Jan 27, 2011

The call of God is often by stealth. He does not tell us everything in advance.

God's plan and purpose is often not realized until we are right in the middle of it. It's probably a good thing, because if He were to tell us in advance, we would not believe it possible or we would plan it out of existance.

I know we would like to know all the details, but "His grace is sufficient"   It is His grace and mercy and anointing that enables us to do what He wants us to do.  There are many believers who are frustrated and discouraged because they have not seen their vision come to fruition.   They saw the end result without realizing that God needed to lay the foundation that would keep the building from crumbling.

Can you imagine if God had told Saul of Tarsus exactly what He wanted him to do, as he lay there "trembling" on the Damascus road.  Paul would probably not have believed God and would not have been in agreement with God. 

Can you imagine God telling Paul "I want you to know how much you will suffer for me as you obey the call of God.   You are going to be beaten with rods and lashed five times. You will be stoned, shipwrecked three times, spend 24 hours in the ocean, cross dangerous rivers, encounter robbers, not to mention the persecution you will get from your  countrymen, and hostile Gentiles and false brethren.  " 2 Cor. 11

Paul would have got cold feet and backed off and stayed in the comfort zone.  But it was God's power that touched Paul and the school of the Spirit in the desert for 14 years.  You see the preparation time is important for the mission.  We "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"   Phil. 3:14 

I felt the call of God on my life at the age of six, but it was not until the age of 17, when I got filled with the Holy Spirit, that I began to get a vision what God was calling me to.  At that age, I was enamoured with the great evangelistic tent crusades of the day and I thought that was what God was going to have me do.   Although, I used every door of opportunity God  gave me, it took a number of years and a move 800 miles away to see the next phase of my ministry unfold.  Then at the age of 42, God took me to another level and 20 years ago, we arrived on the shores of the USA to embark on an amazing journey of over 4,500 meetings and 245,000 miles of driving and countless hours of flying.  

Yet, having done all of that, I still feel like I have not yet achieved God's full potential for my life.  It's almost like God takes us through phases of our ministry.  When we are at the end of one phase, it feels like there is nothing more, then He unveils the next phase to us and we obey.  This is certainly an exciting journey filled with adventures in the Spirit.   The setbacks and difficulties are simply opportunities for God to show forth His goodness and mercy and ability to "always cause us to triumph in Christ." 2 Cor 2:14   The best thing we can do is "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding"   Prov. 3:5      Getting our own understanding out of the way is a learned behaviour.    Too much strategizing on my part can lead me away from His Divine purpose.    

MUST learn to TRUST Him and know that He loves me and that "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness"  Lam 3:22-23   

God bless you richly. Gil Howard-Browne

Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com

Jan 26, 2011

Does anyone have exclusive rights to God.

By Gil Howard-Browne

The beauty and diversity of our planet speaks of the Greatness of our Awesome God.  When you consider the complexity of life on earth from the micro to macro spectrum, one can only begin to imagine in the minutest way, the ability of God. 

Add to that the awesomeness of the universe and one begins to realize that we in our finite mind can never begin to comprehend the infinite mind of our loving heavenly Father. 

So we must have a new vision of the Body of Christ.  We cannot see ourselves as having the exclusive rights to understanding and knowledge of God's word.    Romans 12:3   "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."

God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Over the past 20 years as we have travelled all over the USA and other parts of the world, it has been our privilege to minister to the diversity of the Body of Christ.  Not all share the same views as we do, but they all professed to love God and have Jesus as Lord and Savior.   And I have to admit, that in all the various denominations we have ministered in, the one common denominator has been the evidence of Christ in their lives.

There are so many ministries and Churches that love God profoundly and are laboring for the kingdom, that we have never heard of, nor will ever come in contact with in our short lifetime here on earth.  But they are all in God's hands and He is directing them by His Spirit.  Heaven will not be filled with people who had exclusive rights on faith and understanding God, but with Blood Washed saints who were Bought with a Price when Jesus died on the cross. 

So I have discovered, over the years, that I could not and should not claim exclusive rights to faith and understanding of God's word.   That's why He says in Philippians 2:12 (Amplified)  "... work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, [a]with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).

I  love the way the Amplified says  "self-distrust and serious caution."  These are both qualities we as believers should develop.  In other words, I must have total trust in Him and His ability to lead and guide
me in everything I say and do. That's a life long learning process, an ongoing operation by the Spirit in my life. There is never going to be a day when "I arrive" and am fully complete in this life.

"Watchfulness against temptation" It is my obligation to flee from all appearance of evil.    We need to be sensitive to the still small voice inside that is telling us "no that is wrong" or "yes, that is the way' Again this is something that we learn, unfortunately by trial and error sometimes. But it is always accompanied by mercy and grace and God's abundant love.

Most people won't like this one, "timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ. "    Whenever we speak, we need to make sure what we say is tempered with wisdom.  I can speak a truth in wisdom that will set people free, but I can speak the same truth without wisdom and it will put people in bondage rather than set them free.  " Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt" Colossians 4:6    Words have eternal consequences & can inspire or hinder people .

The Body of Christ is diverse and made up of people and cultures from all over the globe.  God knows each of them by name and He is fully aware of their short comings and ability to fail and their lack of fully comprehending what He has been trying to convey to us in His word.  But He is also aware of their ability to succeed when they finally come to a revelation of who and what they are in Christ. 

Ephesians 3 : 18 - 20  (amp)

Vs. 18  "That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];"

Vs. 19  "[That you may really come] to know [practically, [a]through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [b]mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] [c]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and [d]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!"

Vs. 20 "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]--"

Let me conclude with this.  We don't have to agree with everything others say.  You can only agree to that which is a revelation to you.   But we can walk in love towards others.  The good news was not meant to beat others up with but to encourage, uplift, exhort and to lead by example.  Let the Holy Spirit "convict of sin, righteousness and judgment"  

Read this article "In Defense of God's Revival"

God Bless you Richly

 Gil Howard-Browne

Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com

Many Voices - Only one worth listening to.

In the hustle and bustle of life, there are so many voices that we could listen to. There are well meaning friends and family who say things thinking they are being helpful, but if you listened to their advice, it would make your situation worse.  Of course not all advice is bad and some of it may be God inspired.  

The fact is there is only one voice worth listening to and that is the Voice of God spoken to us by His Holy Spirit. Just knowing God's word is not good enough. There are many people who know the bible from cover to cover, but it's all head knowledge and doctrine.

It's the Word made alive to us by the Teacher, Comforter and Guide that will change us and take us to where He wants us to be. So I have to learn to listen to His voice speaking to me. As a preacher, I have a great responsibility to make sure what I say does not hinder people but helps them.

"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." Col 4:5  Grace and wisdom come from the school of the Spirit and He will teach us to walk in wisdom towards others.  We are also told by Jesus, "Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves."  (Amp) Matthew 10:16.   

There are many who don't have your best interest at heart, and will do and say things that suit their agenda.  That's why we have to be "wary and wise"   That means watchful, not skeptical and aloof, but ever listening to the voice of the Spirit inside.  But at the same time, harmless, guileless, and without falsity.

" Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Col. 4:6

Words have eternal consequences and can inspire or hinder people. Let grace flow from your heart and mouth so that your words become a source of encouragement and not a hinderance. When you speak, let the Holy Spirit guide you to say the right thing. I have often begun to say something, when I feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit and was able to stop myself and say something different.  It's like a knowing inside that what you are about is not good and God gives us a split second to change the direction of the conversation.  

That's how we prevent gossip. In normal conversation with others, it is very easy to get caught up in talking about someone else, but we have the ability to steer the conversation in a positive direction.

The words you speak and think to yourself are just as important. It is during times of difficulty that we have to guard our minds from thinking the wrong thoughts. Thoughts dictate behavior and can have life changing implications.

Prov 4:23 "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life"

The word heart comes from the root word meaning mind, thoughts, etc. We have to guard our thoughts and make sure our mind has right thinking that comes from God and not from man.   When your mind begins to think a negative thought, immediately reject it and begin to speak what God's word says about the situation.

It's HIS VOICE that matters and when I hear  Him speak, I need to obey.  It's not a case of God lording it over us, but He knows the future and He knows the implications of my wrong decisions and He will correct me, because He loves me with an everlasting love. 

"Father, I pray for everyone who reads this blog, that You would pour out Your Spirit upon them.  Fill them to overflowing with your anointing.  Anoint minds to think God thoughts, that we may be sensitive to your Spirit and the direction He is leading us.  Thank you for a new sensitivity to the Voice of God.  In Jesus Name, Amen. "  

God bless you richly.

 Gil Howard-Browne

Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com

Jan 21, 2011

Whale of a tale (true story)

If you had read the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, tail and torso, with a line stuck in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her --a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around -- she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never ever be the same.

This makes me think of the opportunities we have as Children of God to rescue others from the snares of life, and how grateful I am to those who have done the same for me. We all have a role to play in helping others reach their full potential in God. We are to use the anointing that God put on the inside of us to touch the world and bring change in their lives.

Jan 20, 2011

“Presence or Presentation”

Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, is quite a tall order. Our first impression is that this will take a great effort. So we resort to a
legalistic, works filled life that is exhausting and filled with failure and frustration.

There is a place in God, called the secret place. It’s a place of rest and quiet within. Not everything we believe God for comes to pass, but that does not mean you are not loved by Him. He loves you so much and has a plan and purpose for your life.

But too often, works instead of faith prevail. The place of rest does not mean no work. We labour for the Master, but it is a labour of love. It is because He gave Himself for us that we labour for Him. We listen to and follow the voice of the Spirit of God living within us.

But our labour should not be legalistic and repetitious. When we worship, it should be spontaneous and from the heart, because we “REALLY” love Him and want to worship Him.

When we read His Word, it’s because we Love Him and want to know what He is saying to us. We are not reading His word to find out what others should do but what we should do.

As we yield to His will, the secret place becomes more visible and tangible. It becomes a lifestyle of being God inside minded. We are not moved by what we see but by what is happening on the inside.

That leads to a life of substance and not symbolism. We yearn for the Presence of God not the presentation of God. Life takes on a whole new meaning and we feel fulfilled in Him.

Jilleen, my daughter and I singing "Jesus is the Sweetest Name I know" during one of the worship sessions in Tallahassee, Florida

Gil Howard-Browne

Our main ministry web site is www.revivaltimes.com