“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
PAID IN FULL – How To Get Out Of Debt
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Prov 21:20 NIV
Debt – Debt robs from the future to pay for the present.
Debt is a spirit.
Debt is a product.
Debt is a habit.
I. Why do people get in debt?
Ignorance – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea 4:6. Most people were not trained on how to properly handle money. The media’s job is to sell, sell, sell and we buy, buy, buy. If you don’t have the money, no problem, just charge it. When you do this, it will lead you into indulgence.
Indulgence – “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12. We live in a ‘now’ society. We are a fast food society. We say, “I will not wait; I cannot wait; I will find out how to get it now.” Most young couples acquire within three years everything that it took their parents to acquire in a life time. (For example: house, two cars, furniture, big screen TV, computers, etc..) The difference is that their parents waited till they had the cash to pay for it but young couples mortgaged, borrowed, leased, and charged everything. This is the result of…
Poor Planning – A person that does not plan their income VS expenditures actually plans to fail without even knowing it. “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” Proverbs 21:5.
II. How to get out of debt:
For the next thirty days, keep record of every penny that you spend. If you are married, both of you keep records individually to establish an accurate budget.
You must establish a budget! Complete the Paid In Full Budget Sheet in full.
Stop all forms of borrowing including credit cards. Perform plastic surgery on them. The sooner that you stop the borrowing, the sooner you will be out of debt.
Complete the Paid In Full Debt Calculation Sheet. Record debts in order from the smallest debt to the greatest debt.
Save money by using the methods taught by Pastor Eric Gonyon that you feel comfortable with: insurance, credit cards, banking & ATM, envelope system, cash, etc… This will help you apply a Paid In Full accelerator to attack debt–one bill at a time. Soon, bills will be marked PAID IN FULL and eliminated and you will see that there is a way of escape from a mountain of debt. You are on your way to true financial freedom.
It’s time for you to be the lender and not the borrower. “The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.” Deuteronomy 28:12.
Fund the END-TIME HARVEST!
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
THE GOODNESS OF GOD AS REVEALED BY HIS LOVE
“Yes, God’s riches are very great! His wisdom and knowledge have no end! No one can explain what God decides. No one can understand his ways. 34 As the Scriptures say, “Who can know what is on the Lord’s mind? Who is able to give him advice?” 35 “Who has ever given God anything? God owes nothing to anyone.” 36 Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through him and for him. To God be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 ERV
All of creation originated with God. He made it – every intricate, complicated, exquisite atom of it. We are such a small particle in the great universe and our finite minds are totally inadequate to even try to begin to understand even a little bit of God’s great handiwork! There is no way we can ever know or understand everything there is to know about God – we know only a very, very little and understand even less. We cannot say that we know what He is thinking and we certainly cannot begin to think that we could ever advise Him. There is nothing that we could give back to Him that He did not personally make and that He does not already own.
The things that God wants us to know about Him are revealed by the Holy Spirit and recorded in His mighty word. Above all else, He wants us to know just how much He loves us. He tells us in Genesis how He created the entire earth and the universe just for us. He made everything, saw that it was good, formed man in His image and likeness and then gave it all to man to take care of and enjoy. Man was God’s crowning creation!
In the Garden, Adam and Eve respected God, but were not afraid of Him. They did not need to be afraid. He was their creator – they knew Him personally and therefore they knew only His goodness and His complete love and acceptance. They had never experienced sin, fear, guilt, pain or death – therefore they had nothing to hide and no one to hide from – they were naked and unafraid.
“If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary.” 1 Corinthians 8:2 AMP
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:8-11 NKJV
“So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Everyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. 17 If God’s love is made perfect in us, we can be without fear on the day when God judges the world. We will be without fear, because in this world we are like Jesus. 18 Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is his punishment that makes a person fear. So his love is not made perfect in the one who has fear.” 1 John 4:16-18 ERV
God does not just love – He IS love. All He knows is love. All that motivates Him is love. His goodness is revealed in His acts of love. Even if you have memorized the entire Bible, if you do not understand this fact – that God is love – you will not understand the Word of God. God has placed great importance on these facts – that He is love, He loved us first and He sacrificed everything to restore us back into His love. Because we know He loves us, we trust His love for us and therefore we do not fear Him. The person who is afraid of God does not know God’s love. He/she is either a sinner, or a Christian who has not come to know God or His nature and character very well yet. He/she fears the punishment reserved for the sinner. There is no fear of death and punishment for the believer. As we are perfected in God’s love – being made complete in His love – we lose all fear. We learn to trust God and His love completely.
This is how much God loves us: Zephaniah 3:17 KJV says, “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” And in the ERV it says, “The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much he loves you and how happy he is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you, like people at a party.” The Father rejoices over you – yes you!
God is good. God is good to His people. God is kind and good toward even sinners. God is good to ALL.
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
The mission of the local church is: Preaching and teaching; Making disciples; Fellowship; Worship; Missions and evangelism; Maturity of the believer; Ministry in the home; Ministry to material needs.
Preaching and teaching:
In Mark 16:15, Mark records that Jesus commanded the Church to preach the Gospel and in Matthew’s account, He emphasizes the teaching mission of the church (Matthew 28:19-20).
We can see in the book of Acts that the Church did what Jesus told them to do – to both preach and teach:
• Acts 5:42 NKJV – And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
• Acts 2:42 Kenneth S. Wuest – And they were giving constant attention to the teaching of the apostles and to that which they held in common with them, and to the breaking of the bread and to the gatherings where prayers to God were offered.
• Acts 11:25-26 NKJV – Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
• Acts 15:35 NKJV – Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
• Acts 18:11 NKJV – And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
• Acts 20:20-21 NKJV – How I kept back nothing that was helpful, buts proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
• Acts 28:30-31 NKJV – Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
Preach means to herald; to proclaim; to publish. Preaching serves to both recruit and motivate the hearer. Through preaching, new babes are born into the family of God. Teach means to disciple, to instruct; to impart skill, knowledge or comprehension to. Teaching is the maturing ministry of the Church. Through teaching, the babes grow up and are matured from drinking milk to eating strong meat.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NKJV
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hebrews 5:12-14 NKJV
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 KJV
The Greek word translated “teach” is matheteuo, from mathetes, which means “disciple.” The Church is commanded by Jesus to teach – or disciple – all nations. Discipling involves teaching, but is more than just teaching – it is setting and leading by example. You can tell someone how to do it, but showing them is so much more effective. People learn a little by what you say, more by what you do and the most by who you are! Those who merely teach, have pupils, but those who disciple, make followers.
For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8 NKJV
The Church must teach God’s word, live God’s word and demonstrate God’s word. This requires that they personally submit themselves to the Word and the Spirit and allow God to do a work in them and through them. Always point people to God and His word, not to yourself; lift Jesus up; glorify the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
Disciple by word and deed:
• 1 Timothy 4:12 AMP – Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
• 1 Corinthians 11:1 AMP – Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).
• Ephesians 5:1 AMP – Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].
• Philippians 3:17 AMP – Brethren, together follow my example and observe those who live after the pattern we have set for you.
The local church will be strong when its members – under a Spirit-filled ministry – learn from one another, grow together and strengthen one another.
The Lord has done so much in my life! The Lord wanted me to surrender my finances, surrender to Him, trust Him and know that His promises will not come back void. There is great joy in obeying God. When He requires something, I need to be quick to obey what He is requiring
“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
The mission of the local church is: Preaching and teaching; Making disciples; Fellowship; Worship; Missions and evangelism; Maturity of the believer; Ministry in the home; Ministry to material needs.
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 KJV
Jesus Christ, by His sacrifice, has made it possible for man to be restored back into relationship and fellowship with God, the Father. When a man or woman accepts the free gift of salvation, he or she is now both a child, and a friend, of God. They are family. This fellowship with Jesus, Paul calls a “mystery” (Ephesians 3:8-12), but it gives us special privileges – in Jesus Christ we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him – we have the right to freely come into the presence of God Himself!
The cup of blessing [of wine at the Lord’s Supper] upon which we ask [God’s] blessing, does it not mean [that in drinking it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ (the Messiah)? The bread which we break, does it not mean [that in eating it] we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the body of Christ? 17 For we [no matter how] numerous we are, are one body, because we all partake of the one Bread [the One Whom the communion bread represents].
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 AMP
We believers, though many, are all one body – the Body of Christ. One of the functions of the Church is to facilitate, sustain and maintain fellowship between believers. The word translated “fellowship” is “koinonia”, which means partnership; participation; communicate or communication; communion. We have been brought into communion with Jesus Christ and we have also been brought into communion with each other as the Body of Christ. Romans 12:5 AMP says, “So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].” Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on each other – we need each other.
And they were giving constant attention to the teaching of the apostles and to that which they held in common with them, and to the breaking of the bread and to the gatherings where prayers to God were offered. And a reverential fear came upon every soul. And many miracles that excited amazement and attesting miracles were performed by the apostles. And all those who believed were gathered together as a unit and were holding all things in joint-participation, and were selling their houses and lands and other possessions and kept on distributing them to all, according as anyone was having a need. And daily they continued to remain in the temple, in perfect unanimity, breaking bread at home, partaking of food together in gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having the good will of the people. And the Lord kept on adding to them daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 Kenneth S. Wuest
Often when people use the word “fellowship” they relate it to games, dining, and social interaction. There is nothing wrong with such fellowship, when they conform to biblical ethics, but the word “koinonia” is so much more powerful than that. The Early Church met together for fellowship – for instruction in the Word of God, for prayer, to eat together, to partake of communion, and to worship God (Acts 2:42) – to fellowship in the Gospel and grow together in the Lord (Philippians 1:3-6). Paul testifies that even though James, Peter and John were called to preach to the Jews, and he and Barnabas were called to preach to the Gentiles, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas. They offered them all their friendship and support – out of respect for God and His will for all of them (Galatians 2:7-9). The Early Church were united together and had all things in common – they shared ungrudgingly whatever they had – food, clothing, shelter – with each other. Even the persecuted Macedonians, although not wealthy, begged Paul to be able to fellowship with the saints in Jerusalem through their giving (2 Corinthians 8:3-4).
These believers all chose to fellowship with one another because of their covenant with God and each other as the Body. A covenant relationship is one where you commit to fellowship with someone and to love them and bless them based on submission and obedience to God’s Word and not just because you feel like it or not. We are all going to be in heaven together and that means overlooking our differences. We can even agree to disagree, but we don’t have to be disagreeable!
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4 NKJV
Where people are touched by the power of God and truly filled with the Holy Spirit, there will be harmony and fellowship. When we have unbroken fellowship with God then we will have harmony and fellowship in the Body of Christ. When our fellowship with God is lacking then there will be discord and strife. Discord and strife arises when people behave like the devil – when they are worldly, carnal, selfish and arrogant.
If we have genuine fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, we will walk in the truth and we will walk in the love of God toward each other. If we do not walk in love, we show ourselves to be liars – we are not in fellowship with God at all (1 John 1:1-7). Thank God for His blood that washes us clean and gives us another chance to do right. Thank God for His forgiveness. When we realize that we are nothing without Him and we humble ourselves to accept His love and mercy for ourselves, then it is not so difficult to love and show grace to a neighbor. God’s love makes it possible for His precious Church to fellowship with Him and fellowship with each other.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 NKJV
You cannot attach your faith to anything that God hasn’t already promised you. When you do attach your faith to God’s promise and you pray in faith, then you will receive all the blessings of His will and His promise.
If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. 6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. 7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, 8 [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]. James 1:5-8 AMP
If God is a giving God, who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, then why don’t people have all that they need from Him? Obviously God is not our problem! God gives to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly! The key that opens the door to God’s blessing of wisdom, or anything we ask God for, is to ask in faith. If you are wavering, hesitating, and doubting – you are double-minded. When you are double-minded, you are not operating in faith. Faith is single-minded and laser-focused! Faith is resolute – faith’s mind is made up. If you ask in faith – you’ll receive from God what you ask Him for, but if you do not ask in faith, then you will not receive what you’ve asked for. The key is FAITH!
And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive. Matthew 21:21-22 AMP
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 NKJV
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:22-24 NKJV
These scriptures clearly show how important faith is. They promise that you can have WHATEVER you have the faith for. Scripture puts no limits or qualifications on the known needs of this life – so do not limit them! These scriptures show us that whatever you desire in life – faith is absolutely necessary to get it. You should not expect to get anything from God, if you refuse to have faith. Jesus commanded us to, “Have faith in God”; therefore, we should have faith in God. It’s not impossible to have faith; it’s not God’s responsibility to give you faith; you can’t pray for faith. Operating in faith is your choice and responsibility!
It is all-important to have faith, because:
No prayer will be answered without faith
You cannot please God without faith
You will not get anything from God without faith
And – without faith you will be disobedient to God.
If God commands us to have faith, then to break the commandment, with doubt and unbelief, must be sin. Romans 14:22b (K.S. Wuest) says, “Moreover, everything which is not of faith is sin.” The Amplified says, “For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful].” Believers should be as concerned about not breaking this law as they are about breaking any other of God’s laws! If believers realized that it’s a sin to have unbelief and to doubt God and His word, it would motivate them to change and to do something about it! The problem is, that people just think that doubt and unbelief are “normal” and to be expected and part of the human experience. Most people – even believers – are just indifferent about it. If you don’t think there’s a problem, or if you don’t think it can be helped, then you don’t look for an answer or a solution.
When people pray, if they’ve believed the devil’s lies that not all people can believe God and have faith, then they’ll think that it’s perfectly alright to live in doubt and unbelief and that it’s normal to waver in your believing and asking. And when prayer isn’t answered, they take it for granted that it must not be God’s will. Some people even pray prayers that begin with, “If it be Thy will”! We know what God’s will is! His will is His word! So their defeat is all blamed on God, and considered His will, without question. The truth is that believers are surrendering to the devil and his cohorts who are opposing the answer to their prayers! Defeat becomes such a habit to the average believer that they don’t even think about it. In fact, they are way more surprised when a prayer does get answered than if it doesn’t!
If God does not answer a prayer, it doesn’t mean that it was not His will, or that He is unfaithful – it simply means that the prayer was prayed in doubt and unbelief. What does the Bible say? If it says that God always answers faith – then the lack of an answer simply shows our unbelief. When the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast a demon out, Jesus’ answer was, “Because of your unbelief” (Matthew 17:14-21). There is not one scripture that says that prayer remains unanswered for any other reason. If we excuse our unbelief and blame the failure on God, then we are sinning against Him. Doubting God is a sin! If no one would doubt God, there would be no failure to get answers to prayer every time we prayed for anything that is already covered by the promises of God.
We, believers, must cooperate with and contribute toward the advancement of the Gospel:
In every prayer of mine I always make my entreaty and petition for you all with joy (delight). 5 [I thank my God] for your fellowship (your sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership) in advancing the good news (the Gospel) from the first day [you heard it] until now. Philippians 1:4-5 AMP
Paul is writes this letter to the Philippians and tells them that he thanks God for their fellowship – sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership – with him in the Gospel. The Greek word translated “fellowship” is “koinonia”, which means: fellowship; partnership; participation; communion; communication; distribution; contribution; to communicate; (financial) benefaction. Their partnership and contributions helped to advance the Gospel.
Don’t advance your own interests – advance the Gospel:
For the others all seek [to advance] their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). 22 But Timothy’s tested worth you know, how as a son with his father he has toiled with me zealously in [serving and helping to advance] the good news (the Gospel). Philippians 2:21-22 AMP
Many Christians are no better than the heathen, when it comes to advancing the Gospel; because they are so busy serving themselves and advancing their own interests that the Gospel is neglected. As believers, we have a responsibility toward the Gospel – to advance the Gospel. No one else is going to do it. If we don’t do it, it won’t be done. We have to lay aside all selfishness and self-promotion and make God’s plans and will and desires, our priority.
Rejoice in the Lord and let your genuine unselfishness be seen by all:
Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! 5 Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. Philippians 4:4-5 AMP
Do not fret or worry about one thing – but tell your Father what you want and need – and His peace will garrison your heart and mind:
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. 7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 AMP
Fix your mind only on positive, godly, good things; model your way of life on the word of God and God’s peace will be with you:
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. 9 Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 AMP
Make sure that you do not neglect the Gospel or those who preach the Gospel – be a partner in advancing the Gospel with your resources of time, abilities and substance:
I was made very happy in the Lord that now you have revived your interest in my welfare after so long a time; you were indeed thinking of me, but you had no opportunity to show it. Philippians 4:10 AMP
But it was right and commendable and noble of you to contribute for my needs and to share my difficulties with me. 15 And you Philippians yourselves well know that in the early days of the Gospel ministry, when I left Macedonia, no church (assembly) entered into partnership with me and opened up [a debit and credit] account in giving and receiving except you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent [me contributions] for my needs, not only once but a second time. Philippians 4:14-16 AMP
Learn how to be content in any and all circumstances – be self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency:
Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. 12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. 13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Philippians 4:11-13 AMP
Your offering is a sweet smell to the Father and results in a harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account:
Not that I seek or am eager for [your] gift, but I do seek and am eager for the fruit which increases to your credit [the harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account]. 18 But I have [your full payment] and more; I have everything I need and am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. [They are the] fragrant odor of an offering and sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights. Philippians 4:17-18 AMP
When you participate in advancing the Gospel with your finances, there is fruit that accumulates to your account – a harvest of blessing. Your offering and your sacrifice is a sweet smell that rises up to the throne of God and which He welcomes and in which He delights.
And the Father will liberally supply your every need – according to HIS riches in glory:
And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 AMP
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
4 To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
6 To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
7 To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
8 The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
9 The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.
13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.
16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:
20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:
21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:
22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.
23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:
24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.
25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.
26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalms 136:1-26 KJV
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.
The repetitive theme of this psalm is God’s mercy – His mercy, His loving kindness and His faithful love – that endures forever! This psalm might have been a responsive reading, where the congregation repeated the phrase together at the end of each sentence. The repetition makes this important lesson to sink in and become real to the worshipers. God is a God of love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness. Obviously God wants us to know that He IS good and that His love for us and toward us will never run out; it is a river – a well, springing up – that never will run dry.
O give thanks to the God of gods, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.
He is the God – Elohiym – over all other gods. Elohiym is actually “Gods” and refers to the Trinity – three in one.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.
He is the Lord – Adoniym – of lords. He is the Sovereign of sovereigns; Master of masters; and Ruler of rulers.
Because of His mercy and loving kindness:
-He does great wonders
He is always working on our behalf with signs and wonders and miraculous answers.
-By wisdom and understanding, He made the heavens, He stretched out the earth upon the waters, and He made the great lights – the sun, moon and stars.
All creation is a testament to God that He is our creator and that He is in charge and in control.
-He delivers His people – saves and protects them.
He smote (struck) Egypt’s firstborn; He brought out Israel from among them with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm; He divided the Red Sea into parts and made Israel to pass through the midst of it, but shook off and overthrew Pharaoh and his host into the Red Sea; He led His people through the wilderness. He can deliver YOU from ANY situation, no matter how impossible the situation.
-He defeated great kings and gave their land to Israel and to their descendants.
He smote great kings; He smote great kings, Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan; and gave their land as a heritage, even a heritage to Israel His servant. No man – no matter how powerful – can prevail against God’s obedient children. Who can stand against you if God is for you? Whatever God gives you, He means for you to keep and to pass down to your children’s children. God does not give and then take away. He gives it to us and expects us to administer it wisely, in the fear of God; but if we do not remain committed to Him, we could potentially lose all He has given. Stay in God’s will and don’t allow the enemy to rob from you. God’s blessing is a blessing that remains.
-He earnestly remembered us in our low estate and imprinted us on His heart, and rescued us from our enemies.
Even if we don’t know it, God is always watching over us. He never leaves us; never forgets about us; is always working on a plan of deliverance. How awesome is it that He has imprinted us on His own heart! He is the one who rescues us from our enemies. Look to Him; trust in Him; He will not fail you. He will not allow the enemy to win. When Israel was between the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his armies, they were terrified, but God split the Red Sea and took them through it – then He drowned the whole Egyptian army in it. The three Hebrew boys were thrown into the fire, but only those who threw them in were burned up. They came through without even the smell of smoke on their clothes.
-He gives food to all flesh.
God feeds all His creation. He rains on the just and the unjust. He provides for all. How good and merciful He is!
O give thanks to the God of heaven, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
[And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). 10 But glory and honor and [heart] peace shall be awarded to everyone who [habitually] does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). 11 For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another]. Romans 2:9-11 AMP
Jesus came to make all men equal in faith. No one man, or nation, is better than another in God’s eyes. All men stand naked before God. He knows everything about them – the good and the bad; and each one must come to God on the basis of faith – and not personal worthiness – because they have none of it.
For he is not a [real] Jew who is only one outwardly and publicly, nor is [true] circumcision something external and physical. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and [true] circumcision is of the heart, a spiritual and not a literal [matter]. His praise is not from men but from God. Romans 2:28-29 AMP
It is not the things we do outwardly that give us status with God, but it is the issues of the heart. To be a Jew “inwardly” is to believe in, and to submit to, God, and have faith like faithful Abraham.
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:11-14 NKJV
There is no way to please God in the flesh, so your genetics and your heritage do not impress God. You cannot claim any special privileges because of your blood or your culture. Neither will you be turned away, merely on the basis of your lack of these things. Every man and woman must come to God on the basis of faith and covenant, humbly and thankfully receiving the grace purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV
Every person on the earth – no matter what their lineage, their station in life, or their sex – must come, and can come, to God on the same basis – faith in Jesus Christ.
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:14-18 NKJV
For through Jesus Christ, both Jews and Gentiles have access by one Spirit to the Father.
We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. 24 But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 AMP
Trying to find God through your culture will not work and you cannot make your culture the reason why you cannot bow your knee to the King of kings. Every man, from every culture WILL bow to Him at the end. It is better to do it willingly now. You have to find Him in HIS culture and make His culture, your culture.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Colossians 3:1-11 NKJV
People use excuses for sin and ungodliness, believing that they can continue in certain practices, because it is “our culture”. However, the Word of God tells us that we are to drop everything from our “culture” that does not line up with the Word of God. We have a new culture – the culture of the Kingdom of God and of His son, Jesus Christ. We do not walk, talk, or act like anything else, but a blood-washed, born again, holy, child of God!