WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION

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

Philippians 2:12-16  (NKJ)

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,

15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Some people believe that your salvation is completely God’s responsibility and others believe that it comes by your own efforts. However we can see from God’s Word that although He did all the hard work, it is still up to us to allow that work of salvation to take place in our lives. God will do great things in us—with our cooperation.

From the moment that you accept God’s incredible blessings of grace and mercy that come to us by the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and you receive Him as your Lord and Savior, you are born-again! You are saved from hell, eternal damnation, and all of the penalties of sin. Your spirit is made brand-new and you receive eternal life immediately. There will never be any death for your spirit again. Your body will eventually cease to exist in its present form when your spirit leaves your body and your body dies, but your spirit—the real you—will live on in God’s presence.

Your soul (mind, will, intellect and emotions) and your body are not instantly redeemed at the moment you were saved as your spirit was. That is the salvation you have to work out “with fear and trembling.” When you were born-again, it was not the end of your salvation, but the beginning. Fortunately for us, God is working in us to bring about His will and His good pleasure. All we have to do is yield to His working and submit ourselves to His will.

Titus 2:11-14  (NKJ)

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

In order to inherit the salvation of our body and soul, we must depart from sin and ungodliness and we must live soberly, righteously and godly, keeping our eyes and hearts open for Jesus’ return and eager to do what is good.

Romans 12:1-2  (NKJ)

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If you present your body unto the Lord as a living sacrifice, then you will not be likely to yield it to the lusts of your flesh—which is the root of all your sin problems. Your flesh desires the pleasure of sin, but unfortunately sin has very unpleasurable consequences, both here and in eternity. The only way you can cease conforming to the world and begin to be transformed and recognize God’s will for you is to renew your mind to the Word of God.

You did not earn the salvation of your spirit—it was a free gift purchased in the blood of Jesus that you received. God’s grace and mercy is still working in your life for the salvation of your soul and body. It is your responsibility to work out this salvation, by continuing to allow God to do the work in you that He desires to do—until you see Him face-to-face!

JESUS – THE WORD OF GRACE AND TRUTH – MADE FLESH

“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 with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'” From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  John 1:1-17 NIV

Jesus is the Word of God who became flesh and made His dwelling among us here on earth. He was with God and He is God. He existed before time began. He is the beginning and the end. He was there when God made the heavens and the earth and they were made with Him and by Him. Nothing was created without Him or apart from Him. What an incredible sacrifice He made for us. He created the universe and yet He humbled Himself to come down to earth to regard our plight and put up with abuse and persecution to give Himself as an offering for us.

Jesus is the light of the world and the way, the truth and the life. God sent John the Baptist ahead of Jesus so that he could testify about Jesus and prepare everyone for His coming. John was not the light, but he came to tell everyone who would listen that Jesus was the light of the world. Even though Jesus created the world and everything in it, the people He created did not recognize nor acknowledge Him. He came to His own – the seed of Abraham and the nation He was physically born into (His people after the flesh) – but they did not receive Him. They rejected and crucified Him.

God offered His salvation to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. God is not a respecter of persons. To whoever believes in Jesus and recognizes Him as the Messiah, Savior and Redeemer, He gives the power – authority, liberty and right – to become the children of God. Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The first time we were born of the flesh into a legacy of sin and death and lack – cut off from God. The second time we are born of the Spirit – made alive unto God with a legacy of life, liberty, divine health and the provision of God.

The Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. You can worship the letter of the Law or you can worship the God of the Law. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). The Bible calls Jesus “the Word of God”. You can allow the Word to put you into bondage or you can allow it to set you free. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3, in the Amplified Bible, says that even if we have plenty of Bible knowledge, we don’t really understand it if we don’t understand the love of God. The law was given to give men guidelines to live righteously, but at the same time it made men aware that they needed a Savior – because it was not possible to keep the Law in the body of this flesh.

As we read the Word of God we must keep in mind God’s great love and grace and mercy and we will come into the freedom God intended for us and not into the bondage of religion. A religious spirit tries to keep you bound, but Jesus came to bring you into the liberty of righteousness, so that you can have boldness to come into the presence of God and you can also have boldness on the Day of Judgement. He gives you the freedom of a life washed in the blood of Jesus and forgiven of all sin and iniquity. Thank God that he sent the Word, Jesus, in the flesh to redeem us and bring us freely into His presence!

DO NOT GROW WEARY IN DOING GOOD

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

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

II Thessalonians 3:13 NKJ

 

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:6-10 NKJ

 

The word says that whatever we sow – that is what we will reap. So we should not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing good and doing right. We will reap in due time and at the appointed season if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faith. There are three things we must do to reap our harvest. Do the right thing. Keep on doing the right thing – don’t let weariness or discouragement stop you. Keep your faith in God’s word activated as you do the right thing.

 

Being a giver is the right thing to be. Giving is the right thing to do. We must be givers, as a way of life, and we must resist the temptation to change what we are doing and to stop giving when we are weary and frustrated. We must be a blessing to those who minister spiritually into our lives and also to our church family. We must do the right thing because it is the right thing, not because we feel like it or not. The devil is sure to apply pressure to us from time to time, trying to prevent us from doing God’s word and His will. He does not want us to be blessed or fruitful in any way. We must not be moved by what we see and feel and we must DO right because it IS right!

 

“You have said harsh things against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.'” Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.    “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.  Malachi 3:13-18 NIV

 

Sometimes Christians begin to think that they are hard done by. They feel like they are trying hard and getting nowhere. The “poor, little, old Christian” is struggling along, barely making it, while the devil shows them the ungodly and disobedient and he tells them that these sinners are more blessed and prosperous than they are. The devil tells them that the sinner is getting away with what he is doing. He tries to convince the Christian that all their faithfulness, commitment and devotion to God are for nothing, while the sinner escapes justice. To the frustrated Christian, who believes this lie, it seems as if the sinner is better off than they are and so they begin to gripe at God.

 

God rebukes us for even thinking that any one individual escapes justice. God is merciful and He is very, very patient with every one of us, but you can be sure that no one gets away with anything. There is a day of reckoning for every one. On that day you do not want to be the one who must give an account of how you stopped doing what you knew to be right just because you were looking at other people. You do not want to be rebuked by God because you had a bad attitude, which prevented you from receiving all of the blessings of God in your life.

 

There is a scroll of remembrance written in the presence of the Lord, concerning those who fear Him and honor his name. God sees and knows every small thing we do that is right and He will bless and honor us for it. There is a reward waiting for us. No matter how comfortable and prosperous the ungodly seem now. No matter how much it seems that they are getting away with – there is coming a time when the whole earth will see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. We are His treasured possession and He loves us and is watching over us with compassion. He is taking note of every right and good thing we do and He is also watching our heart attitude as we do it. Take heart and do what you know is right.

BRING YOUR WHOLE TITHE INTO THE STOREHOUSE

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

Malachi 3:6-18  NIV

6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

God is a good God. Psalms 145:8-9 says that “the LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all,

And His tender mercies are over all His works.” God is good – always good – and He does not change, therefore we benefit from His mercy and compassion. Even though we try His patience and we do not deserve His grace, He offers it anyway.

7 “Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, `How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, `How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me.”

We invest our treasure where our heart is. If we love someone – we give him or her our devotion, our time and our possessions. If we really love God, we give our best offerings to Him. God is not the One who draws back or who deserts us. We are the ones who draw back from Him. When we draw back from God spiritually, we also hold back our substance – our money – from Him. By our stinginess toward God, we demonstrate our lack of love and devotion toward Him. God says that when we fail to pay our tithe to Him, that we are robbing Him and we have brought a curse upon ourselves.

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

If we love God we will give to Him. Every time we receive an income – we should bring our whole tithe (ten percent) to the Lord. The devil would like us to operate in fear instead of faith in the area of our finances. He wants us to think that if we give our money away to God, then we will have less for ourselves, but God says that if we give to Him, we will receive a blessing so huge that we will not even have room for the whole blessing!

11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.

Our tithe releases God’s blessing upon us. God not only promises to bless us, but to protect and bless the work of our hands. The work we do will be exceptionally blessed. It will produce more than what we would expect normally.

12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

We will be so blessed that other people will notice how blessed we are.

13 “You have said harsh things against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you ask, `What have we said against you?’ 14 “You have said, `It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.'”

We need to put a guard over our mouth. God is not our problem, nor the source of our problems. Sometimes we complain to the Lord and we say hard things against Him. We think that our sacrifices are for nothing. We think that God does not see or care that we have sacrificed for Him and we want to stop our giving and tithing. Sometimes we look at sinners and we think that they are more blessed than we are. We think that they have a better time than we do; we think that they are getting away with their arrogance and defiance. But we are wrong!

16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. 17 “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

God sees and notes everything we do. You can be sure that your love, obedience, tithing and giving will be rewarded – here on earth and in heaven!

THE LORD ALWAYS BRINGS TO PASS HIS PURPOSES FOR ME

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

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV

When Abram was seventy-five years old God took him out of his own land, separating him from his family and his people, and made him a promise. Abram had no children at that point, but God promised to make a great nation of him and to bless him and those who blessed him.

Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.  Genesis 17:3-6 NKJV

hen God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” 19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.  Genesis 17:15-22 NKJV

When Abram was ninety-nine, God changed his name to Abraham – “father of many nations.” God changed his wife’s name too, from Sarai to Sarah. God began to call her “mother of many nations.” Because Sarah and Abraham had tried to take things into their own hands, they produced Ishmael, whose mother’s name was Hagar, Sarah’s maid. Sarah was Abraham’s wife. God planned for Sarah to bear the son He had promised to Abraham. If God makes a promise – He keeps it. We should not try to make it happen – we should keep our eyes on the promise and let God bring it to pass. There is an appointed time for the promise to be fulfilled and it will happen without your “help”!

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him–whom Sarah bore to him–Isaac. Genesis 21:1-3 NKJV

It took twenty-five years from the first promise to the fulfillment of that promise, but God did exactly as He said He would. If God has spoken a word to us – then He will not let us down. He will fulfill the promise exactly as promised! Stay in faith. Continue to rejoice. Thank Him for the promise fulfilled.

I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!

Psalms 57:2 AMP

ANSWERED PRAYER – PART TWO

“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. As a Christian, yielded to the Spirit of God, you have the right to represent yourself in God’s presence and ask for the things you need. Because you have the right to come boldly, you can approach God with confidence.

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.  1 John 5:13-15 NIV

The Bible says that if you ask God for anything – according to His will – you can have absolute confidence that He is hearing your prayer. Some people pray as if God isn’t even listening, but the Bible says that if you ask anything according to His will, He does hear you. The Bible says that if you know that He hears you, you also know that He gives you whatever you asked for. Obviously that means that if He hears, He answers and if He does not hear, He does not answer. It is not hard to receive from God those things you ask for as long as you know that He is actually hearing you. Therefore you need to pray in such a way that you know that He will hear your prayer – your prayer must be in line with His will. His will is His Word. You must pray the way that the Word tells you to pray and you must pray the things that the Word tells you to pray, because God will only give you the things that He has already promised that He will give you.

The Lord says that His people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). People are generally misinformed about God – He is not looking for an opportunity to punish you or deprive you of anything – He is looking for an opportunity to bless you, but there is a process that you must go through. You must purify your heart and come both humbly and boldly into His presence to ask according to His will – which is already revealed to you in His Word. He has shown you how to ask – you need to get the revelation of it and do as He says if you want to see a result. If you are not going to pray properly, according to God’s guidelines, then you are basically wasting your time. It would be better to find out what He wants – do it – and reap the blessing!

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:26-28 NKJV

If you want God’s best for your life then you should spend time praying in the Spirit. When you pray in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit within you prays through you. The Holy Spirit prays the perfect will of God for you through your own mouth. The Spirit stands before God and makes intercession for you, praying God’s will over you on your behalf. You must open your mouth to pray and the Spirit of God will give you the utterance and pray through you. He will pray things through you and over you that only the Father, Jesus, and He (the Holy Spirit) understand and know about. The Holy Spirit asks God for things we cannot ask for, or do not know what to ask for, or do not know how to ask for. Remember, God always speaks things before He does them. He always speaks His will into existence. You are made in His image. If you want to see results, then you must do things the way He does. If He speaks things into existence, then you must also speak things into existence. When you pray God’s will, you are speaking God’s will for your life into existence. God has good plans for us – to give us hope and a future.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

LOVE REJOICES WHEN JUSTICE PREVAILS

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

1 John 4:8 says that, “God is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes the nature of love and thus the character of God. People are always superimposing their weak, human nature and emotions onto God. They think that God is who they think He is – but they are wrong. God is who He says He is. God says that He is love and He says that, “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].” (AMP)

God, Himself, is all these things and possesses all these qualities. It is these qualities that make Him God. He is just and righteous and consistent. He never changes; never varies; never lies; and is never selfish, greedy or manipulative. He loves justice and He rules and judges justly and with the utmost integrity. If you are to be like Him, you must also love justice and truth. When you love justice, you submit to justice in your own life. You do what is right because it is right – and for no other reason. If you will be just and do justly, you will prosper and fulfill every plan that God has for your life.

When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Proverbs 21:15 NIV

The righteous are filled with joy when justice is done, but evildoers are terrified by justice. Justice will bring either rewards or punishments and each person receives justice according to their own choices.

By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.  Proverbs 29:4 NIV

A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice.  Proverbs 17:23 NIV

It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.  Proverbs 18:5 NIV

Justice, in the hands of a king or president, will affect an entire nation. A just and good ruler will bring blessing to a nation, but a leader who is corrupt, greedy and allows his “justice” and his judgments to be bought, will destroy his nation and pervert the course of justice.

The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice. 11 Honest scales and balances are from the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making. 12 Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness. 13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.  Proverbs 16:10-13 NIV

Anyone who is in leadership in any capacity, from the king down, has a divine responsibility to be honest and just. If they love justice and detest wrongdoing, they will establish and strengthen their own longevity. Their justice will come back to bless them.

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.  Proverbs 29:7 NIV

The righteous care about others – they take responsibility for those who are unable to take care of themselves. Those who care about justice are generous and unselfish. They do not think of themselves first. They make judgments according to what is right, not according to what feels good to them, nor to that which is convenient for them. The wicked do not care for justice, but only for their own care and gain.

Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.  Proverbs 28:5 NIV

Justice is a mystery to those who love evil. They are not just and they have no capacity to be just. They thrive on injustice and seek to profit from it. Even when their evil brings judgment down upon themselves, they continue to blame the judge instead of those who made the wrong choices – themselves. The righteous, on the other hand – those who seek God – understand justice fully. They know it, they accept it and they walk in it, and as they do, they prosper their own way and receive blessings from the Lord.

Wisdom says, “I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.  Proverbs 8:20-21 NIV

A SMALL SLING KILLS A BIG GIANT WHEN GOD IS ON YOUR SIDE

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

In 1 Samuel 17 the Israelites and the Philistines were facing off against each other – each of them on the side of a mountain with a valley in between. The Philistines were over-confident because they had a champion – a giant called Goliath of Gath – who was almost ten feet tall. He was covered in armor that weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze, the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam and the head of his spear weighed 600 shekels of iron. He came out every day to mock the Israelites and to challenge them to a fight. Verse 8 & 9 AMP says, “Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”

Everyone in Israel was terrified of Goliath – including King Saul, who stood head and shoulders above his fellow Israelites. Because he trusted in the arm of the flesh, instead of in God, he was afraid. So he offered a reward to the man who would accept the challenge and kill the giant. David was the only one in Israel not afraid of Goliath. David did not trust in himself or his own strength or ability – he trusted in the Lord alone. He shocked, surprised and irritated others when he exclaimed, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (Verse 26)

Saul heard what David said and called for him. He looked at David and saw what everyone else but God saw – an undersized teenager. He reminded David of how he was only an adolescent, and how Goliath had been a warrior from his youth. He tried to talk him out of it and fill him with fear. When you start to talk faith around people who are fearful, isn’t it amazing how they inevitably try to speak their own fears into and over your life and talk you out of trusting in God and acting on your faith? David had spent time in God’s presence – he was full of faith. He started with small things and worked his way up. With God’s help, he had killed a lion and a bear whilst tending his father’s flocks and herds. Taking the giant was no different in his eyes – he still needed God’s help to do it.

Saul tried to dress David in his own armor, but it did not fit him, neither was he used to it, so he took it off. Don’t allow the “Saul’s armor” of other people’s expectations to send you in the wrong direction. You can’t try to wear someone else’s anointing – you have to wear your own. Be bold enough to stick with what God has given you, no matter how insignificant it may seem. David laid down Saul’s armor and picked up his own sling. Armor is for defense. As small and unimpressive as the sling was – it was an offensive weapon. David had complete confidence in the Lord. He did not need armor to protect him – he had a sling in his hand – and God on his side. He wasn’t running away from the enemy – he was running toward him – to take him out! Goliath was unimpressed when he saw David. He cursed him and his God and called him a dog.

Then said David to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the ranks of Israel, Whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will smite you and cut off your head. And I will give the corpses of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands. 48 When the Philistine came forward to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 David put his hand into his bag and took out a stone and slung it, and it struck the Philistine, sinking into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck down the Philistine and slew him. But no sword was in David’s hand. 51 So he ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their mighty champion was dead, they fled.  1 Samuel 17:45-51 AMP

The giant expected someone with armor and a sword and he was confident that he would prevail. The young boy with a slingshot threw him for a loop – it was the last thing he expected. He was overconfident and he paid the price. God sent a small man with a big heart, who trusted totally in the Lord and not in himself – a man who had spent many hours practicing and who could throw a small stone with strength and deadly accuracy – to find the gap in the giant’s armor and the weakness that was exposed.

Don’t trust in your own abilities – trust in God and the call and anointing that is on your life. Practice obeying God in the small things and you will be ready when He calls you to a big thing.

YOUR FAITH MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

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

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  Romans 10:12-14 NIV

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”   16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.   Hebrews 3:12-19 NIV
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.   3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.'” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”   5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.  Hebrews 4:1-6 NIV
Everyone must have the opportunity to hear the gospel so that everyone may have the opportunity to receive the Word of God and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If you have a heart that hungers for the truth, you will recognize it when you see it and hear it. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). For all those who have heard the truth, recognized it and received it, there are others who have heard it and yet they rejected it. Because of unbelief, they could not enter into God’s promises and His blessings. Because they had no faith in the Word they heard, the message was of no value to them. Even though God’s Word is true and full of power, it can do nothing for the doubter or the unbeliever. It is the same Word preached to all and yet it works for some and not for others. Why? Because some believed and some refused to believe.
When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.  Matthew 13:54-58 NKJV
Mark 6:6 says that, “He marveled because of their unbelief.” Jesus was shocked and amazed at unbelief. Most people are shocked when someone actually believes in the Word of God, but God is shocked when they don’t! So many people, all over the nation of Israel, were healed, delivered, raised from the dead and made whole, and yet these people, in Jesus’ home town, received nothing from God. This proves that people don’t receive miracles – not because God does no miracles – but because of their unbelief.
Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”   Mark 5:25-34 NKJV
Because this woman had FAITH in the anointing on Jesus and faith in the power of God on His life, she believed that if she touched His clothes, she would be healed. Because of her faith, when she touched Jesus, she drew on the anointing and He felt power go out of Him. Many people were touching Him, but only one drew the anointing out of Him and received her healing. Your faith makes all the difference. God has made many wonderful promises, but it is YOUR faith that draws on the anointing and power of God that makes the promises come true in your life!

NO CONDEMNATION

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

Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], 4 So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].  Romans 8:1-4 AMP

There is NO condemnation for you who are in Christ Jesus – who have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior. You are washed totally clean from ALL sin, iniquity, and transgression. Your sin is not just covered by the blood of Jesus – it has been washed away – as far as the east is from the west. You are acquitted, you are forgiven – God holds nothing against you.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. 18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation–he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]  John 3:17-18 AMP

Without Jesus in your heart, you are already judged guilty and will go straight to hell if you die. Jesus was not born into this world in order to judge, to reject, to condemn, or to pass sentence on you. The Father sent Jesus into the world to save you from eternal damnation. The moment you believe in your heart that Jesus died and rose from the dead for you, personally, and confess with your mouth that He is YOUR Lord and Savior, you are acquitted of ALL wrongdoing by the courts of heaven. Your sentence of death passes from you to Jesus. In fact, He carried you, and your sin, in Him, when He died and rose again. This forgiveness becomes manifest in your life the moment you believe that His word is true for you.

Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP

God does not just forgive your sins when you accept Jesus as your Lord – He actually transforms your nature! He takes your inner man; your spirit man; your heart; the real you, who will live forever; and makes it totally brand new! The person you were no longer exists. On the outside, you look mostly the same – except for the twinkle in your eye and the smile on your face. You are still basically the same person, but a much nicer person. Its not that you are never going to think a bad thought again, or say a bad word again, or do a wrong thing again, but now you are more sensitive to your own conscience and to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, Who lives in you.

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].  1 John 1:9 AMP

When you make a mistake or a wrong choice, you don’t have to live with the condemnation of that mistake or choice hanging over you for the rest of your life. You can come to your Heavenly Father and ask Him to wash it totally away! If you want to be forgiven, you must first, completely and sincerely, humble your heart before the Lord and commit yourself into His hands. Bring your sin to the Father; tell Him exactly what you did (He already knows, but you need to admit it); tell Him it was wrong and that you have no excuse; ask Him to forgive you and wash you clean. This is what He is waiting and longing for you to do!

Sin breaks off fellowship and separates you from the Lord, but repentance restores you once more, as if nothing had happened. What you need to do next is to receive that forgiveness by faith, allowing your Heavenly Father to cleanse and purify you and make you whole again. Humble yourself, make an offering of yourself to the Lord as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), allow His Holy Spirit to do a work in your life, and ask Him to repair the damage done by the sin and to protect you in the future, so that you never allow that sin to have its way in you ever again.

Rodney Howard Browne Brings Revival in America