“Kidron calling”

“And when Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron (Kidron) where there was a garden, into which he entered, he and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither (met there) with his disciples.” John 18:1,2 

Picking this to tie in with my last post. this scripture took place at the time of the arrest of Jesus, after he had given the disciples warning that they should watch and pray that they would not enter into temptation.

Now is a good time to point out that as Jesus went forth into this place, He was on His way to his arrest, torture, humiliation, and ultimate crucifixion.

ALL this laid just beyond the crossing over that brook BUT this was also the path of His divine purpose for coming to this earth, as He answered Pilate… To this end was I born, and for this cause I came into the world,  and the enemy, just like Judas in this passage, always knows where we go for comfort and just where to find us in a crisis, and that is when he hits us with all he has and it’s like that button, he knows how and exactly where to do the most damage.

But FIRST I really want to point out that Jesus is an exception to all the rules. He is God and when He came here in human form as a sacrifice for all of us, He did so completely sinless.

He NEVER committed sin or even thought a wrong thought, so it was NEVER a question of falling with Him, as it is for us. BUT as He also told us that The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. and we are to follow His lead in how He handled every situation and circumstance in life and even in the face of death.

And there is so much for us to learn in crossing over our own brook “Kidron” and if we are called, we are going to have to cross that brook.

We can a learn that from David’s story 2 Samuel chapters fifteen and sixteen, to give the background on it, this WAS due to David falling into temptation, because of his affair with Bathsheba and the essential “hit” he put on his own solider Uriah in an attempt to cover his tracks, he had been told that the sword would NEVER leave his house, so even though he had repented and reconciled to God he was still under that judgment and this story took place as he was fleeing from his son who WAS one of the evils that would arise from his own house against him.

If possible please read these chapters to get the jest of this story because I am just using a few verses to get to this point, but it is a story I have used many times to make many different points and so much can be learned on some many level from David’s ordeal.

I am starting scripture coming into the part of the story when most had turned against David and it actually says that Absalom “stole the hearts of the men of Israel” and as he prepared to overtake his father’s throne, David and those whose were faithful to him were forced to flee and this is where decisions were being made.

2 Samuel 15: 21-23 : “And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there shall thy servant be.

And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that was with him.

And ALL the country wept with a loud voice,and all the people passed over,the king himself passed over the brook Kidron (CALLED),and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.”

What really jumps out at me is the similarity between Ittai’s pledge of allegiance to David and Peter’s words to Jesus and one of the literal meanings given for Kidron is “CALLED” and as you go on with that story, David was hit so hard just in these few chapters, this ONE instance of a PERIOD in his life, he was chased, cursed, hated but he was learning something, and you got to remember WHO David was and what he had ALREADY learned from the Lord.

By this point in his life, he had been in battle after battle, fought Goliath, survived Saul’s hatred and had been anointed three times to be king and David knew what is was to be afraid and he knew what it was to desperately seek God, he knew what is was to  trust and he knew what is was to encourage himself when he felt a million miles away. But by the point this all came into play against him he had gotten a little out of practice keeping those things he had learned fresh in his mind and most importantly fresh in his heart.

As he and all his people passed over the brook and they all went toward the WAY of the wilderness, his flesh began to die, when he just accepted the things being thrown at him without cursing back or flying into a rage and wanting to retaliate, when he just kept on crossing the brook of the called his enemies were defeated and his throne rightfully restored.

Not to say that there wasn’t PAIN, serious, serious pain, as all these crossings were made with tears and sorrow.

Over the past few weeks I have thought so much about what Jesus told Peter, when He said The Spirit truly is ready but the flesh is weak  and I have come to believe of the many lessons we learn from that scripture that the biggest, hardest lesson to grasp is this, that our spirit, the part of us that loves God, longs for His presence and wants nothing more than to please Him and be in His will can BE completely given over to Him but our human side can still have a lot of catching up to do, it can be very weak and must be strengthened BEFORE we can enter into those places that He wants us to travel.

And when you think of it, imagine Peter and ALL the disciples, hanging out with Jesus day and night, being in the midst of Him and the miracles and Him giving them that authority over demons and diseases BUT He was right there with them or at least they knew He was close by and would come to the rescue just like He did when He rebuked their lack of faith and taught them the need for fasting and prayer when they could not cast the demon out of the young boy and the father had to bring him to Jesus Himself. (Matthew 17:14-21)

So how much harder would it be for them when they had to have the faith to believe for these and greater works in His name and believe for that power to come when they asked in His name when He would no longer be by their side on this earth?

He was not only their teacher, He was also their best friend and even though they knew who He was and is, and they saw with their own eyes miracles and resurrections of the dead, nothing could ever have prepared them for the transitions between heaven and earth that would take place.

Their spirits were ready, that is why He gave them the extra comfort of adding TRULY when He told them but the “flesh” part, the human side had to be strengthened or otherwise their minds could have never withstood the transition that they also would have to make on that journey with Him.

Think about that… ALL of this was new, it was new to EVERYONE and if you put yourself in their shoes at the time and ask how would they react when they would no longer see Him or touch Him in the physical realm but be aware of His invisible presence and would actually feel Him in their souls.

NOTHING could have ever prepared them for that, it is not a shock that they stood “gazing up” when He went back to heaven, they were trying to reason it all in their heads when it cannot be reasoned and they would have to learn how to navigate their lives and fulfilling His call on their lives in a way they could have never possibly imagined.

And when the pain, the sorrow and the persecution would come that flesh would have to be under submission to the spirit or else that flesh would cost callings and how that submission comes is in one word…acceptance… and I’ll leave that right there for now.

Thank you for reading and thanks for all your prayers!

God Bless you with a wonderful week!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ2018 /  Repost 11/16/2019

 

“Designed, Resigned, & Refined”

“And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the living moving creature that hath life (abound with an abundance of living creatures), and fowl that may fly above the earth (let birds fly) in the open firmament of heaven (across the expanse of heaven).

And God created great whales (sea creatures), and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast after his kind; and God saw that it was good.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness :and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, an dover every creeping thing that creepth upon the earth.

So God CREATED man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:19-27

And according to our computer brain friend “Cortana” the absolute definition of DESIGNED, goes a little something like this: Planned OR conceived in detail for a SPECIFIC purpose.” 

I always like to add the correct definitions so that there is no confusion as to the interpretations of meanings, so this is not just my personal understandings of these words. 

So we know God created it all, He created heaven and earth, all living beings, he created and he then created us in his own image, in his likeness, and then he gave us earth so that we could also have a space to  tend, cultivate, and express our own creativity that he had given us.

ALL that he required of humans was to take care of the earth and all of the creations he had given us charge over in kindness, love, and mercy.

And we also know how that story went when the serpent tempted Eve and with thought what had been created in perfection became polluted through sin and would require being refined and made pure once again.

That purification process painful and sure but the only way to to open our hearts to the truth that life is a process and only he knows the path that we should take and the way in which we should go.

RESIGNED: “Having ACCEPTED something unpleasant that one cannot do anything about.”   This world, this life, and things that are just that of that, which has always been the main focus of my ministry, trying my best to encourage anyone who will listen that through God you can and  will overcome.

As David so profoundly stated…”Thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” the ever present snares and dangers that may lurk unseen in the shadows of the most human of fears, the fear of death and the fear of the unknown and his allowing his light to shine into that darkness and erase those fears.

Psalm 27:1-3,5: “The Lord IS my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord IS the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up (devour) my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Though an host should encamp against me (surrounded by enemies), my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”

What was that confidence that David had? ” For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock.” 

Resigned to the will of God, to trust him even when you don’t understand. 

Isaiah 43:1,2: “But now thus saith, the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee O Israel, Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name: thou art mine (you belong to me).

When thou passest through the waters I WILL be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall NOT overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt NOT be burned; neither shall the flame kindle (ignite) upon thee.”

Trust, when we become aware that we can’t get ourselves out of those caves and the we have no control over our enemies, and we can’t stop the flood, that is when God’s promises are remembered in our hearts.

Reassuring us that process of refinement is underway, and how we see this process…

Psalm 66:8-12:”O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise be heard: Which  holdeth our soul  in life (among the living), and suffereth not our feet to be moved (keeps us from falling).

For thou, O God, hast proved (tested) us: thou hast tried (refined), as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.

Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through the fire and through the water : BUT THOU BROUGHTEST US OUT into a wealthy (abundant) place.”

Finally, REFINED:  “with impurities OR unwanted elements having been REMOVED.”

Deuteronomy 4:20: “But the Lord hath TAKEN you, and brought you forth OUT of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” 

What the Lord says about it: Isaiah 48:10: “Behold, I have REFINED thee, but NOT (as) with silver; I have CHOSEN  thee in a furnace OF affliction.”

Embrace the three fold process.

1 Peter 1:3-9: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

For an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth NOT away, reserved in heaven for you

Who ARE KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD THROUGH FAITH unto salvation ready to be REVEALED in the last day.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, THOUGH now  for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness(distresses) through manifold temptations (various trials) 

That the trial (genuineness) of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried (tested) with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing (revelation) of Jesus Christ.

Whom having NOT seen, ye love, in whom, though ye see him NOT, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

This has been said thousands and thousands of times, but I am going to say it again, Jesus will never ever lead you anywhere that he has not already been.

Leaving you with Job 23:10: “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried (refined) me, I shall come forth as gold.”

 Love & peace to you and yours till next time, Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2019/ REV. Nina BrownJohnson

 

 

BEACON

“Holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run my race in vain, neither laboured I in vain.” Philippians: 2:16

I was on my way home a few days ago and I passed by a church that I have passed  by probably thousands of times by now and I have often just truly marveled at its presence and beauty. Beauty that everyone NOTICES because this particular church looks likes something from a Hallmark movie.

It kinda meets you at the top of a steep, curvy road and suddenly there it is, absolutely beautiful with the backdrop of nothing but sky, it’s beautiful steeple adorned with the cross that just seems to almost kiss the sky as a beacon for tired and weary travelers as if to say “You are almost there” and once you have “topped” that little hill you then see green fields and gorgeous mountains and valleys in the backdrop and it is spectacular.

I always admire it but for some reason the other day, it just hit me, what a BEACON, what a sign of HOPE that is! The little church in the middle of nowhere, and the beautiful, unassuming, simple little cross speaking the most profound and ageless message of the of all time.

Holding forth in all of its simplistic but profound beauty the simple truth that we all need here on this earth.

The message so simple and that so often gets completely lost in all our debates and our deep philosophical studying of scriptures and theology as we vainly believe we need to understand something so much deeper that has already been revealed and revealed in such perfection that it is said “Even a child can understand” and we can lose sight of all that truly matters.

Jesus Christ. his birth, his life, his death, and his glorious resurrection and his soon coming reign on this earth.

That is the word to be held forth and as we know, “preaching of the cross IS foolishness to them that perish.”

But that scripture never said that by that token we should stop preaching it.

And believe me, I am not downing anyone here or their preaching, thoughts, or ministry.

I have had my share of carefully dotting every “I” and crossing every “T” for fear of ridicule and backlash from  those whom all in ministry suffer, “fruit inspectors” as my brother calls them, and we are to truly “know a tree by the fruit it bears” but there are times  when there are those who just want to core your apple and jerk out your seeds ONLY because they want to find anything possible to accuse you to the Lord and to “prove” to themselves that they were “right about you” and you were never “what you are supposed to be anyway” and you all know this because I know most of you have been through it.

Really doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as we make sure that it goes!

“Foolishness” to the world or not the cross MUST be preached, in the beauty, the simplicity, the pain, the sorrow, and above all the victory that the cross represents.

It also represents the love of the Holiest of beings, the Father of all of creation, who looked down in MERCY at those he had created watching them as they kick, punch, fight, and do every manner of evil and violence one toward another and in his supreme love, which goes so far beyond our human comprehension that we NOT even capable of understanding it he pitied us.

He knew we just did not get it, we just did not understand his plan and as the sin from the garden held hostage us all, Jesus came to this earth, in the most humble  way.

The virgin mother , the star and the shepherds and the host of heaven proclaiming his magnificent majesty as the king came to save his people that the Father had given from before the foundations of this world.

And God loved and still LOVES us that much!

So yeah, The Cross is STILL foolishness to them that perish, but it will STILL save them from perishing.

The Word is STILL life to those who hear it.

The Seed  IS still to be sown into hearts and lives that will one day gladly cultivate it.

He came, He lived as the perfect sinless Son of God and he dies as the spotless Lamb and one day He will return and He will reign for ever and ever as Sovereign King ETERNAL!

So “be” that little church, “be” that beacon a person who has been fighting battles that are all uphill as the troubles of this world so desperately needs to see

As you hold out that word of life, think about the awesomeness of this:

Psalm 89:9,10: “ALL the nations whom thou hast made SHALL come and worship before thee, O Lord; and glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things; thou art God alone.”

That word is already settled in heaven, just hold it forth and share it and wait patiently because it just a moment of time and in that twinkling of an eye that word shall come to pass, that is our hope and our comfort, it will ALWAYS come to pass!

Have a blessed week! Thanks for reading! Love & Peace till next time! Sister Nina

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2019/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

I love this song

 

 

“The patience of Job”

“And there was a day when his (Job’s) sons and his daughters were sitting and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house. And THERE CAME  a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen WERE plowing, and the asses FEEDING beside them; And the Sabeans FELL upon them (attacked), and took them ALL away; yea, and they have SLAIN the servants with the edge of the sword; And I ONLY AM ESCAPED TO TELL THEE; 

WHILE HE WAS YET SPEAKING, there came ALSO ANOTHER, and said The fire of God IS fallen from heaven, and hath BURNED UP the sheep, AND the servants, and CONSUMED (destroyed) THEM: And I ONLY AM ESCAPED TO TELL THEE.

WHILE HE WAS YET SPEAKING, THERE CAME ALSO ANOTHER, and said, The Chaldeans made (formed) out three bands, and FELL UPON (raided) the camels, and have carried the away, yea, and SLAIN the servants with the edge of the sword; and I ONLY AM ESCAPED ALONE TO TELL THEE.

WHILE HE WAS YET SPEAKING, THERE CAME ALSO ANOTHER, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters WERE eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house; And, behold, THERE CAME a great wind from the wilderness, and SMOTE the four corners of the house, and IT FELL UPON THE YOUNG MEN AND THEY ARE DEAD; and I ONLY AM ESCAPED ALONE TO TELL THEE.” JOB 1: 13-19

So many points in the story of Job, it is hard to know where to start and if you are feeling down, I suggest reading Job. It will make almost anyone rethink their own suffering.

What he went through was TRULY from satan himself, that is how the story began.  Job WAS a righteous man, he did everything he could to honor God on his behalf and even on the behalf of his children. God had blessed Job and Job WAS pleasing to God.

But to have been around for this onslaught of messengers, coming so closely together that one was YET giving Job bad news as another was standing there with more to report would have probably made it appear otherwise.

That IS often exactly what the enemy wants. Notice how all these things FELL, just as the enemy would like to see God’s chosen fall, and that was his plan in all these tragedies to make Job fall because of what had fallen on him. 

And he wanted Job to know it and to know it fast, as EVERY messenger repeated that they alone WERE escaped to tell what had taken place. And this story has been used many times, I have used it many times myself but I felt I needed to again because so often what is mistaken as “God” is actually an attack by the enemy and not understanding what is really going on leads people to discouragement and hopelessness, and leads them away from God rather than to him.

Again, that is why the devil does it. And at the time the story starts, a perfectly normal, delightful day, just like any other day, or it would have seemed, they were enjoying life, the family was close, having dinner being gathered together.

Even the animals were just having an average day, the ox were working, the donkeys eating, and suddenly the attack came, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys stolen away and those who had been in charge of their care, murdered. 

And as this was in the process of taking place, the “fire of God” had fallen, translates to “hot thunderbolts” which we would know as lightning, BUT we also know that THIS WAS NOT FROM GOD and can you only imagine what a lightning storm would appear as that could in an instant completely burn up SEVEN THOUSAND sheep and all those that tended them?

And at the same moment yet another rogue group divided into three groups attack and steal three thousand camels, again slaughtering those who tended them. And simultaneously as this is still being told, more bad news comes, a strange, monstrous wind had come actually hitting ALL sides of the brother’s house, caving it in and killing all of his children in one single attack. 

Unimaginable, but it is the first of what Job would endure and many times as attacks came, we to, fall into the trap of thinking that somehow we  are the problem, that we have done something wrong, or offended God, or these things would not happen but the truth is Job went through this because he belonged to God.

Now to back this train up a little bit it and see what was really going on here, this was a contest of the “powers”, God has ALL power, He is supreme and nothing in the universe has more power than Jehovah God, but Satan likes to think that he will be like God, but he is quite mistaken, however he is still NOT human and is very powerful and Job was a human caught in the middle of this show down.

Job 1:6-12: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came in among them.  And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? (where did you come from?) Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

REMEMBER that the “devil goes about as a roaring lion SEEKING whom he MAY DEVOUR”}

 And the Lord said unto Satan, HAST THOU CONSIDERED MY SERVANT JOB that there IS NONE LIKE HIM IN THE EARTH, a perfect (blameless) and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth (shuns) evil?

The Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge (protection) about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance (possessions) are increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, ALL THAT HE HATH IS IN THY POWER (your hand) ; ONLY UPON HIMSELF (his physical body) PUT NOT FORTH THINE HAND, so Satan went forth from the presence of God.

Now, as I said I have written posts similar to this but this was on my heart to really get to this… Satan was looking for someone to destroy, someone he could bring down and what God asked him literally translates to asking had he set his heart on Job.

God pointed out the impeccable character of Job, for God to refer to a human as someone whose worship, and dedication to the Lord was like no one else on earth is a statement to end all statements.

So of course satan wanted to destroy him because he hates God and he hates anyone who loves God and he hates all humans anyway because God created us in His image.

So satan gets all cocky and says that Job ONLY loves and serves God because of what god had done for him, and that God protected him and blessed him and only because of this and that if God didn’t do all these things for job and would take his hand of protection from Job that Job would change his tune and curse God.

So God decided to allow satan to try to “prove his point” but actually God was proving His!

Job STILL loved God , Job STILL worshipped God and even losing EVERYTHING under horrific circumstances, so horrific that everyone knew these were not natural occurrences and a sequence of events such as these could only be orchestrated by supernatural forces. 

And of course Job thought he had offended God and Job’s “friends”were there to make sure he KNEW that he had, (of course we know they were wrong) but there are always people there to kick you when you’re down and tell you that “you brought it on yourself” or that something is cosmic retaliation for some failure you had along the way.

 AGAIN, God does NOT work that way! When you serve God, love God, and do your best to honor Him in your life, I promise bad things ARE not coming from Him and sometimes when we get down, we need to be reminded of that.

So this massive attack waged on every possible scale and at every possible angle, with the only  restriction being that he could not harm Job’s body, Job 1:22 ends it this way: ” In ALL this Job sinned NOT, NOR charged God foolishly.”

Job stayed faithful to the Lord, he did not fall and he certainly did not question God or blame God, or accuse God of being wrong. Think satan was happy about that?

Sometimes the fight is only half over… Job 2:1-8: “AGAIN there was a day  the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them and presented himself before the Lord.

And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence camest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect (blameless) and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth (shuns) evil?

And STILL he holdeth fast his integrity, ALTHOUGH thou movest (incited) me against him, to destroy him WITHOUT a cause.

And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; BUT save his life.  So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and SMOTE Job with sore boils FROM THE SOLE OF HIS FOOT UNTO HIS CROWN. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal (with) and SAT DOWN AMONG THE ASHES.”

By this point Job wife even told him to just curse God and die, she was undoubtedly a mess herself with all that had happened and watching him suffer and maybe someone is telling you because of persecutions or attacks to give up on God that “it is not worth it” Don’t ever believe that!

Job was one of a kind and hopefully in comparison to the attack waged on him, your situation looks a little brighter.

But know IT IS WORTH IT and as Job WAS restored beyond measure because he stood the test that satan waged, you will be too. 

God protects us, God blesses us, and whatever valley we are allowed to walk through is going to lead to a beautiful mountain top.

And just like those ashes Job sat in, our ashes are turned, anything the enemy has destroyed, burned to ashes will be returned as pure beauty. IT WILL BE WORTH IT.

The enemy wants you destroyed either way and God wants good for you and He alone IS your protection, your shield, and hedge, so going back, turning our backs on God IS never an option.

As Peter replied to Jesus when asked was he too going to leave, and his answer was WHERE could he go? Because Jesus alone has the word of life.

Seek God, pray, and surround yourself with others who will also pray for you and walk with you through whatever you are going through but know you won’t go in all alone, we NEED each other and HOLD ON, HOLD ON, HOLD ON!

James 5:11: ” Behold, we count them happy (BLESSED) which ENDURE. ye have heard the PATIENCE (perseverance) OF JOB, and have seen the end of the Lord ( intended by the Lord) that THE LORD IS VERY PITIFUL (COMPASSIONATE) AND OF TENDER MERCY.” 

So carefully think about your situations and recognize traps for what they are and remember that the Lord IS love and He is compassionate and things that are hurting you DO NOT come from Him but He is faithful to deliver you from those things if you wait in patience for that deliverance. 

Take a lesson from Job and DON’T be quick to question and never blame God, more people fall because of lies of the enemy in these areas that any other trick he has. he pulls the old “If God loved you, WHY did this happen?” routine, ALL attacks ARE from the enemy and then some things just happen, simply just part of being alive in this world. THIS life, this world IS NEVER gonna be perfect, IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE.

The next life, the resurrected life, the New Jerusalem life IS the perfect life where there will BE no death, sorrow, or sickness.

But too often people let the enemy convince them that because a tragedy happened HERE  that means God does not care, or does not love them but that IS not true and we are NEVER told in the Bible that being saved makes us exempt from being HUMAN, in HUMAN BODIES, and SUFFERING COMPLETELY HUMAN CONDITIONS AND OCCURRENCES.

Some things are just unfortunately part of THIS life, but that is YOUR PATIENCE and YOUR HOPE.

This life is not all there is!

This life is only temporary and our hope is NOT in this life.

But God will bless you, protect you, and bring good things into our lives but that still does not exempt us from the natural.

Don’t throw that eternal assurance away because of the lies of a force that wants nothing more than to take you to hell anyway!

Outside of Jesus Christ there is no hope.

I hope this has encouraged you in someway and that you will find peace through the storm and that the storms soon comes to an end, but until then hold on because you have the blessed assurance that ALL storms do end!

Luke 21:19: “In your patience possess ye your souls.”  

Φλογιζω NBJ 2017

Original post date10/17/3017  REVISITED 10/20/2019 

Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

“Patient reminder”

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing.” James 1:4

All the things that could be said of the need of patience, the most notable of all, “patience is a virtue”, and it truly is but there is so much more to such a simple thought.

And to get to that thought, we’ll back up on this passage a little bit.

“Listen” to his greeting carefully, as we go to James 1:1-3: “James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trails):  Knowing THIS, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience.”

And that patience that comes from those “tests” and  that trying and stretching of your faith, think of the saying “…would try the patience of a saint.” 

Jesus stressed this to us many times, even telling us “In your patience possess ye your souls.”  

James was in a sense telling us that those tough breaks, rocky roads, and crooked paths that we navigate in life, those “tests” are to be all counted as joy, and all that comes with being human, being alive, and are often simply “part of life” all those things are to be not so much as viewed as still images, each shot overwhelming in sight but more to be considered into the big picture of growing, developing, and becoming the men and women that God created us to be. And that is that perfection that will come from all that “trying”. 

The definition of perfection in Christ does NOT mean our definition of perfection, to be one hundred percent, to have absolutely no need of improvement.

From far from it, the spiritual  definition of perfection is to allow ourselves to be conformed to the will of God, to be “blameless”, meaning keeping a level head and clear thoughts even in the midst of times that are anything but peaceful. And notice that it is the “perfect” work that brings that “perfection” about.

Our true hope, as believers is not even IN this world, it is not in this life, it is in the eternal, a thought that seems silly to those who do not believe, but as a child of God, you know the truth, but during “trying” times it is so easy to lose sight of those things we can not see, that blessed assurance that there is so much more to our beings than living and dying.

And we can’t lose that hope, Hebrews 11: 34(c)-36: “…knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance (possession). Cast not away (Don’t throw it away) therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

So whatever you are “waiting” for, whatever you are believing for in your life and in your walk with Christ, keep waiting and keep believing.

And if does not turn out exactly as you had envisioned, never think that somehow means that God does not love you or that you are completely off base, life does indeed have  away of working out completely different that we would have ever imagined but nothing is ever surprising to God.

Don’t give up on your hopes, dreams, and desires of your ministerial heart.

Puzzles are nothing more than oddly shaped pieces scattered about until it is patiently and carefully put together to reveal a beautiful complex image and life is much the same and the reason some of those “pieces” are so oddly cut will remain a mystery on this earth and we will not have those answers until the day they are revealed by Jesus himself when he wipes every tear away.

But I will tell you this, the definition of patience is this:”the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

That my friends speaks for itself. I’ll leave you with the words of our favorite David. Psalm 25:13-14: ” I had fainted, (I would have given up) unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living

Wait (wait in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage (try you best to be positive), and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

May the Lord bless and keep you this week.

Rev. Nina Brown Johnson/Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2019

 

“Iron Mask”

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get the up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God!

Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand (strength), and his arm shall rule for  him: behold his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead  those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:9-11

I love Dumas, I love the Musketeers, I love the sword fights , I love the Chivalry, justice, honor, and especially mercy in mercy out policies that were a must for his heroes and use them a lot in my writing.

But my all time favorite is “The Man in the Iron Mask”, and the intrigue behind the actual person behind that legend. But my thought with it comes from a line from the movie version, my total favorite version of the movie is the one from the seventies starring Richard Chamberlain, I was ten and thought he was the most handsome man on earth, whom I was totally going to marry one day when I grew up 🙂

But anyway in the newer version after the foiled coup the good guy is captured again and as he makes his pleas to his sadistic psychotic brother to just kill him instead of putting him back in that mask and to which his evil twin rants and screams with no mercy.

And as strange a comparison that this may be it just reminds me of how the enemy and even ourselves can try to put us back into the iron mask that that God has delivered us from.

The mask that we either were fitted when we were bound by the shackles of that are sometimes just part of being born into this world, just as Jesus always taught us, and this world is full of evil and only through accepting his salvation , and his peace, can we allow his grace to guide our lives and above resting in the assurance that through him we can overcome and live for him so that we will with  him.

The mask that we sometimes find ourselves in when we are faced with difficulties so far beyond our control and pain that we just can’t deal with so we try our best to hide the hurt, the grief and function through life, at work at home or sometimes even at church. When we try our best to smile and “go on” when secretly inside, behind that mask we really just want to lay down and cry.

But God and life has a way of bringing us out of that because we tend to see “hiding” our emotions, “working past the pain” somehow as “protecting” ourselves, our hearts, when it truth it is the opposite of that, it is not about being “courageous” it is actually about fear and not so much as being brave but rather our human fear of being broken.

Jesus specializes in broken, in fact we have to be broken, broken from our thinking and our false sense of self reliance so that we can accept him and him he desires for us, which is to live a life authored and finished by him.

Trusting him in everything and trusting him in our pain and trials and being who he has created us to be and that can require moments and times of revealing our vulnerabilities to others around us and most of us are not ever entirely comfortable with that. And that uncomfortableness leads to fear and fear makes us want to hide.

2nd Timothy 1:7,8: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be thou not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel with me according to the power of God.”

God gave us liberty through his salvation, because as Jesus told us, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

And that truth is knowing in his word and knowing in him that this world and the suffering, pain, and sorrows is just a little while as Paul had described a “thorn in his flesh”, that the messenger of Satan had come to buffet (beat) him, as Paul went on to explain what translates to this, if he never went through troubles or faced difficulties or things he could not handle he would have became cold and exalted, and he would have never been effective as a representative of Christ.

 But because Paul did not hid from us (his future readers) or from those around him, his troubles and his pain, and most of all his vulnerabilities, he effectively allowed the power of God to manifest in his life and that power to effect others.

I want to remind us all again with 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: “For this thing I besought (PLEADED with) the Lord thrice (on three separate occasions) that it might depart form me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. 

Most gladly therefore will glory in my infirmities (weaknesses) that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress for Christ’s sake: for When I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Of course was by no means saying he loved trouble or going through all the turmoil that he did, but he is saying, to us, that by embracing the things he had no control over and seeing them in a different light and doing as we were commanded and “counting it all joy” that he discovered the true meaning of Christ with him and he and all around him saw the evidence of God’s power on his life.

And he wrote these words, and Jesus had him record these words to give hope and encouragement to those of the time, those who came before us and us now.

When God stripped away the “mask” of Saul, as Saul persecuted Christians and sought to destroy the church through violence, hatred, and self righteous, he became Paul and the power of God gave him the ability to show the vulnerability of his true face, the man God had created him to be and God removing that hard, unyielding, “iron” covering  allowed him to effectively minister to others through the revealing of his own struggles.

This was the “pleasure” he took in that, he knew God would prove strong and he knew that this would encourage others to embrace who they were and embrace the Gospel for the truth that it is.

Jesus brought us out of darkness into his glorious light so that we could be light and once that light has broken those “iron masks” that use we hid behind, we must be very careful to not allow the devil, the world, and most of all, our own flesh to cover us again with that unyielding iron.

Embrace who you are, embrace all the struggles of life that have made you who you are, don’t ever feel like you have to be “strong” and don’t ever let anyone make you feel “weak” for being vulnerable, because we you are at your breaking point or if you have already broke that it when you are shielded, covered, and surrounded by the absolute glory and absolute power of the only, living, Holy God and this is why scripture refers to God making our face to shine, in doing so you will shine his light to others giving them hope and courage to embrace the freedom to take off their own masks.

John 8:36: “IF the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” And your freedom will inspire others.

2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is  that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

But we all, with open face (uncovered, bare face) beholding as in a glass (as looking in a mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed (being transformed) into the same image from glory to glory, even, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

You can see from these verses that God is telling us that as we are saved we are changed through his Spirit giving us freedom as we are being processed, changed, through the process of life, and all the difficulties that come with that are actually being used for our good to transforms us as God desires. 

We have to consciously remember his word and  keep that word on our mind and apply that word to our hearts, for example when Jesus said that He would never forsake us, that means  he will never forsake us.

When the Bible promises that no weapon formed against will prosper, that means that no scheme or plot has power to destroy you, it may feel like you are going to be, but you will not be, because God sees  with the eyes of eternity. And we must apply his promises to our lives every single day.

If we fail to do that, we can easily get off course and forget what we once knew.

We go to James 1:23-25: “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass (looking in a mirror).

For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was (glances in the mirror, leaves and forgets what kind of man he even is).

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty (freedom), and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man is blessed in his deed.”

God gave us two views of  the same issue, we can look honestly or we can give it a quick glance  a note that we are after all, “just human” and go our way and completely forgetting who God called us to be and forgetting his promises and just give up and be quickly lead into the temptation of not particularly liking “what” we see staring back at us and putting ourselves back into a mask that God  had already removed. And that is not his desire or his purpose for any of us.

So today I want to encourage you to BE who God says you are. And LIVE how he told you to live, and this one is a hard one, when everyone around you is fitting in and hiding their faces behind the masks they feel comfortable in, let Jesus shine through you and let the pain, the scars, be visible because someone else NEEDS to see them.

Let them see his gentleness lead you in his paths!

Rev. Nina Brown Johnson  2019 / Φλογιζω NBJ 2019

If you have never heard this please do, I believe it will bless you, probably make you cry but those tears are precious to God!

 

 

 

 

EL ROI….. The well in our wilderness

“And Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, PUTTING IT ON HER SHOULDER, and the child and sent her away: and she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.” Genesis 21:14
                                      
I can only imagine the torturous thoughts that played out in Hagar’s mind as she attempted to take her child and embark on what she believed would be their death march to die a slow agonizing death of dehydration and starvation, if they were able to survive the wild animals.
Yet again, this was Sarah’s plan, she was quite a character and could have taught Samson a thing or two about manipulation and self-righteousness.
She is probably the gene donor responsible for the cattiness, jealousy, and vanity that have plagued women’s relationships one to another since the dawn of time, much more so than anything we inherited from Eve.
How had it come to this? That question surely  flooded her mind, I am sure there were many, many times that she wanted to see both of them suffer, as they had made her suffer.

And now, as he put the bread and water on her shoulder, sending her and the child he was responsible for out into a formidable land to make their way back to Egypt, he was laying the entire burden of the enormous mess on her shoulders to be born alone.
But she WAS NOT alone, she only felt that way. She had been down this road before, as a servant subjected to Sarah’s insane idea to force her to bear a child to Abraham, once accomplished Sarah’s jealousy kicked in and she mistreated Hagar, Abraham refused to intervene, BUT God let Hagar know that it was THE CRIES OF HER HEART that he heard, not necessarily Sarah’s.

 Genesis 16:7-14 tells us: “And the ANGEL of the Lord FOUND her  by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.  And he said, HAGAR, SARAI’S MAID, whence cometh thou? and whither wilt thou go? and she said I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply THY seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael (God hears) BECAUSE THE LORD HATH HEARD THY  AFFLICTION.  And he will be as a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of his brethren.

And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God (EL ROI) seest me: for she said, have I also looked after (saw) him that seest me? wherefore THE WELL was called Beerlahairoi (well of one who lives and sees me); behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”
She did as she had been told, even submitting to the humiliation of giving birth to her son while sitting on Sarah’s knees to appease Sarah’s misguided  belief  that somehow this would really make the child hers.

But now they had Isaac and the very child they had forced her to bear and then taken from her, they have now given back, as if he were an unwanted pet replaced by one of a more valued breed and have sent them both on their way to an unknown fate.

But one thing Hagar was not aware of , this plan, although it had come from the mouth of Sarah, who didn’t care if they both died she just wanted them out of her face, God had given permission for this to happen and it WOULD NOW BE USED FOR HER GOOD.

God was going to use this, as He does all things, to her benefit, as when the angel told her to go back, this was a wilderness walk that she had to take, regardless of the pain and the injustice, this walk WOULD NOT LEAD TO THE DESTRUCTION OF HER AND ISHMAEL, BUT IT WOULD LEAD TO THEIR FREEDOM.
She would never again be slave to Abraham or Sarah and her maker would in fact now be her husband and a father to her son, who was now fatherless. And just as her son was rejected by his own people and sent to Egypt, there would be another son called forth out of Egypt only to face the same rejection by his kindred.
But when all we can see is the wilderness in front of us, the hunger, the thirst and the fear of what is waiting down that road starts to set in, we forget the promises we have been given, what the angel has spoken and sometimes we need to be reminded.
Genesis 21:15-21 “And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs, And she went, and sat down over against (across) him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she had said Let me not see the death of the child. and she sat over against him and lift up her voice and wept.

AND GOD HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LAD; and the ANGEL OF THE LORD CALLED OUT TO HAGAR OUT OF HEAVEN, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? ( THIS TIME HE DID NOT CALL HER SARAI’S MAID) fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad, WHERE HE IS.

Arise, lift up the lad, hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and SHE SAW A WELL OF WATER; and she went and filled the bottle with water and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of  Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.”
I know the wilderness is a rough place, I don’t like it myself.
But you know had God not led Hagar on that journey and she had not agreed to trust Him on that trip she would have never realized the power and intimacy of God on her and her son’s life, remember the second time all she could do was cry, God heard Ismael’s prayers, HEAVEN ITSELF ANSWERED!  

She would have never known freedom. Just as Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness, and successfully resisted the devil and John the Baptist was prepared for his work and grew strong in the wilderness, it grows us.
There are required traits that we only acquire  in the wilderness, those barren, desolate places, sparse pastures that barely keep us alive, the side paths that are so lonely, we feel like tears are our only companion.
It is in those places, the wilderness, the deserts, the almost uninhabitable lands that the roses bloom and the fountains of living water burst forth out of that parched ground.
If you never had to go there, you would never know the sweetest of that water or the scent of a rose so strong and determined to live that it grew up through sand , pushing the rocks past, as the blazing sun-scorched down on it.

So don’t fight it, don’t even try to resist it, just take that trip with EL ROI, because He does live and He does see and He wants you to know you can depend solely on him, you may be like Hagar, alone in the middle of nowhere feeling like everything you love is about to die, have faith, He sees and He will show up and He will bless that which you thought was hopeless and prosper it and make it something so mighty it will beyond your wildest dreams.
Once you have been given these waters, you will never fear the wilderness quite so much again, I’m sure you won’t be excited to visit there again, but take along an empty suitcase, I promise you will return with a souvenir so rare, so priceless that you will never part with it.
Apostle Paul said “he glorified in his affliction” because he knew the sweet Holy spirit would rest on him and that was worth the brier scratches, the harder the enemy hit him, the greater the power of God would bathe him.
Go, you will be glad you did!
Original Post: 09/05/2014. all rights reserved. Rev. Nina Brown Johnson/ baresoulphlogizo 2015/ revisited 09/22/2019

Truly beautiful song.. As close as I could find to the thought of this post! Love and Peace!