“A little while, and again…”

“Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me; and, Because I go to my Father? 

They said therefore, What is this that he saith? A little while ? We cannot tell what he saith (understand what he is saying)

Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do you enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 

A woman when she is in travail (labor) hath sorrow, because her hour is come; But as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man (human being) is born is born into the world.” John 16:17-20 

Now when  Jesus spoke this to them he was referencing his death, that very soon they would no longer see him or be with him but that again, soon, they would surely see him again. 

That they would indeed over the days soon coming face sorrow, and dread being inexplicably confused as to how this could happen to him and not even beginning to be able to understand much less comprehend that this could be not only the will of God for Jesus to suffer and die on the cross but to fathom this is was his actual plan.

As Jesus encouraged them that as surely as those things would come, but again, in a little while, something so much sweeter, would also come, again.

That, again, those sands would slowly but surely sift their ways again through the hourglass of time and all those times of heartache and doubt would turn to unimaginable joy as those moments sifted through all the little whiles to fall perfectly into a single moment in time when He would resurrect leaving death conquered behind and had they known for but a second as He tried to warn them to this and to give them hope that it was again, a little while, would they have have begged him not to go?

Surely, but He would have answered them, No, as scripture tells us of Jesus, “…Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

Just as Peter tried to to believe that there had to be another way, that this could not possibly be what was meant to be.

Curious it would be know the mental torment of the others or the one who ran away, not because they should have had regrets and second thoughts but you know that being human that they did.

Peter was going to fight against the arrest of Christ proving this as he cut off the servant of the high priest’s ear.  Jesus’ reprimand to him as he replaced the severed ear letting Peter know this was not the way that Jesus would have him go.

But soon the were scattered, alone, and scared, how often do you suppose over the period of those, what would had to have seemed never ending, three days the thoughts of “We should have hid him” or “We should have stayed” raced through their minds?

As we think about His words as he had tried to prepare them and assure them that this was the will of God. Jesus also encouraged them to the joy that would come after all the pain, he used the comparison of a mother in the process of giving birth.

As a mother I can truly attest to this, as I am sure the ladies reading very well can too.

There is nothing as beautiful, as wholesome, and as pure as when we are expecting, nothing as gentle or as precious.

And as we decorate in expectation with blues, purples, yellows, and greens. Adorning the walls with little boy blue, the cow jumping over the moon, rabbits, rainbows and everything in between, everything bright peaceful and clean, teddy bears, ribbons, and kittens gracing nurseries with cradles prepared for the new arrival as mobiles dance overhead.

The excitement, the joy, and the expectation are soon overshadowed as labor sets in and as the pain comes, thankfully, only a little at a time, but each contraction grower harder and lasting longer than the last.

There is an absolute knowing during the process of giving birth that you are helpless, there is nothing you can do to stop this and that you are either going through this process or you will die.

Only two choices and you have control of neither.

This is why, in my belief, Jesus chose this comparison to give us so that we would understand and that we would understand the differences, just as when Pharaoh demanded the Hebrew boys be killed at birth the midwives informed that him the Hebrew women gave birth fast and we know Jacob’s wife Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin and as we like to say here in the south women have “laid in labor” for days suffering desperately needing to be delivered of that child and yet the baby for whatever reason unable to come. Thank God we do have medical resources today that have saved the lives of countless mothers but still not all and the  birth still have to take place.

Paul in his writing referencing childbirth with the statement that she “shall be saved in childbearing” he is not referring to being saved spiritually he is referring to not dying in the process. 

Birth is painful, there are not words that can even come close to describing it, birth is bloody BUT birth brings about something so beautiful, so pure, innocent, and magnificently renewing that as Jesus said the anguish of that sorrow, the sorrow of needing to be delivered of that child, not the child needing delivered but the mother’s body needing to escape that dreadful travail is forgotten because immediately it is replaced by joy, a joy that mirrors the pain, as the pain is inexplicably indescroble SO IS that joy.

A  joy that completes you, a joy of looking into a tiny little face and as my late mother explained to me, the overwhelming feeling that this tiny little person that you have never met until this day you feel as though somehow you have known forever. 

Jesus referred to unsettling times and events that would take place before his return (painting the baby’s room a cheerful pink with that delicate wording) as the beginning of sorrows, which translates to birth pangs, we are in very, very uncertain times and everyone just wants life to get back to normal, but we are not going to ever experience the “normal” that once was but we can look forward, which requires looking past the pain, look forward to lives that can be even better, as families are reconnecting and many are taking time to actually realize what is truly important and cherishing those things that alone are worthy of being truly cherished and those who maybe have never given God, his existence or the afterlife a second thought may now be seriously pondering those questions.  And as far as churches it is coming down to who’s left standing. People are regaining their compassion for each other again and with compassion comes respect and a chance to love each other again forgoing the senseless hatred

Being in the same boat together now reminding us that we are all human, we all love, we all cry, we all experience the same feelings because we were all created in the same image and that and that was in His image. And that is the good you gotta hold on to,

And of course as He told us long long ago the  labor will be quite unpleasant to put it in the mildest “dreft” scented terms but once the deliverance has come there will be nothing that can even come close to the beauty of that glorious “baby” that will come.   

We are all praying and we have to continue to pray and pray that those”labor pains” those “sorrows” as Jesus warned us would one day come are covered by his mercy, and that what is to be brought forth through that process will birth fast.

God bless you and your loved ones during this season, praying that He will cover you and yours under the shadow of his wings and that through it all you will find a joy and a peace and a renewing of His Spirit with you that knowing that joy will see you through.

Φλογιζω Rev.Nina Brown Johnson / NBJ 2020

 

“Temple”

white and brown house

Photo by Arvid Knutsen on Pexels.com

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk and not with meat (solid food): for hitherto (until now) ye were not able to bear it, neither yet are ye able.

For as ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you enving, strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

For while one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? WHO then is Paul, and WHO is Apollos, but ministers BY whom ye believed even as the Lord gave to every man?  1 Corinthians 3:1-4

GOOD MORNING! and if it is not Morning for you, then may I wish you a wonderful evening and blessed night. We are actually going to finish up with that passage in just a bit, but I wanted to stop and relay a few points, First Paul was expounding to them that it was time for him to speak with those who listened with a little more depth, things that they should be getting on a spiritual level, but they were still not quite ready.

We also deal with those that we are to minister to, sometimes a little too softly, not wanting to “choke” them with truths that can be very hard to swallow. But Paul had to enlighten them to the truths that all the envy and jealousy and one upmanship was just not going to get as behaviours for those in the Kingdom of God.

And I love the fact that he is pointing out so clearly, asking who is Apollos, even asking who, he himself was, as much as we honor them and rightfully so, they were still ministers that God had sent to led his people home.

As the old timers say ” No little “I”s and big “U”‘s and that is one thing I do very much believe is going to come out of this pandemic. Restrictions placed about and that many can no longer attend church because the church is not there to attend (Some serious symbolism in that)

So there will be none of the envy, strife, and divisions spoke of and there will be no favorite pastor, minister, preacher, or singer that helped spark those divisional fires that have helped consume the church from her original state, you can’t have one mind and one accord if there are minds present that are full of discord.

But now, the churches, like most everything else are closed and some are having “Parking Lot” and “Drive by” church which is an awesome ideal, reminiscent of the old tent revivals that we need to get back to.

People are going to be there because they want to be there not out of some weird sense of duty or family commitment but because they want the Word of God.  And Paul is saying that God has many “ministers” that God sends his Word and His offer of salvation through many different workers.

And I want you to think about something, if you are saved, you ARE sent and if you are not saved the moment you repent, you WILL BE sent, your life, your light, and above all your decision to accept Christ and proclaim, especially in this world of unbelief, your faith in God and your belief that not only is His Word true but also the truths of the life after this can, does, and will absolutely change the course of the lives of  those around you.

Back to our verses, shall we? 1 Corinthians 3: 5-16

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but GOD gave the increase.

SO then neither is he that planteth any thing , neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 

Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward for his labour.

For we are labourers (workers) together with God: Ye are God’s Husbandry (field) ye are God’s builders.

According to the grace of God which is given me as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But every man take heed how he buildeth thereon.

For another foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try (test) every man’s work of what sort it is.

If any man’s work abide (endures) which he hath built thereon, he shall receive a reward.

If any man’s works shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by (through) fire.  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.”

Now Paul went on to set forth some warnings after that verse, but I want to use it to encourage you today.

You ARE the TEMPLE of God, your body is a CHURCH of God, when you have the Holy Spirit LIVING inside of you you become the church on this earth!

How exciting is that? I know we are faced with a dreadful, dreadful time but during that time if you remember that God has a plan and purpose for you in these days. God does not make mistakes and he does nothing out of “season”  He could have chosen you to have been born hundreds of years, or even thousands of years ago, or He could have chosen to never send your soul to this earth, but He chose this time, this season for you because ye have work to do and only God knows that work that He predestined for you to accomplish for his Kingdom, BEFORE He laid the foundations of this earth.

And I want to give you those scripture also quickly, because this is meant to be heard by someone today. 

In THESE times, in THIS hour and THIS season that God has chosen for you, as bad as it all appears at the moment.

Romans: 8:28-30: ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are THE CALLED according to his purpose.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also CALLED, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” 

So maybe you can’t get to a church but remember that you are the church.

And remember that God uses it all, all the bad, all that we do not understand, He will use it for the Kingdom. Let your light shine, do whatever God puts on your heart, reach out by card, letter, or phone to whoever he is bidding you to reach out to. Use this season to know Him more and deepen your relationship with him and if he leads you to, share that “meat” of his Word with others around you, we often do not want to hear the rougher stuff but we are coming down to the wire and we have much work to do.

Among all the pain and uncertainty we still have a great promise, the outpouring of God’s Spirit “upon all flesh” this began at Pentecost, but we have the promise of a great outpouring in the last days, so plant that seed, the word of God shown in love and mercy, kindness, water if that is your job, water those seeds that someone has already planted because you are one in  those action and ask God blessing on your “hands” as you work in his field, He will, he never sends us unprepared and He never send us alone.

You are His Temple, and you are His church, be it and just watch what grace, blessings, and miracles unfold!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

Blessed Day

Palm Sunday 2 (2)

“After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, SALVATION TO OUR GOD WHICH SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB.

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces and worshipped God.

Saying, AMEN: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. AMEN”  Revelation 7: 9-12 

Just to know that joy that is yet to come! The sadness and terror of this world will one day fade away and those who have trusted the Lord Jesus WILL be in this innumerable number who stand actually before the throne of the living God, in the presence and fellowship with the angels and  the host of heaven.

We will be gathered together, those from every nation ever created upon the earth, every language which has ever been spoken with one common purpose to raise our palm branches in the kingdom of God, the Living God, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and praise Him Forever and Ever!

And I know what we face and I know the Word of God as to things which are to come but today let this be your hope

God gives us these words of future  so that these times will not overcome our faith because this world is not the end, but what seems like then the end of this world must come to bring in the birth of the world without end, and this is but a glimpse into that glorious world, so stay focused, because Jesus gave us a word to comfort us through all fear. 

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up , and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 

And he spake to them a parable;  Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see, and know of your own selves that summer is nigh at hand.

So likewise ye when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”  Luke 21:38-31 

If you have never accepted Jesu as your Saviour, please do not put it off another moment, what a  better time than today, what a more perfect day to give your heart to Him and to trust Him through these dark days.

We are in the last days and one day that trumpet will sound and those who know Christ will be spared many horrors during the tribulation days, those who are left here can be saved but it will be a very painful, dreadful time on earth and anyone left on earth will wish there were not. 

And I know there are those who refuse to accept God and there are those also who think, “Well I have heard that all of my life.”

Well that is why you have heard it, that is why Jesus and ALL He sent since the fall of man have preached it.

Because God wants people to be saved and you don’t have to change because He changes you, He does it all He just wants you to you be saved so that you will not be afraid and you will not be eternally lost and that’s it, all He asks is that you keep His Word and trust Him, and let Him save you. 

There could  be the thought that we are just all trying to scare people into salvation, no, my ministry has always leaned toward the apocalyptic, does not bring me joy, has brought me many tears knowing the things that will come to pass and that is why Jesus himself gave us those verse above, so that we would know, and be forewarned so that we could have his peace and guidance when all those things he spoke comes to pass.

If you get a moment please go back and read that chapter and also read Luke chapter seventeen or pull it up online and read it for yourself. Jesus only wants the best for you, me, and all of us but we have to accept that best from Him, He will not just come and takeover your life, you have to invite Him into your life.

And people would dare say, “You mean God would just let you be lost, forever?” if we refuse to accept what He is trying to give us, that is not Him letting us do anything, that is us refusing to live as God wants us to live, not willing to give up things that He will not allow for His children, and holding our thoughts, and desires higher than our respect toward God and that is idolatry, we are our own gods at that point and this attitude proves it.

And asking ‘What has he done for me?” same point, What have you did for God? Have you served God? have you even committed to God?

It is that mentality that has spread like wildfire actually convincing people that God should honor them not vice versa, God is Holy  and owes us nothing and yet gave us everything in giving Jesus to DIE for us and we still think we have some sort of right to ask “What has he done for us” that is something that has taken the world by storm and must be repented of.

If you know Him Trust Him, Praise Him and ” look” for Him in the midst of all the uncertainty.

If you don’t know Him, please do not wait another second, don’t throw away what you can not even understand, because we can understand none of this, none of the dynamics of what takes place when we except Jesus. 

And I am not afraid to admit that before I knew Jesus,I didn’t get it either and I did not understand why all these Christians “pick” on people trying to get them saved.

But the moment Jesus saved me, I was completely overwhelmed by just how truly senseless I had been to Him and completely blown away by His presence and completely humbles by the fact that He would save me and heartbroken at just how long I had waited, realizing how much different my life AND the lives of those around me could have been had I accepted Him sooner, so please don’t make that mistake.

Your salvation WILL be a light, a HOPE, and a BLESSING to ALL those around you. It is A  BLESSED DAY, let it be the day that we forever BlESS the Father’s heart for you! 

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

“Hope through a long night”

 

Safely in Jesus

“Who against hope believed in hope…..” Romans 4:18

This verse portion means this, it was in reference to Abraham and Abraham BELIEVING the promise that God had made him and despite everything appearing hopeless in his situation.

He chose to believe God. I know tonight that the world is scary and things do look so very dark and we are surrounded with uncertainty and I felt someone needed to hear this, hope against hope, hope when it seems hopeless, this is the meaning of the scripture. 

Wherever you are finding yourself at this moment, whatever you are going through, do not lose hope. 

Believe in that hope that things will get better, that this is not the end, even when everything is wanting you to believe otherwise.

A wonderful verse to pray for comfort in times of trouble and restlessness caused by the fear of the what ifs and what will’s is this:

“I will both lay me down in peace,and sleep: for thou, Lord, only maketh me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

Where ever you are the world over tonight, where it could actually be day, either way, I hope you have a blessed night and may God bless you with much brighter days on the way.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson