Dec 31, 2011

Happy New Year - New Blessings and Opportunities

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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