Jan 10, 2015

Are you a clone or an original.

Are you a clone or an original.

Psalm 139:14 "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."   

The fact is, you are an original, made uniquely by God.  God has an amazing plan for your life, which only He can perfect in you and through you. However, you may be under pressure to become a clone of someone's idea of how your life should be conducted. 

Don't get me wrong, we need strong believers in our lives who can encourage and admonish us, but the final result has to be a product of our deep relationship and fellowship with God and our submission to His word and will. The Holy Spirit dwelling within us has intimate knowledge of our strengths, weaknesses, hopes, dreams and desires. He knows how to direct us and correct us, to comfort us and quicken us, all within the boundaries of our will and our desire to yield to Him. 

I see people caught up in a false sense of loyalty to a Church or ministry, even though they may realise that something is amiss. They are being cloned into the image of a man or woman, not the image that God has for them. God genuinely loves you and cares for you and ALWAYS has the best blessing in mind for your life. God does not use and abuse people. He calls and equips them to be a blessing to the Body of Christ, but it is never by force.

If God has called you to serve in a local Church, believe me, you will blessed and be a blessing. But I have seen a lot of the "behind the scenes" of various ministries and I will tell you it's not pleasant. There is a lot of stress, anxiety and competition. 

Rom. 8:15 "For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!"  

Our Christian life is not and should not be a life of slavery to some man made cause, but one of purpose and passion, direction and dedication, all inspired by the Greater One who dwells in us and by God's word that has been hidden in our hearts. 

There is no point in being saved from a messed up life only to be caught up in another messed up life in the Name of Christ. Jesus came to give us a more abundant life. A clone is a copy of something else, that looks like and behaves like the original. We are to become more like the Master and full of and controlled by His Spirit just like Jesus was. 

Luke 4:4 "Then Jesus, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led in [by] the [Holy] Spirit" The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, where He fasted for forty days and overcame temptation on three occasions. He was not distressed and did not come out of that experience, defeated and weak, but came out victorious and strong. Vs. 14 " Then Jesus went back full of and under the power of the [Holy] Spirit into Galilee, and the fame of Him spread through the whole region round about." He had received a fresh anointing in preparation for the next phase of the ministry that God had ordained for His life.

God is well able to make you into the vessel He wants you to be. But it can only happen when we yield to His direction and correction.   Jude 1:24 "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy," This scripture speaks volumes. He is ABLE to keep us from falling. That speaks of protection from the pitfalls, trials and temptations of life. To "present us faultless" does not suggest you and I will be perfect, but it speaks of being clothed in the righteousness of Christ. God is recognizing Christ in us the hope of Glory. 

2 Cor. 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." The vessel is perfected by the treasure God put on the inside.   We are to stop feeling inadequate because we cannot meet the standard that others set for us,  but instead, "Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!"  Isa. 60:1 Amp. 

Jan 7, 2015

Is Dignity your Downfall?

Is Dignity your Downfall?

Sam. 6:16 " Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart."

Vs. 20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”

Vs. 21 So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord.

Vs. 22 "And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight."

Worship in the majority of Christendom, has become staid and robotic.   We are presented by a list of songs chosen by the worship team and accompanied by skilled musicians and singers.  Great sounding worship, but I have often looked back across the audience to find stoic faces looking forward, with mouths hardly moving.  

What's wrong with this picture?   It is a lack of audience participation.  Having led worship for the past 44 years, I absolutely know you cannot force people to worship.  I have seen worship leaders berate the audience and even insult them in an attempt to get them to worship.

The problem is worship is something that has to come from the heart.  It is a desire to worship God and can only come from someone who has personally met the Master and had a relationship with God on the inside.    Worship is an expression of how we feel about God. " God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [[a]who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed]." 1 Cor.2:9 Amp.    "We love Him because He first loved us."  1 John 4:19   

The sad reality is that there are probably many Christians who love God and have had a personal relationship with Him, but are holding back because of their concept of "dignity"    Religion has taught them that they need to be dignified before the Lord.   The dictionary meaning of dignity is ... . the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect. -   a composed or serious manner or style.

With the dignified mindset, worship becomes composed and serious, rather than joyful and expressive.   Expressive worship is a wonderful thing and can lead to tremendous breakthrough in our demeanor.   Isa. 61:3  "To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit ... "  Amp.

The question remains ...  Is Dignity your Downfall?  Are you missing out on a heavenly blessing because you are locked in the human restraints of dignity.  

Over the many years of revival meetings, the greatest breakthroughs we have witnessed in the lives of people, was when they abandoned their dignity and allowed the Holy Spirit to fill them to the point that in the natural it looked silly.   Some were like that for days, but the outcome was amazing.  

I believe that dignity and pride go hand in hand. The word of God says "be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" 1 Pet. 5:5    When we humble ourselves before the Lord, and allow His awesome glory to fill us, dignity will depart and victory will come.  

We call it ... getting lost in His glory ... Soaking in His presence  ... becoming saturated with His anointing.     The most profound breakthroughs in my life have not come from serious moments in God's presence, but powerful encounters with the Spirit of God that left me empty of self and full of Him.  

The Apostle Paul prayed for the Church daily ... Eph. 3:16 "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].   That is not some dignified experience but one amazing encounter.  

I am not saying we have to get silly in the presence of the Lord. But dignity will cause you to despise the lack of dignity in others, just like Saul's daughter Michal.   Victory does not come from a physical act but from a yielded heart. Dignity is a state of mind, but a yielded heart leads to a free spirit at which point dignity is abandoned and God's blessing flows.  

Let me encourage you to allow God to fill you to overflowing, and change you radically on the inside.   WE ALL NEED IT OFTEN.

Listen to this audio clip.  
God's richest blessing

Gil Howard-Browne

Jan 6, 2015

Overcoming Negatives

Overcoming Negatives

It is human nature to focus on the negative rather than the positive. The media and social networks, see to it that we get our daily dose of negative. We as believers are required to walk by faith. 

That means our trust in God overcomes the impulse to panic in the face of adversity. It's a learned behavior and gets easier over time as we witness the hand of God at work in our lives. 

The story of Jesus sleeping in the boat during a raging storm is a good example of how we should be. The antidote for worry and anxiety is the love, peace and joy of the Lord. No one has arrived at the place of perfect faith and trust.  It does not matter if you are in the ministry or not, the best preacher, or that you appear to others to be strong spiritually, everyone has to overcome the negative thoughts and situations that are part of our daily existence on earth. 

Today's victory is wonderful, but tomorrow is a new day with new challenges and blessings.  I have to remind myself daily to walk by faith expecting  life not death, blessing and not cursing.  Deut. 30:19 "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: "

The best way to overcome negative thoughts is to feed our minds with positive uplifting stuff. The mind is trainable and the more we put in the promise of God, which is the Word of God, the more our minds begin to think positively.    Garbage in, garbage out. Goodness in, goodness out.   

Phil. 4:8 "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things"

2 Cor. 10:5  "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;"

When you next feel the flesh's urge to worry or get distressed about a situation, immediately begin to change it's train of thought.   Listen to good worship, and uplifting preaching.   If you can't pray in English, pray in the heavenly tongue.   It's God's gift to us " Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Rom. 8:26 

Let us agree to encourage each other in 2015. Let us help each other focus on the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4) and the blessings of the Lord that makes rich and adds no sorrow. (Prov. 10:22) Let us focus on the "goodness and mercy that will follow us all the days of our lives".  (Ps. 23:6) God says I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth. I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isa. 43:19)      

God bless you richly,

Gil Howard-Browne