“Stay”

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God .

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but by my Father which is in heaven.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Then charged (commanded) he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

From that time forth began Jesus to shew (reveal) unto his disciples, how that he must  go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again on the third day.

Then Peter took him (took him aside), and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, (God be merciful unto you) Lord; this shall not be unto thee.”

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not (are not mindful of) the things that be of God.” Matthew 16:16-23

Very understandable that Peter would have this reaction once Jesus keyed them on on the fact that not only was he not going into hiding, but quite the opposite, he instead, would in deed stay the course, stay on the path that would lead him into Jerusalem and that he would not only be arrested and tortured by that he would also die and the words that they couldn’t quite “hear” were that he would rise on the third day. Peter couldn’t quite “hear” that victorious ending because the process that would lead to that victory was too dreadful for him hear and to dreadful for his “heart” to understand and Peter loved Jesus and he knew, as he had Jesus affirmed, that Jesus was indeed the promised one, the hope of all mankind sent from heaven itself to save us all and free us all and establish the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth.

Peter also knew that Jesus was blessed of God and carried a power clearly not of this world and that he was indeed exactly whom he claimed to be, the Son of the only living God.

So Peter could not understand, much less dare to believe that this things would befall Christ.

Also note that Jesus had just reaffirmed to Peter, and even to all of us who now read their exchange, one very important fact, Peter was blessed and yet a few passages down Jesus would have to rebuke, the line out and correct the thoughts of Peter, the one who was truly blessed of God but through his human understanding and love and compassion could express thoughts and ideals that were so contrary to the word and will of God that if Jesus could have (and he could not) have possibly been swayed by his friend into a different path, choosing a different course, it would not only negated and made void his entire ministry work and even his purpose for coming to earth but would have benefited the enemy, which is why Jesus pointed out clearly where this thought originated.

The devil would have loved this, if Jesus had changed paths, if he had “ran” that would have meant that there would have been no going back to Jerusalem, there would have been no arrest, there would have been no torture, no cross, and certainly no death upon that cross but also there would have been no way in the desert for those who are lost, there would have been no freedom for those in prisons of bodies, minds, and demonic bondage, there would be no healing bought by those stripes that he endured, there would be no peace for us all given to us because he hang on that cross, bearing our shame and sin and without his death there would be no salvation and certainly no hope for any of us because without his death which had to come, it had to happen, just as he said because it was the only way we could be restored unto him and his death was the only way to bring resurrection. 

We are experiencing a time in our world like nothing ever seen before, there have since the fall of man times of famine, peril, and plague but nothing that could be seen the world over, we as a people, globally connected as humankind, have found ourselves facing for the past weeks and continue to face with every day bringing uncertainty as numbers fall and rise and those that govern us try their very best to lead us and guide us safely as possible through a maze, that they themselves must also navigate, their own health and the health of their families and loved ones as vulnerable as for us all.

We are truly in this together as the virus has no prejudice, no politics, and it cannot be bought or sold, meaning the rich, the poor, anyone and everyone, it cares nothing of who we are or what we are because it only has one purpose to invade, to infect, and to spread.

And we are all faced with one very real and inevitable truth, ONLY God knows where this will stop or when it will end. And only God has the peace and the comfort that can protect our minds and our hearts and most of all our souls during this.

And only by focusing on what can come of it, even if it does not come for us, to be happy for those that can and will find fruits in the most horrendous, lowest, and darkest valleys. Families that once were the backbone of society and should be this was God’s plan, for families to be just that, a family, to stick together, be together, love one another and be bonded in that love but overtime and the “need” for both parents to work because governments have allowed inflation and prices to rise to the point that multiple incomes are often a necessity for families to survive, and this has came at a great price, the price of parents who really do not know their children and children who are missing out on a deeper relationship with the very people God chose to be the forefront of their lives, to teach them, guide them and love them.

And that is one thing that is going to come form this nightmare. A re connection of families, a re connection of what is truly important and time to get to know and really appreciate one another for who they truly are as a person not just the “title” they have in our lives.

And I want to give a couple of scripture to show just how important the family unit is in the opinion of God and this is one of the many reasons Jesus came to earth, he wants those relationships to built on love, respect, kindness, and above gentleness which are some of his attributes.

He doesn’t want families to built on iron fists, control, belittlement, and fear of retributions for making mistakes or “coming up short” in the view of over zealous parents.

And more than ever it is time to seek the Lord and it is good for people to have hope and encouragement but the only way we can access the promises of God is to serve God, and I mean truly serve God.

I do believe that that is something else that will become clear as we proceed through these times.

The true Gospel has has became so watered down that some really believe that the promises of God are just that, promises and that it requires nothing on our part but that is absolutely not true.

We must repent, we must be saved, and that means a conversion for our “old ways” into  a newness and a real relationship with Christ when also means keeping his commandments and keeping his word, all of that word, and then we are heirs to all his promises and can seek him, his shelter and his peace in these times.

God sent us his word as instruction to want he wanted to take place in the family unit.

Malachi 4:6: “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statues and judgments.

Behold, I will send Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come a smite the with curse.”

This prophecy went down over John the Baptist, as we”listen’ to the words that were spoken to his father Zacharias by the angel Gabriel, as he foretold the conception, and birth and divine calling upon the life of John as John would preach the Lamb of God.

Luke 1:10-17: ” And as the whole multitude of the people were praying without (outside) at the time (hour) of incense.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell on him.

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

And thou shalt have great joy and gladness; and many people shall rejoice at his birth.

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy ghost from his mother’s womb.

And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make a people ready (PREPARED) for the Lord.” 

John preached a revolutionary new (to them) message, He was to introduce them to their God, not as they had perceived him to be, with fury and judgement, but a God that was love, gentleness, and forgiveness a God that they we meet as a Lamb, the perfect sacrifice but also showing humans, himself what exactly it is that he expects us to be and how he wants us to behave with each other. That is why he wanted the hearts of children to parents and parents to children, this is how the family of God works.

If you read this for the beginning you will notice so very important facts, Zacahrias was alone praying and offering incense but there were many, many outside the temple praying at the time he was to offer that incense. God’ s timing is as he, perfect, always perfect, and in the midst of every trail, torment, that comes upon this earth God is there. God knew all of these things would come, God told Noah to build the ark, God told Abraham that his descendants would go into bondage and God told Moses that he would deliver the children.

No one liked any of those circumstances but we can read about the miraculous hand of God in each account.

The only difference is today we have so much, so much to do, so much technology and the ability to know and see through the internet the devastation that has came that it has brought a new level of fear and uncertainty and it is hard to remember when faced with numbers, graphs, and charts one truth that is timeless, ageless,a and will never  ever change, GOD IS STILL THE SAME.

God has always been and God will always be. Thousands of years have came and gone, rulers, kings, powers, and kingdoms , but it is still the same Jehovah God that created it all.

So to get to the title and make an end of this post (you were beginning to wonder, Is it ever going to end? 🙂 weren’t you?) Just kidding, laughter is merry medicine.

But seriously, we will make it, holding on to God, that does not mean that we not suffer losses but it means we will make it, we will make it home.

We will make it by staying the course God has given us through his word. According to the handy dandy Wikipedia, this was probably an old nautical saying, and here it is as copied directly from the internet “encyclopedia”, (better known as Wikipedia), it means this: “Stay the course” is a phrase used in the context of a war or battle meaning to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism

And the flip side to staying the course was this, the vessel had the option to “cut and run” meaning to hurry off by cutting the ropes and cutting free of the anchor.

We must stay anchored.

Hebrews 6:10-19: “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister.

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 

For when God made promises to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself. Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiply I will multiply thee.

And so, after he had endured, he obtained the promise.  for men verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an an end of all strife. 

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability (unchangeableness) of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.

That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consultation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope THAT IS SET BEFORE US. WHICH HOPE WE HAVE AS AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL, BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST, AND WITH ENTERETH INTO THAT WITHIN THE VEIL (Presence behind the veil).” 

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

FEAR…

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32

My original thought a week or so ago was that I wanted to write something for St Patrick’s Day and I would name is “Turning Green” and it would be about envy

But My, how things can change in a couple of weeks.

And I am quite sure everyone, everywhere at this moment in time as we are all being quarantined into our own little spots in the world. 

Schools closed, churches advised to close, many working from home, people stocking up food, stocking up supplies and what about all those who can’t?

The President telling us to keep our groups to the number ten. 

Ironically ten is the number of completion and in the end all the face masks and hand sanitizer in the world isn’t going to change the fact that we live on earth and earth is fragile, and we are fragile. 

Whether this was a man-made weapon gone wrong or if it is truly just a mutation of some otherwise harmless virus that somehow manged to evolve itself into a killing machine is completely irrelevant in the end, and yes I did just say that it is completely irrelevant.

In the grand scheme of things, we are human, humans die, no one wants to die but every single day of our lives we face death.

When we get out of bed everyday we face death.Even in the best of health we could die at any second, simply driving down the road we are usually listening to music or planning our day or our thoughts are on pressing things of the moment or future plans but nevertheless, we could potentially die with one wrong move of that vehicle or because of the wrong move of another.

The only difference is that now we are painfully AWARE the danger.

We are extremely aware, the news tells us that we could die, the internet tells that we could die and all that can be heard and seen tells, reaffirming the fact that we could all very well die.

And do know I am not in any way making light of any of it, i have study prophecy for years and there are certain things that are what they are and there are certain things that will be because the Bible has already been written.

Just as Jesus said concerning his own death after His resurrection, from Luke 24:44: “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were in written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”

So we know what is written is written and it all has to come to pass just as God said that it would but God has hope and comfort in all things.

So I am not getting into that at the moment but it is good time to really reflect on the reality that there are some very scary, quite horrifying events that will take place on this earth.

The time of all those things are for God and God alone to know and be judge of but Jesus gave us very clear markers to know how far we have came on that path and he gave us those because he does not want us to be terrified and blindsided that those things would come and we would not know what was happening. 

And so we go on into this post, we are now as a people, not a nation, not a race, but all of humankind dealing with this one common enemy- the virus- whose name I have heard so much these past weeks that I don’t even want to use it.

But we now all have a common foe, and that foe is bringing global fear and the fear is the true enemy, not the virus.

Fear destroys, it kills, it steals, it takes your peace and your joy and even though you live, it steals your very life because if we are so terrified, consumed by the though of losing our lives how are really ever going to live?

So I want to “talk” to you about fear, perfectly normal to be afraid, David was very afraid when Saul was trying to kill him,  Peter was horrified and Daniel really did not want to be eaten alive but he knew he had to trust God, he knew this was a very real possibility and he knew that he would be thrown into the lions and he was but God delivered him.   

Jesus telling us to “Fear not, little flock…” is one of my favorite verses, that is God telling YOU, me, all that serve and love Him, the most simple of messages for us to not be afraid, a message we have heard often through lives from childhood as our Mothers, Fathers, and other adults reassured to not be afraid, letting us know that everything would be okay, and we trusted that.

Now think of this. that verse was spoken by the one who holds the universe in his hands and is surely will take care of you.

So please don’t look at this world, like an old friend used to tell me “Just don’t look down” keep your eyes focused on the good things, happy things and think about things that bring you joy and peace, this virus and this time of uncertainty and fear will not be forever but God and his eternal promises are forever.

So read his word and pray and pray for all those whoa re trapped in that  fear because fear is destructive and its affects can last well past the course of those things that bring that fear to us.

And may I please suggest that you read Psalm 91 and quote it and believe it over you, and your loved ones.

I want to also leave you with a though tonight, you know when God brought the plagues upon Eygpt and they were covered in absolute darkness the Hebrews, God’s people still had light in all their dwellings.  SAME GOD and the same God will take care of you and see us all through whatever this world holds and whatever is yet to unfold.

Praying God’s peace and love, blessings and most of all his perfect love, which casts out all fear for you and yours this season of life.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

 

Angels, Roses, & True Love part 3 “Truest Love of All”

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

These things I command you, that ye love one another. 

If the world hate you ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world,but I have CHOSEN you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”  John 15:9-18   

Love is the most misunderstood word in existence, and love in its truest sense is often left undiscovered.

When Jesus gave us these words, which he went on in verse twenty to remind us to, “REMEMBER the word that I have said unto you…” as He went on to warn them that we can never expect to be treated any differently than he was.

We are truly judged by the company we keep and often once you starting keeping company, as our old Southern sayings go, with Jesus, you will find out pretty fast who your real friends are, which in most cases, will then mean were. 

So often all of us at one time or another have been hit with the old routine of  “If you really loved me…” and you know that is the biggest trap the enemy has ever set. People who really love you will NEVER play that game, they will NEVER use the love that they know you have for them as a tool against you, to manipulate and control you or to coerce you into to bending to their will never caring at all about you or your feelings.

So that my friends is the state of the world, and just as Jesus said, the world, referring to those people, people who do not honor God or his teachings and sure do not want you to honor him, they will hate you. 

Being human will all need to feel love and we need acceptance and the enemy plays on those needs because he knows where our greatest weakness lies. That it why it is imperative to cultivate a relationship with Jesus and of course if you have never excepted salvation, that is where you must start.

Think about that, just as he told us, there is NO GREATER LOVE, the love of God, the one who created you, just as He told the Prophet Jeremiah… “BEFORE, I formed thee in the belly  I knew thee”…  and he knew you, me, and ever other person who was or ever will be created.

And His lovemercy, and grace will never fail, and He gives this freely, openly, honestly, no strings attached, no deals to be made.

He just gives and he gives from the moment He brings you into this world through all the ups, downs, of life until your golden years, He gives that hope, that choice, and that offer to open that door as He beckons for you to open your heart and as He also promises that even as time fades from us that He is there.

Isaiah 46:4: “And even to your old age I am he and even to your hoar hairs (gray hairs) will I carry you; I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”

Now those are the words of God Himself promising us that even to the end of everything, He will carry us, deliver us, and as He also promised in scripture elsewhere, He will never leave us or forsake us. THAT is Love.   

So you see no matter where you are, where you have been, no of it matters, God wants you right where you are, and maybe the enemy has told you that God has called to many times, or you have went to far or that your family, relationship, or circumstance disqualifies you from ever being able to serve God, again one of the biggest lies of all.

Jesus loves you and He died on the cross to save you, and it is  never too late until you take your last breathe, He will save you, all you have to do is ask him into your heart, because He will not just force you  accept him,  or force you to accept the greatest gift of all, His love the only true love, and a love that will never fail.

And as I leave you, I want to leave you with this question why spend life never knowing what you can not know until you have accepted it?

I know that was a tongue twister, meaning this, never dismiss the thought of the existence of God or the relationship that is waiting for you, a relationship of peace and love, and truly knowing God, until you have at least sought Him.

Before I was saved I did not understand that either.

I always thought of God as just out in Heaven, we could pray to him and I believed in Him but never understood what it meant to know His presence and no one can know that or understand that until they are saved.

This is how it works… you believe, you ask and then you know.

He is not in the business of proving Himself to us before we believe, we believe and then He reveals Himself to us. that is the part the world that he referred to is missing, and they do hate him or rather the belief in Him, because their hearts are so darkened and their minds so blinded that they do not believe in anything, they live in the moment, never believing that there is more.

Falsely thinking that this world, this life is all that there is, and as the Bible teaches us, if we only had hope in this life, and our only confidence was in the things of this world we would be miserable.

He proved how much He loves us, enough to die for us, and there is no greater nor will there ever be a greater love than that of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for reading, sorry that I was running so late with this series that was supposed to be for Valentine’s Day, but God knows everything and His timing is perfect so I hope in some way this will bless you TODAY!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

Series posts: Angels, Roses, & True Love/ Intro

Angels, Roses, & True Love : Part 2 “Angels”

Angels,Roses,& True Love/ part 3 “A rose by only one name”