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WE ARE STEWARDS

Thoughts on Stewardship  – Lesson No. 12 from Genesis

We are Stewards of What God Has Given to Us
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 1:26–28

 

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

1. God said, “Let us make man in our own image and let him have dominion.” God gave man stewardship over the earth and everything in it.

a. We are not here on earth by accident, but by divine design.

b. You and I are placed here on this earth by God as stewards of the earth and we must give an account of that which has been entrusted to us.

2. Our stewardship covers the earth and everything in it:

a. We have been given authority over the creatures of the earth and over the earth itself. With this authority comes the responsibility as well. You cannot have one without the other. A person who wants authority without responsibility is a dictator. A person who takes the responsibility without exercising authority will be frustrated in their efforts. There is not any one person who can take dominion over the entire earth, but we can all take authority and responsibility for that which God gives us and administer it wisely.

b. We must take dominion. God told us to populate the earth and subdue it. We are here to bless the earth—not to destroy it or each other! God placed more than enough resources in the earth to meet every need. Then why do people lack? Why are they poverty stricken? Because of wickedness and spiritual darkness. When people bow their knee to Almighty God, blessing and prosperity come to them. Ungodly people are greedy and covetous and will not share with others, but godly people do what they can to be a blessing, and are blessed in return.

c. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve exercised their faith to achieve their goals. After the Fall, they had to do it with their own hands, by the sweat of their brow. The devil stole the authority and dominion with which they were entrusted. Jesus bought back the dominion and authority that was man’s in the Garden and returned it into the hands of His blood-washed believers. You need to know what authority is available to you and you need to exercise that authority by faith, just as Adam did! God promises to bless the work of your hands. If you do things God’s way and if you look to Him for guidance, He will prosper your way.

3. God will bless the work of our hands if we busy ourselves with His eternal purposes.

a. We will give account of what we do with our time.

b. We will give an account of what we do with our talents.

c. We will give an account of what we do with our treasure.

d. We will give an account of what we do with our tongue.

N.B. God has entrusted much to us—it is vital that we take dominion over and be good stewards of what He has placed in our hands.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:

God has given us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). God has given us resources—tangible and intangible; abilities and things—and with them come authority, and responsibility. We are given stewardship in order to be a BLESSING—not so we can selfishly take advantage. 1 John 3:17 AMP says, “But if anyone has this world’s goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him?” Use what you have to be a blessing not a hindrance. Don’t allow the devil to lie to you and tempt you to be selfish and fearful. Realize that God has provided everything you will ever need and all you need to do is to obey Him in your giving and receiving. God cannot increase you until you obey and give out. Be a blessing wherever you can and then use your faith to receive from the Lord all that you need.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:

We must realize that we only have one life to live and that we must to redeem the time, because the days are evil. You and I are stewards, because God has placed talents in each of our hands, for which we will need to give an account at the Judgment Seat of Christ. One of these “talents” is our money. What are we doing with it? How much of it is being used for the Kingdom and for eternity? The choices we make now make a difference, not only personally, but to many, many other people. This includes things you do and things you don’t do that you could or should do. These choices could affect generations. Let’s take stock of our life and choices today and purpose to use our finances wisely from now on. It is vital that you obey God and tithe (10%) of your income to the Kingdom and then give offerings, over and above your tithe, as you have purposed in your heart and with the Lord’s leading. Everyone needs to fulfill their obligation back to the Gospel.

Prayer and Confession:

Father, help me to be a good steward of all that you have placed in my hands so that on that day I might not be found wanting! I purpose to be a good steward of that which God has placed in my hands.

WHY WE RUN THE RACE

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

 

In this teaching, Rodney Howard Browne describes the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

 

1.     There is a day coming when all we, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, will all stand before Him at His Judgment Seat.

a.    The Judgment Seat of Christ is for the believer, not for the sinner.

b.    Some people are concerned only with getting their ticket to Heaven; however, there is more to Heaven than just getting there.

c.    2 Corinthians 5:9-10 AMP – Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth away from Him] or away from home [and with Him], we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].

d.    The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a place of condemnation where your eternal destination – heaven or hell – is decided, but it is a place where you receive your pay according to what you have done, whether good or bad.

e.    Each man and woman will have to give an account for their lives here on the earth.

 

Rodney Howard Browne shows us how the Fire of God works in the life of a Christian

 

2.    The fire of God will try your works.

a.    1 Corinthians 3:8-15 NKJV – Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

b.    Jesus Christ – crucified and raised from the dead – is our foundation – the only foundation upon which one can build. 

c.    You can’t earn salvation with good works – you receive God’s grace and mercy by faith.  Once Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you are going to heaven, but it is still important to do good works with right motives. This is where you earn your heavenly rewards.

d.    Your works are classified as either gold, jewels and precious stones or wood, hay and stubble, depending on what your motives have been. 

e.    Your works will be tested as a basis for recompense of rewards. They will go through fire.  

f.    2 John 1: 8 Easy-to-Read Version – Be careful! Don’t lose the reward you have worked for. Be careful so that you will receive all of your reward.

 

Rodney Howard Browne discusses the judgment of God

 

3.    What will be judged?

a.    Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

b.    Your thoughts and motives will be judged.

c.    Matthew 12:36 AMP – But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak.

d.    You will be judged for your idle, thoughtless words. These are words that are not productive – they produce no life – gossip, grumbling and complaining, back-biting, judging, criticizing, etc. 

e.    Matthew 25:13-30 NKJV – “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. 14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.  15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.  16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.  18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.  19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’  21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’  23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

f.    Our faithfulness will be judged. There is NO reward for unfaithfulness.

g.    So then these are things that will be judged:

h.    Time: did you use it wisely?

i.     Talents: did you multiply them or bury them?

j.     Treasure: money – what have you done with yours?

k.    Tongue: what words came out of your mouth?

l.      1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NKJV – Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

 

Cast your bread upon the Waters

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1 AMP

This verse is saying that blessings will be returned to the person who is generous and hospitable. “Cast” means to send away; cast away; cast out; shoot forth; shoot away; sow; spread; stretch forth; stretch out. It implies an open hand and a flinging forth, which represents generosity – both in quantity and direction. Not being selective about who receives the blessing, but blessing many and diverse people. The “waters” you cast your bread onto are like the ocean waves that come in and go out. The blessings you send out, will return back to bless you. You may not see it come back immediately, but just keep on sowing, because undoubtedly, after a while, you will see them coming back your way. Even if you do not see anything coming back yet, keep on sowing, because your blessing is on its way back to you.

Give a portion to seven, yes, even [divide it] to eight, for you know not what evil may come upon the earth. Ecclesiastes 11:2 AMP

Seven or eight represents several or many people. Seven represents God’s number – the perfect number, an indefinite number. Eight is another step beyond that, so we are to give as much as we can – and then go one more step beyond that! Just when we think we do not have anything else to give, we find that we can do even more than that. We are to stretch ourselves out in our giving and the Lord will stretch Himself out for us. There are no guarantees in life; therefore, we must be prepared. We need to give bread (daily sustenance) to others, because we never know when we are going to be in need of bread ourselves. When we take care of others, He will take care of us in our hour of need. We cannot foresee any hard times that lie in our future, so we give and we bless others, so that no matter what the circumstance, the Lord will provide us with what we need. Even in the most adverse circumstances, He will fully meet our need.

If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. Ecclesiastes 11:3 AMP

This verse illustrates the certainty of God’s blessing. As surely as the clouds, full of rain, empty themselves upon the earth – so also your blessings will surely return to you. Just as in nature, they are regular cycles and seasons that can be counted upon, so is the man who casts his bread upon the waters – he will be blessed in due season. The tree lies where it falls – you cannot control everything – you need to trust God.

He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4 AMP

Just because life is uncertain does not mean we should do nothing. We cannot afford to be stingy or to give in to hopelessness. We need to move forward in a spirit of trust and faith, taking God at His word, both in what we do, and what we expect of Him. If we wait for all circumstances to be perfect before we act, we will remain inactive and unproductive. We cannot wait for conditions that may never exist. The man, who is governed by the uncertainty of the future, will not plant his seed nor harvest his crop. We cannot observe natural things, and let them dictate to us whether, or not, we obey God’s word. There is never a right or a wrong season to be a giver. No matter what your circumstance, it is time to give. You need the Lord to be your source and supply in all the circumstances of life, especially in the hard times. Therefore, your seasons of giving should be in the good times AND the hard times. As far as sowing goes: when the hard times come, do not withdraw your hand. That is the time to give like never before. As far as reaping goes: do not limit God. He does not only provide for you in the good times, but He provides for you, abundantly, even when times are bad and others are in lack. Trust Him to take care of you in all the seasons of life.

As you know not what is the way of the wind, or how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a pregnant woman, even so you know not the work of God, Who does all. Ecclesiastes 11:5 AMP

If we cannot fully understand the infinite work of nature and natural things, how can we understand the works of Almighty God? We must trust Him – that He knows best – and we must trust His word, and obey it. You do not have to understand it in order to receive it. You just do your part and trust God to do His part.

In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hands, for you know not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether both alike will be good. Ecclesiastes 11:6 AMP

Give as a lifestyle. Make giving both a habit and a priority. We have no control over the harvest. What we do have control over, is the sowing of our seed. Sow your seed in the morning; do not withhold your hand in the evening. Do not sow only when you need something specific. Give and do not stop giving. Do not put a “price” on your seed; do not categorize it. Do not consider one field better or worse than another one. You do not know which specific seed will produce, but the Father does. Just continue to sow and continue to put your faith in God. Just as you daily sow your seed, trust Him to meet your need and to take care of you, daily.

THE SOWER SOWS THE WORD

Foundation Scriptures: Mark 4:2-8, Mark 4:14-20

It’s time to pay attention, hear and listen.

Jesus starts this parable in verse 3 with these words: Give attention to this! And ends in verse 9: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
The preacher, preaching the word, is the sower of seed.
God’s word is living and powerful and gives you power and victory over the enemy.
When cultivated it produces fruit in varying degrees: fruit, more fruit and much fruit.
Unless our hearts are prepared to receive the seed of the word, we cannot grow in grace or knowledge.
The devil is the enemy of God’s word in your life and will steal it from you anyway he can.
The devil knows that the best time to destroy a tree is at its genesis—when it is young and small—before or shortly after it starts to grow and definitely before it sends its roots solidly down into the earth.
The seed of the word is the same in each case—it is the soil that makes the difference between success and failure.
YOUR heart and life is the soil.

Verse 15: The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown [in their hearts], but when they hear, Satan comes at once and [by force] takes away the message which is sown in them.

These people receive the word negligently.
They hear the Word with hardhearted indifference.
They are not listening and not paying attention.
They need to hear it, but are not ready or willing to hear.
The devil has no trouble snatching the word away from them.
They walk away with nothing.

Verse 16-17: And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy; And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.

The Message Bible: And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
These people actually stop to listen.
They get really excited initially, but it is merely an emotional response, nothing more.
They have not developed any character in their life—they are very shallow.
Because their soil is shallow, the roots of the word can’t get a good grip.
They believe (endure) for a little while.
Like a hot sun, trouble (hardships) and persecution arises on account of the word.
When these people encounter pressure or difficulty, they are instantly offended—they become displeased, indignant and resentful.
They blame it on God and His Word and back off from the word.
They stumble and fall away, turning their back on God.
This outside pressure does not just make them back off it leaves them personally offended. This offence robs them of God’s blessings.

Verse 18-19: And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.

The Message Bible: The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.
Notice that this soil is already full of thorns and weeds.
These people hear the word and receive it and it is able to grow up a little bit.
Unfortunately, they take their eyes off of the word—they become distracted and preoccupied with the cares and riches of this life and the word in them is choked and suffocated to death.
Instead of focusing on the answer—Jesus—they focus on the problem.
Worry, covetousness and lust are weeds that choke the Word of God in your life.
Their fruit does not ripen—the Word of God becomes unfruitful in their life.

Verse 20: And those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit—some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much.

The Message Bible: But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.
The good ground represents the prepared heart that receives the seed and produces fruit; produces a harvest.
These people hear the Word and embrace it—they receive it, accept it, and welcome it for themselves.
This is the only appropriate response to the Word of God—the only one that will produce any fruit.
Luke 8:15 AMP says that those with good soil hold the word fast in a just, noble, virtuous and worthy heart and steadily bring forth fruit with patience.
The Word of God is allowed to grow and keep growing in their heart and life in spite of life’s circumstances; in spite of trials and temptations.
These are genuine disciples.
They produce a harvest of good fruit in varying amounts 30, 60 or 100-fold.

How do I walk in God’s best?

Commit to personally receive and obey the Word of God.
Put your flesh under—don’t yield to fleshly desires.
Don’t believe the devil’s lies—hide the word in your heart so that you will recognize the truth.
Don’t lose your focus—know what you believe.
Don’t cave in under pressure—hang in longer than the devil.

TRIBULATION IN THE WORLD – VICTORY IN JESUS

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

Foundation Scripture: John 16:33 (AMP)

  • 33           I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage: be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [ I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

 

The word “tribulation” means pressure (literally or figuratively). It is also translated as – afflicted, affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, and trouble in the King James Bible. If we live in this world and this world system, it is very likely that we will experience tribulations, burdens and persecutions. Everyone experiences tribulation in one form or another if they live on this earth, whether they serve God or the devil. The difference between the two, is this, those who serve God, are comforted in the middle of the trial and have a really good chance of coming out on top at the end. Those who serve the devil just have a horrible time with no happy ending!

 

Romans 8:35-39  (NKJ)

35         Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36         As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37         Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

38         For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

39         nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Nothing that we go through can separate us from the love that our Father God and Jesus Christ have for us. Because of Jesus’ love, He came to conquer the enemy on our behalf, so that we can walk free and victorious! It does not matter what comes your way, you can take comfort and have confidence in this: that Jesus is on your side and if you will place your trust and confidence in Him, He will take you through to the other side – through into the victory! Jesus has already done everything that He needed to do for you when He conquered the world and the devil. You are not waiting on Him – He is waiting on you to take Him at His word and walk victoriously.

 

There are two reasons that you face tribulations – because you are doing something wrong, or because you are doing something right! When you sin, tribulation comes your way as a result of sin. If you subject yourself to the world, to be like the world, you will reap the harvest of your sin and disobedience. If you are on the devil’s turf, you are subject to him. The devil may make you many promises, but there is no good thing in him and if you hang around with him, you will have what he has – distress, frustration, death and destruction – with no way out.

 

If, on the other hand, you choose to serve God only and you devote yourself to Him, you will face much opposition from the devil and the world, but the tribulation of persecution cannot defeat you, because your life is in God’s hands and your enemy is His enemy. That is bad news for the devil. Jesus told us to be of good cheer and be confident because He has conquered the world and deprived it of its power over us!

FORGIVE SO THAT YOU MAY BE FORGIVEN

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

Mark 11:25-26  (NKJ)

25      “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

26      “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

 

All of God’s promises come with conditions (doing things God’s way) – not because God wants to make our life difficult – but because we have to learn God’s ways (which are different to ours) and the ways that God’s kingdom functions. We have been exposed, all our lives, to the world’s system, which is destructive and wreaks havoc in our lives as we function in the “way of the world.” God’s kingdom leads to life and blessing, but we must learn to function in this higher kingdom of God’s ways and then we will reap all the blessings that He has for us.

 

We have the blessing and privilege of praying and then receiving from our Father, God, but we must be walking in love or our prayers will not be heard. It is not possible to walk in love and unforgiveness at the same time. Unforgiveness disqualifies you from getting the answer to your prayer. You cannot blame God for unanswered prayer – He plays by the rules. God is all-powerful and can do anything, but He will not go against His Word. If you line up with His Word, you will reap the benefits.

 

Matthew 18:21-35  (NKJ)

21      Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22      Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23      “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

24      “And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

25      “But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.

26      “The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’

27      “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28      “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’

29      “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’

30      “And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

31      “So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.

32      “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.

33      ‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’

34      “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35      “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

 

God longs to forgive us and extend His mercy toward us, but He cannot do it if we do not forgive and extend mercy toward others. God’s mercies are new every morning – He is ready again to forgive us again every day. He asks us to be ready to forgive others every day. When we have been hurt, we want to hurt others and hold them permanently responsible for their actions by not forgiving them. We think we are affecting them, but we are only affecting our own fellowship with God in a negative way. We are not holding them in bondage – we are holding ourselves in bondage.

 

If we forgive others, we release them and ourselves and God is able to forgive and bless us. Thank God, He does not treat us the way we sometimes treat each other. Thank God He is so merciful to us and so patient with us. If we treat others the way we would like to be treated then we will have no problems with an unforgiving heart.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GOODNESS

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

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

Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

There are several different Hebrew and Greek words translated as goodness in the KJV. When referring to goodness as an attribute of the character God or man, the Hebrew words mean goodness, kindness, graciousness, beauty, gladness, and welfare. The Greek words mean virtue or beneficence and moral excellence – in character or demeanor.

When the Bible speaks of the goodness that is extended toward us and that follows us the Hebrew word for goodness means beautiful, bountiful, cheerful, joyful, kindness, loving, merry, favor, glad, pleasant, pleasing, pleasure, precious, prosperity, wealth, welfare and well-favored.

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?  Romans 2:4 NKJ

So many people – Christians and non-Christians – present our Father God as an angry, hard, judgmental, demanding God, who expects us to keep a whole bunch of rules and regulations. We think that He loves to punish us and so when we sin, we try to run away and hide from Him. We try to defend ourselves and justify our actions, instead of just running to Him in repentance, and asking forgiveness.

Our sin destined us for hell, but God’s grace paid in full, by the blood of Jesus, destines us for heaven! It is the goodness of God that draws us to Him. We realize how much He loves us and how kind and gracious and merciful He is toward us and we come running into His arms to receive forgiveness and mercy. The goodness of God leads us to repentance. We repent because we know that God’s mercy will be poured out on our heads and the bondage of sin will be destroyed from off of our lives. What a good God we serve and how good He is to us!

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalms 27:13-14 NKJ

God’s goodness and kindness toward us are extended to every area of our lives here on earth. He is on our side and He is concerned with our welfare. He provides every good thing that we need – spirit, soul and body. In the middle of any adverse circumstance and situation we find ourselves in, we can know that God is not the author of the disaster (as some believe), but He is the answer and the solution to every problem that we encounter. He is the way out of the problem not the cause of it! We can be encouraged as we wait on Him and put our trust in Him to save us and to bring us out in victory. If we believe that God is the author of our trouble, then our courage will fail because we see ourselves in a hopeless situation. But if we know that He is our answer and that He has made a way for us and that He is ever ready to save us – we can have hope in His goodness and we can see our way out into His blessing and provision!

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.  Psalms 107:8-9 NKJ

God is so kind and gracious to us. He is good and He fills us with His goodness. He is not stingy. He does not use a tiny teaspoon to dish out His goodness to us – He fills us – He does not stop until we are overflowing with His bountiful joy, favor, pleasure, prosperity, wealth, and welfare!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  Psalms 23:6 NKJ

God promises us that if we obey and serve Him that His bountiful joy, favor, pleasure, prosperity, wealth, and welfare will be following us all the days of our lives. Not just some days – or when He feels like it – no – every day we will be saturated in His blessing and His abundance. Thank God for His goodness – what a good God we serve. What a joy it is to serve Him!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Romans 15:13-14 NKJ

We must be as good to one another as God is good to us. We should be kind and merciful, gracious and honest. We should be generous and hospitable and we should lavish blessings on one another.

Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  II Thessalonians 1:11-12 NKJ

BRING YOUR FRAGRANT CALAMUS TO THE LORD – LAVISH HIM WITH THE FAT OF YOUR SACRIFICE

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

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

“Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel. You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense. You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.  “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence. Your first father sinned; your spokesmen rebelled against me. So I will disgrace the dignitaries of your temple, and I will consign Jacob to destruction and Israel to scorn.  Isaiah 43:18-28 NIV

God created us to proclaim His praise. He loves us with an everlasting love – a love that gives all, without holding anything back. It is hard for us, as people who have experienced a world contaminated by the presence of evil and sin and death, to comprehend or even fully appreciate just how much God does love us. And yet He continues to reach out to us and demonstrate His mercy and grace at every opportunity. He makes a way in our wilderness and He causes rivers to flow through our dry places. He says that even the animals have the good sense to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate Him as the source of provision and blessing.

He is the God of the second chance. He is always ready to forget yesterday and to forgive our past sins, mistakes and rebellion. He encourages us, also, to forget about yesterday. He offers us a new day and a new beginning over and over. And yet instead of appreciating all He does for us and all that He is to us, we offer Him nothing but trouble in return. We burden Him with our sins and weary Him with our iniquities. We take, but we don’t give. We take His graciousness for granted as we continue in our sin and rebellion and selfishness – expecting Him to step in and pick up the pieces every time we mess up and then to step back out of our lives again until we need something more from Him.

God goes out of His way to take care of us, but we are too lazy or too self-absorbed to take the time or to make the effort to press into His presence and to seek His face. We won’t do anything that requires more than the minimum of effort. We want everything done for us, but we are not prepared to put ourselves out in the slightest for the Lord. We let our flesh rule us – we don’t rule our flesh.

He has been infinitely patient with us, while making very few demands. We ought to love Him, appreciate Him, and generously lavish Him with gifts and offerings. We should offer Him the best we have – not just the dregs. We should honor Him with our lips and honor Him with our gifts. Every day we should be looking for ways to please Him and to bless Him and make Him happy. Many people say that they love God, but they don’t act like it. If we truly love God, we will affectionately reverence Him, promptly obey Him and gratefully recognize His blessing! We will bring to Him the best we have – we will lavish Him with our offerings. We will give it with open heart and open hand – holding nothing back! For He is our light and the length of our days – our Rock, our Fortress and our Provider – our Savior, Healer, Deliverer and Lord! He is worthy of the very best that we have to give!

I WILL REMEMBER YOUR SINS NO MORE

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

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. Psalms 103:1-7 NKJV

The Lord has made known to His people His heart and His deeds—His ways and His acts. He wants us to know Him and to know what His heart is toward us. He gives us His Word so there can be no excuses. The only reason we may not know what He wants us to know is because we choose to ignore or disregard His Word. He does not want us to be ignorant or misled about His character or about how He feels about us. He wants us to KNOW what He has done for us and what He will do for us. He daily loads us with benefits. He is the One Who forgives ALL our iniquities, Who heals ALL our diseases, Who redeems our life from destruction, Who crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies our mouth with good things and Who renews our youth like the eagle’s. He is on our side and He will defend, deliver and protect us.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. Psalms 103:8-14  NKJV

The Lord is infinitely patient with us. It takes a lot to make Him angry and it takes a long time for Him to get angry, neither does He stay angry for long. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of God when He is angry! But thankfully—for us—He is long on patience and mercy! He has graciously not dealt with us according to our sins nor punished us according to our iniquities. He has poured out mercy on us, when what we actually deserved was hell. He knows all our weaknesses and limitations and so He purchased our redemption Himself.

We could never earn salvation on our own merits—the price was so much higher than what we could ever afford. His mercy is as high as the heavens are above the earth and He has removed our transgressions as far as the east is from the west. How far is the east from the west? East and west will never meet. They are continually moving in the opposite direction—away from each other. Our sins keep moving away from us—never to return.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.”  Isaiah 43:25-26 NIV

God blots out our sins and He remembers them no more. You may have a hard time forgetting and the devil will try to accuse you, but you need to remind yourself of God’s Word on the matter. God wants to argue—discuss—the matter of your innocence. He knows the offer of mercy that He has made you, but do you know it? Think of your eternal destiny as being decided in a court of law. Father God is the judge. The devil is the prosecutor. Jesus is your advocate and the Holy Spirit is the bailiff. God’s desire is that you would walk out of court a free man or woman. He has made a way for you to be free, but you have to stand on your rights. You have to know what you believe and why you believe it.

The devil accuses you before God—stating his case of why you should be consigned to hell. You must know, without a doubt, what your rights are. You must know that you have a right to live eternally in the presence of God—not because of your good works, but because of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have received Him as Lord and Savior and justice has been served. Jesus was already judged, sentenced and executed in your place. He rose again to bring you into right standing with the Father. The words “judge” or “judgment” mean, “to make a decision.” Almighty God, the Righteous Judge, makes a decision concerning your life according to the decision you have made for your life. There is only one sin that will send you to hell forever and that is the sin of not receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior. There is only one good thing that you can do in order to go to heaven and that is to believe that Jesus died and rose again for you and to confess Him as Lord of your life.

THE HEALING AND MIRACLE MINISTRY OF JESUS

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

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.  Luke 5:17 NKJV

As we study the Gospels, we find a record of the healing and miracle ministry of Jesus. Over seventy percent of His life and ministry was healing the sick and casting out devils. Modern day religion and tradition says that the day of miracles is over, however, God’s Word says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV). He has not changed. What He did then – He still does now!

Salvation – Greek word “soteria” – is translated in the KJV as deliver, health, salvation, save, saving. It means rescue or safety (physically or morally). Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says that, “soteria” denotes deliverance, preservation, and salvation for our spirit, soul and body. “Salvation” is used in the New Testament of deliverance from everything that threatens us, whether in spirit, soul or body. If we serve God, He promises to deliver us personally and also as a nation. He will deliver us from the bondage of sin and also keep us safe from all physical dangers that threaten our life, our health and our well being, including sickness and disease. He will deliver Israel at His second coming and He will save His Church from the wrath that will be poured out on the ungodly at the culmination of the ages. The Lord’s salvation includes all the blessings bestowed by God on men in Christ through the Holy Spirit

When Jesus died at Calvary, He paid the price – not only for our sins, but for our sickness, too. For those who think that we are only saved from sin and nothing else – think about this: it is ridiculous to think that Jesus would save you from your sins and eternal damnation, only to make you live in hell all the way till you get to Heaven! It is evident in the ministry of Jesus that He wanted to heal people and perform miracles, because He is compassionate and He is good.  That is what the Gospel is all about – Good News! Good news to the lost – you don’t have to be lost any more. Good news to the sick – you don’t have to be sick any more.

The healings and miracles that are recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are not the only miracles that Jesus did, because the book of John 21:25 NKJV says that, “there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” This means that during Jesus’ three and a half years of earthly ministry, He performed miracles every day – healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out devils, forgiving and restoring people – spirit, soul and body.

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  John 14:9-12 NIV

Jesus did nothing on His own. His Father did the works through Him. In the same way, Jesus works through us to perform miracles to bless and help people. When He ascended, He gave the His power and ability to His disciples and to ALL who believe His Word. He said to us in Mark 16:15-18 NKJV, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

By God’s Word and with His power, we can lay hands on the sick and see them healed. He is the Healer – we just lay our hands on the sick. Always expect something to happen when you lay hands on the sick. You and I are an extension of the healing and miracle ministry of Jesus. The healing and miracle ministry of Jesus is still alive today – in us.