Have you heard?

“And it came to pass, that when Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? and they said unto him, WE HAVE NOT SO MUCH AS HEARD WHETHER THERE BE ANY HOLY GHOST.” ACTS 19:1,2

Now this is much like the scriptural fact that “How can you believe upon Him in whom you have not heard?” These men HAD been baptized into John’s baptism, by all rights they WERE saved but yet they were missing a crucial element to there salvation, the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.

And I KNOW all the arguments, I KNOW that there are more than enough that believe that this was only for the disciples and these moments in time. And I will not even go there because I have a better question for their answer. How can you KNOW that for certain, if you have NEVER experienced HIM?

Sure, if you have never  known a fact for yourself, YOU CAN SAY with self assured fervor that this is no longer given and BELIEVE in yourself to be right and yet be so completely wrong. 

The common knowledge is this, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that you are given at the exact breath that you accept Christ as your Savior.

The Holy Spirit leads us,and guides us, gently nudges us in the right direction and will flat out warn us to stumbling blocks or snares that the enemy has set, and will also convict us of our own self righteousness and unsavory behavior.

No disputing that anywhere. But there is so much more, much,much more and it seems that what was once sought after, prayed for, fasted for, has now has been left for the pages of a denominational history book.

That is a major problem. God has not changed. The gifts and callings have not changed. The fruit of the Spirit has not changed. He is the same God that called out Abraham, He is the same God that spoke to Moses, and performed every mighty act recorded from front to back in His Holy word. Ancient of Days, STILL THE SAME. And the Holy Ghost is STILL very much active, alive and quite well.  

The only change that came was to us and our desire of Him and we absolutely have to get back to those old paths from a generation ago because what we are going to lose is irreplaceable. THEY WILL NEVER KNOW IF THEY HAVE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF HIS EXISTENCE and that is a sad state, I have been saved for sixteen years and I could probably count on one hand the times this subject has been addressed that I have heard.

We need more than ever to teach on Him, preach on Him and pray that the gift that He blessed the Disciples with would come again, that at the laying on of the hands others would receive.

So if you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, don’t hesitate, you will never know the true meaning of love, and the depth of the deepest peace until you know the Master of it all.

If you are saved and have never been filled with the Holy Ghost, Well, Now YOU HAVE HEARD!

Start praying, you pour your heart out to Him and He will do the rest and THEN your walk will be easier, YOU WILL BE RENEWED in ways you never, ever thought possible, and you will KNOW, and I do mean, without a shadow of a doubt the PRESENCE and overshadowing of Jesus, and everything will make sense and struggles that have held you in bondage will cease and you will never ever be the same!

 Φλογιζω

** Original post date: 01/30/2016**

Reverend Nina Brown Johnson / Φλογιζω 2020/NBJ  

A little more food for thought… Love & peace till next time!

PLEASE WAKE UP !!!

If you only knew…

“Change your clothes”

“Designed, Resigned, & Refined”

Have a Blessed Pentecost!

“Virtuous”

The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him, What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what the son of my vows?

Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings” Proverbs 31:1-3

Before I get to far into this, how about I tell ya what we are doing here?

One thing that has came from the “social isolation” is families spending time together, reconnecting, and being a part of one another’s lives that they normal would never be exposed to. 

Parents working from home, kids getting a bird’s eye view of just why it is their parents may be tired, sleepy, and even just a little grumpy after a day at the “office” and parents now have to ‘home school” their children are getting a glimpse of just how differently academic standards can change in  a generation and can quickly realize the stressful expectations modern education truly lays on the shoulders of students.

And the beauty in all this bustle is this…  families are also spending time together , doing dinner together, sharing household chores together, fending off boredom by entertaining themselves together, gardening and planting flowers together and all sharing in the responsibilities of protecting the family from the virus by acting very consciously together.

And of course this would in no way be ideal in a dysfunctional family or those who may be temporarily living in an abusive or emotionally controlled home because that is not love and in my belief, God would never want anyone  being treated abusively and God gives us his mercy, his courage to believe for a better day

That is why I say temporarily because He will take care of you but you also must be willing to make those first steps, letting him deal with the ashes and thorns so that you can  free yourself from that relationship or in certain cases that freedom comes as a circumstance has to change.

So now that’s enough links to cover the flip side of this coin, I want to talk about the wonderful opportunity that God has placed right in the middle of all this fear and worry and to do that we are going to hit verse by verse through Proverbs 31.

Thinking  a little about the meaning in each line and the importance of a mother’s  role in not only teaching her children but the express wisdom she imparts to her children and bear in my mind that often theses conversations in the Bible are between mothers and adult offspring. 

It is never too late as this verse begins by informing us that he is relaying the words of his mother, meaning he listened to her and those were kept in his heart and mind. She first gave him confirmation, triple confirmation, of their bond.

Her first warning to him was the dangers of being seduced away, by letting lust lead him into destruction, the cross references to these verses actually take you to the dangers of adultery and the danger of that day, when men had multiple wives, which was NEVER God’s intention, people often think because something is “in” the Bible that it means that whatever those mentioned were doing must have been okay with God, but NO!

The Bible is full of stories of people who were, well just that… people and the stories are in the Bible to let us know that God forgives and we are all kinda messed up but the people in those stories did all kinds of things that were never part of God’s plan, that is why Jesus came to save us.

So the Mama was warning her son to stay away for the traps and snares that would ruin him and in modern society celibacy until marriage is thought comical BUT God’s word is eternal and so are the reasons it was taught then and those reasons and the reasons given against affairs are as valid now.

It ruins lives, ruins families and that grass that was greener will fade and withered brown and once it has there will be no going back to what was once had.

God does repair but people are left with pain and regret that they must allow God to heal. 

Proverbs 31:4-6: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor princes to drink strong drink; 

Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert judgment (justice)of any of the afflicted.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto him that be of  heavy (biter) heart.

Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”

Now she is warning him to pitfall, that again is viewed almost comedic in modern culture.

But again, just as clearly defined and the reasons that God gives us to avoid alcohol is also clearly defined for our benefit an dour families benefit, and as Mama is explaining to him, as a ruler being intoxicated will cause he to forget what is right and will cause and lead to an absolute miscarriage of justice against those who desperately need help the most.

And that “strong drink” should be reserved for those on bed of death and wine only for those whose heart is full of sorrow, I think as spiritual, new wine, God making all things new, as God gives us spiritual wine, we are no longer poor, maybe materially but not spiritually. Jesus said ye are rich, rich in him and the Kingdom of God which is not of this world, but the next. Making his followers forget the misery that their lives once was.

Now she is ready to dispense her most sage advise for sons, for daughters, for all her children and her children’s children children, advice that would be for the ages… because after all it has survived ages.

“Open thy mouth, for the dumb (speechless)in the cause, of all such as appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and PLEAD the cause of the poor and the needy” Proverbs 31:8-9

“She” is speaking her of the need and the responsibility to lift up our voice on behalf of others and following the golden rule and being diligent for all to do our part in speaking out when others can’t and seeing to needs when we see those needs.

And now the beauty and the truly remarkable attributes of being a woman, a wife, a mother and I can never do anything dealing with marriage without pointing out the fact that God loves women, and the old man made thoughts that women are subservient an dare objects to be owned, is just that man made. 

Men were to love and cherish their wives, as Christ loved the church, and he does not harm the church, he loved the church enough to die for us all.

God says in his words that marriage means this, two become one, so marriage is a union, not of one versus one, both of two producing a family unit that was intended to act as one, for the good and love of all.

Proverbs 31:10-12: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safety trust in her, so that he hath no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Virtuous translates to wife of valor and meaning that her son would do well to find a woman of honesty, integrity and in doing so that her impact in their life would be greater than as if they possessed the world’s greatest riches.

Just as mothers desire that daughters marry men who will be good husbands in treating their wife and family well.

Not always the case, we now have many many virtuous women who have the roles of father, mother, provider, care giver, everything duty of parental guidance solely upon their shoulders as they take on the role of solitary family guide, in not way fair or right but it is now the norm and these ladies should be honored by us and in our society. the next verses are perfect for these leading ladies of life, navigating solely, sacrificing their own needs for their benefit of their children, parents, and communities.

They give so much and are often overlooked and given nothing in return, or so it seems… God sees it all, he sees their hurt, their worry, he sees the abuse they have suffered, he has seen the adultery on the behalf of the spouses that lead them to this solitary path. And these next verse surely apply to those who do it all while feeling that they are alone.

Proverbs 31:13_21:”She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willing with her hands. She is like the merchant’s ships: she bringeth food from afar.

She rises also while it is yet night, and giveth meat (food) unto her household, and a portion unto her maidens.

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: and with the fruit (earnings) of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengthen her arms.

She preceiveth that her merchandise is good; her candle (lamp) goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She strectcheth (extends) her hand to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

She maketh herself coverings of  tapestry; her clothing is silk (fine linen) and purple.”

We’ve got a lot of mirroring going on in these verses.

This lady is a worker, she is seizing every opportunity for the betterment of her household, she is up working, as everyone else sleeps,  her light shines brightly even the dark night.

She is good to everyone, not just her family, she is good to her friends and she is especially good to those in need, even “reaching’ out to them to help them also.

She prepares for tomorrow as she has her family reading for coming season and mirror scarlet to having her family saved clothed under the blood of the Lamb, she herself wearing fine linen, her robe of righteousness given to her from God, and purple as she is the daughter of the King.

The next verses apply to the married ladies and the blessing that they bring to their husbands and family:

It reminds me so much of the wives of pastors, who are often the sweetest, kindest women who give so much of themselves for the church the love and are blessings to all they mingle with and again referencing all their hard work.

Proverbs 31:23-24: “Her husband is known to the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles (sashes) unto the merchants.” 

And now back to the virtue in virtuous, for all his daughters.

Proverbs 31:25-31: ” Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in the time to come.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 

Her children rise up and call her blessed; and her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously (well) but thou excellest them all. 

Favour  (charm) is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but  a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 

Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Women, daughters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, pastors, ministers, doctors, lawyers, food workers, factory workers, home school mama’s. librarians, college deans, every job imaginable and all the “domestic engineering” in between, bold, between, kind, and often unseen.

So on this special day,Bless all of you who are mothers as you impart these wisdom’s, as Lemuel mother did as you have this time with your children.

Know that as we ended with her works will praise her, your work time and love will bring multitudes of joy in the days ahead and your children will always remember what you have did for them and they will never forget.

Know this my friends, you may not be a mother yet, but maybe you “mother” those around you, sisters or brothers or maybe you even feel like you have to be a mother to your own parents, or you are a “den” mother caring for every stray that comes your way, no matter what “woman’ you are, maybe life has been hitting you so hard and you feel like no one sees, know one knows but I promise you, one does, His name is Jesus and HE is watching over you, every single step from above!

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2020 Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

This song has nothing to do with being virtuous, it is actually “Virtuoso” the reprise version and it is about the beauty of God and His sovereignty over our lives.

It is just one of my all time favorites and for some reason it had just been in my heart and my head for this post so it you have never heard it, please check it out. 

 

 

“Temporarily out of service”

“But thou when thou prayest. enter into thine closet (inner room)and when thou hast shut the door pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6   

Ah, life in our new found “social distancing” state, isolation can be a terrible terrible thing, causing people to feel trapped, isolated, and hopelessly, helplessly alone.

And especially those who count on the house of God for their renewal, and the joy of fellowship in worshipping and praising God together as the spiritual family He intended us to be.

It can be quite reminiscent of the recorded message often given when calling a telephone number that is in current state of dysfunct…”The number you have reached is temporarily out of service, please try your call again later.” sound familiar?

We have all heard this message in one version or another but all having same meaning we can’t connect to person that we are trying to call because of some issue with their phone, line, or connection. 

Sometimes it is a problem in our service, sometimes it is a problem with theirs but either way that call is not going through. 

With the current state of the world at the moment, with social distancing and churches still closed many feel that they are “temporarily out of service” again due to the inability to visit their place of worship and the inability to connect to their fellow believers. 

But you know it is just like Jesus said we are to pray in secret and we will be rewarded openly and there is nothing like being with fellow believers, your church family, those who have known you and walked the rough roads of life beside you, encouraging you and holding up in faith.

But God also desires a very personal relationship with him, one on one and this is in no way saying that you can’t have both, the wonderful fellowship of regular church service, we need that but at the moment with churches still closed due to the virus there is no group fellowship to be part of.

Now you could let this discourage you, depress you, and maybe even if you are not careful and diligent, it could cause you to get lukewarm and wishy washy once we are given the green light to safely gathering again.

But if you see this for what it is and what it could be for you spiritually, it also could be a wonderful time to make the best of a bad situation by spending some serious one on one time with Jesus, and He truly desires that for us.

So that is temporarily being out of service due to failure to connect for reasons beyond our control.

But there is also those who were “temporarily out of service” long before Corona slammed the doors shut, but for this group, I do pray that it is a wake up call, God does not give us the Holy Ghost and His gifts for us, again, let me say that again, if God has anointed you and given you a gift (and we are all given a gift, some multiple) and you have flowed in that gift and that calling, and you worked for the Kingdom in that calling that God has given, you are responsible to God for the fruit that should have been produced through those gifts and that calling and you will be held responsible for the lack of that production also.

This is reference to those who have worked in the kingdom and for whatever reason have just decided to “quit work” which is NOT an option in the Kingdom of God. So if you are new or not quite saved yet, please know that

I want to point out a little something Jesus said, should sound very, very familiar.

John 15:1,2: “I AM the true vine, and my father is the husbandman (vinedresser) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it bring forth more fruit.”

Another very specific example of “temporarily being out of service” can be found in this parable. Luke 14:42-48: “And the Lord said,  Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and be drunken;

The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him asunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

And that servant which knew the lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to the his will shall be beaten with many stripes. 

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. 

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be REQUIRED: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” 

This you have to take as  stripes in the spiritual sense, He is commending those whom have to the best of their ability been faithful to the work He has entrusted them with.

Secondly He is referring to those who don’t really believe or don’t really believe that He truly will return and use His name and His house for their profit, living it up while the others of that house suffer and are ostracized, criticized, and spiritually battered by the very one that has been made overseer of that house.

He is speaking to those who know the will of God and fail to prepare themselves, meaning living life as they desire rather than life as God commands, choosing to do it their way, when his is the ONLY way, and trading their calling and their gift for whatever Satan or they themselves have deemed more valuable.

Failure to  prepare means just that, it is completely self willed, not wanting to allow God to be Lord over everything and making the necessary adjustments in our life as God leads us onto the path he has chosen.

And finally with this passage He tells us with absolute crystal clarification that the ones who did things worthy of punishments, not knowing his will are spared the severity, while those who knew his will face the greatest consequence.

Again, because they have been given so much, meaning, the calling on their life and the gifts they were to use in the service of the Kingdom, to touch lives, bless others, and share His love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace. 

Others that are not forced to be out of service are those who already were out of service, they know they need to be in church but “just aren’t feeling it” or have some other reason for not being in church, as this verse describes simply as the “manner of some” as we are warned to stay in church.

 Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”   

Different issues all causing us to be “temporarily out of service”.

Cell phones not so bad… dropped calls, no signals, out of data.

Landlines, a whole other world, with buzzing, clicking, echos, unable to make calls, unable to receive calls, and dig this, picking up interference from other peoples lines, all leading to the inability to make that connection.

Sometimes you don’t even realize just how bad that connection had been or just how much “noise” was bleeding into that line until that connection has been repaired.

So use this time, no matter the reason that you are “temporarily disconnected” from the world or from the church and connect to God through prayer, fasting, and praise and I always like to point out you can fast anything, it does not have to be food, you can give up anything for a period of time that you choose and dedicate that as a fast.

Pray to God, talk to him, one on one, tell him all that weighs on your heart and your mind and all that keeps you awake at night or robs the peace from your days, open your heart, mind, and above all your soul to him and as he touches you and refreshes you let that praise flow and it will cover you and it will lift the sorrows of this world.

Also if you have never accepted Jesus as your Saviour, I would like to strongly encourage you to do so, if he has been dealing with your heart and leading you to him, please do not postpone the most important decision of your immortal life. God created us in his image, we will live forever.

Where we spend eternity is our decision, Jesus came as a sinless, spotless, sacrifice for ALL of us.

He does NOT ask where have you been, what have you done, all he says is COME, Come and rest your soul in him, lose the guilt, the shame, the hurt and find a brand new you, a you that even you will not recognize, and it is that simple.

If you feel that tug in your heart, please repeat this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God, the spotless Lamb who came to take the sins of all the world and Jesus, I believe that you were born of a virgin, I believe you led a completely sinless life and died crucified to cover the sins of all mankind and you rose victorious from death on the third day and you will reign forever. Jesus I confess my sins to you, come into my heart, make me new, cleanse me in your precious blood, and fill me with your Holy Spirit, your love, your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen

It is very important, if prayed that prayer to share your faith with someone.

We are taught this, Hebrews 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

And please, please remember this, Jesus will NEVER remind you of your past, once you are saved, the MOMENT you ask, your sins are gone and they are gone FOREVER.

Jesus LOVES you and it is a love you can not understand UNTIL you have connected with him and I promise you will never be the same and you will never want to be the same!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson