– The Lord your God is with you wherever you go!

When you absolutely trust and obey God, and DO what He tells you to do, then you are going to be successful! And God WILL be with you wherever you go!

THE WORD THAT PRODUCES – THE WORD THAT PROSPERS

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

Foundational scripture:  Isaiah 55:6-11    (KJV)

  1. 6         Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near;
  2. 7         Let the wicked forsake his way, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
  3. 8         For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
  4. 9         For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  5. 10       For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thiter, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater;
  6. 11       So shall my word be that goeth forth out of mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

 

So shall My Word be – it shall not return to me void.  It shall accomplish that which I please – it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

 

God’s World never, ever returns to Him void.  Void means empty; vain; without producing any effect; useless.  God’s Word is never empty, vain or useless.  It always produces the result He intended.  Just as the rain and the snow come down to water the earth and cause it to be productive and produce seed and food for us, so God’s word is sent out to be a blessing and to accomplish God’s will and plan.

 

God never sends His Word without having a plan for it.  The entire universe was created and came into being by the words that God spoke; He never wastes His words.  If He speaks it, it will come to pass!

 

Jesus was the same way.  Luke 4:32 (AMP) says, “And they were amazed at His teaching, for His word was with authority and ability and weight and power.”

 

Jesus spent 30 years filling himself with the Word of God.  He had a thorough knowledge of the Word.  He was intimately acquainted with the Word.  Not only was He God in the flesh, being familiar with God’s spoken Word, but also in His humanity, He had an extensive knowledge of the written Word of God.  Even though He was God, He spent His whole human existence immersed in the Word of God.

 

When He spoke the Word of God, He spoke it with authority and power, because He was in the Word and the Word was in Him.  He knew what the will of God was because He had spent time in God’s Word and in His presence.  He could speak boldly and with results, because He was fully acquainted with God’s will and His plan for man.

Matthew 7:28-29 (NAS)

  1. 28       The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching;
  2. 29       for He was teaching them as (one) having authority, and not as their scribes.

 

The scribes could not speak the Word of God with confidence, because they had not spent time in His presence.  We are not as bold as we should be because we have not spent enough time in His presence.

 

Jesus could speak boldly because He was perfect in every way.  There was no sin in Him that the devil or anyone else could accuse Him of.  He had a clear conscience.  When you have a clear conscience before God, you can speak the Word boldly and see results.

SHARE YOUR COURAGE – NOT YOUR FEAR

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

Joshua 1:6-9  (NKJ)

6        “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

7        “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

8        “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

9        “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

God has made us many great and precious promises, but we will never see them manifested in our lives unless we gather the courage to act on God’s Word and do those things He commands us to do. Joshua was commanded by God to take the Israelites into the land that God had promised to Abraham. This was not just a case of packing bags and moving to another location. The land was occupied by some other people who had no intention of moving away to make space for Joshua’s people.

 

Joshua was not the first one called to do this task. Moses was supposed to take the people into the land, but they had been so influenced by their captivity in Egypt that they had no vision and no confidence in their God. While they were in captivity God had heard their whining and begging. Because of the promises He had made and because of Moses’ faith and obedience, He was willing and able to bring them out of Egypt. All they had to do was kill the lamb, put the blood on the doorposts, eat and pack to go. God brought them right to the entrance to the Promised Land, but they missed their opportunity to have the manifestation of God’s promises in their lives, because of their fear and their doubt and unbelief.

 

In Numbers 13:1-33, Moses sent twelve spies, one from every tribe of Israel, into the land to report on it. They came back with a good report on the condition of the land – “it flows with milk and honey” – but ten of the spies also reported negatively on the people who dwelt there. They said that they were huge and strong and that their cities were walled and great. They spoke their fear into the people. Joshua and Caleb tried to get the people focused back onto God and His promises – that they were well able to overcome their enemies and to take the land – but they would hear none of it.

 

Because they were too afraid to trust God, they had to endure 40 years in the desert, living from one miracle to another, until they died. Their children, who had been raised on miracles and on the Word of God, as free men without the influence of Egypt, went on to take the land for their possession. Again, Joshua had to remind them to be courageous, as God had reminded him, and to have faith in God, so that they could do what God had promised. It doesn’t matter how courageous you are in an area God has not promised – you will not be successful. However, when God speaks, you might as well put your brave clothes on, because you are going to have to obey God.

 

The Israelites were successful in taking possession of the land that God had promised to them and their fathers, as they gathered their courage and their confidence in God’s Word and followed Joshua’s brave leadership. God will be on your side as you obey His command. It is not always easy, but you will always prevail, as you swallow down your fear and allow your courage to lead you.

 

2 Corinthians 2:14  (KJV)

14      Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

 

The Word of God is the source of your courage and the antidote to your fear and it is God who always causes you to triumph in Christ Jesus.

Don’t speak your fears – speak your courage and your faith.

LIVING IN GOD’S ABUNDANT LIFE

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

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  John 1:1-4 NKJ

And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. I John 5:11-13 NKJ

The word “life” used in these scriptures is the Greek word “zoe”.  Zoe is used in the NT to mean life as a principle and life in the absolute sense. Zoe is life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself, and which He gave to the Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son, to have in Himself, Zoe is “life intensive”. Zoe continually expresses all of the highest and best, which the saints possess in God. Jesus was zoe manifested in the world. Man was cut off from that life in the fall and became a stranger to it. Adam was acquainted with this God-kind of life before the knowledge of sin entered his heart resulting in him becoming more acquainted with death than life. In the fall, man was cut off from God, who is the source of all zoe life.

However, man became a partaker once again of this wonderful life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Author of life to everyone who trusts in Him. Jesus is the life of every believer and the life that He gives He also maintains and sustains. The word “life” refers to more than physical existence. It refers to the spiritual life that results from man’s relationship with God. Eternal life means more than eternal existence. Eternal life refers to eternal fellowship with God. Eternal life is the highest quality of life you can have. According to the apostle Paul, eternal life is freedom from sin, holiness, and a positive relationship with God. Before we knew God’s Zoë life we were in a state of spiritual death – cut off from the life of God – which results from a life of sin.

Eternal life belongs to every believer right now, because of his or her relationship with Christ. You are not waiting to become a partaker of life as God knows it – you have it as your possession now. We have this hope and look forward to this life filling up and changing our bodies when we receive our glorified body as Jesus did when He was resurrected from the dead.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NIV

The “life” that Jesus laid down is the Greek word “psuche” Besides its meanings, “heart, mind, soul,” this word denotes “life” in two chief respects. It means “breath of life” or the “natural life” and “the seat of personality”. Generally speaking, psuche means “the individual life” or the “living being”, while zoe is the life of that being. Jesus, Good Shepherd, laid down His life (psuche) for the sheep so that they can have life (zoe) and have it in abundance.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJ

We can life the “high” life – God’s higher life – if we our life in God and for God. God does not only remove the curse and the fear of death and separation from God from us, but He actually gives us His life. Life as He lives it! We can live our lives – not just barely making it – but we can live in the abundance of peace and joy and blessing that He lives and walks in.

LEADING THOUGHTS AND PURPOSES CAPTIVE

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

For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 AMP

 

As humans, we live on this earth in the realm of the flesh. We function in the sense realm through our five physical senses – touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. But we must remember that there is also a spirit realm and we must learn to be aware of and sensitive to the things of God like we already are to the things of the world. Although this earth realm is our reality, the battles we fight are spiritual battles. We must remember that people themselves are not our enemies – the devil is the enemy. However, we have the advantage – God is on our side! He gives us spiritual weapons to deal with a spiritual foe.

 

2 Corinthians 10:4 (NAS) says, “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses”. Our weapons are divinely powerful – the weight of heaven is behind us – resulting in the overthrow and destruction of strongholds. We cannot war in our own ability, but we war in the power and might of the Holy Spirit, because the fortresses, or strongholds, that we wage war against are not in the flesh or up in the air somewhere – they are found in the minds of people! The battle arena for the spirits of men is the soul – the mind, the emotions and the intellect. Only God’s word and His Spirit can penetrate the darkness of a blind mind.

 

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NIV

 

The devil – referred to here as the god of this age – has blinded the minds of many people with his lies and corruption. They think that they know the truth and they think that they are right, but they cannot see the truth and they refuse to see the truth. The fortresses and strongholds in people’s minds are arguments, theories, reasoning, attitudes, opinions and imaginations that oppose the true knowledge of God. Because of pride and arrogance, people believe a lie and in their minds, set themselves against the truth. God’s word is the truth and it is the only reality. Anything else is a lie and will lead you into darkness, confusion and destruction.

 

Either God or the devil is holding every person’s thoughts and purposes captive. We fight a battle to capture our own thoughts and purposes and the thoughts and purposes of others with the word of God and the Spirit of God. Instead of thoughts being held captive by the devil – we capture them for Jesus. We must cast down vain imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Our thoughts and motivation must be lead captive into the obedience of Christ – the Anointed One. The anointing will capture your mind and heart if you will allow him to work freely in you. Don’t allow your thoughts to run wild – reign them in and control them with the word and the anointing. If you wish to succeed in your life you must control your thoughts – you don’t let them control you.

 

But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:14-18 NKJ

 

The light of God’s word will shine in to bring truth and life and freedom into our lives. When we receive the truth of the Gospel, the veil that was on our heart is removed in Christ. We can now receive the truth and we can begin to understand God’s word and come to know His heart for us. Just as God’s word and His anointing have transformed us, so they will transform others. Always be bold to preach the truth of the Gospel and to allow the anointing of the Holy Ghost to flow through you so that the strongholds that hold people prisoner may be brought down, demolished and destroyed. So that they may walk in the liberty Jesus purchased with His blood and so that they may be transformed into His image, from glory to glory.

WHAT GIFTS DO YOU BRING THE KING?

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

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ “

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2:1-11 NKJV

When Jesus was born, Father God put a star in the sky, which led wise men from the East right to the house in Bethlehem where Jesus, Mary and Joseph were living. When they finally arrived at their destination they were so excited to see the Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of Lords that they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. The Amplified Bible says that, “they were thrilled with ecstatic joy.”

When they saw Jesus, they fell down and worshiped Him. They opened their treasures and presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These were very precious and expensive gifts from a king to a King. In life, when we come into the presence of a king, or a queen, or a president, a prime minister, or anyone else we highly respect, it is considered right and necessary to bring a gift. The gift honors the recipient. We might feel underdressed, inadequate and unprepared if we forget to bring a gift.

There is a common theme in the Bible concerning our giving and it is demonstrated very clearly in this story of Jesus and the wise men. If we love God and if our heart is right with God, we will give generously and cheerfully. We will not have to be forced or coerced, but we will give of our own free will and we will do it joyfully. Our giving is a measure of our love and respect for the Lord.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”  10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV

SERVING GOD WITHOUT FEAR

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

Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, 71 That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

Luke 1:67-75 NKJV

Jesus is the light of the world. John was the prophet sent to “prepare the way of the Lord.” John was not the light — he came only as a witness — to testify concerning that light, so that through Him all men might believe. Zacharias, John’s father, had been struck dumb for nine months for not believing the angel who told him that he would be a dad in his old age. When John was born, Zacharias’s mouth was opened. He informed the neighbors and relatives gathered on the eighth day for the child’s dedication, circumcision and naming, that the child’s name would not be called Zacharias, according to the tradition, but he would be called John as the angel had instructed. Then he began to praise God and prophesy about Jesus and how John was anointed and appointed to go before Him and to announce His coming.

This was a great day and time in the history of the world. God was about to fulfill a promise that He had made many years before to Abraham and to establish a covenant that could not be broken. He reminded us of this promised covenant through the ages, since the world began, by the mouths of His prophets. This was a holy covenant — a promise of mercy — that we would be saved and delivered from the hands of our enemies and that we might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

What a great promise – that we could serve God without fear! If you do not serve God -– you are right to be in fear –- fear for your eternity – fear because the evil one has dominion over you. Even for God’s people, under the Old Testament, there was fear. Men’s sins were only covered, not redeemed. They had to walk very carefully before the Lord. They were not born again into the family of God and they had to struggle with their flesh.

Thank God for His grace and His redemption. Now that Jesus has come, we can enjoy a wonderful new relationship with God. Our salvation is not in what we can do by our own efforts, but it is in the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. All we have to do is surrender to His mercy for it is in our self-surrender that we accept this wonderful, priceless blessing. God desires that we should serve Him without fear.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.  1 John 4:14-19 NKJV

God is love! The Holy Spirit has shed his love abroad in our hearts. His love has been perfected in us. Perfect love casts out fear. Fear involves torment -– expecting judgment and punishment — and the one who is in fear has not been made perfect in love. We love God because He loved us first. When you know that God loves you, you lose your fear. Because love will never harm you – love will always bless you, protect you, and forgive you. It is this love that enables us to come boldly into His presence.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV

Even though we have made mistakes, because of His love for us, we can be bold in God’s presence — even on the day of judgment. It is only a man who is innocent, who can have boldness on his judgment day. He is innocent, not because he is perfect, but because he is forgiven. He can serve God without fear!

ANSWERED PRAYER – PART THREE

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

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].  James 5:16b AMP

When a righteous man prays a continued, earnest, heartfelt, prayer, there is a tremendous power that is released – a dynamic active power that effectively goes to work – producing the desired result. If you want our prayers to be answered, there are a few things that you must do to ensure the desired result – you must walk righteously before the Lord, you must pray sincerely and fervently – and very importantly – you must pray according to God’s will.

5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 “Then the one inside answers, `Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  Luke 11:5-13 NIV

Jesus uses many examples of natural principles to help you to understand spiritual principles. In this case, He speaks of a man for whom it is an inconvenience to get out of bed to give his friend the bread he is requesting. He tells him to go away and stop bothering him and his family. However, because the friend persists and does not give up, the man eventually climbs over his sleeping kids, gets out of bed, grabs the bread and gives him the three loaves. He probably asked him if there was anything else he needed, and gave it to him while he was up, because he did not want to get out of bed again.

The spiritual principle here is one of persistent faith – not taking no for an answer. When you pray an “if it be Thy will” prayer, there is no faith involved because there is no expectation of an answer. This is the prayer of a person who wants to take no responsibility for their own destiny – they want God to take the responsibility for everything that happens to them. This is also the prayer of a person who does not want to get their hopes up and then be disappointed, so they don’t even look for a specific answer or result. If it happens – they would be happy. If it doesn’t – they haven’t lost anything. This is not the way the Lord tells you to pray. He tells you to ask and to keep on asking as if you expect an answer!

He even assures you that even as you, as a natural parent, are good to your children and bless them when they ask for something, your Father God is even more wonderful and faithful to answer your specific prayers and requests and give you the good things you asked for.

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:1-8 NIV

If an unjust judge would try a woman’s case and give her justice, just because of her persistence, then how much more will your God, Who loves you, hear you and move on your behalf when you are persistent in your faith. The woman knew that the law was on her side, all she needed was for the judge to do his job. You must know what the Word has promised you and then you must persist in your faith until you receive all that has been promised to you.

YOU WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE – HONOR GOD IN YOUR BODY

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12 “Everything is permissible for me”-but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”-but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”-but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”  17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 NIV

“Everything is permissible for me-but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me-but I will not be mastered by anything.”  Many of the problems that had arisen in Corinthconcerned their behavior and morals. They were saved, but they needed to realize that some of the behaviors that they were accustomed to were physically, morally and spiritually destructive behaviors and therefore unacceptable for God’s children. Paul spent a lot of time giving them ethical advice in his correspondence with them.

“Everything is permissible”-but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible”-but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.  1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV

The main principle Paul teaches is that “all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” Christians ought to use their freedom for the glory of God and the good of their neighbors, not for not for their own self-advantage. It is not about a bunch of “do’s and don’ts,” but it is a blueprint for a way of life that will produce life, liberty and blessing, not death and destruction.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  Galatians 5:13-15 NIV

Just because you can do something, does not mean you should do it. Our freedom is tempered and shaped by our love. Love leads the way into godliness and a way of life that brings blessing to our liberty. We are free – not free to sin, but free from sin. We are not free to be selfish, but we are free to love each other.

Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul. 12 Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection [when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock]. 13 Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 Or to governors as sent by him to bring vengeance (punishment, justice) to those who do wrong and to encourage those who do good service. 15 For it is God’s will and intention that by doing right [your good and honest lives] should silence (muzzle, gag) the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons. 16[Live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but [live at all times] as servants of God. 17 Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honor the emperor.  1 Peter 2:11-17 AMP

2 Peter 2:19 NIV says that, “a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” We are free from sin and free to worship God and serve Him. If we come into the freedom of the gospel and then use our freedom to excuse our wickedness, we are just putting ourselves back into bondage. You are truly free when you have placed your flesh and carnal appetites under the control of the Holy Spirit and when your only Lord and Master is Jesus.

ALWAYS PAY YOUR RESCUER

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

I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows, 14 Which my lips have uttered And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, With the sweet aroma of rams; I will offer bulls with goats. Selah 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. 17 I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue. 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. 19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!  Psalms 66:13-20 NKJV

David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). He had a deep reverential fear of God and a whole-hearted commitment to his Lord. He put God first and himself second in everything for most of his life. He made some mistakes and some bad decisions, but he also repented immediately when God dealt with him and submitted with humility to the consequences of his actions.

There are always consequences! When you make a decision or a choice, you should be willing and prepared to live with the results of your actions – whether good or bad. Too many people want to eat their cake and still keep it at the same time. People want to make selfish decisions and then they expect God, or their parents, or their teachers, or their boss or their friends, or their spouse, to let them off the hook, bale them out, and save their skin. They want the best of both worlds. They are selfish and they want to have everything go their way – no matter what. This does not work in real life!

People treat God like they treat people – they use Him, lie to Him, take advantage of Him and try to manipulate Him. But you can’t lie to God – He is looking right into your heart – and you will find out that what you dish out will come back to you – on every wave! You cannot escape it. You cannot make a promise to God and then not do it – no matter how pressured you were when you made the promise. Some people wonder why nothing ever works out for them and why God is not blessing them, but they have all these rash promises floating out there that need to be kept. God is waiting for them to do what they said they would do when they were in trouble. If you are afraid of people’s response to you not keeping a promise – what about the Creator’s response?

People call on God – He hears their promise – He rescues them – and now they go merrily on as if a promise was never made. They act like they got themselves out of the predicament they were in and that they did not need God’s help. That is what you are saying when you refuse to acknowledge God with your promised gift. That might seem to work for you for a while, but only until the next lot of trouble you get yourself into. Then who are you going to call? If your car breaks down and you call for a man with a tow truck and then you don’t pay him – you are not going to be able to call on him ever again – at least not until you pay him what you owe him.

Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. 2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed — 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.  Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 NKJV

Some people treat people better than they treat God – they pay their bills because they are afraid of the trouble they will get into if they don’t – but they have no problem owing it to God forever. They have no fear of God and no respect for His kindness. Some people see kindness as a weakness and even though they ask God for His help, they disrespect Him by forgetting their promise. It may seem like you are getting away with not keeping your promise and not paying your vow, but you will be held accountable and you will have to stand and face Almighty God eventually and give an account for your words, together with every other person who ever lived.

It would be better to not open your mouth and utter a rash promise than to promise what you have no intention or ability to fulfill. Think about what you are saying before you make a promise. Make a decision to do as you have promised at your earliest opportunity and do not quit until it is all done! Start paying your vow even before you are out of trouble! If you will pay your vows promptly, and keep your promises exactly, then God will be able to bless you as He loves to do. God is no man’s debtor – He does not owe you anything. He wants to bless you, but He is only able to bless you as you keep your word and do as you have promised to do.