THINGS I CANNOT COMPROMISE

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  Romans 1:16 KJV

[My precaution was] because of false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into bondage [under the Law of Moses]. 5 To them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the Gospel might continue to be [preserved] for you [in its purity]. Galatians 2:4-5 AMP

Rodney Howard Browne teaches that Jesus is the Only Way for Salvation.

  1. John 14:6 AMP—I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.
  2. 1 Timothy 2:5-6a
  3. John 3:13-18
  4. 1 John 5:20


Rodney Howard Browne teaches that The Word of God is the Only Truth.

  1. Truth is absolute. A partial truth is a lie. For something to be called true, it must be completely and thoroughly true.
  2. In the Old and New Testaments, truth is a fundamental moral and personal quality of God. It is impossible for God to lie.
  3. 1 Samuel 15:29
  4. Hebrews 6:18—It is impossible for God to lie.
  5. Titus 1:2—God cannot lie.
  6. God is true and He cannot lie, God’s Word is truth and is no lie. God’s Word is also called the Word of Truth.
  7. John 8:32 AMP—And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
  8. John 17:17 NKJV—Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
  9. Ephesians 1:13
  10. Psalms 25:10
  11. Psalms 111:7-8
  12. Psalms 119:142—Your law is truth.
  13. Psalms 119:151—All Your commandments are truth.
  14. Psalms 119:160


Rodney Howard Browne teaches that Repentance is the Only Way.

  1. Luke 13:3
  2. Acts 3:19-20—Repent therefore and be converted.
  3. Acts 17:30-31—God now commands all men everywhere to repent.
  4. Revelation 3:19—Be zealous and repent.


The Belief in the Cross, the Blood, the Resurrection and His Lordship.

The Cross

  1. John 3:14-15—Jesus was lifted up on the cross to impart eternal life.
  2. Hebrews 12:2 NKJV—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.
  3. 1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV—For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The Blood

  1. Matthew 26:28 NKJV—For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
  2. Ephesians 1:7 NKJV—In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
  3. Ephesians 2:13—You have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
  4. Colossians 1:19-20—Having made peace through the blood of His cross.
  5. Hebrews 9:12-15
  6. Revelation 5:9-10—You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood.

The Resurrection

  1. John 11:25-26a—“I am the resurrection and the life.
  2. Romans 1:3-4
  3. 1 Peter 1:3

His Lordship

  1. Acts 2:36—God has made Him both Lord and Christ
  2. Acts 10:36—Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
  3. Philippians 2:9-11—Every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.


The Gospel—What is it?

  1. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
  2. Romans 3:21-25
  3. The wages of sin is death—the gift of God is eternal life.
  4. Romans 6:23
  5. Whosoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.
  6. Romans 10:8-13
  7. The Gospel is Good News.
  8. Luke 2:10-11
  9. Romans 2:4-5

The Lord is Calling to Us

A whistle can get our attention quickly, can’t it? Whistles are used to manipulate uncontrollable behavior, signal the start or finish of an event, or interrupt the action. Blown by a sports referee, a teacher on a playground, or a police officer at a junction, the sound is a signal for us to stop and learn why the whistle was blown. What does God use to get our attention? Occasionally it’s a twitchy spirit. Rodney Howard Browne tells us that it can appear as an obscure dissatisfaction with our life. Other times God uses somebody’s words to help us recognize he is talking to us. Blessing us in a bizarre way is another method God employs. ( Romans twenty-four ) In each case, we are to stop and ask, “Lord, are You making an attempt to say something to me?”

Rodney Howard Browne explains that God often allows our requests to stay unanswered to prompt us to sharpen our target Him. Or He may say no thanks to our request to gain our attention. Disappointments, problems, and disasters are sometimes used by Him for a similar reason.

If we are smart, we will swiftly seek Him out.

In crises, finance reversals, and physical affliction, God waits to determine if we are going to turn to Him and ask, “God, are You talking to me?” Rodney Howard Browne teaches us that God merits our complete attention, but we get engrossed. He waits to talk with us, but we are busy taking a look at our circumstances.

Permit the occurrences of life-both the agreeable and the painful-to prompt you to turn to God and ask, “Lord, are You asking for my attention?”. One more thing.

When We Are Lonely

Rodney Howard Browne explains that too often, believers in Christ are ashamed to admit that they struggle with loneliness. Some assume, “If anyone knows I’m lonely, they may not think I’m satisfied in my relationship with Jesus.” What a tragic mistake! Nowhere in the Bible does it say that it is a sin to feel lonely. The truth is, even the most committed Christians feel lonely from time to time.

Rodney Howard Browne show us that all throughout Scripture, we see godly men and women admitting their feelings of loneliness. Quite often in the Psalms, we see this of David. Psalm 25:16-17 shows David to be “lonely and afflicted,” while Psalm 102:7 reveals his sleepless nights due to loneliness. And this was a man who was famous for his relationship with God!

The apostle Paul struggled with loneliness during his travels as well. In 2 Timothy 4:16, he recounts a time of distress and remarks, “all [have] deserted me.”

Pastor Rodney Howard Browne shows us that these are all men who had unquestionably wonderful relationships with God, yet they admitted their loneliness. Even Jesus demonstrated the need for close relationships, as well as the heartache caused when they are ruptured. On the night of His arrest, He took His closest friends with Him to pray, only to sorrowfully discover that they had fallen asleep and left Him alone. (Matthew 26:36-46)

If you are struggling with similar feelings, do not be afraid to admit it to God and to your friends. Invite someone into the pain of your loneliness. That will be the first step on your journey out of it.

1.

Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.

2.

O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed , let not mine enemies triumph over me.

3.

Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed : let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

4.

Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

5.

Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

6.

Remember , O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.

7.

Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.

8.

Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.

9.

The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

10.

All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

11.

For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.

12.

What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose .

13.

His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.

14.

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

15.

Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.

16.

Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.

17.

The troubles of my heart are enlarged : O bring thou me out of my distresses.

18.

Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

19.

Consider mine enemies ; for they are many ; and they hate me with cruel hatred.

20.

O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed ; for I put my trust in thee.

21.

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.

22.

Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

Living in Accordance with the Holy Spirit

With enticement swirling around us every day, it’s tough to walk in what we consider “holiness.” But that could be as we don’t truly understand holiness. We frequently compare holiness with a religious life, one lacking in sin at every point. But holiness is not a characteristic you earn. Holiness comes when you understand your position in Christ. After you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and ask God to pardon your sins, God’s Holy Spirit starts to dwell in you.

And one thing is for certain: God is holy. So, if God is holy and His Holy Spirit inhabits you, would not that make you holy as well? The instant you gave your life over to the Lord, you became holy. Peter reminds us of our call to live a holy life : “Because it is written, ‘You shall be Holy, for I am holy” ( one Peter 1:16 ) . God would not need us to do something that we could not do. Walking in holiness comes when we are now not OK with sin. As sin becomes more repulsive, we grow more attracted to His methods, His methods that are higher than ours. No longer should we wish to walk in the way of the ungodly, nor should it feel cosy ( Proverbs 1:15 ) . God has rescued us from sin.

And when we remember this and select His way every time enticement crosses our trails, we are going to walk in holiness.

Jesus, Our Provider

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they might have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep.

JOHN 10:10-11 AMP

 

God knows what you need. He knows everything about you. He knows when you’re rising up and when you’re lying down, when you’re coming in and when you’re going out. He knows your dreams and your desires. But most important, He wants to meet your needs. He wants to see the dreams and desires He’s placed in your heart fulfilled.

 

Jesus said He came to give us abundant life, but most Christians are having just-getting-by life. How does that happen? People in the Church accept Jesus as their Savior, and some in the Church accept Him as their Healer, but they often have a hard time, accepting Him as their Provider. What’s more, some of us accept Him as our Provider but we don’t accept Him as our Provider in every area of our lives. When we not only accept Jesus as our Savior and Healer, but also our Provider, we’re expecting His provision every day. We’re believing Him to care for our every need.

 

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

 

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

 

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

 

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek 🙂 for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself; Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

MATTHEW 6:25-34

 

According to Jesus, we should not even be thinking about our food, drink, and clothing, because our heavenly Father knows what we need and will take care of these things as we seek His kingdom and His righteousness. The problem is that most people — even Christians — spend most of their day worrying about small things that Jesus promised to take care of We need to stop worrying and start expecting God’s provision to be there for us as we serve Him.

I Know the Plans I Have For You

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. 12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. 13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 AMP

Verse 11 in the KJV says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Father God has thoughts and plans for us for peace. This word translated “peace” means: peace, welfare, well-being, happiness, favor, rest, safety, health, and prosperity.

God has NO plans for evil. It is the devil who plans evil against mankind. The commitment that God expects from us is that we come to seek Him with ALL our heart, to pray to Him, and to call upon Him. Then He promises that He will hear us and answer us. We are the ones who can settle for the devil’s plan for us, or we can choose God’s plan. God’s plan entails welfare and peace and hope and fulfillment of promises. No matter what we go through, we know that God will have the final say and His good plans for us WILL succeed!

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. Psalms 1:1 AMP

You can follow God’s plan for your life, or you can listen to ungodly people’s advice and ideas. God’s plan is for a hopeful future, but man’s plans will lead you down the road to nowhere. The decisions we make for our lives are not merely earthly decisions, but decisions whose impact is felt into eternity. God already has a path and plan laid out for you that will take you into life and blessing, if you will choose it.

Let all those that seek and require You rejoice and be glad in You; let such as love Your salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified! 17 [As for me] I am poor and needy, yet the Lord takes thought and plans for me. You are my Help and my Deliverer. O my God, do not tarry! Psalms 41:16-17 AMP

It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are right now, the Lord is thinking about you and planning good plans for you.

Then [Israel] believed His words [trusting in, relying on them]; they sang His praise. 13 But they hastily forgot His works; they did not [earnestly] wait for His plans [to develop] regarding them. Psalms 106:12-13 AMP

We must give God’s plans for us time to develop. Some people praise God one minute, and then the next, they forget what He has promised and they are off doing their own thing. We must believe God’s promises concerning us and not give up or get distracted. It is those who exercise faith and patience, who inherit the promises.

Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 AMP

You can make all the plans in the world, but there is no guarantee they will come to pass. If you follow God’s plans, He will make sure that they come to pass, no matter what.

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, Surely, as I have thought and planned, so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand. Isaiah 14:24 AMP

God’s plans WILL come to pass. You can accept His plans for your life, and succeed; or you can go your own way and fail.

And the spirit of the Egyptians within them will become exhausted and emptied out and will fail, and I will destroy their counsel and confound their plans; and they will seek counsel from the idols and the sorcerers, and from those having familiar spirits (the mediums) and the wizards. Isaiah 19:13 AMP

Anyone who fights against God, and tries to find direction instead from the devil, and his agents, will utterly fail. God will confound the plans of your enemy.

But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither do they understand His plan, for He shall gather them as the sheaves to the threshing floor. Micah 4:12 AMP

Everyone will stand before God and will be at His mercy. He sent Jesus to take the entire wrath of God that sinners deserve, upon Himself; so that we could be shown mercy. Just as the sheaves were sorted after harvest, to keep the wheat and burn the tares, so all of mankind will stand before God and either be received into His Kingdom or be rejected and cast into hell, into the flame that never dies.

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Romans 8:28 AMP

When we, who are called according to His design and purpose, work obediently with God to fulfill that purpose, then He works with us and makes our plans good and our path straight. Even though the devil might try to attack and harass, he cannot stop you, or the plan of God, as you faithfully follow that plan. God’s purposes for you will come to pass. He will cause every circumstance to turn and line up with His plans for you. Find out what His plan is for you. Trust Him and follow Him and you will succeed.

JESUS RULES OVER PRINCIPALITIES – BOTH GOOD AND EVIL

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

Foundation Scripture: 1 Peter 3:22  (NKJ)
22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

All angels, authorities and powers are completely subject, subservient and subordinate to Jesus Christ. There are levels of authority under God – in this natural realm and also in the spiritual realm. In the Bible, the words “principalities”, “powers”, “authorities”, “dominions”, “rulers”, “thrones”, “angels”, and “might” are used to describe these levels of authorities. Some of them are holy (or good), under God’s command, and some of them are evil, under the devil’s command.  But all of them are subject to God and are under His authority.

Colossians 1:16  (NKJ)
16For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

All thrones, dominions, principalities and powers were created for Jesus, through Him and by Him – to serve Him and His purposes.

Colossians 2:14-15  (NKJ)
14having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

The enemy is disarmed – he is helpless and defeated. Jesus removed all and any authority that he ever had, including the keys to death, hell and the grave – in the sight of Heaven and hell – so that there could be no questions and no arguments. The Lord Jesus Christ has stripped him of his power.

Ephesians 1:23  (NKJ)
19and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Everything is under Jesus feet. He is the head of the body – the church – and as His body, the devil and his demons, the evil powers and authorities – are under our feet. They will not be under our feet at some future date, in some other dispensation, but they are under our feet right now and right here! It does not matter what the devil tries to do – you have the power, you have the authority given to you by Jesus. You are not trying to defeat him or bring him down in the earth. He is already defeated – he has already been brought down. You just remind him of his status, enforce his defeat and walk in the victory that is already purchased with the blood of Jesus.

Ephesians 6:12  (NKJ)
12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

We enforce our authority over the enemy by our submission to God and His righteousness. The enemy is a liar and thief. He will attempt to take authority where he has none. We do not have to fight the battle to subdue him – we have to fight the battle to stand firm in the victory already accomplished in Christ. We overcome the wicked one by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. What is our testimony? Jesus is Lord, the devil is defeated and the blood of Jesus has washed us clean!

THE ANGELS LONG FOR WHAT YOU HAVE IN CHRIST

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

1 Peter 1:3-12  (NIV)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you,
5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7 These have come so that your faith– of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,
11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

The prophets, who prophesied about the grace that was intended for us, prophesied about Jesus and His sacrifice. They prophesied about the glories that would follow His birth, life, death and resurrection. They prophesied about salvation, redemption, forgiveness from sin, clean hands, a new heart, God being our Father, us being God’s children, restoration of fellowship with God, and all nations worshipping Him. They longed for the relationship with God, which has now been offered to us. They longed to experience peace with God. They could only look forward to the coming Messiah. Jesus has already fulfilled those things that were prophesied. They were only counted righteous by their faith, but we are righteous by our faith.

We need to realize exactly what we have in and through Jesus Christ. Because of the lies of religion and the devil, we have been led to believe that God’s people of the Old Covenant had it better than we do. We think that they had some special relationship and position with God that we don’t have. But we are the privileged ones. Because Jesus was the firstborn from the dead — Old Covenant saints could not be born-again we can.

We have been told that miracles, signs and wonders were only for those who lived before us, but we have been given the Name of Jesus and He has commissioned us to do just what He did. We have more and can do more than those who went before us. Let’s face it — serving God with a brand-new heart is a lot easier than serving Him with an unrenewed heart.

We have been led to believe that the angels are better than we are, but they were created to be servants, not sons. We were created to be family of God the Father. What a privilege we have  to experience redemption.

We are the redeemed of the Lord! Even angels long to look into the things that we can look into. They long to experience the intimate relationship with God that we have. We have not yet experienced the complete salvation of our minds and bodies. We will when we see Jesus, face to face, but we still have more than the Old Covenant saints and the angels. How blessed we are!

Never, ever take your salvation for granted. Be thankful always. Appreciate what God has done for you and be faithful to do the works of Jesus.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE

“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

When we are born again and we receive Jesus Christ of Nazareth as our Lord and Savior, the Spirit of God transforms our heart and makes us a brand new creature. We no longer have the same sinful desires or motivation. If we allow the Holy Spirit to continue the work in us that He has begun, we will find that we are changed from glory to glory. Instead of the works of the flesh being manifested in our lives, the fruit of the Spirit is manifested. We become blessed and a blessing. The Agape love of God is a fruit of the Spirit.

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  Romans 5:5 KJV

The Holy Spirit is the one who deposits the Agape love of God in our hearts and the one who works in us to strengthen us in the love of God. If we don’t have the love of God flowing through us then we have nothing. Without love, even all the wonderful gifts and talents that God has given us, are nothing but hollow and noisy.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NIV

Some things, like the gifts of the Spirit, are only useful to us here on the earth. We will no longer have any need of them when we get to heaven. But the love of God will always endure. We will always need the love of God and we will always walk in the love of God, in heaven and throughout eternity. When the Holy Spirit lives big on the inside of us, He guides us into all the truth and we choose to walk in love instead of the way the world walks.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  Luke 6:27-36 NIV

We demonstrate the true love of God, not when we love those who love us, but when we love those who hate us, despise us, use us, abuse us and who try to take advantage of us. The manner in which we conduct ourselves under these difficult circumstances is the measure of the fruit of the love of God that is developed and manifested in our lives.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35 NIV

When the fruit of the love of God is manifested in your life by the way you love others, then people will know that you are a child of God and a follower of Jesus. It is not what you say that counts as much as what you live and what you do!

PRESSURE PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  Romans 5:1-5 NIV

We have been justified through faith and we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have gained access, by faith, into this grace in which we now stand and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Because of all that He has done for us, we can rejoice even in the midst of pressure, persecution, trouble and anguish. The word in verse 3 rendered “tribulations” in the KJV and “sufferings” in the NIV actually means “pressure” – literally or figuratively. The KJV translates this word in various scriptures as “afflicted/affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, and trouble.”

When people see the word “suffering” one of the first things they think of is sickness. There is a fallacy in religious circles that sickness and disease and calamities are good things and that they are good for us. The fallacy is that they are sent from God to teach us and to punish us. I wish they would make up their mind on which one it is! Teaching and punishing are opposites. One assumes that there is hope, the other that there is none. In reality, this opinion and all this “suffering” come straight from the gates of hell. You must be either brain-damaged or religiously brainwashed to think that bad things are good. Good is good and bad is bad. We need to wake up and realize that bad gifts are bad – not good – and that they do not come from God.

We believe that God is in control and He can do anything He wants to, but He has made it very plain, in His word, that He does not give us bad gifts and that He has given us the authority in the earth. He allows what we allow. He does not override or violate the choices we make.

We live in this earth full of sin and death – stuff happens to us – we encounter bad people and bad situations. People like to use Paul as an example of someone who endured sickness for God’s glory. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Paul mentions all his problems. He does not mention sickness or disease one time. The suffering he endured, the thorn in his side (mentioned in 2 Cor 12:7) was sent from the devil not God. It consisted of persecution, beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, hunger, cold, heat, lack and betrayals among other things, and yet God was with him and He was on his side and He brought him out every time. We don’t have control over the external influences that come to try to destroy us, but we can choose how we deal with them – we can choose life and blessing (Deut 30:19).

If hard things alone made you a better person then every body would be in a great place in their life and attitude, but we know that this is not the case. Many times, the hard things people have gone through have made them angry, bitter and resentful toward God and others. Many times, even people who claim that God made them suffer for their own good are actually angry with Him underneath their martyr façade. They have a victim mentality – which is very counter-productive.

We all go through hard things. This is not necessarily the end of your world. The hard things you go through can – in the end – teach you perseverance. You can learn and grow – and be better off – or you can whine and give up and end up full of bitterness and resentments. The hard things you go through don’t make you a better person – you (with God’s help) make yourself a better person, even in the middle of the hard things, by your own choices. Choose to endure, choose to win and not give up, and choose to have a positive attitude. Jesus is your only example – follow Him.

So how do you come through hard things – with a good attitude – having learned perseverance?

  1. Know that God is on your side – pull in closer to Him – submit to Him in all things.
  2. Know that the devil is your problem – resist him at all times.
  3. Realize that you have the choice.
  4. Maintain a humble, teachable spirit.
  5. Find out what God’s word says about your situation.
  6. Do exactly what it says.

The Lord makes the way of escape – He is the way out of every situation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Rodney Howard Browne bringing revival to Forth Walton Beach

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