Tell Us Your Exploits!

on 2/26/2010

This site is dedicated to helping people do great things for God.  What have you done for God lately?  How has God used you?  Did you deliver a confirmation word to a praying preacher?  Did you give a pizza to someone who later revealed they had no food.  Did you lay hands on the sick and see them recover?  What did the Holy Spirit lead you to do?  We want to know about it.  God has prepared good works for us to walk in, we must find them and walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).  If we share our stories we can inspire others.  God has assignments for all Christians, and there is no thrill like knowing you have done something GOD asked you to do. 

I will give you one quick personal example.  I went to law school at Emory in Atlanta.  While there God told me to start a Bible study.  He then told me to invite a Jewish professor to that study.  We had a good relationship, I did well in his classes, but he is Jewish.  I couldn't believe God wanted me to do that.  But I did it.  The professor, after other talks, told me he had cancer.  I was able to give him the book Healing Promises by Kenneth Copeland, which contains many scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments regarding God's promises of healing.  Then something else happened, he had a case helping a Christian aid organization.  He asked me to assist.  So, by me being obedient to do what felt crazy, God opened a door for the man to receive His Word, and God gave me an opportunity to use my legal education for Christian purposes.  Glory to God. 

So tell us what God asked you to do?  Tell us about your exploits for God.

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Only Christianity!

on 2/25/2010

Now let's be honest, I've offended people before, and I'm sure it will happen again. But if you are a Christian, and you don't agree that Christianity is the only way to God, I believe you should at least hear me out. I'm sitting here thinking about what I want to say, and how to say it without offending. But if it's God's Words that I'm writing then I shouldn't be worried about offending. As Evangelic Diva wisely said on twitter today, “truth doesn't change.”

“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14)

Let me start this way - I literally believe that I am going to live for eternity with God. I literally believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again and now lives in me. I literally believe that my name is written in Heaven, and God looks at me as His child. I literally believe that Jesus Christ is the only Name by which man can be saved (Acts 4:12).

I also believe that all other gods are idols (Psalm 96:5). The Hebrew word for "idol" comes from the word "not" or "nothing." I literally believe that no other god exists besides Jehovah, and that no religion besides Judaism and Christianity actually worships God. Other religions lead people away from the Only God Jehovah and the Only Savior Jesus Christ.

God sent His Only Son so that we could be saved. If salvation could have come another way, then He would not have sent Jesus Christ to die for us. God didn't sacrifice Jesus for fun, it was absolutely necessary for the salvation of mankind. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for mankind to accept Jesus Christ to receive salvation.

I am jealous for God. I want to see God lifted up on high in all nations. I want all people to acknowledge Him and bow down before Him. I want all people to experience His grace, love and power. I believe God loves people more than we could ever imagine. He loves us so much that He literally sent Himself to die on the cross for us. There is no greater love. And He did that so we could be saved. I think that God hates anything that leads away from His greatest act of love. I think that God hates everything that leads man away from salvation, which only comes through Jesus Christ.

And because I believe that no other god really exists, I believe all other religions are tricks and deceptions of the devil. Let me say that more clearly, any religion that leads away from Jehovah and His Son Jesus Christ is only a trick and deception of the devil (no I don't mean Judaism, which leads to both Jehovah and Jesus Christ). I hate the devil; I'm sure most reasonable people do. But we can't be ignorant of his devices.

This is important because I see Christians who don't believe this. If you don't believe this you are exchanging the truth of God for a lie. You won't witness to devout buddhists or muslims if you believe they can get to God without Jesus. You won't be afraid for the eternal destiny of an atheist if you think he can have eternal bliss without Jesus.

"It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving . . . shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." (Revelation 21:6-8 KJV)

God loves all people and God definitely loves you. Commit to Christianity and the Word of God. Don't believe in other gods or other religions. Believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ. If you want to be with God you must go through Jesus Christ, there is no other way (John 14:6).

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Christians Persecuting Christians

on 2/23/2010

Are you a Christian that persecutes other Christians? Are you actually causing strife and disunity within the Body of Christ? You might be without even realizing it. Some people persecute the true children of God, and they even think they are doing God service. The Bible never said that these mistaken people wouldn't also call themselves Christians.

As I write this blog I'm looking at myself more and more to decide what I love and what I hate. When you look at Proverbs 8:13 and Proverbs 9:10, and use a little algebra (if a=b and b=c then a=c), you find that the beginning of wisdom is the hatred of evil. I believe we have an evil in the body of Christ that I've grown to hate, and that is Christians persecuting Christians.

Now it just so happens that I'm a fan of several big ministries. I physically sat in the church of Dr. Creflo Dollar for three years. There I also fell in love with the ministry of Kenneth Copeland. Recently I have partnered with Joyce Meyer's ministry, for her straightforward Biblical teachings and undeniable service to the world's needy. If you google those three names (or the name of any other well known preacher) you'll find more sites bashing them then honoring them. And it's not like muslims or atheists of just regular folks are doing the bashing - it's Christians!

Now the fact that I like those ministries doesn't entitle me to dishonor your church or your favorite preachers. I don't feel released by the Holy Spirit to bad mouth any Christian denomination, from Latin loving Catholics to snake handling Pentecostals. (Hey, at least the snake handlers have a verse, don't they!) Those preachers that you defame, do they preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do they do good for the world's needy? Do they use God's Word when they preach? They probably all do. In fact, the vast majority of well known preachers do, especially the ones receiving the most criticism.

Here's my point - God wants us to come into the unity of the faith. There is ONE BODY. God doesn't want us in strife with each other. Read Psalm 133, God wants to bless the Body of Christ, and the commanded blessing comes with unity. Are you an agent for unity? Or are you fostering disunity within the Body?

If you take any two Christians in the world you won't find complete agreement on every single subject (unless they specifically decide to be in unity with each other). Christianity has so many subjects and facets. You shouldn't expect perfect intellectual unity on everything with everyone. We need to elevate unity as the goal, and work for it, not against it. Make allowances for people's misguided opinions if they have them. But support your fellow Christians in areas of agreement.

If the vigorous haters spent as much time winning the lost as they do blogging about their disagreements we'd have millions of additional Christians added to the Body daily. I know there is a place for exposing heretics and ungodly fakes, but can you judge someone who openly calls Jesus Lord and wins souls. 1 Corinthians 12:3 says no man can say Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost. I wouldn't judge anyone in that category, and I wouldn't speak against them. Let us love one another, not bad mouth each other. Put down the voice of contention, and pick up the banners of love and unity. Remember, touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm!

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Does God Think I'm Hot?

on 2/20/2010

Are you on fire for God? What does that mean anyway? It seems like I used to hear that phrase all the time. This person or that person would get saved, and then they would be all about church and the related events, and then people would say that person is "on fire for God." Certainly no one would have said that about me for the first 20+ years of my life. But a few years ago I was talking to a very close friend, and he said, and I couldn't believe it, "Byron, you are on fire for God."

Let's first talk about my friend. This guy has been saved since birth (practically). He never strayed from the faith, not even during college, married a great Christian woman, and now lives a solid Christian life. And he's telling me that I'm on fire for God? I was talking to him on the phone about tithing and speaking in tongues and doing great things for God with our lives. But while he had always remained close to God, he lacked the fire? Christianity had become only a part of his life, like college football or work. Sure he still loved Jesus, but the Spirit of God wasn't consuming him from the inside out.

John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize us both with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Mat 3:11, Luke 3:16) And the Bible says that God makes His ministers a flame of fire. (Heb 1:7) ALL CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE ON FIRE FOR GOD!

So what does that mean anyway? The only reason we would ask such a question is because we have an unfortunate distinction between those who are and those who aren't. This distinction is ungodly, for God wants us all to be on fire all the time. Remember His Words in Revelation "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (3:15-16). I believe we could equate those who are hot with those who are "on fire." Lukewarm is not an option, and if you are cold then God wants you to get hot again. But a key point is that God is constantly taking our temperature!

Would you argue it's good to be cold? Of course not. So if we shouldn't be cold, and God hates lukewarm, then we should be hot. And if we should always be hot, then hot should be normal. And if the Bible tells us how to be normal (as in living the appropriate Christian life) - then the Bible tells us how to be hot. Therefore, if we are appropriately living the Biblical Christian life, then we will be hot, we will be on fire for God.

And that's why my friend's comment struck me so. I didn't think I was on fire for God, I just thought I was doing what every good Christian does. And here I am years later, still trying to live the same way. Am I on fire for God, I guess so. I'm just studying God's Word and trying to obey it. And if the world thinks I'm on fire for God, then that's o.k. with me. I just hope God thinks I'm hot!

So let's all try to be hot for God. Read God's Word daily. Stay in church. Look for opportunities to show the love of God to others. Preach the Word. Win the lost? Do everything the Bible teaches as normal Christian behavior. And yes, over time, as you consider it, you will feel God burn inside you. You will feel His power, His love, His compassion, and His fervor. You will know that you are on fire for God. And you will know it's not for a season, but for eternity. You will become more and more at one with God, as our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29) and as He makes you, His faithful minister, a flame of fire.

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Christian Books

on 2/15/2010

I would like to share with you how reading books by prominent and powerful Christians has tremendously blessed me. I believe reading such materials could really bless you too. I am blessed to come from a family of strong Christians. They prayed long and hard, and when I finally turned to serve the Lord they had many great materials for me to study.  Of course the greatest Christian book is the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible is God's Word, God's personal message to you. The Holy Bible alone is a living book. Read Joshua 1:8 and Psalms 1 - study of God's Word will help you succeed in every area of life. In fact, one must be careful not to let other Christian reads take the place of their time with God in His Word.

But I must show appreciation for the wonderful wisdom I have received through the Biblically based writings of other Christians. I'm referring to books that focus on a subject and show what the Bible says about it, especially to enlighten, encourage, and exhort the reader. Several times in my life God has pointed me to a book by Kenneth Copeland or Bill Winston (for example) to help aid my study and understanding of His Word. If you scroll down our blog page, you will see a box labeled "EFG Favorite Books." All of them have significantly impacted me and helped me walk my Christian path.

Many people write Christian materials, so you need to pray for God to lead you to those best for you. Perhaps during this season God wants you alone with His Word. But I'm sure that sooner or later He would like for you to read some of the outstanding helps His servants have written for you.

I will leave you with one thought on the subject to ponder.  Consider that the Apostle Peter literally referred to Paul's writings, during Paul's lifetime, as "Scripture."  That's an amazing statement.  (2 Peter 3:15-16)  Therefore what is a "Scripture?"  I would call it something the Spirit of God wrote through a man.  Now I'm not suggesting that any Christian work other than the Bible should be treated as God's Perfect Word, but I'm simply saying that the Spirit of God might still be writing.  So maybe God directs me to writings that He helped write, even ones written recently.  I'm not sure, but I would like to believe that.     

Please let us know which Christian authors you read, and why you find their writings valuable to your Christian walk.  May God bless you and keep you!  Please let's keep the comments positive and love-based. -EFG

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Donate to Byron Howell Ministries, Inc.

on 2/14/2010

Thank you for your interest in donating to our efforts at Byron Howell Ministries, Inc.  We appreciate your donations beyond words.  Please feel free to use the link below to contribute any amount you wish.

We love you and may God abundantly bless you, Byron and Shannon Howell

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God Helps

on 2/09/2010

I believe that God will help us do everything. Now of course I don't mean sinful things or things out of His will for your life. But I mean God will help you do every single thing that lines up with His Word and His specific will for you.

Let's think about our personal situations right now. I work, I husband, I have a dog, I write this blog, I go to church and occasionally minister to the children. Those are my life's big activities and I believe God wants me to do every one. Moreover, I do other, less significant things. I shower, I get dressed, I drive, I talk, I walk, I eat, I choose, and I do many, many other things that I don't usually even consider. I believe God wants me to do all of these too. I believe God not only wants me to do all of this stuff, but that He will also help me do it all supernaturally well.

Some people believe God only gets involved in our big issues, some believe He doesn't get involved at all. As for me, I believe God wants to be associated with all of our lives. I believe God loves us so much that He wants constant contact, constant communication, and constant attention. No, I don't believe we are to be some sort of sheltered child to God, where we can't mature and have responsibility. I simply believe that God loves us and wants to involvement, and the greater involvement we allow Him, the greater our lives will be.

Proverbs 3:6 says we should acknowledge God in ALL our ways, and then He will direct our paths. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). I know you might be thinking that only applies to Spiritual truth, but that's not how I measure it. I believe He will guide me into the truth in every situation in my life. Psalms 1 says it perfectly. The man who delights in God's law will be like a tree planted by rivers, he will bring forth fruit, and EVERYTHING he does will prosper.

I believe God will cause us to prosper in everything we do, meaning we will do everything well, with a supernatural blessing on our doing. I believe that is one of the wonderful benefits of having God live inside of us. I know we touched on this in our post, Do Exploits, but these powerful truths are worth mentioning again.

According to Colossians 1:29, we can do all our work with God's energy energizing us. According to Philippians 2:13, God works in us to want to do the right thing and to do it. I know sometimes, especially as new Christians, we don't always want to do everything the Bible says. But God, who is so rich in mercy and grace, will even help us want to do right, and then He'll help us do it. Glory to God. Nothing is impossible. We can do all things through Christ.

I just believe that if I allow God into any part of my life, He's going to bless that part. If I draw near to God in any area, He's going to draw near to me in that area (James 4:8). If I want more of Him in my life, then I need to let Him into more of my life. God will help me be a better husband if I let Him into my marriage and obey His Word regarding it. God will help me be a better worker if I bring Him to work with me and obey His Word concerning that. I even believe God will help me tie my shoes better if I ask for His wisdom and blessing on it. Anywhere I unite with God I can expect increase, blessing, and God results.

Maybe this sounds a little crazy. Maybe some people would say, “God isn't concerned with all that.” But that's not how I see it. I believe God is literally my loving Father. I believe God gave me His only precious Son, and therefore He will give me all things (Romans 8:32). I believe if I stay close to God and His Word, I'm going to prosper and have success in every area of my life (Joshua 1). I've felt this way a long time, and nothing makes me think otherwise. Life is much more fun with God, and I'm better at it with Him, so let Him into every part of your life and watch every part improve.

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God's Perfect Place for You

on 2/08/2010

As we grow older we are confronted with many important decisions. It generally starts with our college choice, then our career choice, then our spouse choice, then our church choice, and then many other choices come as the years go by. Of course, the most important choice we could ever make is to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. In fact that is the foundation upon which every other choice should be made. But I want to talk today about choices regarding location.

As children we generally have no say in where we live, what we do, or where we go to church, but then as we reach adulthood that changes. After we get settled into a career we may feel we have less control again, but still the ultimate decision remains with us. I want to show you that God will show you the right places to live and to worship. The importance of these decisions can't be overstated. If you go where God wants you to go, then everything else God has for your life can appear. But if you don't then you could miss out big time.

Let's first look at Abraham. He lived in the land and household of his father until he was 75. Then God told him to leave both and go unto a land that God would show him. (Gen 12:1-4) God had a perfect place for Abraham to go, and Abraham obeyed. If Abraham hadn't obeyed this first command to go where God wanted him to, undoubtedly he would have missed seeing all the other works of God in his life.

Have you received such a command? Has God told you to leave the land of your father and go to a new place? This wouldn't be uncommon. In fact, with people in the ministry it's practically Scriptural - Jesus said that a prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house (Mat 13:57). So don't be surprised if God tells you to move. I'm still in my father's house and land, at 28, but the day may come when God has other plans for me. As for today I know that I know that I know that this is where God wants me. God can tell me to move whenever He likes.

Now sometimes you may not like your current place, or you may want to go somewhere else, but your prosperity (financial and otherwise) will be tied to being where God wants you. I've heard people say that they could be placed anywhere on earth, operate Biblical principles, and prosper. But that's only true if that place on earth is where God told them to go. Let's look at Isaac and God's specific instructions concerning his location: “And there was a famine in the land . . . And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee.” (Gen 26:1-3)

For Isaac his blessing was tied to being in God's appointed place. Now Isaac wasn't crazy in wanting to go to Egypt, Abraham did that when a famine hit during his life (Gen 12:10). But God had a specific plan for Isaac. The days of running from problems were over. If you are where God wants you to be, you don't need to fear famine or flood or disease or any other calamity, for God will be with you and bless you.

Now in those days there were no churches, and then in the days of Moses there was only one tabernacle. In Israel there was one main temple. But now, at least in the USA, we have thousands of churches. How do we choose? Does the same rationale apply to a spiritual location as a physical location? I believe so. Let's look at what God said to Elijah.

“Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward,—and hide thyself in the ravine of Cherith, which faceth the Jordan; and it shall be that, of the torrent, shalt thou drink,—and, the ravens, have I commanded to sustain thee, there . . . And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. (1Ki 17:3-9 Rotherham/KJV)

God tells Elijah to go to two places. After the provision at one ran out, God told Elijah to go to another. God didn't just say, "go to this place." God said, "Go to this place and I will sustain you." God provided not only a physical place for Elijah, but also physical sustenance. I believe God will provide for your spiritual sustenance as well.

Didn't Jesus say, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by the Word of God?” Therefore, we need the Word of God to live. I didn't say this, Jesus did. I know I need it. I believe Jesus didn't mean simply living physically, but by "live" He also means how we will live our lives. We don't just need food and water to continue living appropriately, we also need God's Word. If God is so interested in where Elijah got his physical sustenance, don't you think God is interested in your spiritual sustenance, which is of far more importance? In my mind it's doubtless.

Finally let's look at a powerful passage, James 4:13-15 - "Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow . . . For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."

You should never try to plan your life without God. You should always include Him in every decision, especially those concerning your place of living and worship. God has the perfect place for you. If you ask Him He will show you. You don't need to guess or do your best to choose. God will show you a specific place, just like He showed Elijah specific places. Remember that if you acknowledge and consult with God concerning all your ways, He will direct your paths. (Prov 3:6)

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Do Exploits

on 2/03/2010

How many of you want to do something great for God? Something happened to us all to make us receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We heard it, believed it, wanted its promise of Life, and accepted it. If we stayed connected to God, we probably read the Bible and attended a good church. Then our salvation became more real to us. We realized that we really deserved death, and Jesus really suffered and died for us. And we wanted to give back to He who gave us all.

How many of you have said, "God, I give you my life," "God here am I, send me," or simply, "God, use me." Most devout Christians have said words like these many times. Yet we find ourselves consumed with our daily existence. We want to do everything for God, but the cares of the world choke our fire, and we end up doing little.

Sure, maybe we put our money in the bucket, maybe we volunteer at the church, and just maybe we pray for people or share the Gospel when an opportunity appears so obviously that it practically smacks us in the face. These are all noble acts, but are you really LIVING for God? Are you doing all you can for God and His Kingdom? Don't you want to do more? Jesus gave us everything, and we should be willing to give Him everything.

We are no longer content to do nothing. We are no longer content to do just those basic exercises that millions do with no passion, no fervor, and no fire. We believe the time has come for all Christians to rise up and do the works God has for us.

Isaiah 60:1 calls us to arise and shine, for our Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon us. Do you believe that? Do you believe the glory of God is on you so that you can rise up and shine in this dark world? Well, if you want to do great works for God you'd better believe it. Forget about your own strength. Receive the light of God, receive His glory upon you, rest in Him, and arise.

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before prepared for us to do. Are you an introvert, are you tall, are you good with children, are you intelligent? Whatever your reality may be, God saw it ahead of time, and God has already prepared good works for you to do. The works are prepared, but will you walk in them?

My fellow Christians, we are created, adopted as sons and daughters of God, so that we can do great and mighty works for Him. Moreover, God doesn't just send us in our own ability; God supernaturally empowers us to do all the works He prepared for us.

In Colossians 1:29 Paul says, "I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily." In the original Greek the word “working” is "energeia." Do you see that? Read the Rotherham translation - "I am even toiling, contending according to His energy which is energizing itself in me with power." GOD ENERGIZES US WITH HIS ENERGY!!!! Hallelujah. I have literally the seed, life, and energy of God within me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What about Philippians 2:13 – “God works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Again, the Bible says God energizes us both to want to do His Will and to actually do it. We are created and empowered to do great works for God. Your works will be different than mine, but God has works for us all.

Our foundational Scripture is Daniel 11:32 – “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Do you want to do great things for God? Do you want to fulfill His plan for your life? Do you want to walk in the works He planned for you? I know you do. Get closer to God; He will get closer to you. Seek and you shall find, knock, and God will open to you. We are going to get to know God, and we are going to get stirred up to do good works. We are going to do exploits for God.

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