“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