Monthly Archives: April 2015

A Lifestyle

A Lifestyle
by Rhovonda L. Brown

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So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free. (John 8:36, AMP)

Those who follow me on social media and who are on our mailing list know that Martha & Mary Ministries, Walking in Freedom’s theme is “walking in freedom”. In fact, the title of my first book uses that same theme. Walking in freedom is not mere words I randomly used to encourage you. Not only is it the heart of our ministry, but these three words are brought forth from our decision to follow Christ.
Freedom, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the quality or state of being free. The absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. It’s the liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another (merriam-webster.com). Jesus Christ gave us freedom from sin and from Satan’s captivity. His work at the cross (death, burial and resurrection) liberated us from the enslavement we once had from the curse of sin.

Jesus has made us free. Our sinful nature can no longer control us, dominate us, and influence us because of the blood that He shed for us on Calvary. His victory at the cross released us from the restraint that sin had over us. Our emotions, actions, behaviors, and lifestyles are not motivated by the power of sin. Not anymore! Inasmuch as we are children of God, we walk in freedom surrendering to the will of God and the authority of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:1-9). Because Christ conquered sin, death, and the grave, we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Rom. 8:11-38).

Now, does our freedom mean we won’t make mistakes? Does it mean we won’t stumble? Of course not! We live in a world that’s deteriorating daily, living amongst wicked and corruptible people (1 Cor. 7:31). Be that as it may, we are in the world not of the world (John 15:19, 17:13-16). We are victorious over this world (1 John 5:4-5). The difference between believers and non-believers is that we have been forgiven. When we sin, we can ask for forgiveness, and our faithful Father will forgive us immediately (1 John 1:9). He won’t condemn us, but have mercy on us and wipe the slate clean. Wow!

My sister, walking in freedom is not a movement, but a way of life. It’s a life that trusts Jesus and is led by the Holy Spirit. It is someone who doesn’t allow difficulties of this life to turn her away from God, but keeps her eyes on the Master. Even if she stumbles or gets off track, God has given her the ability to refocus her attention back to Him.

It’s Wednesday – Hump Day!
Here’s a biblical principle to keep us focused and get us over the hump.

In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off]. (Gal. 5:1, AMP)

Jesus Christ’s unfailing love has rescued and delivered us from the oppression and power of sin. We are no longer under the law of sin that imprisoned us and condemned us, but by grace through faith we have been saved (Eph. 2:8). At this very moment and forevermore, Christ’s Spirit lives inside of us, and His Spirit gives us liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).

So now, my sister, without any shame, doubt, or fear, let us walk in our freedom.

FOR YOUR MEDITATION AND QUIET TIME

ENCOURAGING YOU TO WALK IN FREEDOM!

My devotional debut book has 30 devotionals to inspire you to keep walking in freedom with Jesus Christ. Take a peek inside!

(*Originally posted 8/6/2014)

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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By Any Means Necessary

There is a picture of Malcolm X standing by a window of his home, peering through the curtains, and holding a weapon. At the top of that picture the words are written big and bold, “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY”. Some people view that picture and statement in a negative connotation, but I don’t. I view them as a man who takes a stand to do whatever it takes to protect the well-being of his family and his home. If it meant staying up late, guarding his home, making sure his wife and children are safe, and being the protector of his family, then it must be done!

“By any means necessary” is a profound statement. I believe it’s an attitude that means going the distance, pushing past oppositions and barriers no matter how difficult they may be in order to meet a goal or objective. It’s means determination!

In today’s passage, we see an example of men who have a “by any means necessary” attitude.

“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, ‘Young man, your sins are forgiven.’”
(Luke 5:18-20,NLT)

These men sought to make their way to Jesus. They were bound by a common goal: to get their friend to Jesus so he can be healed. These friends were bold, courageous, and creative in their efforts to get to Jesus. They didn’t worry about the obstacles, the penalty for damaging another person’s property, or the crowd. Nothing could stand in their way, not the people and not barriers. These men had an agenda. Get to Jesus no matter what!

Jesus was in town and this was the right time for their friend to be healed. They were determined to reach their goal. So, when they couldn’t get pass the crowd, with resourcefulness, they found another way. Without focusing on what others would say, these friends made their way to Jesus and it didn’t matter what or who stood in their way. They had a “by any means necessary” attitude.

They were fearless and daring, and with a lot of courage they made up their mind that their friend would see Jesus and be healed on that day. Their faith in Jesus and their love for their friend made them push, strain, press their way in spite of difficulties. They believed once Jesus saw their friend, He would have compassion on him and heal him. And Jesus did just that!

Sisters, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who would go the distance with us? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who would be bold, daring, and courageous for us? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have someone who would carry us to our deliverance, to our healing, and to our breakthrough? Wouldn’t it be great to have someone in our corner that has a “by any means necessary” attitude when it comes to making us a better person?

Well, sisters, we do! We do have someone who went the distance to give us eternal life! We have someone who was and is fearless, heroic, and courageous in His love for us! There is someone who carries us when we are weak and weary on this Christian journey! Yes, sisters! We have someone who broke barriers, pushed past oppositions, and ultimately gave His life just to prove His love for us!!

Sisters, we have someone and His name is Jesus! What a sweet name. Jesus is someone who has a “by any means necessary” attitude concerning His love for us. Daily, Jesus goes out of His way to show us that He loves us. Daily, Jesus says, “No matter what, I will display my love for mankind.”

Can we say the same about ourselves? Do we have that same determination in showing our love for the Savior? After all, He proves His love for us time and time again. Isn’t it time for us to do the same? Isn’t time for you and I to courageously lend a helping hand to our fellow brothers and sisters who find themselves weak and without hope?

Sisters, let’s stand up! Take a stand! Go the distance! Have a “by any means necessary” love for the Father and for one another. Let’s hold nothing back as we express our love for God.

QUIET TIME

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!

*Originally posted 3/08/12.

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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I rec’d an email from my aunt with the list of topics that her women’s group had been discussing. The list was very long. I perused it, and thought to myself, “My, does this kind of woman exist? She has to be almost perfect! In fact, she is perfect if she models all of these attributes.”

The email listed 30 characteristics of a woman whose heart is like Christ. Here are the words that were listed: approachable, available, compassionate, confident, courageous, disciplined, faithful, focused, forgiving, generous, gentle, good, gracious, humble, joyful, kind, loving, patient, peaceful, prayerful, pure, responsible, sensitive, a servant, submission, thankful, truthful, virtuous, wise, and worshipful. I admit, when I looked over that list, I asked the question, Is there truly a woman like this? Upon reading those 30 words, all I could think of is perfection, excellence, flawless!

Jesus epitomizes perfection. Apart from Christ, neither you nor myself is without fault. None of us are perfect, but Jesus was and is perfect. When He walked the earth, He was God in the flesh who came and dwelt among us. According to scripture (Matthew 1:1-17), Jesus came through 42 generations, from heaven to earth, wrapped in human flesh. He was God and man at the same time. Jesus walked on this corrupted earth, but He wasn’t corrupt. Although He was the God of creation, felt what we as humans feel, experienced what you and I experience, He never sinned. Our Savior was without sin. He was human. He was a man, but He never ever sinned. He was perfect!

While Jesus walked this earth, He was as approachable, available and compassionateto all who came to Him and to those He passed by. He was confident in who He was, the Son of God, sent to save the lost. He was courageous and fearless. He went places that others were too afraid to go and did things others would not want to do. For example, He traveled through the region of Samaria and spent time with a Samaritan woman and the Samaritan people, even though the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans (John 4).

Jesus said things that others were too afraid to say. He spoke out boldly against the religious leaders. He said and did what the Heavenly Father instructed Him to do. He was disciplined, faithful, and focused on His assignment. He stayed the course. He didn’t waiver, but followed God’s plan. He didn’t alter the mission, but completed it! Jesus had His eyes and mind set on the cross, committed to His Father’s assignment.

Here is our self-check for today√ : What characteristics am I displaying? Am I showing those around me Christ-like characteristics? Am I approachable? Does my attitude draw others to me or does my attitude keep people away? Do I make myself available for others who are in need? Am I compassionate and discerning for those who are hurting? Do I have confidence in who I am in Christ? Am I bold when it comes to standing up for God? Am I courageous enough to go beyond the four walls of my church, in order to share Christ with the world? Am I determined and motivated to keep my mind set on completing the assignment God has given me?

Everyday, the Lord gives us opportunities to point someone to Christ. With that huge responsibility, how will we take advantage of that awesome opportunity to share Jesus with someone today? Let’s not let that moment slip by us. Someone is in dire need to hear that they are loved by the Creator of the universe.

During your Quiet Time, ask the Lord to show you how you can be more like Christ.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
(2 Cor. 5:21, NKJV)

QUIET TIME

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!

*Originally posted 10/29/12.

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

I’m the One

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” (Luke 23:39, NLT)

I’m the one. It was me. I’m the one who gnashed my teeth and spat in Christ’s face. I’m the one who yelled, “Crucify Him!” I’m the one who despised Him, mocked Him, and rejected Him. I’m the one who hated Him and refused His love. I’m the one who turned a deaf ear and laughed at Him when He spoke the truth. I’m the one who asked for signs over and over again. I’m the one who didn’t believe, the one who needed more proof even after I saw the miracles He performed. I’m the one.

Although I wasn’t there when Jesus walked those dusty roads, at times, I still do what the people did. At times, I question and doubt Him, even after I’ve experienced His power. I’m one of the nine lepers who received Jesus’ healing, but I refused to go back to say, “Thank You.” (Luke 17:12). I’m like Thomas needing proof to believe ─ I need concrete evidence (John 20:25). I’m James and John so caught up in my position, that I don’t want to see the importance of being a servant (Matt. 20:35-45).

I’m that hypocrite who tries to take the speck out my sister’s eye, but has a large log in my own eye (Matt. 7:1-5). I’m David scheming and conniving for my own selfish gain (2 Sam. 11). I’m the one.

But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:41-43, NLT)
On the other hand, I’m the thief on the cross. I know I’ve done wrong. I’m guilty of my crimes, ready to take my punishment. But in humility I asked Jesus to remember me (Luke 23:40-43). I’m Peter weeping badly because I’ve failed Jesus (Matt. 26:75). I’m the blind man having a desire to see Christ; so I cry out for mercy (Mark 10:46-52). I’m the woman with issues and have exhausted my resources. I have nothing left. Yet in faith I press my way to Jesus (Luke 8:43-48). I am Mary sitting at the Savior’s feet, hanging on to His every Word (Luke 10:38-42). Yes, I am the one.

Sisters, we are those people. We’ve messed up so many times. Time and time again, we’ve let Jesus down. Then again, time and time again, He has faithfully forgiven us. Through His mercy and His grace, He continues to remember us and look past our faults. His grace is always enough!

Pray: Lord, we are all guilty and in need of Your forgiveness. Forgive us, Father. Cleanse us. We need Your mercy. Father, wash away every guilt and shame. Make us whole. Renew our mind. We need You and we can’t live this life without You. Show us Your way and teach us how to do things Your way. Fill us up with Your sweet Spirit. Show us how to serve You more, praise You more, and worship You more. Give us thankful lips and grateful hearts. Lord, remove that ol’ complaining spirit. Thank You for never giving up on us. We love You and we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Eph. 2:8-9, NLT)

QUIET TIME

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER!

*Originally posted 11/7/12

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

The Week He Change Everything: A Bad Friday Turned Good

“‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” (Luke 24:5-7 NKJV)

Jesus predicted everything that would happen to Him. He predicted how He would be betrayed by one of the twelve. He predicted how His disciples would stumble because of what was going to happen to Him that night and how they would desert Him. He predicted how Peter, the Rock, would deny Him. Jesus predicted His death. The things that Jesus predicted were way too heavy for His disciples and it troubled them. Their week of festivities and celebrations was coming fast to an end.

At the beginning of the week everything was wonderful. Their King made His triumphal entry into the city. He was going to overthrow their evil government. Their King was going to establish His kingdom and take His rightful place on His throne. Their King was going to make everything right, and now, He was talking about leaving them! Now, He’s talking about dying. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This isn’t how they imagined it. This was supposed to be a time of celebration! This was supposed to be a time of victory! Their King, Son of David, and the One they shouted “Hosanna, Hosanna!” to was supposed to save them.

No, this was not how it was supposed to be. This was supposed to be the week that Jesus would change everything, but now this week was turning into a horrible nightmare.

They came for Jesus with their clubs and their swords, like He was a thief. They laid hands on Him. Jesus could have stopped them, but He didn’t.

“But Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?’ In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, ‘Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” (Matt. 26:52-56 NKJV)

They arrested Him and marched Him from judgment hall to judgment hall. They gave false testimony and called false witnesses. They spat in His face. They slapped Him and beat Him. They ridiculed Him. They yelled, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!!” With a crown of thorns around His head, He carried His cross up a hill called Golgotha. They nailed Him to a cross and He hung there. He died between two thieves. They pierced Him in His side and immediately blood and water came running down (John 19). He was placed in a tomb that was not His own. The King was dead, and dread and gloom surrounded the disciples.

But the disciples had it all wrong. They thought all was lost. They thought all their hopes and dreams had vanished. They had it all wrong. Jesus was and is the true King. Jesus did make all things right. Jesus had to fulfill the scriptures so that the human race could be brought back to God. Jesus had to die and be buried in the grave. But that’s not how the story ends. Praise God!

On the third day, Jesus got up! On the third day, the tomb was empty! Jesus took off His grave clothes, folded them neatly in the tomb, and arose from the dead. Jesus conquered Hell and the grave. The disciples bad Friday turned into something wonderful. Their sorrows turned into joy! Jesus came and changed everything!

Today, we celebrate Good Friday. He accomplished everything He said He would. Jesus is alive! He’s not dead. We now have victory. Now, we can really celebrate. Now, our sorrow has turned into joy. All that was wrong, Jesus made right. Jesus came to save us and unite us back to God.

Believers, celebrate with me! It’s Good Friday! Jesus is alive! He reigns in Majesty. In Power. In Wisdom. In Honor, and in Glory. Let the celebrations go on and on and on!

Happy Good Friday!!

REFLECTION

“‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” (Luke 24:5-7 NKJV)

QUIET TIME

Encouraging You to Walk in Freedom! ™

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

*COMING SOON! Soon you’ll be able to enjoy Rhovonda’s tribute to Easter ebook.