JESUS-OUR JUBILEE

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

The Lord began dealing with me recently about the Year of Jubilee. I believe that this is our Year of Jubilee! In Nazareth, at His local Synagogue, Jesus was handed the book of Isaiah and He read from chapter 61:

The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed one, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], 19 To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.] Luke 4:18-19 AMP

Jesus preached that the acceptable year of the Lord was here—the Year of Jubilee, which took place every 50th year—the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound (Leviticus 25). What Jesus was really saying was, “I am your Year of Jubilee!”

THE LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 2 Say to the Israelites, When you come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath to the Lord. 3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits. 4 But in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord; you shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap and the grapes on your uncultivated vine you shall not gather, for it is a year of rest to the land. 6 And the sabbath rest of the [untilled] land shall [in its increase] furnish food for you, for your male and female slaves, your hired servant, and the temporary resident who lives with you, 7 For your domestic animals also and for the [wild] beasts in your land; all its yield shall be for food.8 And you shall number seven sabbaths or weeks of years for you, seven times seven years, so the total time of the seven weeks of years shall be forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall sound abroad the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month [almost October]; on the Day of Atonement blow the trumpet in all your land. 10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his ancestral possession [which through poverty he was compelled to sell], and each of you shall return to his family [from whom he was separated in bond service]. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall not sow, or reap and store what grows of itself, or gather the grapes of the uncultivated vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat the [sufficient] increase of it out of the field. 13 In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his ancestral property. 14 And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. Leviticus 25:1-14 AMP

Under the Old Covenant every seventh year was a time to let the ground rest so that it could recover and come back stronger, producing a stronger, healthier, more abundant harvest. But the fiftieth year—Jubilee—was an extra special year. It was a Holy year. In the last year, before the year of rest, God caused the ground to produce three times as much fruit so that His people could eat and be satisfied whilst the ground rested and whilst they rested in His goodness.

Jubilee is a year of faith—where you rest from your own labors and your own efforts—allowing God’s goodness to lead you and feed you. God wants us to remember that it is He Who watches over us, feeding us, guiding us, and providing for us. If we forget this, we will wear ourselves out with our own efforts, but if we remember that He is the source of our life and every good thing in our life, then we can relax in Him and focus on worshipping Him and yielding to Him.

Jubilee is a time to let slaves go free, to redeem what has been lost and to reach out and help both family and neighbors and those who cannot help themselves. In the year of Jubilee, even though you do not plow or prune or sow, you are still able to eat of the fruit that the ground produces.

You cannot reap from a field that you have never sown, but when you have faithfully sown and sown and sown and then God calls a Jubilee year for you, then you know that it is a year of rest for you, a year of extra blessings, a year of eating from the abundance of the provision that your Father has provided for you as you rest in Him.

When Jesus said, “Today is this scripture fulfilled in your ears,” the people of Nazareth were very angry with Him and did not receive Him, but I declare to you today that Jesus is YOUR Jubilee—if you receive Him you will go free! Jesus has come to restore your joy, your family, your property and your inheritance. Every promise that God has made you in His Word is yours.

So receive Him as your Jubilee—rest in Him and enjoy His blessings.

SPEAK ONLY WHAT YOU HEAR HIM SAY

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

I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. 14 He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is Mine. That is what I meant when I said that He [the Spirit] will take the things that are Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.  John 16:12-15 AMP

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth – He will always speak the Truth and lead you into the Truth. He does not bring you His own message or His own opinion. He will never speak anything contrary to the Word of God. Everything He says is of God and from God. He never speaks on His own authority – He only speaks on the authority that He has been given by Jesus and by the Father. He tells us whatever He hears the Father say – He gives the message that has been given to Him. He is the One Who announces and declares the things that are to come.

The Holy Spirit takes, receives, and draws upon that which belongs to Jesus and which comes from Him and He reveals it to us. Therefore and thereby, He honors and glorifies Jesus! He brings glory to Jesus, because He speaks only the words that come from Jesus. He brings glory to the Father, because He speaks only the words that come from the Father. Obviously, then if we or anybody else speaks words that do not come from the Father, Son or the Holy Spirit – words spoken on our own authority, by our own opinion, and coming from our own heart and mind – then they are not the truth and they will not bring glory to the Lord.

Anyone who rejects Me and persistently sets Me at naught, refusing to accept My teachings, has his judge [however]; for the [very] message that I have spoken will itself judge and convict him at the last day. 49 This is because I have never spoken on My own authority or of My own accord or as self-appointed, but the Father Who sent Me has Himself given Me orders [concerning] what to say and what to tell. 50 And I know that His commandment is (means) eternal life. So whatever I speak, I am saying [exactly] what My Father has told Me to say and in accordance with His instructions.  John 12:48-50 AMP

Jesus, Himself did not speak on His own authority or of His own accord – He only said what His Father told Him to say. Therefore, everyone who hears Him is accountable before God to receive it as the Truth and be saved or to reject it and be judged. If Jesus did not speak on His own authority and the Holy Spirit does not speak on His own authority, then we certainly have no right to say or preach anything that has not been given to us by the Father. We have no right to preach our opinions apart from the Word of God. We have an obligation to preach the Word as it is, with no changes, no compromise and no dilution.

And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred Writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus [through the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. 16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:15-17 AMP

And we have the prophetic word [made] firmer still. You will do well to pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, until the day breaks through [the gloom] and the Morning Star rises ( comes into being) in your hearts. 20[Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving). 21 For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so–it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit.  2 Peter 1:19-21 AMP

Whether you preach, pray or prophesy, let it be led, guided and guarded by the Holy Spirit. Bring glory to God as you speak only the words that He puts in your mouth.

LIVING THE GOOD LIFE

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

But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, 5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). 6 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed one). 7 He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; 9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] 10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].  Ephesians 2:4-10 AMP

God has a wonderful plan for every person who has ever lived and who will ever live. Before anyone of us was born, God had a plan to bring us into relationship and fellowship with Himself. He prepared paths ahead of time for us to walk in. He prearranged the good life and made it ready for us to live. All that stood in our way was a wall of partition, created by sin.

But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been brought near. 14 For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us, 15 By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.  Ephesians 2:13-15 AMP

Jesus, by His crucifixion, death and resurrection, broke down and destroyed the wall of partition between God and man. All that was left was for each person to recognize what Jesus did for them and to believe in Him and to receive Him as their mediator and peace-maker.

Before you meet Jesus, you live a life that has no purpose and no rewards. Whether you believe in fate or in making your own destiny and no matter how hard you work at it, you never find your higher purpose. However, the moment you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you begin to live a new life – you begin to walk on the path that God has ordained for you and you begin to live the good life that He has prepared for you.

When you become a child of God, He begins to reveal to you His plan and purpose for your life. As you press in to His Word, He begins to show you the good life that you can live in Him. As you press in to hear His voice, your desires change to line up with God’s desires for you. You begin to walk on the path that He had planned out for you before you were born. You begin to life this wonderful life in Him that He had prepared for you even before He sent Jesus to die for you.

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.  Deuteronomy 30:19 AMP

You may have been born into this earth with nothing going for you, destined for trouble and tragedy, but in Jesus, you are born again into blessing, destined for a life of love, peace, joy, fulfillment, satisfaction and the glory of God. It is your choice – so choose the good life!

SEVEN THINGS GOD HATES

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

These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.  Proverbs 6:16-18 AMP

A proud look

Proverbs 16:18 AMP says that, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” God hates pride because pride sets itself against God and His wisdom. Pride causes you to trust in yourself and not in Him. If you do not trust in Him, He cannot save you from the devil or yourself. Pride and arrogance cause you to close yourself off from godly instruction, which will save your life. Pride causes you to be unteachable and judgmental. When you are judgmental, you set yourself up to be judged more harshly yourself and God is trying to save your life from destruction and judgment. Pride will cause your heart to be closed off from God and therefore also closed off from all His wonderful blessings and the wonderful plans He has for your life.

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the humble.” 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.  James 4:6+10 NKJV

When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness.  Proverbs 11:2 AMP

A lying tongue

God hates lying and He hates liars. It is impossible for God to lie and everyone who belongs to Him will keep their tongue from evil and their lips from speaking deceit (Psalms 34:13). Colossians 3:9 tells us not to lie to one another, because lying is part of our old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices and we ought to have stripped our old self off. Jesus said that the devil is a liar and the father of lies. He is a murderer there is no truth in him (John 8:44). If we are born-again and washed in the blood of Jesus then we must walk in truth and talk the truth.

Hands that shed innocent blood

Exodus 20:13 AMP says that, “You shall not commit murder.”  God hates hands that shed innocent blood. He does not tolerate murder. Murder is not just an outward act – if you hate your brother in your heart, you are a murderer in your heart. Take steps immediately to forgive your brother and to begin to walk in love toward everyone.

We know that we have passed over out of death into Life by the fact that we love the brethren (our fellow Christians). He who does not love abides (remains, is held and kept continually) in [spiritual] death. 15 Anyone who hates (abominates, detests) his brother [in Christ] is [at heart] a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding (persevering) within him.  1 John 3:14-15 AMP

A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans

Behold, [the wicked man] conceives iniquity and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. 15 He made a pit and hollowed it out and has fallen into the hole which he made [before the trap was completed]. 16 His mischief shall fall back in return upon his own head, and his violence come down [with the loose dirt] upon his own scalp.  Psalms 7:14-16 AMP

God does not want people to waste time thinking about and planning evil for others, because mischief will come back on their own heads. It would be better to spend time planning good things to do to and for others.

Feet that are swift in running to evil

10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them; restrain your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. 18 But [when these men set a trap for others] they are lying in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives.   Proverbs 1:10,15,16,18 AMP

When people are eager to sin and do evil, they destroy other people’s lives and also their own. God does not want anyone’s life destroyed. Proverbs 4:26-27 AMP says, “Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright. 27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.”

A false witness who breathes out lies even under oath

The ninth commandment, in Exodus 20:16, says that you should not bear false witness against your neighbor. God hates a false witness who lies about someone else and who gives a false testimony. Proverbs 19:9 AMP says that, “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he who breathes forth lies shall perish.” 

He who sows discord among his brethren

Proverbs 16:28 AMP says that, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” God hates strife and discord. If the devil can divide us, he can conquer us. James 4:1 AMP says, “What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?” These things arise out of people’s sensual, ungodly desires and result in division and separation. God desires oneness and unity in His body, not separation. When we are united we are strong and we can protect and help each other.

THE CARNAL MIND AND THE REPROBATE MIND

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

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and  seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. 6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. 7[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot. 8 So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him. Romans 8:5-8 AMP

There is a mind of the flesh – the carnal mind – and a mind of the Spirit. The carnal mind caters to the appetites and impulses of the carnal nature. The mind of the flesh – with its carnal thoughts and purposes – is hostile to God. It does not, and cannot, submit itself to God’s Law.  Those who live the life of the flesh are not acceptable to the Lord. Those who are controlled by the unholy desires of the flesh are always focused on what their flesh wants, not on what is right or correct. The flesh, by itself, tends only to sin, not to righteousness, because of the sin nature that is in the flesh. The carnal mind is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit and is under the influence of the god of this world – Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) – who would like nothing more than to utterly destroy your life. Those who yield to the flesh and the carnal mind end up with death and destruction.

Contrary to secular humanistic thinking, children left to their own devices, will not make the right choices. They will primarily lean toward sin and selfishness. If they are going to walk in righteousness they need a brand new nature and they need instruction in righteousness. They need the mind of the Holy Spirit, which is life and peace.

For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. 19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], 21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].  Romans 1:18-22 AMP

And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome, 29 Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers, 30 Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents. 31[They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless. 32 Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.  Romans 1:28-32 AMP

When you know the right thing to do and you do wrong – you develop a reprobate mind. You have deliberately chosen sin as a way of life and you now call what is wrong and bad, right and good, and what is right and good, wrong and bad. You will not see the truth and so you live a lie. You are self-deceived. You will have no excuse when you stand before the Lord on Judgment Day, and still you are not motivated to change or to find God’s will for your life before it is too late. People who think that what they are doing is acceptable will not be motivated to change no matter what. The devil loves to bring people to this place of deception so that he can take them to a lost eternity. God wants you to know the truth about yourself – even if it hurts at the time – so that you can receive the truth, act on the truth, and be spared eternal torment.

The only way to enjoy God’s eternal life, here on earth and in the world to come, is to yield yourself – your Spirit, your soul and your body – to the Holy Spirit and not to the flesh and the devil. Don’t follow the world, don’t walk like them, talk like them or act like them. Allow the truth of the word of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to penetrate your mind and heart so that you will be transformed into the image of Christ.

MEEK IS NOT WEAK

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

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 KJV

Religious history has portrayed Jesus Christ as a skinny, pale-faced shepherd with a lamb under His arm and Elizabethan English coming out of His mouth. The connotation is that He is weak, but that could not be further from the truth. The Bible says that people marveled at the authority with which He spoke. Luke 4:32 AMP says that, “they were amazed at His teaching, for His word was with authority and ability and weight and power.” People were healed as He spoke the word to them. He also commanded demons to come out and they did. He was powerfully anointed, commanding respect wherever He went. They tried to kill Him before His time and could not. Jesus was not weak. He was meek – humble, lowly, and gentle. Meek means: enduring injury with patience and without resentment. Jesus did exactly that – He endured the shame, humiliation, agony, and indignity of the cross for every one of us!

Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked –But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:1-12 NKJV

Jesus went meekly to the cross. He endured the injury and shame with patience and without resentment. He could have called ten thousand angels to His aid, but He chose to die alone – for you and me. That takes a man of powerful character. He did it because, by faith, He saw the final outcome! He saw you and me. He saw us in Him as He died and was resurrected. He saw the joy of our resurrection – our redemption and restoration into the family and kingdom of God! You and I are His joy and His prize!

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, 2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3 AMP

 

A Good, Clear Conscience

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

Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith. 6 But certain individuals have missed the mark on this very matter [and] have wandered away into vain arguments and discussions and purposeless talk. 7 They are ambitious to be doctors of the Law (teachers of the Mosaic ritual), but they have no understanding either of the words and terms they use or of the subjects about which they make [such] dogmatic assertions. 8 Now we recognize and know that the Law is good if anyone uses it lawfully [for the purpose for which it was designed] 1 Timothy 1:5-8 AMP

As we grow in God and the knowledge of His word, we also grow in the love of God. Genuine love springs from a heart that is pure, a conscience that is clear, and faith that is real. Before sin came into the earth, man had unbroken fellowship with God Almighty. Man’s heart was pure and righteous and there was nothing to separate him and God. However, after the fall, Adam was filled with guilt and shame and felt unable and unworthy to be in God’s presence, and so he ran away and hid from God. Ever since that time God has endeavored to bring man back into His presence. Jesus died so that sin, with its accompanying guilt and shame, could be washed away in His blood and man could once more be dressed in robes of righteousness, having a good, clear conscience, and once more fellowship with God, Himself.

Some people completely miss the point of the Law. The Law was given to make man aware, not only of what God expected of him, but also that he could not keep the whole Law and needed a Savior. Some people spend so much time arguing about the Law that they forget to keep it themselves. The Law is not about petty rules and regulations; it is about loving God, loving your neighbor, and being kind and merciful.

When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law. 15 They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them] 16 On that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts).   Romans 2:14-16 AMP

When God created man, He created him with a conscience. One of the things that sets man aside from all other creatures is his conscience. The fact that man has a conscience, that is disturbed when he does wrong and at peace when he does right, is one huge reason to doubt the theory of evolution. The essential requirements of God’s law are written in every man’s heart no matter what country he lives in, what language he speaks, and what he has been taught about God. His own conscience alerts him not only to God’s principles, but to the very reality of the existence of God.

In John 8:1-9, when the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery, trying to trip Him up with the Law so that they could accuse Him of something and arrest Him, Jesus did not argue over the Law. He simply directed them back to their own consciences, to do what their heart would let them do. Of course, they could not deny their own short-comings and they dropped their stones, hung their heads, and walked away. Verse 9 (AMP) says that, “They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court.”

To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted.  Titus 1:15 AMP

When your heart is pure, your conscience is clear and clean. Because you have pure motives, you expect that other people do as well. However, someone who is not submitted to God or His word, and has allowed sin to defile and corrupt him, expects the same from others. He thinks that everyone is as corrupt in his thinking and doing as he is.

This charge and admonition I commit in trust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with prophetic intimations which I formerly received concerning you, so that inspired and aided by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 Holding fast to faith (that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence) and having a good (clear) conscience. By rejecting and thrusting from them [their conscience], some individuals have made shipwreck of their faith.
1 Timothy 1:18-19 AMP

The devil does not want you to have a clear conscience, because if you do, you will come boldly into God’s presence to fellowship with Him, be filled with Him, and be like Him! God wants you to come boldly into His presence and ask for what you need. The devil can’t fight with God and he doesn’t want you teaming up with God. The devil wants to defeat you, so he tries to separate you from God by means of guilt and condemnation. That is why he tempts you with sin. Do not refuse to hear and obey your conscience or you will shipwreck your faith and the devil will succeed! This is the war we fight. You must submit to and obey God, so you can live with a clear conscience. Allow God to purify your heart by His word and His Spirit. Allow God’s Word to wash you clean and produce in you a good, clear conscience!

 

Show Us The Father by Eric Gonyon

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

Foundation Scriptures: John 14:8-11

John 14:8-11 – Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

Many in this world are crying out for someone to show them the Father. Our mandate from Heaven, as believers, is to show them the Father. We do this by introducing them to the Savior—JESUS.

God is a giver. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Some individuals do not comprehend the goodness of the Father God because they only consider the example of their earthly father which may have let them down.

According to some resources: 24 million kids or 34% of all children in the United States live in a home without their father present.

Children from fatherless homes account for:

  • 63% of youth suicides
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers
  • 71% of all high school dropouts
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders
  • 85% of all youths sitting in prisons
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children

As Christians, we are to represent the true Father God through the person of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. The only hope for this world is Jesus.

Psalm 68:5-6 – A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in the families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

Romans 8:14-16 – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

God is good and merciful. Psalms 118:1 – O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

God is love: 1 John 4:8 – He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

The Prodigal Son (The Father God’s nature is to forgive.)

Luke 15:11-24 – 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

The Word of God to Us – From Psalms 119

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

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It was most likely written by David. David was a successful man—as an individual and as a leader—because he reverenced the Word of God, held it in high esteem and lived by it. Even when he made a mistake, he asked the Lord for forgiveness and continued to be submitted to every word that the Lord spoke to him. There are some people who, because they themselves do not want to submit to the Word of God, belittle the Bible and claim that it was written only by the imaginations of mere men and not by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV says that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Whether people agree or not with God’s word, they will still be judged by it in the end.

Many books that people base their whole life on were written by single authors, many of whom claim to have received their revelations from an angel. The Bible, on the other hand, had 40 authors, but is consistent throughout. There is no doubt it was written by men under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and it is God’s word written directly to us and for us! If we love and honor God’s word, we will succeed and prosper in every area of our lives. To those who have no respect for God’s words, they mean nothing, but to those who love the Word of God and whom have realized its value, it is sweeter than honey and more precious than gold! Romans 11:33 NKJV says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” Indeed, there is no list or description that can fully do justice to all the words of Almighty God, but read and meditate on this description of the Word of God, taken only from Psalms 119, and let it minister to your Spirit and encourage your heart.

The Word of God is to us:
• The law of the Lord—verse 1; 18
• A record of His testimonies—verse 2; 14; 31; 36
• A revelation of His ways—verse 3; 15
• A code of His precepts—verse 4; 15
• A list of His statutes—verse 5; 33
• The sum of His commandments—verse 6; 32; 35; 86
• The righteous judgments of God—verse 7; 13; 62; 75; 106
• The source of cleansing—verse 9
• The words of God—verse 11; 16; 57
• A ready counselor—verse 24
• The source of life—verse 25; 40; 50; 88
• A history of God’s wondrous works—verse 27
• A tower of strength—verse 28
• The way of truth—verse 30; 142; 151
• The way of God—verse 1; 37
• The way of righteousness—verse 40
• The way of salvation—verse 41
• A true trust—verse 42
• The word of truth—verse 43; 142; 151
• The source of hope—verse 49; 81; 114
• A source of comfort—verse 52
• The subject of songs—verse 54
• The foundation of good judgment and knowledge—verse 66; 130
• A source of delight—verse 70; 92
• Something better than riches—verse 72
• A book of promised mercies—verse 76
• The testimony of His mouth—verse 88
• An eternal plan—verse 89; 91
• An unforgettable code of laws—verse 93
• Something infinite in its scope—verse 96
• A source of wisdom—verse 98
• A source of knowledge—verse 99; 104; 130
• Something sweeter than honey—verse 103
• A lamp to the feet—verse 105
• A light to the pathway of life—verse 105
• An eternal heritage—verse 111
• A source of joy if obeyed—verse 111; 112
• A stay in trouble—verse 116
• Something to be feared—verse 120
• The word of God’s righteousness—verse 123
• Something to be loved more than silver and gold—verse 127
• Something wonderful—verse 129
• The source of light—verse 130
• Something understandable to the simple—verse 130
• A code of laws for the upright—verse 137
• A righteous and faithful testimony of God—verse 138
• The pure Word of God—verse 140
• The truth from the beginning—verse 160

* Forty-eightfold Description of the Word of God from Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.

THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS


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

Foundation Scriptures: II Corinthians 5:7-10; I Corinthians 4:4-5; II Timothy 4:6-8

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
II Corinthians 5:7-10 NKJV

For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
I Corinthians 4:4-5 NKJV

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  II Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV

I. The Crown of Righteousness

•    The Crown of Righteousness will be handed out to certain believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ, together with the other crowns.
•    The Crown of Righteousness is the Winner’s Crown – also known as the Overcomer’s Crown or the Victor’s Crown.
•    It’s a crown for those who finish their race.
•    This is not a crown just for being saved and made righteous by believing in Jesus.
•    The Crown of Righteousness is given to all those who look forward to His return – those who fight the good fight of faith, who have finished the race and who have kept the faith.

II. Fight the Good Fight

•    I Timothy 1:18-20 ERV – Timothy, you are like a son to me. What I am telling you to do agrees with the prophecies that were told about you in the past. I want you to remember those prophecies and fight the good fight of faith. 19 Continue to trust in God and do what you know is right. Some people have not done this, and their faith is now in ruins.
•    We have to keep God’s Word to us in our eyes and ears and fight the good fight by continuing to trust in God and do what is right. If you don’t, you might end up shipwrecking your faith.
•    I Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV – Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.
•    This verse in the Message Bible says: Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, 14 and love without stopping.

III. Keep the Faith

•    Don’t get distracted from your end goal
•    I Timothy 6:10-12 AMP – For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs. 11 But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.
•    The love of money will cost you your Crown of Righteousness.
•    You have to pursue righteousness.
•    I Timothy 6:20-21 AMP – O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination. 21 [For] by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith. Grace (divine favor and blessing) be with you all! Amen (so be it).
•    Don’t be sucked in by false doctrine and flaky people who compromise the Word of God.
•    James 1:3-4 AMP – Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
•    Trials come to distract, hinder and/or stop you, but they can serve to grow you and grow your faith if you keep your eyes on the Lord and on His word, trust Him with your life and are a doer of the word.
•    Good news! The trials you triumph over all contribute to your reward!

IV. You Can be an Example and an Inspiration

•    I Timothy 4:12 AMP – Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
•    I Thessalonians 1:8-10 NKJV – For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

V. Someone is Rooting for You

•    Both those who have gone before you – the great cloud of witnesses – and your fellow believers are rooting for you and cheering you on (Hebrews 12:1).
•    II Corinthians 1:24 Message Bible – We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours.
•    II Corinthians 13:5-9 Message Bible – Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. 6 I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. 7 But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. 8 We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. 9 We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.
•    I Thessalonians 1:2-3 AMP – We are ever giving thanks to God for all of you, continually mentioning [you when engaged] in our prayers, 3 Recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith and service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

VI. Finish Your Race

•    Run like a winner!
•    I Corinthians 9:24-27 ERV – You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win! 25 All who compete in the games use strict training. They do this so that they can win a prize—one that doesn’t last. But our prize is one that will last forever. 26 So I run like someone who has a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something, not just the air. 27 It is my own body I fight to make it do what I want. I do this so that I won’t miss getting the prize myself after telling others about it.