Jan 9, 2014

The Purpose of the Anointing



1 Jn 2:27 "But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will[a] abide in Him."

Acts 10:38  "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."

Acts 1:8  "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Many believers confuse the anointing that works through us with the anointing that works in us.  The first one enables us to function in our calling, to minister God's word and be used to touch people's lives via the Gifts of the Spirit.  The latter one is the anointing that abides in us and corrects, refreshes, heals, comforts us, and guides us into all truth.   

Jesus was anointed by God and went about performing miracles.  When He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness not to minister but to fast and pray, the bible says he was "full of and controlled by the Spirit" Luke 4:1-2   

Being full of the Holy Spirit, the anointing, the devil had a most frustrating time, as he tried several times to tempt Jesus and failed miserably.  Verse 13 says "
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season."   It was the anointing in Jesus that prevented the devil from tempting Him, and as Isa. 10:27 (Amp) says, "The yoke shall be destroyed because of fatness [which prevents it from going around your neck]"  Fatness or oil as some translations read, is symbolic of the anointing.  The anointing in Jesus prevented the yoke of bondage from coming on Him.  

Our ministries are very important and much needed by the body of Christ.   But there would be no point if God anointed us greatly and used us mightily in touching the lives of others, but we were failures physically, morally and spiritually. God gave us the anointing, according to 1 John 2:27 to help us and teach us how to abide in Jesus.   

Anyone can preach and with the right training can be quite eloquent and articulate, but if it is devoid of the Power of God, then it is just more of man's wisdom and lacks the touch of God in the lives of the hearers that will bring them healing, love, joy, peace, and victory over sin, oppression, depression and the myriad human ailments that rule the lives of people everywhere.  

The Apostle Paul addressed this in 1 Cor 2  Vs. 4 "And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [[d]a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them],  
Vs. 5 So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.

The demonstration of the Spirit and power,  is the anointing on Paul for ministry and it worked while he was preaching "stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them". 

Preach the Word of God by the anointing then allow the Holy Spirit to make that word real to the hearts of the hearers and let Him confirm His word with signs following.  The description "the most holy emotions" indicates that this was not on an intellectual level, but was emotional, working in the psychological part of our being.   

There are a lot of Christians with a lot of word in them but they are dead spiritually.  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 2 Cor. 3:6.  Without the anointing of the Holy Spirit in and through our lives, the ministry will depend on our ability, strength and personality. 

Without the anointing at work in me, changing me, correcting me, and bringing me into a deeper walk with God, I am going to eventually fail morally, physically or spiritually or all of the above.  If the word was the only thing we needed then it would not have been necessary for Jesus to  " pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; and be our teacher, comforter and guide. "  John 14:16   

If you diminish the role of the anointing of the Holy Spirit in your life, you negate the purpose of the Cross.  If Jesus did not pay the price for our sin, the veil of separation between us and God would still exist.   But His sacrifice opened the way for us to receive the indwelling of the presence and power of God, His anointing.   

Jesus final words to the disciples prior to ascending into heaven was Acts 1:8 "But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you"   The word power literally means, God's ability, efficiency and might.   The anointing that we receive from God gives us access to God's ability, efficiency and might in everything we do.  So when we have an ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit, He will teach us all things that are necessary to fulfill the will and purpose of God for our lives.   "and ye shall be witnesses unto me"  speaks of God's anointing for ministry wherever and however He directs us.   

Paul prayed daily for the Church, in Eph 3  Vs. 16 "that He would grant you according to the riches of His Glory to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, ... "  The amplified bible explains it better.  "May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]."    

Paul speaks about the inner man or the spirit of man, being strengthened and reinforced.   We need that strengthening and reinforcing in us if we are to succeed in the ministry that God by His Spirit wants to work through us.  

"The Holy Spirit, Himself, indwelling in our innermost being and personality". This speaks of an intimacy that is life changing, affecting spirit and our personalities.  It speaks of a change of heart and desires.  

Vs. 19  speaks about being "filled with all the fullness of God. "  All of this prayer that Paul prayed daily for the Church, concerns us as individuals and has nothing to do with ministry.   God is vitally interested in making sure we are conforming to His will and purpose for our lives.

Vs. 20 concludes ... "Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—

Paul is describing the incredible role the anointing, the power of God, has within us and what it can do for us.  Every believer desperately needs to experience and be filled with the anointing. There are incredible things God wants to do in us and through us.  It is His anointing within us that will accomplish this purpose.

There is so much more that God has for us personally and through us for ministry. 

1 Cor. 2 vs 9  "But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].
Vs. 10  Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny].
Who hold Him in affectionate reverence ... speaks of a deep relationship of worship and reverence.    " Promptly obeying and gratefully recognizing" ... speaks of an attitude that we develop over time as we yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to perfect and change us.  Spend time with Him.  Worship Him and reverence His presence in your life.  Allow the anointing to quicken (make alive) you, and to refresh, correct and direct you.   Gal. 5:16 "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."   The word "lust" literally means, a strong desire of any kind, whether good or bad.  We can have a good idea, but it may not be a God idea.  We are to be led by the Spirit in all we do.  It is a learned behavior, and over time, we get better at hearing the Holy Spirit speaking to us from within. 

Summing up. 

The anointing that abides in us is to help us in our personal lives, to overcome the works of the flesh and to develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.    

The anointing upon us is to help us to function in the ministry God has ordained for our lives. That anointing will enable the gifts of the Spirit to function so that we are not appealing to the intellect of the hearer but we become the vessel through which God works to touch the hungry, hurting and lost human race and reveal the very nature of God through us to the world. 

Gil Howard-Browne


Jan 5, 2014

Walking in the Spirit.

Recently there has been debate on facebook regarding the dangers of the "Hypergrace" teaching that is prevalent in the Body of Christ today.   It was sparked by an article by Dr. Michael Brown, in which he rightfully stated that this can lead to a large falling away believers from God.  In the article he spoke of how the pendulum has swung from the old legalism, to grace, to hypergrace. 

Hypergrace is indeed a serious problem in the Church today. But people fell away from God under the old "legalism" teaching, and under the "grace" teaching, and are still falling away from God under the "hypergrace" teaching.  In my 45 years of ministry, I have seen this happening in every decade in denominations across the board.   So what is the answer.  

I believe that if Christians don't ha
ve a life changing relationship with the Holy Spirit and learn to walk in the Spirit, they will get caught up in all these excesses. Our preaching should not be with man's wisdom, as the Apostle Paul puts it in 1 Cor. 2, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and Power. The amplified version says it well. "but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [[a]a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them],"

Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh"   Galatians 5:16-26    The word lust is literally a strong desire of any kind whether good or bad.    When we live by the dictates of the flesh, we are carnal.  
Carnal preachers will produce carnal Christians. We need men of God who are sold out to God, who love the presence of God and will teach the people God sends them. how to walk in the Spirit like they do.

The fact that we can invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in us is a direct result of what Jesus did on the cross. He tore down the veil of separation between God and man and made it possible for us to receive the free gift of eternal life, but also the Holy Spirit whom Jesus said would be our comforter, teacher and guide. 

One of the last things Jesus said to His disciples before He ascended into heaven was the we would receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon us. The word power, from dunamis, literally means, God's ability, efficiency and might. 

Jesus last instructions to His people was to be filled with the dunamis, God's ability, efficiency and might. 1 Jn. 2:27 says, "the anointing (dunamis) which you have received of Him abides in you and will teach you all things even how to abide in Christ.. 

The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death. That's what Grace did for us. Grace made all of the above possible, so that we can live by the inward law's that God writes on the tables of our heart. 

It's not man's wisdom or man's ideas and doctrines, but God's life giving word made real to us by the power of the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us.

Mar 7, 2012

When my head is anointed, my cup will run over.


"...thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. " Ps. 23:5
I think the reason for the anointing on David's head is that his head was probably the thing that prevented his cup from running over.  Most of the time, our heads will get in the way of God's blessing. It is how we think that molds and shapes our lives. People with negative attitudes never really get anywhere. 

I have found that when my thinking is in line with God's word, my attitude towards Him and His purpose changes.    The word of God declares "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" 2 Cor. 10:5 

 We really need the help of the Holy Spirit in the area of our thinking.  Christians focus on negative things too much. Every year some new crisis arises that gives Christians reason to panic. Fear grips the church and stifles productivity. Doctrines are birthed out of those fears and people, who are gullible, believe in it and become tainted by those warped views.
  • We are the ones that need to do the casting down of imaginations and rampant thoughts that try to infiltrate our minds.
  • A good relationship with God will protect our minds.
  • An intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit will keep us thinking right thoughts.
  • Seeing our problems like Jesus sees them, will transform our thinking and bring our thoughts into captivity in Christ.
After all, there is no problem too big for God to handle.  "For with God nothing shall be impossible " Lk.1:37  "And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." Mt.10:27 He has given us " ... exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature," 2 Peter 1:4  He said " ... and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Heb.13:5 

So if we have the promises, what is the problem? It is our thinking. People make the wrong decisions for various reasons, and then blame the devil and even God. We are responsible for guarding our hearts and positioning ourselves for the blessings of God. " Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23  We are commanded to   "...stir up the gift of God, which is in thee ..." 2 Timothy 1:6  "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;" Ephesians 5:19 

That is why we need the oil of the Holy Spirit to be poured upon our heads.
  • Natural oil has many uses.
  • It is a lubricant that will stop friction.
  • It can be used to stop corrosion.
  • It will stop a hinge from squeaking. 
We need the " ... oil of joy for mourning ..." Isaiah 61:3    When the oil of joy comes, your cup will run over and mourning and sorrow will have to leave.   An overflowing cup will result in others getting blessed. Too many Christians try to minister from an empty cup. An empty cup, no matter how beautiful it is, has nothing to give. It does not matter how much gold and glitter adorns the cup, if it is empty it is for show only.

When your cup is empty, you are dry and have nothing to give. You will resort to gimmicks and programs in order to satisfy the cup. None of that satisfies your hungry and thirsty heart. 

You yearn for much more. Your spirit cries out for more. " As the hart (or deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."   Ps 42:1. 
We need water of life to refresh us and the oil of the Holy Spirit to anoint us and the power of the Holy Spirit to equip us.  

God bless you richly. 

Gil Howard-Browne
www.revivaltimes.com   (Main Ministry Site)
www.podcast.revivaltimes.com  (Worship Podcast Site)

Feb 28, 2012

Is "Doom and Gloom" or "Abundant Life and Blessing" in your Future?

 Psalm 46:2-7  (Amplified Bible)
2 - Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas,   3 - Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!   4 - There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.   5 - God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning].  6 - The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.  7 - The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

I regularly receive an email from someone wanting me to view a video or article on how bad things are in the world and how we are facing great danger.  The frequency "doom and gloom" posts have escalated in recent months and I am being asked to comment on some conspiracy theory, or prediction of great impending doom.

Now I am not disputing the the fact that the USA and the rest of the world is facing some major challenges.  But consider for a moment, has there ever been a time in history when the world has been a perfect place.  Every century has had it's moments of calamity, disasters and wars.   Christians are particularly vulnerable because of our understanding or lack thereof, of the "end times" mentioned in the Word of God.   Many have  built whole ministries around end time prophecy.  But Jesus actually told us "take no thought for tomorrow" Matt 6:25  and "occupy till I come"  Luke 19:12-19

I remember back in the 60's and 70's, how many preachers were preaching about the soon return of Jesus and how wars, earthquakes, extreme weather,  were an indication that the second coming would happen in the next few years.  

There is a real danger in misinterpreting end time prophecy.  There are "end time" preachers who avidly believed that Jesus was coming soon, who have preached the message for 30 or 40 years of their ministry, and are now dead and buried, but life is still going on. The only problem is, thousands were influenced by their teachings and missed God's plan for their lives.  We have a great responsibility in spreading God's word and to "speak every man truth with his neighbour:" Eph 4:25

The fact is Jesus could come back tomorrow but He may only come back in 20, 30 or 100 years from now.  Who knows.    Jesus said "But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father"  

Matthew 24:33-36  (AMP)    33 - So also when you see these signs, [a]all taken together, coming to pass, you may know [b]of a surety that He is near, at the very doors.   34 - Truly I tell you, this generation ([c]the whole multitude of people living at the same time, [d]in a definite, [e]given period) will not pass away till all these things [f]taken together take place.  35 - [g]Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.  36 - But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Don't get caught up in all the doom and gloom theories that are flying about these days.   If you take a close look, you will usually find, there is a book, DVD or some product for sale.  The article/video is designed to stir emotions and thus generate business.  

Towards the middle of 1998, I published to my web site a section on Y2K.  Read Article  My comments were "Non event, Hype and a money making opportunity."  I said "During the first week of Jan. 2000, a lot of "Feed the Hungry Ministries" would be birthed." 
 
Well, January 1, 2000 came and went with no sign of the dreaded bug.  What was all the hype about.   One answer . . .   Money!!!!    Money fueled the Y2K bug theory.   I believe many pastors and leaders were sincere in their efforts to warn their congregations, but  they were caught up in the hype of the Y2K bug info being divulged all over the globe.  People began to purchase survival supplies and purchased electricity generators. 

A lot of money was made by churches, ministries and secular corporations.  Fortunes were spent on supplies and bug fixes, sadly, most was not necessary.   For example, we were told that most desktop PC's would fail unless they were upgraded with BIOS fixes and other software upgrades.   Well all of my computers were working on January 1st, including a six year old computer and software.  Sadly, I met a number of people over the next 5 to 6 years who still had lots of Y2K rations stacked in a cupboard or box somewhere in an attic or garage. ( Read the follow-up  article I published the first week of January 2000)


We are not to put our heads in the sand and live in denial.  But we need to learn to trust the Holy Spirit, our comforter, teacher and guide to lead us and warn us if necessary.   Every year brings new challenges and opportunities.   But God has a plan and His plan will be fulfilled if we trust Him.   

Let's focus on this ... 

Ps 37:25  "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. "(KJV)     

Ps 23:1   "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. "(KJV)   

Matt 6:25-26   "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  26    Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? "(KJV)

 

Jan 22, 2012

What are you searching for?

2 Timothy 1:7  

"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind" 

There are 41 posts on this blog covering a number of life issues that people face daily.  

About 70 percent of the visitors are being sent from Google searches and the balance from my own web site and a few others that link to my blog.
  

Listed below, are the top 6 most viewed posts.


These are the key words or phrases people are searching for, and it confirms where we are in the world today.  Recent polls in the USA show that the majority of Americans are concerned about the economy.  There are 40 million Americans on food stamps and unemployment is at almost 9%.
I posted the blog God will keep you in Perfect Peace. on March 11, 2011 and it has stayed at the top of the list since then.  People REALLY NEED PEACE in this time of history.  There is such a need in the world and many are suffering greatly because of lack of finances and in many cases, lost jobs.   

It is easy for me to simply say, "Trust the Lord"   But for the people facing the situation, it is easier said than done.  I can only speak for myself and say, I have been on both sides of the fence.  I have been in prosperity and at the brink of poverty.  The truth is, peace is needed in both situations.   

There are many extremely prosperous people who have no peace at all.  They have all the money the average person could only dream of, yet they don't have peace.  Peace does not come from material things and pleasure.   Peace is internal and is a "fruit of the Spirit"    Fruit has to grow and mature.

Peace starts in my spirit because of the presence of the Lord, and I have to learn how to yield my mind to that peace. I have been in the middle of a financial crisis so deep that I never thought I would ever recover.  But that was almost 30 years ago.  That crisis lasted about two years and I learned how the mind can conjure all sorts of bad scenarios that make you loose hope.  

But I also found out that none of those thoughts had any foundation at all.  In fact, none of the bad things my mind conjured up ever came to pass.  Out of that desperate situation, God brought one of the greatest blessings in my life and marriage I had ever experienced.   God made a way where there was no way. 

I discovered the Joy of the Lord is my strength.  I am not talking about a by faith "spiritual joy".  I am talking about a literal joy, where laughter takes hold and a "joy unspeakable" fills your entire being.  It's like God's anesthetic which takes your attention off of your situation and places it on His incredible joy.   It's a joy that mends a broken heart and puts hope back into a hopeless heart. It's a joy that takes the focus off of me and puts it on Him. 

The after effect of joy is His peace.   It's like knowing a good outcome, inside as opposed to a bad outcome, outside.   God's peace allows us to see His provision when our understanding sees the result of our bad circumstances.    It's like looking through God's eyes and seeing His plan and purpose unfolding, instead of through our eyes, that see only the circumstances surrounding us.

Now I am the first to admit, that we have had many difficult times since then where we have had to trust God to see us through.  But it is a lot easier now, as I have learned how not to let my thoughts get out of hand.

The word of God says "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind"  2 Timothy 1:7      Fear is the opposite of faith.  Fear is faith in reverse gear.  Fear overwhelms us and makes us doubt God's ability to deliver us from our situation. 

HOW CAN THIS HELP ME? You ask.

As soon as the negative thought comes into your mind, there are two directions you can take.  One is to give into the thought and dwell on it until fear manifests.  The other is to immediately say to yourself ... "I will not allow my mind to dictate the outcome, but I will trust God who has promised to deliver me and be my provider.  Immediately begin to re-direct your thoughts away from the negative.  God sees only blessing for your life and will always make a way of escape.  So I have to begin to think His thoughts which are to be found in His word.  

I love this old song "Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in his wonderful face.  And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

God bless you

Gil Howard-Browne

Jan 13, 2012

Peace that Passes Understanding.

Philippians 4:6-9 (KJV)
Vs 6  "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.   Vs 7  "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (See vs 8 at the end)

"Be careful for nothing"  Why would God's word suggest that, when there is so much in life we have to care about.  There is not a person in the world, rich or poor, famous or infamous, who does not have a care.  It's like asking us to be in denial, when everything around us seems to be the opposite.   


The clue is to be found in the latter part of Vs 6.   God is saying that the answer is "fellowship with Him" talking to him (prayer) and thanking Him for His goodness and provision.  God already knows what we are going through and what we have need of.  But it is in fellowship that we find the strength and direction that we need.  



The second key is to be found in Vs 7.   "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."    It's the peace of

Jan 7, 2012

Be thankful to God during good and difficult times.

Being thankful for all that God has done in our lives is something we should cultivate on a daily basis, not only when life is great and blessings are flowing. It is easy to focus on the things we need and want, but sometimes we forget ALL the wonderful things that God has done for us.

We are commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 " In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." That does not mean we are to thank Him for bad things, but regardless of our condition, we are to be thankful.

The Amplified says it well [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks]  Being thankful even when things go wrong means we trust Him and are not swayed by life's trials. A thankful grateful heart, opens the door to the Joy of the Lord which in turn causes the peace of God to flow in us.

It's like being in the fiery furnace and not being singed.  Daniel 3:24-27 The truth is, Jesus is with us every day in every circumstance.  It's like being in the Lion's den and not being afraid because He is with us.  Daniel 6:22 "My God has sent His angel and has shut the lions' mouths so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent and blameless before Him"

Dec 31, 2011

Happy New Year - New Blessings and Opportunities

Add caption
Philippians 3:13-15    ... but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14  I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

Oh how we all love to forget the trials and difficulties of the past year.    We say and hear others say, "I am glad this year is over"    But the one thing we so often forget to say is, " Thank God He brought us through and we made it into the new year, and He is going to take us through the next 12 months.  

The reality is, there is not much different between Dec 31st and Jan 1st other than the date.  The world celebrate the midnight hour as if it is some magical moment.  But, things are pretty much the same.  Some may still be in the struggle in January as the were in December.  Others may be riding the wave of success and it carries through into the new year.    

Whatever your situation is, God is still the same God and His word is still the same word.  He has never changed and is in fact, "yesterday, today and forever the same."   He is the one constant in our lives and His plan and purpose has never been changed.   Our successes and failures are never a surprise to God.  But his blessings and provision is always a surprise to us.  

Dec 25, 2011

Joy to the World.


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Luke 2:10-14  (KJV) 

 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.   12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.   13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Christmas day is a great day of celebration for Christians all over the globe.  Even those who do not believe in Christ, inadvertently celebrate His birth in that they use Christmas as a great commercial time.  We walk in stores and hear Christmas carols being sung and it brings joy to many that hear them. It is a day associated with joy and happiness and excitement.

But the truth that millions miss, is that the birth of Christ was heralded by the angels with tidings of "great joy" and "peace on earth and good will towards men"     Christmas  signifies God's heart of good will towards all mankind and His desire to fill them with peace and joy. 

2 Corinthians 5:19 (AMP)

19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).

That's the good news.  God is not mad at the world but has forgiven them through Christ and restored them to favor with Him.  Favor is undeserved and unmerited. We were cut off from Him but He has restored the connection and granted us access through Jesus' birth and death. 

That's the true meaning of Christmas.  God came down in the form of Jesus and made a way for us to come back to Him.   All we have to do is acknowledge Him and accept what He has provided for us.  Then turn around and start living for Him and allowing Him to fill us and lead us and guide us for the rest of our lives.

It's a great live of surrender to Jesus.  Not a dull life as some would suggest, but a life filled with adventure, love, peace, joy and provision.   It's a life filled with victory after victory, free from the condemnation that comes to those who do not accept His love and salvation.

So, Christmas day and the baby in a manger is a special day to all those who would embrace the provisions that were provided for the world.   Jn 3:16  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." 

Have a blessed Christmas and my His love, peace and joy fill you to overflowing.

Gil & Loraine Howard-Browne

Dec 8, 2011

Pressing towards God's plan and purpose.

Phil 3:13  "but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead"

The apostle Paul speaking a simple yet profound truth.   "Forgetting what lies behind"     The past is the past and there is nothing we can do to change it.  How many of us have wished we could just go back several years and change something that we did or said or did not do.  But that is not possible.   But it's our future that can and must change.  

That change can only come when we take the next part of Paul's exhortation "straining forward to what lies ahead"     The word "straining" is indicative of "effort"   It denotes something that I must passionately embrace.   I want change so badly that I will diligently pursue it.  

I'm not talking about works.  Works will bring us into further bondage and frustration.  I'm not saying we must run around trying everything.  The "effort" is really "rest".  As the bible declares in Hebrews 4:10 (Amplified) "For he who has once entered [God's] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors ..."  

The secret is to walk in the peace and joy of the Lord and to lean on the wisdom of God.  The peace is the umpire and the joy of the Lord is our strength.  The wisdom of God comes when we ask and yield. 

PEACE :

Colossians 3:15-17 Amplified Bible "And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds ... "

God's word tells us to allow His peace to be the umpire, the decision maker, thus settling the questions in our minds.   You see, we want answers but they are not always forthcoming.  Mainly because if God were to tell us everything in advance, we would mess it up anyway. 

I don't want to know too much, it may be overwhelming.   

JOY :

Neh. 8:10 "... the joy of the Lord is our strength"    There is strength that comes from joy.  Joy energizes the human spirit.  It brings encouragement in the face of insurmountable odds.

It's not a set of formula's that bring success, but a relationship with God and a trust that comes from an ongoing yielding to His plan and purpose.    Many time our lack of success is because we are looking for outside approval.  We are looking for man's acceptance.   But ultimately, we need to have God's sanction and approval.

I have seen HIGHLY successful people burn out after a time because their success was based on their effort.   It does not matter ultimately how big or small your ministry or personal effort for the Kingdom of God is, if it is based on your strength and ability, it will fail.

PURPOSE:

Psalm 127:1 "Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it"

With the Peace and Joy of the Lord, the Purpose of God becomes easy. It's time for the Body of Christ to trust, obey and rest in Him.  He will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.


God Bless

Gil Howard-Browne
www.revivaltimes.com