Having confidence in this…

“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging (urging) them before the Lord that they strive (argue) not about words to no profit, but to the subverting (ruin) of the hearers. Study (be diligent) to shew (present) thyself as approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the truth of God. But shun profane and vain babblings (worthless talk): for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” 2 Timothy 2:14-16

Now that is quite a warning there, perfect for that day and precise perfection for this day. Now more than ever we need to seek God and we need to seek his word and we have to be so careful when we are dependent on others for our spiritual food, and so often we can take the teachings of others while neglecting what God may want to reveal to us by not having those moments in private study of his word. And that is is NO WAY saying not to listen to your preacher or your pastor, God put those people in your life to help you and help you grow, but it is so vital that you know the word for yourself. As we are warned in that passage we are not to argue the word of God. Since the day that the Serpent TWISTED those words he coerced Eve with causing the fall of mankind, there have been and will be until Jesus returns those who only want to discuss it as a way to try to disprove it, and as we are warned this only leads to more ungodliness, because while they are debating with “us” someone else is always listening and that someone can can be very easily swayed into choosing the wrong path.

“THIS know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous (money lovers), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.

Without natural affection, trucebreakers (irreconcilable), false accusers (slanders),incontinent (without self control), fierce, despisers of those things which are good.

Traitors, heady (reckless), highminded (haughty), lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers (various) lusts; 

EVER LEARNING, AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7

Now think of this as in the phrase “old wives tales”, when someone would hear something no matter how far out and repeat that and on and on it would go, but many along they way believing these various superstitions and “teachings”, such as “breaking a mirror will cause seven years bad luck” and one cute on from the south, is that if you look out and see a red bird (cardinal, to the rest of the world) the next man you see  will be your future husband, if this would were true many people would be in for a world of hurt, but I suppose it came along when prime husband material was far and few in between and someone made up to give some young ladies hope on the prairie when many lived in the middle of nowhere and “pickings were slim” (I had to throw that one in there because I am just that kinda chick 😉

My all time favorite that I heard more than once as a child, that if you keep eating spoonfuls of salt your blood will actually dry up, I was very suspicious of that, but it is an interesting way to keep children from early hypertension.

But you get my point, you all, no matter where you are, know some old weird saying, now apply this to those who twist and distort the true teachings of God, and cause those who would serve go to believe things that are just not true concerning actually living for God.

The Bible dictionaries often state that the term there “having a form of godliness” is in reference to having been created in the image of God,and I am not disputing that, but I would like to submit another thought on the usage of that here, if  a person such as the ones he is referring, has the appearance of being godly, you can think Jim Jones or some of the other famous false prophets there, and even apply it those teachers that lead people astray today in allowing them to wallow in unrepentant sin.

Just as that verse states, led away by those lusts, those things that God absolutely says we can not do, it disturbs me to no end how many teach now that it’s okay to drink… no it is not and the Bible gives us very clear reason why because it will destroy us and yes some people may be able to drink wine with dinner and be fine but you can’t tell them there is a one glass limit, that is why we are in the state that we are in, people are seriously confused concerning the teachings of God because there is so much taught that has “moderation”, there is no such “clause” and if people are needing a “clause statement” to serve the Lord, with a list of what sins or borderline sins that are allowed to commit and what their allotted quota is before they tap out and have to refuse their flesh is not serving the Lord anyway and they still need to repent because when you come to God, you give God your all or don’t even waste your time playing games, that is what the form of godliness is referring to, attributes that would lead on an onlooker to assume and even believe that that what they are seeing is of God, but the heart and intent is so far from God that they are denying the very power of God to change and redeem lives.

So now to counter all that information that may just not be quite right it is imperative that you know the word for yourself, and I know that for many of us old English is quite confusing, and I will be glad to tell you that before I knew Christ I could have won the seat as Mayor of Heathen-Ville hands down and I promise if I could be blessed to learn the Bible anyone who has that desire can, I could understand some of Jesus’ teachings but after that it became a completely foreign language and even after I was saved and realized that much of it is accounts of lives and held references of places and terms that I was clueless of, it seemed even more a challenge, and not that I think I know anything now, I do know what God has taught me, but let me give a word from James.

James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth it to all men liberally,, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given him.”

Meaning that God will never make you feel rejected or inferior in heart, God never chides or belittles us, God wants us to know him and know his word and he wants us to grow and anything concerning his kingdom he will teach you, through his word and the leading of his Holy Spirit as you study that word and then you become a workman that needs “not be ashamed” because you know how to “divide” that word, meaning God gives you the understanding of that word as he has intended and you will have confidence and stronger faith because you have the word of God in your heart and mind for yourself.

When others try to lead you astray or convince you of something that that little voice inside is telling is not quite right, you will know God’s word concerning that, which is for not only your benefit but for those others who hear your response and you will also know just how far to go with that response and at what moment you should end the conversation.

So if you are new to all this, please, please let me suggest you start with the Gospel of Matthew, or the Psalms, and you do need the Old and New Testaments because they are together for a reason contrary to some popular teachings, but as you study do it just as you are comfortable whether it is ten minutes here, or an entire chapter there and take notes as certain passages “come alive” and encouraging words for your own life are found in those blessed pages.

I promise as you ask God to bless you in his word your mind will be blown and don’t be so surprised if that seemingly daunting task of taking on that giant book suddenly ignites into such a fire in your heart that you will find it hard to put it down out of sheer necessity, he can bless you that much that it becomes a love, a passion, and just as Jeremiah stated, “His WORD was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones…”

There is a reason that it is the “Living Word” we are so close, as this world is darker everyday, and God will have his kingdom and he will send his workers into harvest that field but those workers must be trained and that training comes studying his word, so I don’t know who he is raising up but I know that his word will go forth in the last days and it will be preached, all the word, the sugar free version that needs no artificial sweeteners because it is sweetened to perfection, …”as Christ also hath loved us , and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour (aroma).” (Ephesians 5:2)

But no matter where you start, just start, if you don’t have the KJV Bible, get one and if you feel like you need a little extra help, get an audio Bible to listen along as you read, but once you start and give it all you got you will be amazed and you will be amazed when he starts revealing all he has for you and passages you had never noticed will suddenly become profound and don’t be so shocked when you suddenly have to share that word with others, again, He is raising some people up! 

Have a blessed rest of your week, and for a little more of this topic, please check out this post: Psalm 119: A Study Guide

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

 

 

 

 

“Listen… don’t listen”

selective photography of white lamb on hay

Photo by Paul Seling on Pexels.com

“VERILY, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is but a thief and a robber.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

To him the porter  (doorkeeper) openeth and the sheep hear his voice; and he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice.

And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of the stranger.  

This parable spake Jesus unto them; but they understood not what things they were that he spake unto them.

Then said Jesus unto them again,  Verily, verily, I say unto you, I AM the door of the sheep,  

All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy; I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly.

I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.   

But he that is an hireling (hired hand) and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them and scattereth the sheep.

The hireling fleeth. because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

As the Father knoweth me even so know I the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold (flock) and one shepherd.” 

John 10:1-16

I love when Jesus reinterites to us, so fulfilling the message of Psalm 62:11: God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.” 

Have you ever noticed that often if you are going through something unusual or you are praying praying for an answer or for guidance, nine times out ten you will hear the “same” message or same passage of scripture twice, it can even be a sermon and a friend both relying the same word or thought. The Good Shepherd is a parable that many are very familiar with, even if you may not have been “churched”, it is just one of Jesus most famous titles and rightfully so. 

He wanted to warn us against those who would promise “spiritual enlightenment”,  those who promise “another way” those who argue that there are many ways, not true, Jesus is the ONLY way. 

As he pointed out to us, the thief, satan and his workers are thieves, there are those who want to give you some false religion for their own vanity as having some mystical insight into things that can not be seen.

I truly believe people fall snare to this often due to the false belief that God could not possibly speak to them or that they somehow need a “mediator”, Listen to me, JESUS CHRIST IS THAT MEDIATOR, you can approach him with ANY question you have, He died for us, why on earth would he forbid us to come to him? Especially when he himself said, “Come unto me, ALL that labour and are heavy laden, and I WILL give you rest.”

He did not say to go ask others the “way”, HE IS THE WAY. Physics, mediums, and all other forms of “spiritualism” are demonic and that is why we are giving this warning and these are but a few of those voices that will whisper to you falsely that there is some other way, Listen to this description.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “For such ARE  false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel (not surprisingly); for Satan himself is transformed (transforms himself) into an angel of light. 

Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINSTERS also be transformed AS ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.”  address your questions, and thought to Jesus and to him only and he will answer you through his word or by sending ou a word but that word will come through a sermon or even an anointed song at the right moment, or a true child of God with a word of knowledge for you, but either way know this, that no true answer will be found in any voice other than that of the true shepherd and the instruction he sends as he says FOLLOW.

So please LISTEN to Jesus, listen to that “still small voice” Listen as He leads but do NOT listen to all the other voices that claim to know a better or another way!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

Lettin’ it ride…

“Perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness (godliness is a means of gain), from such withdraw thyself. 

But godliness with content  is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

And having food and raiment (clothing) let us therefore be content.

But they that be (desire to be) rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many hurtful lusts, which draw men into  destruction and perdition.

For the love of money is the root of all (all kinds of) evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many arrows.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness.” 1 Timothy 6:5-11 

This is kinda of a hard thought to relay, but you know with everything going on right now, it is  really good time to remember what really matters and if any of us were to think back for just a moment to our pre- Christ days, I am sure we would all agree that no matter where we were, who our friends were, what job we held, the social circles we moved in that without him we were empty, lost and absolutely dead.

And not only speaking of those who have spent life searching for fortune and fame but now also those who have been content, making money and living a little at a time trying to do their best for their families and think now all have fallen victim to our new, never before dreamt of  perils, with the economy crashing and many having now lost their jobs due to the pandemic and many more in danger of it everyday because this virus just is not going away.

But we got to have hope and our hope is God and his goodness and his provision for all our lives and even if one is not having any pandemic related worries sometimes it can be the world and other people making you feel like you have to be “more”, do “more” that you are measured somehow against some invisible standard that says you must accomplish this or that by some magical date or age, or you are just not worth your salt.

Me and my best friend were discussing the “woes of this world” the other day, and we grew up in such a time that was so different, now everyone has someone that they hate and if you don’t hate that person too, than you are a hater, which is quite the oxymoron, kinda like friendly fire, no one is allowed to have their own opinion and we must walk on eggshells and chose every word very carefully because even the slightest word misspoken will put you under that fire and no one cares if it hurts you, your family, whoever, the world is so ready to put you on public display for that perceived infraction, such as the Pastor that lost his lease because someone noticed he had posted a trump meme.

Have we all forgotten where we came from? Especially those of the house of God, we were not ALL sinners washed by the perfect blood of the Lamb Lord Jesus, do we not all have the same blood, especially when that blood is as heirs of Christ?

And even worse for those who have not made that conversion to salvation because oh we know what it is like when that Holy Spirit conviction comes and we are forced to look into that spiritual mirror of how we have judged and misjudged others, God using that often as that catapult to our own repentance.

But for us,  sometimes the wisest decision  made is to just let things ride and let it all work out in it’s own time and remembering the very wise words spoken by one who knew all these varying emotions well.

“Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins, keep thyself pure.” 1 Timothy 5:22,

Paul had written this as he wrapped up his teaching on how to treat one another and expected behaviors of the church.  And I believe, that we are in danger more at this present time, than any time in history of doing just that, of becoming so focused on the moment and choosing the lesser of two evils, that we can easily fall into another sins.  God had so  much written on contentment and contentment with him and in him, this is where we rest.

And in the knowing that this world is but for a moment and you have the awesome promise of eternal reward and eternal fellowship with God, everything pales in comparison to that and if it were our last night on this earth, the only truth that would remain and only thought worth thinking would be thoughts of that glorious day. So I’d like to present you with some scriptures that I pray will keep us will help us all stay focused on what truly makes us free.

“Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of  man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have knowledge of the holy.

Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name? and what is his son’s name? if thou canst tell (know it)? 

Every word of God is pure, he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Add not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Two things have I required (requested) of thee; deny me them not before I die; Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient (you prescribe) for me;

Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” Proverbs 30:2-9 

He is confessing his own humanity and asking for God to take control and let his life be never rich nor poor but content by being divinely governed by the hand of God. 

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again, I say Rejoice. Let your moderation (gentleness) be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with  thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth  all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;  if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, now that at the last your last care of me hath flourished again; wherein you were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned with whatsoever state I am, to be content. I know both how to be abased (live humbly) , and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:4-13 

He is relaying to us the need to keep our minds focused on those good things and reminding us that God gives us peace that goes so far beyond human comprehension that there are no words to describe it, we are not even capable of understanding the magnitude of that peace.

he is also reiterating the fact that it was needful for him to understand both the concepts of both ends of the spectrum, because in his ability to understand this, he had that contentment through the peace of God and he could also witness that contentment to others, and think of this, he is still witnessing to us with the words about nineteen hundred and fifty some odd years later. 

And finally, Micah 6:8 ” He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”   

And he is asking this as  a rhetorical question, and we need to ask ourselves this now, what does the Lord expect from us?

The same thing he has always wanted, to repeat those words, to love him, to love justice, to do good, and do what is right, not what the world demands as their interpretation of that right, but what God’s words demand.

“Jesus said unto him, THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND. This is the first and great commandment. And the second like unto it. THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF.” Matthew 22:37-39

Just let it ride, as the world does its thing, just find your peace and rest in Jesus and in knowing that in all things he has you and he has your today and tomorrow in the palm of his hand and you can rest in knowing that he will never let you down.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

Take a minute to remember when he set you free! And if you have not made that decision do it today! You WILL never know what you are missing UNTIL you experience the love and peace  of Jesus for yourself! 

I am of the Holiness persuasion, so I gotta love this song, I hope you enjoy it! God bless you and have a wonderful tomorrow ahead!

“Covered, higher than I…

“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 my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

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

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord (delightfulness) of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

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.” Psalm 27:1-5

That is probably a very familiar passage and it is as powerful and as vital for our spiritual survival today as it was for David, when those words were inspired into his heart.

And our world today is truly darker because we are in the last days, the days that have been foretold, days concerning futuristic times that many scholars and theologians  have attempted to determine, the days whose events were once thought to be only symbolic because at that time the details seemed impossible.

Those who once could not fathom the image from Revelation chapter eleven, as the two witnesses of God lie dead in the street, how the entire world could see this image and how the entire world could be filled with glee over those deaths, but as that was impossible for those before us to understand as a literal event, we now know, due to technology that those before us could not even imagine, and we know that now thanks to the internet people the world over seeing images from the world over is nothing extraordinary, but an every day routine, all the events that we as humans have tried for years to rationalize as “symbolic” are just as they are proving to be, quite literal.

So for me, when I think of David, I take those words literal. He had haters, those who would have loved to have put him in the grave and then danced with glee on top it. He had battles, he felt loneliness and isolation, and I am sure there were times he felt misunderstood , even by those closest to him, especially when he chose to show mercy to those others felt were more deserving of being shown vengeance by the edge of a sword.

All the same emotions we experience today, different time, different battles but still the same old enemy, the enemy that had been whispering his lies since the day he had the serpent speak those twisted words into the ears and heart of Eve and that is the voice that still speaks hatred and hopelessness today, and that is his purpose, his plan, and his end goal.

It is not just about the world and how that world will be controlled, it is about you, and me, and ALL that are created in the image of God, which means all of us, it is personal, don’t you think he would have loved to have put an end to David?

How happy would he have been to have David order the execution of his son, the son who was determined to take his kingdom, rather than lament his death as David did. It is all the same old voice and he is not whispering anything new, he whispers the same words that have divided us since the fall of man, the words undoubtedly that he used to convince one third of the host of heaven to rebel against their creator and their God. 

I want to remind us all of the words of Jesus as he expounded on what we could expect as we near the end of days, end of the days of this present world but the beginnings of the blessed world eternal.

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and at what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?   

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man  deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye not be troubled: For all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and hate one another.  

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  And because inquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

But he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:3-13

As Jesus warned us and all these things began with the disciples and the persecution of the  early churches and continue with the persecutions of Christians today, but with the spread of false religions and false prophets “preaching” a gospel that is NOT of the one true God, we also see that love, as I have written on many times, the common compassion one for another, as humans is being destroyed due to that hatred and sin that abounds now.

And there are those whose actions give you more than enough reason to feel anything except love toward them but when you think of this spiritually, as I once heard a preacher mention in regard to something someone else had said concerning how they were mistreated, the only “good” these people will ever know is in this world. If they do not repent, what kindness they know, what peace if any that will have, is what they have here, on this side of eternity.

As Jesus taught us love truly conquers all and love must be protected and if the enemy had his way he would steal every ounce of love in your heart today.  David did not write this when he was on “the mountain top”, he did not write this as he felt confident and victorious, he wrote this when he felt what we all feel at times, afraid, weak, discouraged, and alone.

And in those times he learned to look ahead, to look to the end of all things, he learned to ask, and to seek, to pray for the covering shelter of the Lord.

Only God knows what you may be feeling today or why you are feeling that way but I want to encourage you to “turn off” all the noises that trouble you and rest in the assurance that this world and all the trouble of it is nothing in sight of eternity and when there are things here that are beyond our control to ever change we can have hope knowing that those things will one day cease and love and mercy are forever and that wonderful “place” that God so often hid David He will hide you also, and that is your for the asking. 

Think of all the times you have heard the term “cover”, on movies, “Cover me, I’m going in”, Insurances that we are “covered by” someone “covering” a tab, the term has always meant to be taken care of, to be protected from an unknown attack, for someone to help us when we need that help. God is supreme at covering us, he covers us with his love and Jesus covered our souls by purchasing us with his blood. And there is no way that he is going to just leave you stranded, feeling beaten, lonely and afraid.

“The righteous cry and the Lord heareth and delivereth him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:17

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom will I trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower,” Psalm 18:2

We can’t fight these things alone, God never intended us to, so use this as a model for your prayer and always know that no matter how down we get or alone we may feel that Jesus is and always will be the someone, the only one who is “higher than I”.

Psalm 61:1-4 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower  from the enemy.

I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert (shelter) of thy wings.” 

Take him up on that covering shelter today!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

 

“Lest we forget…”

“At that time, Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan king of Babylon, sent letters, and a present unto Hezekiah; for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.

And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things (treasures), the silver, and the gold, all the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour,and all that was found in his treasures, there was NOTHING in his house, NOR in ALL his dominion that Hezekiah shewed them not

Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? (what did they say and where are they from) And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.

And he (Isaiah) said, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen, there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.

And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the lord, Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried away into Babylon, nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.” 2 Kings 20:13-17

That was quite a trap, notice the plural of letter, nothing like his good old friend or more to the point, those whom he was already trying to “play nice” with, the Babylonians checking him out seeing how he was doing because they knew he had not been well.

Quite true, so unwell if fact that God had just extended his life, but now with the attention he craved and desire to impress he had in fact invited in the very enemy that would devastate their nation and not only were they invited they were given the grand tour of everything, everything that was held precious, dear, and above all, even what should have been kept most secret, the armour was made known.

Can you only imagine the glee, the laughter in the hearts of the Babylonians once they knew every treasure, every ounce of substance, and most assuredly every possible defense that Hezekiah had?

And you know maybe he just felt like, well, it’s okay, their not really that dangerous, or maybe, he was like, well they may be ruthless conquers but that won’t be like that with me, after all if we can all be “on the same side” a few differences won’t matter. It DID matter and it has always mattered and it will ALWAYS matter.

Enemies are enemies even while pretending to care about you only to know what is there for the taking.

And honestly, social media has all but destroyed us and if we don’t wake up soon , we will be destroyed. We have become like Hezekiah, we have put our hearts and souls, those “precious things” on display for the entire world to see, people, thousands and in some cases millions of people seeing every area of our lives and what truly horrifies me, is as a nation, we are displaying all the hate, mistrust, indifference fighting against each other, in battles that can only be fought through God and that only God can change those darkened hearts.

Which is why we are so warned by Jesus, Matthew 7:6: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend (tear) you.”

There are countless scriptures on this, you can not reason with someone who has not been spiritually enlightened and they will only attack us farther, there is no changing minds that are blinded and darkened by the enemy and that does not mean to fail to speak for truth and justice. We also must very careful of the snares of lesser of two evils, there is evil, there is good and two wrongs don’t make a right and ends do not justify means.

We are to weigh every single action on the Word of God, not that we always meet this mark, not many of us do, I try and often fail to hit that mark myself, that is why are we human, but we must try and the reason this is so important is this, we can often while in pain and distress create alliances that will, like in the case of Hezekiah cost us more than we would ever willingly pay

We often forget during times of turmoil and unrest is the simple truth that while we are busy being each others enemies, real or perceived, that we collectively have common enemies, and satan has done such  a job with divide and conquer that even the most innocent word or miscommunication can have every word or action being viewed as an attack, we can not have thoughts, feelings, or opinions that differ without being labeled and individuality completely lost because we are categorized, stereotyping each other with the same typecast that we accuse others of, the names may be different but still the exact same action.

And now for what we are totaling forgetting, just as Hezekiah forgot, sure these guys may seem to support you at the moment and sometimes when you’ve been down that can seem like a welcome comfort but while we are showing the treasures of our house, we as Americans still have some serious enemies, and a little dose of reality right here, they do not care, they do not care that we are black, white, american Indian, Mexican-american, Asian American, Jewish, Christian, any documentation or no denomination or not even believe at all. Rich, poor, old, young, chick, guy, straight, or gay and I will tell you want they do care about, that in the enemies opinion,  whether we act like it or not, believe it or not, we are ALL the same

And to sound a little like an editor once answering a child’s letter addressing the existence of Claus, but our question is of not so whimsical a topic, YES AMERICA, YOU DO HAVE ENEMIES and while you are hating each other those enemies are watching and they do not care what you think, what you feel, they hate you because you are AMERICAN. 

We have all been hurt, wounded, and oppressed in one form or the other and I will never deny that and we still are, that is why we have ashes and thorns. ALL of us, people are just mean and there will be mean people in this world until Jesus Christ comes and cleans house which He soon to do, but in the mean time we need to remember a little something,we still have been blessed to live a nation that we are FREE, we can say whatever we want without the fear of retaliation and that does not mean we need to say everything we feel, because often what is said should have never been said at all.

The freedom we are taking for granted was given us from God and we need to appreciate that freedom and do a little less screaming and take a look around the world at what others endure, I can tell you a lot about the backlash and rejection being a pants clad, makeup wearing female preacher in the South will get ya, but I can be thankful knowing that even with the good ol’ boys wagging me down, that I am still free to do as God leads me and I have blessed sisters the world over that would be executed if they dared mention aloud the name of Jesus.

We are blessed to have our Bibles and our churches when our brothers and sisters risk dying for the choice to follow the Gospel. We are blessed to have water, food, or at least access to it when we are in need and many the world over a literally dying of starvation and the threat now is horrifying.

Wake up and realize who is really at work in our country because some of the truest words a human ever muttered were truly “UNITED we stand DIVIDED we fall” and none of this is going to stop the social media and the forces that would spread but it can stop at us, just stop, our job on this earth is to lead others to Jesus and His Kingdom is not of this world and there will be no peace on this earth until that Kingdom comes, but the peace, love, and light you choose to give to another in the midst of all these things will reflect that Kingdom. 

We are here and being here we need to appreciate what we have now and be mindful of those who would love to see us fall, because we do stand for freedom and we do have rights, rights that others in many countries would love to have and I will leave you with these words, God wants to take us all to that “good land”, God wants us to have peace, joy, and love in Him.

“For the Lord God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of the valleys and hills.

And of the wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates, a land of olive oil,and honey;

A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.

When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 

Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statues,which I command thee this day.” Deuteronomy 8:7-11

Well, we know for a surety many, many already have and many others have sold out the Gospel for the candy version and we see the fruits of that and if we don’t get a grip on our current situation I am afraid will we also see those fruits and pray, pray that God will bless our land and that HIS truth will bring the changes that truly need to come.  All the things o this world will fade away and all the heartache and sorrow with that when Jesus wipes every tear away but heaven and hell are eternal, do’t let this world ever make lose sight of that.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

 

 

Groovin’ the Gauntlet

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” Romans 8:18

The Gauntlet, the reality of the answer of the age old question, what is the meaning of life. That is the answer, not quite what you would think is it?

We are all souls with God, who is eternal, no beginning, no ending, self -existing and ever existent  until we are born to this earth.

As God told Jeremiah, first chapter- fifth verse: “BEFORE I formed thee in the BELLY, I KNEW THEE; and BEFORE thou camest forth out of the womb I SANCTIFIED (set apart) THEE, AND I ORDAINED (appointed)THEE A PROPHET UNTO NATIONS.

As with the names that were written BEFORE the earth was formed. Our souls just as they are eternal, were with Him until time for whatever the reason, to be born onto the gauntlet field of this world.

1st Ephesians 1:4: “According as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE the FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

So we are born, hit the ground and IT IS ON.

 The gauntlet is formed against us BEFORE we can even hit the ground running, because the enemy knows more about you than you do!

The gauntlet of the “tares”, the weeds the devil planted among the children, on one side and facing you on the other side the demonic forces of hell, so you start your run between the tongue wagging finger pointers running themselves, trying to set those stumbling blocks before you, every imaginable scheme will be hatched for their use as a weapon against you, just trying to knock you down with everything they’ve got.

So you are running as fast as you can trying to keep one eye on the course in front of you and one eye on the weapons coming after you but then you see on the other side of your course the demonic forces armed and ready with snares and traps set every step of the way and many, many archers with their bows poised and the fiery darts ready to rain down, the farther you make it the more they are gonna hit from both sides, the “holier than thous” just dying to see you fall so they can tell all their buddies they were right about you the whole time, the devil starts bringing out bigger and bigger giants, more and more archers and sends the storms chasing you.

Sound pretty unbelievable?  Ah, Jesus said “for this cause” He was born into the world.  His cause being to DIE on a cross, not only die but to be tortured, humiliated, and rejected, his gauntlet beginning with his forty days in the wilderness, which HE MADE IT THROUGH HIS FORTY DAYS, he remained completely spotless and sinless and us being human CAN never achieve that, BUT we are to strive and stay on that course.

Now add in just the reality of living, grief, sorrow, heartache, because it rains on the just and the unjust, EVERYONE WILL RUN THE GAUNTLET.

But those with Christ have an expected end to this course.

This is the reason we are commanded to NOT look to the right or to the left, and NEVER EVER LOOK BACK, only forward, if we don’t look to either side we can’t lose focus worrying about what is getting ready to hit us and WE ARE COMMANDED more than once to not look back, if you do you will see what is gaining on you and you will stumble over those blocks that has been placed before you.

Your entire reason for living is to bring glory to the Father and to help as many as you can run the gauntlet that has been set before them by the god of this world  (2nd Corinthians  4:4).

Paul was very apt in describing his gauntlet and we often feel that our burdens are heavy but I know for me, I gain so much encouragement from reading what they suffered and being blessed to read the end of their stories and how God used all those things to enlarge the Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30 ” Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one (they thought it merciful to give 39 lashes as opposed to the 40 you were sentenced to, so at the time he wrote this Paul HAD RECEIVED A TOTAL OF 195 lashes) . 

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; journeys often, in perils of waters, IN PERILS BY THE BRETHREN, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, IN PERILS AMONG FALSE BRETHREN ( notice both groups listed, the ones who ARE your brethren that set those stumbling blocks and the FALSE brethren sent by the enemy). 

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings (sleeplessness) often, in hunger, in thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

BESIDES THOSE THINGS (other things) WHICH COME UPON ME DAILY, the care of all the churches.

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended (MADE TO STUMBLE), and I burn ( BURN WITH INDIGNATION) not?

IF I must needs glory, I WILL GLORY OF THE THINGS WHICH CONCERN MINE INFIRMITIES.”

 What he was saying if he survived all these things and yet glorified God in all them through showing love to others, how could ANYONE complain of their own sufferings?

He learned the groove of the gauntlet,  he learned to accept it for what it is and go with it.    

 He knew that is had to be ran, to fight it just held him up and there was people whose lives would be changed, there were others to help.

His purpose was NOT to fight in retaliation those who manned his gauntlet but to show the love listed above, to grab onto those who had fallen or were wounded by fiery darts and pull them with him to the finish line.

Acts 16 tells us of the arrest of Paul and Silas for doing just that, praying for a possessed girl to be delivered, this enraging those who were using her possession to make money through fortune telling, they were beaten and thrown in prison.

Paul had learned to be content in ALL situations and learned to REJOICE in affliction because the more he suffered for the Gospel, the GREATER the POWER OF GOD rested upon him, so with excruciating lash wounds on their backs they STILL sang and praised God, this pleasing God who sent an earthquake and opened every cell, now they could have left, completely free and thought “Ha, Ha the jerks get what they deserve for beating us.”  

BUT when Paul saw that the jailer was going to commit suicide because they had all escaped, Paul called to him NOT TO harm himself that they were all there.

That is that love and the jailer and his entire family was saved because Paul knew how to play the gauntlet and HE DID EXACTLY what GOD WANTED HIM TOO.

Just as Jesus “who for the joy SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, and is sat down at the right hand of the Father.”

Those of Hebrews 11, who should give anyone hope and courage to press on.

Learn to groove that gauntlet, play it smoother than any jazz tune ever played.

The prize we seek is NOT in this world.

It is in the next and the true secret is what they knew, press on, press on, press on.

Pick yourself up, let the tears fly as you run, but RUN, RUN with everything you got and grab on to all you see who have fallen in their own race against the gauntlet, pull them, drag them whatever you have to do to help them to that finish line, but never ever look at those opposing you just look to the Author and Finisher of your faith.

He made it through His forty days and Forty nights and then He ran that gauntlet that hell itself had prepared and he died running it BUT HE ROSE and FOREVER SHALL REIGN!

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2015 

Original post date 12/04/15 revisited 07/01/2020 As you go through your day and your week, please remember that this world and the troubles of this world are temporary, just as our first verse assures us and in these awful days in which we live set yourself with one purpose and one goal and that goal is this, a reminder of what Jesus told us,NEVER LET THEM STEAL YOUR CROWN.