THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPIRITUAL CHRISTIAN AND A CARNAL CHRISTIAN

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

If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world’s crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?–such as] 21 Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], 22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines. 23 Such [practices] have indeed the outward appearance [that popularly passes] for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). [Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.] Colossians 2:20-23 AMP

When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]. Romans 7:5-6 AMP

You can be saved and still be a carnal Christian rather than a spiritual Christian. There is a difference between a carnal Christian and a spiritual Christian:

-Carnal Christians have not renewed their mind with the Word of God, or allowed the Holy Spirit to change them.

-They think, talk, and act, like the rest of the world and follow the world’s way of doing things.

-They allow their flesh and fleshly impulses to control them.

-They only function in the sense realm – what they can see, hear, touch, smell and taste.

-They only trust what they can see; they judge things by outward appearance.

-They try to keep God’s Law in their own ability.

-They try to control behavior without changing the heart.

-They try to serve God their way.

-They are afraid of God’s wrath.

-They do not have a revelation of God’s love for them, or His grace and mercy extended toward them, or the freedom that is available to them.

By mercy and love, truth and fidelity [to God and man–not by sacrificial offerings], iniquity is purged out of the heart, and by the reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord men depart from and avoid evil. Proverbs 16:6 AMP

In contrast, the spiritual Christian has submitted themselves to the Word of God and the Spirit of God, to be taught and to be changed into His image: -They have died to material ways of looking at things.

-They function not just in the earthly realm, but also in the Spirit realm.

-They trust the unseen – the Holy Spirit.

-They trust the Word of God.

-They know God loves them and they love Him.

-They joyfully submit themselves to God’s Word, obey God’s commands, and serve Him.

-They act on the Word, doing what it commands.

-They practice the love walk.

-They enjoy the liberty of the Spirit.

-They are not afraid of God or His wrath, because they believe His Word.

-They have a revelation of His grace and mercy extended to all who believe. -They think, talk, and act like Jesus.

-They have a revelation of their place in God’s family.

-They see themselves as God sees them.

-They humbly acknowledge that they are nothing without Him and that He is always to be glorified and lifted up in their lives.

-At the same time, they are bold to stand up and declare and decree a thing, knowing that Heaven stands behind them to carry it out.

-They serve – not under obedience to the old code of written regulations – but under obedience to the promptings of the Spirit in newness of life.

The Peaceable Fruit of Righteousness – Part Two

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

Hebrews 12:11 AMP says, “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Discipline – instruction, training, correction – is not pleasant at the time it is being administered, but it produces righteousness in the person being disciplined and ultimately it produces peace. If you will submit to God’s discipline – through His Word and His Spirit, you will bring forth the fruit of righteousness and peace.

And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; 6 For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. 7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? 8 Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. 9 Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live? 10 For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.  Hebrews 12:5-10 AMP

The biggest problem in the Church today, is that you have too many people calling themselves Christians – children of Father God – who do not, and will not, submit themselves to God’s discipline through His Word and Spirit. Paul tells us not to take God’s discipline lightly and not to get all bent out of shape or give up when He corrects you. We have seen so many people going round and round the mountain one more time, because they have areas of their life that are off limits to God. They will not allow the Lord to bring correction to them in particular areas of their lives, therefore they never grow in those areas and are always in bondage to the mistaken attitudes and ways of thinking that come with pride and sin. Of course, discipline is not pleasant at the time! None of us likes to be disciplined – its hard on our flesh and our pride and our ego – but if we will humble ourselves and allow the fire of God to do its work in us, we will come through the other side with a burden lifted; freer and more joy-filled than we have ever been before; with a new appreciation for our Father God and how much He loves and cares for us!

Paul asks the question: “For what son is there whom his father does not thus train and correct and discipline?” Discipline is for the good of the child. In those days fathers would instruct and discipline their children and God expects fathers to continue to do that today. Instructing, disciplining, correcting, and training his children is one of the main responsibilities of a father – not just putting a roof over your kid’s heads, clothes on their back, food on their plate, and sending them to a good school. None of these things will produce obedient kids and good, productive citizens without your personal, daily input. You have to realize that if you do not give your children guidance – someone else will; if you do not mold them and shape them – someone else will.

Politicians are always trying to remove or hinder parental authority – in the guise of what is good for the child – and have succeeded in many instances, but God put the responsibility for teaching, training, and discipline squarely on the parents, especially the fathers! You have to understand that we are in a war for the hearts of men. Ungodly law-makers and educators would love to have the opportunity to shape your child’s mind and attitude. Why do you think it was so important to the atheists for prayer to be taken out of school? This one decision has changed several generations – and not for the good. America is losing its moral compass as society encourages rebellion against authority and disdain for all that is good. If you do not take responsibility for appropriately disciplining your children, you leave them open for a life of rebelliousness against authority, resulting in rebellion against God, Himself!

Raising and disciplining a child is not the easy way or the lazy way – it requires effort and time and consistency. You have to discipline yourself to take the time and make the effort to input into your children. It takes lots and lots of love and patience. You have to put your own flesh under; you cannot afford to be selfish; you cannot abdicate your responsibilities and leave it up to the mother of your children to do it all on her own. A father’s influence on his kids is huge – whether he takes responsibility or not. He is directly responsible for how they turn out. A father who refuses to be involved with his children’s upbringing – whether he lives in the house or not – is sending a message to his children: you are illegitimate! That may sound strong, but illegitimate children are usually not acknowledged nor treated as sons. If you ignore them – that is the message you are sending – you are saying, “You are not loved or wanted.”

We are not illegitimate offspring – we are children of our Father God. Discipline produces respect. If we respect our earthly fathers and obey them, should we not even much more submit to our Heavenly Father and live! Earthly fathers discipline us for only a short period of time and chastise us as seems proper and good to them; but God disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.

Living in the Family of God

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

Foundation Scriptures: Colossians 3:5-25

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.  Colossians 3:5-25 NIV

1. In the Family, we have been raised to a new life through Jesus Christ—He was raised to new life therefore we have been raised up with Him.

  • We are to seek the rich eternal treasures that are above—in the Heavenlies.
  • Set your mind on the higher things.
  • You died with Him, you were buried with Him and you have been raised to new life with Him.
  • Putting off the old—verses 5-9
  • Putting on the new—verses 10-12

2. Your conduct in the Family of God.

  • Forgiving one another—verse 13
  • Put on love—verse 14
  • Let peace rule—verse 15
  • Be thankful—verse 15
  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord—verse 16
  • Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him—verse 17

3. Christian family conduct.

Verses 18-25

  • Husbands; wives; children; parents; fathers; servants.
  • The Word of God must be the foundation for our lives.

4. Foundational things you must do in order to live your life prosperously and effectively in the Family of God.

  • Decide to obey God’s Word and take it as the written, spoken, God-breathed pattern for your life in the Family.
  • Don’t be conformed to the world—its ways and ideologies.
  • Don’t be persuaded by outside influences—be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit is the One who has been sent to help you live your life in the Family.
  • He will constrain and restrain you and also release, empower and enable you to live by the grace of God to handle any situation that might come your way.

NB You are part of the Family of God in Heaven and Earth!

God’s Word For Raising Great Kids by Rodney Howard Browne

Children are a blessing from God. Many people treat them as if they are anything but a blessing. They will be more of a blessing if you apply God’s Word in the way you raise them. Stand on God’s Word for your family. Believe His promises.

For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.  Psalms 147:13 NKJ

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.  Psalms 127:3-5 NKJ

The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.  Proverbs 20:7 NKJ

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.  Psalms 128:3 NKJ

A wise child is an incredible blessing, but a foolish child will bring years of pain and grief. Foolish, undisciplined children disrespect their parents. Your children will give you the respect due you as a parent if you discipline, correct, teach and train them as the Word of God instructs. Protect your children and be careful over their friends and whom they associate with.

A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.  Proverbs 10:1 NAS

A wise son makes a glad father, but a self-confident and foolish man despises his mother and puts her to shame.  Proverbs 15:20 AMP

A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.  Proverbs 17:25 NKJ

Whoever keeps the law [of God and man] is a wise son, but he who is a companion of gluttons and the carousing, self-indulgent, and extravagant shames his father.  Proverbs 28:7 AMP

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.  Proverbs 23:24-25 NKJ

Take responsibility for the raising of your own children. You shape their future! Eli got in trouble with God because he allowed his sons to do whatever they wanted to do. Undisciplined, untrained children lose out on their inheritance —spiritual and material.

Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.   Proverbs 22:6 AMP

A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share in the inheritance among brothers.  Proverbs 17:2 NAS

Don’t be shocked when your kid does dumb stuff. They are kids! You will need patience and you will need to be consistent in your discipline and training ­—not just for a day —for at least 18 years!

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.  Proverbs 22:15 AMP

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left undisciplined brings his mother to shame.  Proverbs 29:15 AMP

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your heart.  Proverbs 29:17 AMP

Withhold not discipline from the child; for if you strike and punish him with the [reedlike] rod, he will not die. 14 You shall whip him with the rod and deliver his life from Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).  Proverbs 23:13-14 AMP

He who spares his rod [of discipline] hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines diligently and punishes him early.  Proverbs 13:24 AMP (…disciplines him promptly NKJ)

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.  Proverbs 19:18 KJV (…do not be a willing party to his death. NIV)

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.  Proverbs 29:17 NKJ (…he will give you peace…NIV)

A child is accountable for his/her attitude and behavior just the same as an adult. “He’s just a kid” is a cop out. Kids are responsible for themselves and should be held accountable.

Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right. Proverbs 20:11 NKJ

Your leadership style in the home relates directly to your leadership style in other areas. You can act like you have it all together out there, but back home your kids know the real story! Your first responsibility is your own family. You cannot abdicate your familial responsibilities and then expect God to use you in the church. If you want a leadership role in the church you must be a leader in your home. Show some character and integrity in your home and you will be fit to minister to the Body of Christ!

He must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control, with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and keeping them respectful. 5 For if a man does not know how to rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?  1 Timothy 3:4-5 AMP

Let deacons be the husbands of but one wife, and let them manage [their] children and their own households well.  1 Timothy 3:12 AMP

[These elders should be] men who are of unquestionable integrity and are irreproachable, the husband of [but] one wife, whose children are [well trained and are] believers, not open to the accusation of being loose in morals and conduct or unruly and disorderly.  Titus 1:6 AMP (…wild and disobedient NIV)

The Truth About the Grace of God

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17 NKJV

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 KJV

There is a difference between mercy and grace. Mercy is what we receive when God does NOT give us what we DO deserve. Grace is what we receive when God gives us what we DO NOT deserve. We receive both when we obey the gospel and receive Jesus as Lord. The truth is that grace cannot be withheld from man because of any demerit and it cannot by lessened by demerit; neither can it be mixed with the law of works. However, this does not prove that we do not have any conditions to meet in order to receive the benefits of grace. There is not one scripture that teaches unconditional grace, or that God gives grace to those who disobey the gospel. God’s love is unconditional, but His grace is not. You must cooperate with God in receiving, and continuing to receive, His grace.

Romans 2:11 AMP says: “For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].” God is not a respecter of persons. The same rules apply to all. If He saves just one sinner, who disobeys, then He is under obligation to save them all.

1 John 1:7 NKJV says: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” God is under obligation to believers only when they walk in the light and remain true to the gospel. He is not under obligation to sinners until they receive Jesus and start obeying His word.

Titus 2:11-12 NKJV says: “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.”The grace of God teaches us that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and should live soberly, righteously, and godly here and now. Grace can go no further, if people do not obey its teaching.

It is possible to:

1. Receive grace in vain

2 Corinthians 6:1 NKJV – We then, as workers together with Him, also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

2. Frustrate (set aside) the grace of God in your life.

Galatians 2:21 NKJV – I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

3. Fall from grace

Galatians 1:6-8 NKJV – I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 5:4 NKJV – You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

4. Fall short of the grace of God

Hebrews 12:14-15 NKJV – Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.

5. Turn grace into lasciviousness

Jude 1: 4 AMP – For certain men have crept in stealthily [gaining entrance secretly by a side door]. Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality, and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

6. Sin in spite of grace

Romans 6:1-2 NKJV – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

7. Continue or discontinue in grace

Acts 13:43 NKJV – Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

8. Minister grace to others

1 Peter 4:10 NKJV – As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

9. Grow or not grow in grace

2 Peter 3:17-18a NKJV – You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

10. Receive or reject grace

John 3:16 NKJV – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Revelation 22:17 NKJV – And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

James 4:6-10 NKJV – But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Persecution From The World by Rodney Howard Browne

This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. 15 I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.] 16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you. 17 This is what I command you: that you love one another. 18 If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. 20 Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. 21 But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin [would be blameless]; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates Me also hates My Father.24 If I had not done (accomplished) among them the works which no one else ever did, they would not be guilty of sin. But [the fact is] now they have both seen [these works] and have hated both Me and My Father. 25 But [this is so] that the word written in their Law might be fulfilled, They hated Me without a cause.  John 15:12-25 AMP

Jesus loved us so much that He sacrificed His life for us—His friends—as He calls us. He only had one life to give and He gave it freely and utterly. Only those who obey His commands can claim to be His friends. Jesus is the one who promoted us from servants to friends. What an honor to be called a friend of God! We did not choose Jesus—He chose us—He loved us and died for us and invited us into His family. We have a choice to make as well—to either accept or reject His offer of salvation. He chose us and appointed us to bear lasting fruit so that whatever we ask the Father, in the Name of Jesus, He will give us. Jesus wants us to get our prayers answered! We should consider it a great, great honor that Jesus loves us so much!

Because Jesus is our Lord and Master, we owe Him our unconditional obedience, but Jesus asks us to obey Him simply because we love Him. The Father, Himself, loves us and desires that His love be freely reciprocated. Indeed, He has been so devoted to us; we owe Him something in return. We owe Him our honor and loyalty. 1 Corinthians 7:23 ERV says that, “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be slaves to anyone else.”  You need to take your eyes off of other people—stop caring about what they think of you more than what God thinks of you and be loyal in every way to the One who saved you and set you free.

Jesus goes on to speak of persecution. The world—the world’s system—hates Jesus; hates righteousness; hates what is good—without a cause and for no reason. The god of this world—the devil—has blinded the eyes of the unbelievers so that they should not discern the Truth (2 Cor. 4:4). They hate Jesus and they hate you, but don’t even know why themselves. If the world hates you—know that they hated Jesus first. If you were one of them and like them—they would love you. But because you are not one of them and you are not like them, they hate you. A servant is not greater than his master—if they persecuted Jesus, they will persecute you as well. Don’t be surprised at persecution when it comes, because everyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). If they hate you, they hate Jesus too. If they hate Jesus, they hate the Father who sent Jesus to die—even for them. Before Saul became Paul, he too hated Jesus and all Christians, but his eyes were opened and he ended up giving his life for the sake of the Gospel!

Christians get enough hatred from the world—we need each other’s love, support and encouragement. Many times, we think that other Christians are our problem, when our only problem is the devil. He comes to sow discord so that he can divide and conquer. When the Christians of the Early Church were persecuted, they pulled together, called on the Father in unison and continued to boldly preach the Gospel, perform miracles and meet the needs of the people. It’s time the Body of Christ woke up and stopped fighting each other, rather, stood side to side and faced the devil—our true enemy—and fought and conquered him! Jesus asks us to please Him by unselfishly loving one another and he will give you the strength to do it.

Characteristics of the Power of God – Part II

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. Acts 1:8 AMP

Delivering power:

Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” 21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” Acts 5:17-25 NKJV

The apostles were flowing in the power of God – healing and delivering large numbers of people and more and more people acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior and were being added to the body of Christ. This infuriated the high priest and the Sadducees. They locked them in prison, but an angel brought them out of prison and instructed them to go back and preach in the temple. When we are doing the will of God, the power of the Holy Spirit is also the power of deliverance from the hands of man.

Power in the face of death:

When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:54-60 NKJV

Stephen preached the sermon of his life and the truth he spoke cut the Jews to the heart. They picked up stones and began to throw them at him. Stephen was so full of the Holy Spirit that he seemed oblivious to the stones hitting his body – he looked straight up into heaven and saw Jesus, the Father and the glory of God. Referring to his death the Bible says that he “fell asleep”. The Holy Spirit gives one peace, strength and power in the very face of death!

Power that money can’t buy:

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:5-8 NKJV

The people of Samaria were enthralled with the power of God on Philip’s life. They were saved, healed, delivered, baptized in water and filled with the joy of the Lord! Even a sorcerer called Simon was saved and baptized!

Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” 24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” Acts 8:14-24 NKJV

Simon wanted to buy the power or ability to fill people with the Holy Spirit, but his motives were evil. Peter thoroughly rebuked him. The power to pray for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit cannot be bought, controlled or manipulated. You must be thoroughly yielded to the Holy Spirit yourself. The Lord can only do through you what He is allowed to do IN you. The power to fill people with the Holy Spirit comes only through the Holy Spirit Himself – not by the power of man.

Overcoming power:

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11 NKJV

The power to overcome the devil and his works is through the blood of Jesus and the word of your testimony. What the Lord has done in you, to you through you and for you, is a powerful witness and a powerful force! Keep trusting in the power of the blood and the Name, and keep testifying – preach the Word of God and the power of God – and you’ll see great miracles and victories!

Seventeen Benefits We Have Through Jesus Christ

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:2-3 KJV

All that we have is in Christ Jesus. All that we have in and through Jesus are the blessings of God.

1. Through Jesus we have the blessing of righteousness:

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:21-23 NKJV

2. Through Jesus we have the blessing of the grace of God:

But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. Romans 5:15 NKJV

3. Through Jesus we have the blessing of grace reigning through righteousness:

So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21 NKJV

4. Through Jesus we have the blessing of grace and truth:

I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace (the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4 AMP

For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 AMP

5. Through Jesus we have the blessing of the Gospel of peace:

You know the contents of the message which He sent to Israel, announcing the good news (Gospel) of peace by Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all. Acts 10:36 AMP

6. All of creation was created through Jesus:

And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 3:9 NKJV

For 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. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Colossians 1:16-18 NKJV

7. Through Jesus we have the blessing of reconciliation:

But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. 2 Corinthians 5:18 AMP

8. Through Jesus we have the blessing of the revelation of the Gospel:

But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12 NKJV

9. Through Jesus we have the blessing of justification:

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. 17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! Galatians 2:16-17 NKJV

10. Through Jesus we have the blessing of adoption into the family of God:

For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]. Ephesians 1:5 AMP

11. Through Jesus we have the blessing of His exceeding riches of grace:

That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:7-8 NKJV

12. Through Jesus we have the blessing of having all our needs supplied:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:19-20 NKJV

13. Through Jesus we have the blessing of salvation:

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NKJV

14. Through Jesus we are able to offer up spiritual sacrifices:

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5 NKJV

15. Through Jesus we have the blessing of a good conscience:

There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:21 NKJV

16. God calls us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus:

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10 NKJV

17. Through Jesus we are given utterance and knowledge:

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge. 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NKJV

Matters of the Heart

Worship Soundtracks from RMIRiverSong on Vimeo.

Well for starters I want to say how much of a privilege it is to be part of the River Church. I come from Houston, Texas with a hungry heart for the things of God! Just being here these past months I’ve learned so many wonderful things about the ministry that I never knew before! I came to Rbi expecting God to fill me up to an overflowing to then be able to go back home to pour it all out…and that is exactly what im getting! Everyday there is something fresh and new from God, weather it’s in class or a service or soul winning on the streets. Never had I gone soul winning in my life as much as I have here, here souls is what it’s all about! And I’m so grateful that I’m able to experience this harvest time with the church. The passed Sunday December 13, 2009 was amazing!! I was asked to help at the nursery with ages one and two. Before service started we all prepared for the kids…i did not know what to expect! Service started and the building started to flood with people! I couldn’t believe my eyes; I was amazed at how many of my people (Hispanics) had showed up. In a few amount of minutes the nursery was filled with kids. The kids were very loving and of course super hyper! Once I got my group of little girls on the floor I asked one by one if they wanted to have Jesus in their heart. They all just said “Yes” with the cutest smile! So I prayed the prayer and they all repeated after me…it was breath taking! I looked into their little eyes just filled with joy that at such a young age they know they have Jesus living in their hearts! It was something I did not expect; I thought they wouldn’t understand what I was praying and that they wouldn’t pray it. But wow God surprised me BIG time! It was an awesome experience! So if this happened in the nursery I cannot even imagine what happened in the main service…or should I say main event!?! God is so GOOD!!

Rodney Howard Browne – Esther L. Testimony

Worship Soundtracks from RMIRiverSong on Vimeo.

Today at the nursing home i prayed for a husband and wife who were in beds besides each other each said they had never heard that god loved them they both prayed and asked Jesus in their hearts.

Vera Willow springs, NC had left eye tissue of cornea torn from glaucoma.  75% of her sight was gone from that eye and she had redness and pain.  After prayer all the pain left her body, and her vision was 100% restored.  Her eye was no longer red, and she was able to read the small print in the newspaper to me.  She was freaking out and said “I can read the small print now!”

My little sister died when she was 20 months old from Sickle Cell, the doctors told me when I was 5 I had Sickle Cell also. Sickle cell is a blood disorder that cause’s your blood to stick together and not carry oxygen. In doing this they can cause what could be explained as a traffic jam and won’t allow the blood to get where it needs to go. On a Tuesday night Pastor Rodney prayed for me and I have been healed from Sickle Cell, more energy and no pain! I am so thankful for what God has done in my life. Thank you Rodney, for allowing me to see just what God has in store for me. I am 16 and will be attending his College when I graduate, another testimony in itself.

A lady had serious problems with her back and other problems was heal and touch by the Lord. Jake P. College when I graduate, another testimony in itself.

Reaching Souls across America

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