“Peace in this…”

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

And the fruit of peace is sown in peace of them that make peace,” James 3:15-18

Thinking about peace today, and a very specific kind of peace, the peace we find ourselves needing when trying to make certain decisions.

Decisions that truly once made will impact our life forever, we do sometimes have the opportunity to change our minds about something that we had either decided to do or not to do, and sometimes the hottest battle fought is in making a decision period.

As a new Christian, I had always heard the question, ‘Well, do you have peace about it?” as the answer often given to those seeking life choice advice from the “Old Sages” and sometimes my own answer to life’s questions has honestly been, “Maybe… yeah, I think so.”

So how do we know, how do we really know that the choice were about to make is going to be the right choice for this season in life?

And I do say season because as life changes and as the seasons of life change also, what seemed dreadful yesterday could be a blessing today and what seemed the perfect sunshiny path yesterday could be an uphill walk during a hail storm today.

So life changes, we change but the sovereignty of God never changes. As his word teaches us, He is eternal, self existing, and sovereign and nothing about him ever changes.

The same God that created Adam and Eve, and forgave them for their sin and delivered the oppressed and made a way of escape for those enslaved by the Egyptians , and then went on to rescue us all through the blood of his Son,  the promise of eternal life now ours forever if we will only accept it

He is the same and only God and he is the only one who can answer our questions and “lead us in the paths of righteousness” as stated in Psalm 23. He leads us in those good paths for his name’s sake, and not only because we bare his name and are representatives of him and his holiness, but also because he genuinely loves us and wants nothing but the best for us.

That was the hardest struggle for me, the hardest thought that had to be surrendered, like so many, I always felt that while God was awesome and I admired Christians I knew, but in my thinking, they were just born “that way”, they were just “special” people that God adored while I, on the other hand had just been “born bad” and ignorantly thought I had no hope,

That is the big lie that satan tells so many to keep them bound by his lies.

Because through Jesus we all have hope.

But even after you accept Christ, the enemy and this world can still try to steal your joy, your happiness, and most of all your peace by whispering confusion concerning the paths you should travel.

As the thought to write this post came to mind, I wondered what would be the best example of this kind of faith and this kind of peace that we will always need to use as a comparison when choosing those paths and making those decisions.

Now I have used this story before, I have written for eight years, including the two that I wrote for a church,an undertaking that in fact, led to this, so it goes without saying that after that kind of time, usually a Bible account has been used already, but the awesome thing with God is that often he will show you something different in a verse that you maybe feel like you have read hundreds of times, but he always has something else he wants you to “get” if he keeps leading you back to the same one.

But for me, for us, for this post, this is the most perfect example among the many that we are given through the pages and accounts of the Bible.

If you know this story, please bear with me, and if you are not that familiar with it, please as you read, get the mental picture of this, as it happened, in your mind, which will be “blown” when the full image of the kind of faith this lady had is revealed.

We will pick this up as Pharaoh had ordered the midwives to kill all the Hebrew male babies, but as these ladies feared God they would not, and we’ll pick up at Pharaoh’s next move.

“And Pharaoh charged (commanded) all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.

And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.

And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark (basket, little “boat”) of bulrushes, and daubed it with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags (reeds) by the river’s brink.

And his sister stood afar off, to wit (know) what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark (basket) among the flags, she sent her maids to fetch it.

And when she had opened it, she saw the child; and the babe wept. And she had compassion on him. and she said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.

Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.

And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, TAKE THIS CHILD AWAY, AND NURSE IT FOR ME, AND I WILL GIVE THEE THY WAGES. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.

And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses (literally means, Drawn Out); and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 1:22, Exodus 2:1-10

Isn’t that just mind blowing? The hand of God in this was amazing! Now of course we know that because we have read the book… but Jochebed, the Mother of Moses, had no way of knowing how that story would end nor did Miriam, his sister as she watched over him, as this tiny little three month old baby was floating in the Nile River!

But God knew, God knew exactly how this was going to go down and that this little baby he had sent to this earth for the purpose of being drawn out of that river he would one day use to draw his people out of Egypt and just as the Nile did not take him under, neither would the Red Sea, as God’s plan for this child included the literal dividing of that Sea.

Absolutely amazing when you think about it, the fact they did not know, just believing, believing with an incredible faith that it would be well. And we are not told at any point that God spoke to her or that he sent an angel to instruct her, we are only told this…

Hebrews 11:23:” By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of (by) his parents because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.”

God gave them peace that is how they knew, that is why they were not afraid. God had given that knowledge in their heart and soul that everything would be fine, no matter how scary it looked.

And can you imagine, making a basket, by hand, to put your baby in and then putting that baby in a river?

The only way she could have done it at all is for God to have given her peace otherwise she would have been overwhelmed by the “What if’s’… What if the pitch doesn’t hold? What if water seeps in? What if it capsizes?, What if he is eaten alive?

And what about the ‘What if’s” concerning her daughter? “What if someone sees her watching and discovers who put the baby there?, “What if something goes wrong and she is injured trying to save the baby?” “What if Pharaoh’s daughter suspects that this was the family of her tiny foundling?”

You know what she did! She had to have known, especially when a little girl just happened to be there to offer to find someone to help her take care of the baby.

Talk about the right place at the right time, can you imagine if the soldiers or taskmasters had been the ones to find Moses, they would have surely killed him and if they had saw Miriam hiding, they would have killed her also and would have attempted to find the parents so they could kill them too for disobeying Pharaoh’s command, and I don’t know if she just had a completely different heart or if God had softened it, I personally believe she was cut from a different cloth, since God had chosen her in advance for this job, when we are told that she had compassion on him when she heard his cry and you can almost imagine being there as she said “This is one of the Hebrew children”, which to me, reads as if it would have been laced with sadness and regret, because even in her own power, she still would not have had power to stop the slaughter of these babies or change any decision made by Pharaoh.

Either way she would have had to have known that Miriam was related to the baby and that this woman she was going to fetch was actually his Mother, and to me, it is priceless when she tells her to “Take this baby”, she let her keep him, wean him and actually paid her for doing it and when he was old enough she brought him into Pharaoh’s palace as a prince.

That my friends is why of all the stories of miracles and faith we could have read, we read that one, sometimes in life, things can look good but not quite feel right while other times it can look hopeless but somehow feel like it is the perfect place to be.

And those who should be against you are not always your enemy.

It’s all in the peace God gives us and even concerning your own quandary that you may be struggling with today, think of it like this, with our beginning verse, if there is strife, envy, any negative feelings tugging inside of you take that as your answer, no matter how good something seems, if you can’t “get any peace” with that decision than it means that for whatever reason, even if seems like it is a good thing, it is however not going to be a good thing for you.

While another decision may seem like the worst mistake you could ever make but yet you feel peaceful in that decision, than that is the right choice for you.

So whatever you are facing today, life change, career change, moving to a new location, ending or beginning a relationship, seek God, seek his peace for you and then honour his guidance in your life…even if it looks like you will never reach your desired “location” by choosing that path, if God prompts us, choose it, because in reality only he knows the way we should ever go.

God bless you, till next time, with love, mercy, and that peace today and for your tomorrow… and what is that peace?

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

 

Sparkin’

“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubelth Israel?

And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim (pagan deity).

Now therefore send, and gather unto me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.

So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets unto mount Carmel.

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him; if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. 

Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.

Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under; and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under;

And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.

And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.

And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal FROM morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was NO voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped (danced) upon the altar that was made.

And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud (cry louder); for he is a god, either he is talking, or he is pursuing (busy), or he is in a journey, or peradventure (perhaps)he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner (their pagan custom) with knives and lancets (swords), till the blood gushed out upon them.

And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any answer, nor any that regarded. 

And Elijah said unto the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. 

And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be they name.

And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench about (around) the altar, as great as would contain two measure of seed.

And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, AND on the wood.

And he said, Do it a second time. And they did it a second time. And he said, Do it a third time. And they did it a third time.

And the water ran about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.

Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

THEN the fire of the Lord fell, AND consumed the burnt sacrifice, AND the wood, AND the stones, AND the dust, AND licked up the water that was in the trench.

And when the people SAW it, they fell on their faces; and they said, The Lord, He is God; the Lord, he is the God.” 1 Kings 18: 17-39

Now that’s people being made believers!

Doesn’t the opening conversation sound much like the rants spewed toward believers today? Ahab accusing Elijah as being the cause of the troubles of Israel, when in reality, it was his wickedness, the wickedness of his house, and those who had been seduced by them into following and worshipping pagan demons.

And as such hatred and intolerance today is directed toward followers of Christ, it all sounds very familiar, I got the biggest kick last week when I saw on the news a quick interview with this a very young lady who was explaining her groups need to protest, and she explained to the reporter, “Intolerance will Not be tolerated!”…Huh?

That does not even make sense, if you say that you will not tolerate an action, thought, or attitude than that makes you intolerant, that’s kinda what it means…

So now that we have came to that lovely destination in our societal journey where no one is allowed to have thoughts, opinions, or attitudes for that matter, we are all to be carbon copies of whatever society tells us we are ALLOWED to be at that particular moment, and you know the more those  socialist demands are given into the greater the ropes tighten on those who are willing to empty out their brains and ask only how high when told to jump, in a false hope of securing a fabled societal harmony that is anything but.

God never tells us anywhere in his word to appease sin, he tells us quite the opposite, he even told us that we WOULD BE hated.

And while it’s considered cool to hate on us, even officials referring to Christian beliefs that are directly taught by the Bible, now referring to those teachings as “hateful views” and a completely new surge in mysticism as there is a new increase in those seeking “knowledge” in the use of crystals for the relief of Covid symptoms,  yeah, the rocks, semi precious or not do NOT have power to heal anyone, they have NO power at all, did remind of two things though.

The first thought was when Jesus was told to make his followers shush as they cried HOSSANNA, at to which he replied, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace (keep silent),the stones would immediately cry out.” 

And the second was something else his said as he was so wounded and battered that he struggled in carrying the cross, Simon of Cyrene was made to carry it on to Golgotha, and the women cried for him, and he turned and said to them, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days ARE coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave gave suck (breasts that were never nursed), Then shall they begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, FALL ON US; AND TO THE HILLS, COVER US.”

So I can’t even fathom why on earth anyone would be deceived into believing that a rock, stone, crystal, any object could have any power, much less power to heal, but that is where we are, and people would rather pray to a rock, whether they call it meditating or not, it’s still prayer, when you concentrate on something, giving your mind, yourself over to that, it is worship, and they would rather put their “trust” and health, and ultimately their soul into a rock than to submit to a very living very real God who does have the power to heal.

And the argument for why so many refuse to believe in the existence of Jesus is that they say they are too SMART…yeah… go ask that rock what the true names that were given to the stars and get back to me when it verbally speaks you the answer.

Mention of being smart, the prophets of Baal, here they were crying out, pleading, dancing, and finally going to the extreme to get answered by again, something that can not possibly answer, they decide to cut themselves, injuring themselves, pouring their own blood out to a pagan deity in show of worship, in a show of crazed devotion with the hope of having their petition granted.

Our God did not ask us to pour out our blood for him, He poured out his blood to save us.

This is a very poignant picture of the price demanded in idol worship, it is always demonic in nature, even if it is something as inert as a rock, or in this case a named pagan deity, if it is not based in Jehovah God, well, than it’s not based in Jehovah, and the opposite of good is evil, so regardless of what the “religion”, “practice”, or “philosophy” it is, if it is not rooted in God, the true God, it is an entry point for demonic influence that wants nothing more than to see people eternally lost and they will do everything possible to facilitate those false beliefs.

And it spreads, this self-mutilation that can be seen in our society today, known as “cutting” is a direct result of demonic influence over those lives compelling them to destroy and harm what God has created and you can prove that out, not only with this story, but also in the story of Jesus healing the man who was possessed by Legion, one aspect of his behavior BEFORE being healed by Jesus was that the man cut himself with sharp rocks, this was a direct action of the demons, again to hurt, destroy, and shed the precious blood of God’s creations.

You know, when you think about the blood, there’s a lot to that, think about the things we “bleed”, things just being poured out, like the old term, used when a business is going under, it is said to be “hemorrhaging money” and much like that when we don’t have Christ, we “bleed” sin, and then we “bleed” out anything good in our lives, we “bleed” out our hopes and dreams, hemorrhaging spiritually, all in waste without God.

No matter what they did or how much they bled the “prophets” of Baal, without the desired fire falling, had no hope of proving anything.

Which now gets us to the fire, that is one of the most awesome displays of his power, which that was nothing to the Lord, as far as his power goes, but can you imaginehaving been there, or even being ONE of those people whose souls were literally being fought for in this contest?

Watching with anticipation as the pagans danced, cried, and bled as they begged for the proof of fire from a “god” that they had beguiled, and demanded, and in some cases maybe even threatened the people into fearing, serving, and worshipping, and then to see nothing, not a puff of smoke, not a glimmer, not even one spark.

Then as Elijah prayed, prayed on their behalf, so that they would know the truth, he already knew God, he knew he was real, but so that they would know the truth, he prayed and God sent that fire, his holy fire, straight down from heaven itself, touching earth, burning up everything, the bullock, the wood, and YES, even the ROCKS, the dust, and everything was soaking wet, but the water didn’t phase it, didn’t slow it down, and sure didn’t stop the burn, God’s fire even took out all the water in the water filled trench that had surrounded it all.

God didn’t need it to be wet or dry, didn’t matter, He is God, he does what he wants, the water was to drive that point home to those who watched and as the people looked on, they knew the truth.

There was no earthly explanation, even in anything the pagan “prophets” could have tried to come up with in an attempt to dispute or explain away what happened, God gave them something so brilliant in display that there could be no other explanation than the truth, which was that this was the hand of God at work. And as God answered by fire the people cried out, The LORD is God!

We need that fire, we need to stop trying to do backbends accommodating the world in hopes of making believers out of them because in reality ONLY God can make believers.

We need to repair that altar as Elijah did. Remembering it is to be Holy and consecrated and removing anything contrary to that and demanding it to be kept Holy by refusing to allow others or the world to profane it.

We just need to stay out of his way and pray for that fire to fall. We are not ever going to get anywhere as long as we allow the truth of God’s word to be watered down and refuse to preach true repentance and hell for fear of being accused of being “intolerant”.

Fire to sparks, dim to light, LET IT IGNITE!

I do use the word LET it, meaning to allow it, God will not do anything in our lives that we do not surrender to, he does not work that way, this is why we must be willing vessels, we are created by him for his purpose on this earth, and we are chosen by him to fulfill that purpose but we must surrender to his will and then the souls that hang in the balance, just as in our text, as Elijah asked them how long would they sway between two opinions, can’t serve both, with God you are either in or out, he’s not going to make anyone serve him, but we can’t have both, we can’t kiss the world’s tears away because they are offended and by doing so offend God by completely disregarding his commandments and choosing to only teach what will keep them pacified.

We need some sparks, and maybe sparks is all you got left, don’t forsake that, if you only have a smoldering ember, please get in your prayer closet, take communion, fast from this world, no television, no news, no surfing the web, no social media, for a time, only you and God, and let his presence blow on those smoldering embers and ignite you and your life to do something so amazing, so powerful, and life changing in these LAST days.

No one, No one gets to sit this out, God gives all of his children talents and gifts, after you have allowed his fire to touch you and those sparks are flying, get into your calling.

If you are unsure of yours, do this, think about what is closet to your heart, where you would like to see change and go from there, pray and seek, seek as if you have one day left on this earth, what would you want to do for the kingdom? If you have social media, you can post scriptures, you can encourage friends, family, there are so many things you can do in word and deed, but make sure you are doing something, be a prayer warrior, but start somewhere.

And if you already know in your heart of hearts your calling… just do it, give yourself and the devil NOT one reason why you can’t because NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GOD. 

You have to step out in that faith, the SAME faith every single minister and kingdom worker has stepped out in, you are not alone and God blesses unbridled faith, just like Elijah knew that fire would fall.

Psalm 68:11: The Lord GAVE the word; great was the company (host) of those who published (PROCLAIMED) it.”

Meaning, many, many innumerable people whose job it is to share the truth of the blessed word and the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So please, start getting that fire stoked TODAY and let it ignite someone’s heart through the mighty power working in your life in obedience to Jesus Christ!

God bless you till next time! Thank you for reading, Love & Peace!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021 Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

 

“Nothing to prove”

“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre (going to the tomb).

So they ran both together; and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying: yet went he not in.

Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie.

And the napkin, that was about his head (the face cloth that had been over Jesus’ face), not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together (folded) in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

For as yet, they knew (understood) not the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 

Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

But Mary stood without (outside) at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre.

And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

And they said unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing there, but she knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence (carried him away),tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 

Jesus saith unto her, Mary, she turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master (teacher). 

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

And when he had so said, he shewed (showed) unto them his hands and his side, Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost;

Whose soever sins ye remit (forgive), they are remitted (forgiven) unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 

But, Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was NOT with them with Jesus come. 

The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and out my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

And after eight days again his disciples were within (inside), and Thomas with them; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 

Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless (unbelieving) but believing. 

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. 

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through (in) his name.” John 20 1-31

I love that last verse! “But” these are written… so we can have the choice to believe the Bible accounts and that we can have that choice to accept eternal life, simply by choosing to believe for ourselves, that Jesus was indeed born as a man on this earth to a virgin mother, led a completely sinless life, while subjected to all the traps and snares of this world, even more so than us, and yet without committing one sin.

Something no human can do, and Jesus was constantly bombarded by those demanding that he “prove” himself to them, even as he was suffering, dying, on the cross, they still demanded, “IF you are the Son of God, come down” and so many today have quite the same attitude when they chose to not accept salvation, it is often said, “Well, when God calls I will get saved,”

Bad idea, because God already called, the very first time any of heard the name of Jesus and the message of salvation, we were called and every single say he allows us on this earth that we are aware of the teachings of Christ, we are still being extended that invitation to eternal life.

And when we give all the excuses and somehow think he should chase us down and beg us to serve him, we are not interested in serving God out of love and worship of him, we are in reality acting just like the Pharisees and Jews when they demanded proof of who he was and is, and God answers to no one.

Thomas, poor Thomas, even today, his name is still associated with disbelief, as we refer to perpetually skeptical people as “Doubting Thomases” and doubt often comes from the enemy because he does not want you to believe, and mix that up with human rebellion, people often spend their whole life in misery, looking for happiness, peace, and the meaning of life, searching for “something” while refusing to accept the very thing they seek because they want it on their terms.

Jesus also enlightening us to our blessed state, as he told Thomas, we are blessed because even though we have never saw the Lord, was not present at his crucifixion, never walked Jerusalem with him, did not watch him cast out devils, heal the sick, give sight to the blind, or raise the dead, we still believe, we have chosen to believe and  in that we are blessed.

Once we chose to believe, even when we have not seen him or touched his nail scarred hands or saw the marks from the crown of thorns, we know he is there and we know he lives and we know because he lives, that he lives forever and because he lives, as the Bible tells us, so shall we.

Even though we did not see firsthand all his miracles while he walked earth, we can see the miracles he sends today and we can one day see the resurrection, the resurrection of all who have died in him, as those who are “asleep” in God will be gathered together with him in that glorious day.

This scripture was not originally part of this post, but as I write, it is on my heart, to share this, one more time, 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18:

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first;

Then they which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to MEET the Lord in the air; and so we shall ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

This is the hope, this is one of those many blessings that we are given, the promise that living on this earth, remaining faithful to the Lord, or dying, being buried, cremated, or even, heaven forbid, something so cataphoric that there isn’t anything even left of our earthly bodies, still God will repair and raise those bodies back up.

And you notice in the accounts of Pharisees’ and those of that day, constantly demanding that “proof” of Jesus, and Jesus had nothing to prove to them, but yet when Mary wept, so distraught that she just answered the angels when they asked why she cried, even though they sat positioned as those that adorned the mercy seat, as this was a complete mirror, and yet, she never questioned any of it, she was so distraught and devastated and someone once asked why did he come to her first, and in my mind, like a kid at school, raising their hand, shouting, “I know! I know!”, I do know and many of you do too, and the person asking knew, they just, I believe, wanted people to really, really think about this, she needed him the most.

They were all traumatized, devastated, and their lives turned upside down, going from walking with the one who walked on water to being in total horror, hiding as they knew those who killed Jesus could come at any moment to take their lives also.

And such a dependence on him, and rightfully so, but where would they turn when the one that they had turned to was, in their grief stricken minds, now gone forever.

And while the others hid, Mary sought, she thought nothing of the soldiers, or nothing of the Priests, or the impending doom and death that could have very easily beset her, all that was going on in her mind is that his body was gone and she loved him, adored him, and was determined to find him.

And he came to her.

As we are promised, we will find him, when we seek him with our whole heart.

But this world, and especially the Great Babylon, that demands “proof” of his existence and “proof” of his return, do not seek him, they only use the need of “proof” to excuse their disbelief, thereby in their thoughts, excusing them from adhering to his commands that were given to all mankind, but as we know, there will be no excuses, either we believe or we don’t.

He will bless belief by revealing himself but he will never “prove” himself to appease unbelief.

He has nothing to prove, he is God and he does as he chooses and if we refuse to accept his death and resurrection as the sacrifice for our sins, then we can certainly not blame anyone other than ourselves.

Believe or not, as the old saying goes, one day he will make “believers” of us all, even those whos refuse to repent will still know and see him with their own eyes, and for many, that day will be too late.

So today, if you love him, seek him all the more, as the world grows colder and more belligerent, let your love and devotion to him grow that much stronger, the greater their denial let your proclamation sound louder, be like Mary, she didn’t care that the disciples thought she was insane and refused to believe her report, she didn’t care who was at the tomb, she didn’t care how far she had to go or how she would get there, all she knew is that she had to find her Lord, and that is all we need to remember in these last days, it wasn’t about him and the disciples, or him and the Pharisees, or what the Priests, Pilate, or anyone else thought, said or did, it was all about her and her relationship with him and she was beyond blessed for that.

Love & Peace till next time, thanks for reading!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

 

 

 

THE LAMB “Hell trembles and Earth quakes”

“Jesus, when he had cried with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost (died).

And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom (torn in half), and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent (split);

And the graves were opened; and many of the bodies of the saints that slept (had died) AROSE.

And came OUT of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Now when the centurion and they that were with him, watching (guarding) Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things which were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. 

And many women were there beholding afar off (watching from a distance), which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

When the even was come (it was evening), there was a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:

He went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean line cloth. And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against (opposite) the sepulchre.

Now the next day, that followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 

Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure (secure) until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead; so the last error shall be worse than the first.

Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch (guard): go your way, make it as sure (secure) as you can.

So they went, and made the sepulchre sure (secure), sealing the stone, and setting a watch (guard). 

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre (tomb).

And behold, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment (clothing) was white as snow:

And FOR FEAR OF HIM. THE KEEPERS (guards) DID SHAKE,AND BECAME AS DEAD MEN (fainted).

And the angel answered and said UNTO the women; FEAR NOT YE; for I know that ye seek Jesus. which was crucified, HE IS NOT HERE: FOR HE IS RISEN, as he said, Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, lo, I have told you.

And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples his word.

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail (Rejoice).

And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there they shall see me. 

Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch (guards)  came into the city, and shewed (told) unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel (talked about it), they gave large (much) money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept.

And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure (protect) you. (it would have been death to them if they had really slept).

So they took the money and did as they were taught; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  Matthew 27:50-66 and Matthew 28:1-20

Wow, can you imagine how awesome it would have been to see that angel come down, roll away that stone, as the guards literally stood there shaking in their boots,  the angel then actually sitting on top of the stone, almost as if to say to the guards, ” Try moving it now, boys” and at this sight they were so horrified that they actually fainted.

And then the angel in display of the gentleness of the one he serves, tells the ladies to Fear not! Please also forgive my capitalization, it is not intended as shouting, it is to highlight, it’s hard to preach in silence.

You may be wondering about other common verses, such as the doubting by Thomas, but I chose to go with the account from Matthew as it had been used in the previous post, but I encourage you to read the accounts of Mark, Luke, and John also as each tells a little more of the story in his own words.

Lord will, we will highlight those accounts also in the next post on the way to Pentecost.

But back to this one, it is so wonderful, the fulfillment of this prophecy, Hosea 13:14:”I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death; O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction; repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”

Written this way in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57: “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”

As we read in the last post  those of the day clung to the law but had no mercy, love, and kindness toward any, but Jesus came to teach us the truth of who he is, delivering us, teaching us that faith in him is the way to salvation.

And the picture of the ultimate resurrections, as the saints of old were resurrected on that day as Jesus rose in His power and might and the earth quaking in prelude to the ultimate quake when he returns to earth and Mount Olive will split in two and those of earth who are still rebellious, cruel, and unyielding in accepting salvation will beg those rocks to fall on them and hide them from his face but there will be no hiding from the one who created it all.

Jesus fulfilled every promise God had made that he would again reconcile us back unto him and he did it all with his blood, his love, and his desire to save us.

Jesus is kind, he is merciful and he does not want any one lost or left to the devices of enemy, and satan and his demons  cower in his presence, one descriptive verse written this way, James 2:19: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; THE DEVILS ALSO BELIEVE AND TREMBLE.”

Today, REJOICE, REJOICE!

Revelation 1:18: “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead, and he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys to hell and death.” 

God bless you and have a wonderful Holy Day!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

THE LAMB “Pouring of the blood”

“Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord; I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread (trample) my courts?

Bring no more vain oblations (futile sacrifices); incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away (endure) with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me, I am weary to bear them.

And when ye spread forth your hands (pray), I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear, your hands are full of blood (bloodshed).

Wash you, make you clean; put away evil from your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Learn to do well; seek judgment (justice),relieve the oppressor (reprove, reprimand those who oppress others), judge (DEFEND, vindicate) the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

COME NOW, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 1:10-18 

Since the dawn of time humans have had a twisted ideal of what God requires, some have believed falsely that He requires stern severity in our lives and in our relationships with others and this was often due to the hardness of their own hearts, using misinterpreted scriptures as a basis to justify their own evil actions. 

Especially when it comes to mistreating children, ethnic groups not our own, women, and the most vulnerable of the world. And just as he pointed out in this passage, expressly mentioning the rulers of Sodom and people of Gomorrah the bloodshed, just as the blood of the aborted babies have spiritually stained this earth and the sickening irony is that in my state, here in America, the governor decided to do away with the death people but still scream out to be a slaughter state when it comes to murdering the unborn.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not pro death penalty either, I just can’t stomach the hypocritical “mercy” of the leaders we have here in “Sodom”, life is life and all life is created of God and is sacred.

In this passage, God is referring to what Jesus would echo when he said this, quoting prophecy of Isaiah, THIS PEOPLE DRAWETH NIGH UNTO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HOUNRETH ME WITH THEIR LIPS; BUT THEIR HEARTS ARE FAR FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO TEHY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.” Matthew 15:8,9   

Those who profess Christ in word or hide behind the label of Christianity and yet their actions prove otherwise.

The absence of mercy and gentleness, grace, and compassion is proof positive that they are not whom they claim to be just as when the Sanhedrim chose to accuse Jesus of blasphemy and the crowd cried fro his death, they professed to know God to worship God and yet they screamed for the crucifixion of his only Son.

As God sent his word, he sent prophet after prophet, their cries, such as this one from Hosea 6:6: ”

For I have desired mercy (faithfulness), and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” ringing through the earth and yet falling on deaf ears, because those ears chose their own deafness, for it was much more to their pleasure to refuse to hear the truth as they could continue in their own self righteous vain worship of a God who they did not even know.

If they refuse to know him in truth, but continue in their version of service and worship, choosing their own interpretations of what commandments or teachings they want to follow of they falsely believe that they will not be held accountable to him. 

Jesus came to this earth to end this once and for all, his ultimate purpose to cleanse us from sin and reconcile us back to the father, but he also came to teach us the truth, the truth of what it was and is to be a child of the King, what it means to truly love others, and he gave us example of how we are to live, and most importantly LOVE

and the depths of his love for us a love that was willing to be the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind and by becoming that sacrifice his precious blood covering us making us clean in him.

“Now before the feast of passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simons’s son to betray him.

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things unto his hands, and that he was from God, and went (was going) to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

After that he poured water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Then cometh he to Simon Peter; and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet (Are you washing my feet)?

Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.  

Simon Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet, Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part of me.” John 13:1-8

Peter was really apprehensive, the thought of his Lord, subserviently washing his feet was just all kinds of wrong to him, and aren’t we like that sometimes, thinking that we don’t need a savior to clean us up that we’ll clean ourselves us up, in our time when we are “ready” and when we can “live it” then we will accept Jesus’ offer of salvation.

I wonder how many people are in hell today or how many people are chained in misery, choosing to wear those chains of bondage because they buy the lies of Satan or their own misguided thoughts of righteousness, like Peter, stating “Thou shalt NEVER was my feet”, we can never wash our own sins away, there is nothing we could ever do in our human power to scrub away the filth this world covers us in. There is nothing in any other religion, teachings, or pagan deities or the lack thereof, that would ever wash us. Only Jesus, only the blood if the perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb of God and the covering of his blood.

Just as the blood of a spotless lamb applied to the doorposts of the homes of the Hebrews when God visited Egypt with death and that first blessed Passover, that blood signifying to the death angel that those inside were the children of Jehovah God and they were not to be harmed as he went about extinguishing the lives of the firstborn as the judgments against Pharaoh’s enslavement of God’s chosen and his refusal of God’s demand for their release were carried out. And as Jesus kept that earthly passover with his disciples, he instructed them in that from this point forward it would be His blood that would offer cleansing and protection.

“And they went and found as he had said unto them; and made ready the passover.

And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; For I say unto you, I will not eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves; For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you; this do ye in remembrance of me. 

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the cup of the new testament (covenant) in my blood, which is shed for you.” Luke 22:13-20

Now lets talk about his broken body and his blood that poured out for us all.

Isaiah 52:14 prophecy would read as this: “As many were astonied at thee; his visage (appearance) so marred more than any man, and his form (body) more than the sons of man.”

He was so beaten and his appearance so distorted, had you known him well, you still would not have recognized him, His face and body so savagely beaten unlike anything that would have been seen at any arrest or crucifixions.

And THIS, THIS is the account of his body being broken and his blood poured out, for you, for me, for us.

And as the cup that Jesus told them to take and divide among themselves, this is the truth of Gospel that we should be dividing, giving one to another and sharing, not the politics and drama of this world, but the eternal truth of what Jesus Christ did for us at the cross. Nothing else in this world matters and pales in comparison to greatest display of mercy the world will ever know. I remember encounter with the brutal truth of the cross, it was the night before Easter and I was tiny, probably about 7 or so and I was watching TV, and evidently, I realized later, it was “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, my Mom and Dad were in the kitchen and I had been watching this show it was so wonderful, He was so kind, and then it got to the part when they arrested him and I watched in horror as they , beat him, made fun of him, , shoved a crown of thorns on his head, striped the blood from his back with whips and t then they nailed him to the cross, and Mom had always told me when people died or whatever on a show we were watching for me not to get upset that it was just  a movie and they weren’t really hurt or dead, so I had to know because this movie was different and I had heard about God and Jesus, so I ran crying into the kitchen and I cried ‘Mommy, is this real?” and she followed me back into the living room to see what i was watching, and she looked at Jesus on the cross, and with tears in her eyes, she said, “Yeah, Honey, they really did that to him.” so I cried and cried and kept watching in hopelessness but as the movie went on, at the end of those those three days a wonderous thing happened, He rose!

For sake of “time” in reading this we’ll pick this up after Judas had betrayed Jesus and he had been arrested and the crowd had screamed for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus, and please keep in mind as the Bible uses the word scourged, scourged means that tied him to a whipping post and beat him with cat o nine whips, which is a whip made of multiple leather strips with metal or sometime bone attached to the end of each strip, so with every hit it cut and pulled pieces of actual flesh from his body and remember “By HIS stripes we are healed”, he suffered that for us.

Then released he Barabas unto them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the WHOLE band of soldiers.

And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, Saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they led him away to crucify him.

And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; him they compelled to bear his cross.

And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, this is to say, a place of a skull.

They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

And they crucified him, and parted his garments(divided his clothes), casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, THEY PARTED MY GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND UPON MY VESTURE THEY DID CAST LOTS.

And sitting down they watched him there. And set up over his head his accusation written, JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

And they that passed by reviled (blasphemed) him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest in again in three days, save thyself, if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

Likewise the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others, himself he cannot save, if he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross and we will believe him.

He trusted in God ; let him deliver him now, if he will have him; for he said, I am the Son of God.

The thieves also which were with him, cast the same in his teeth (made the same comments)

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli lamasabachthani? that is to say, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME? 

Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elisas.

And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

Jesus, when he had cried with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost (died).” Matthew 27:26-50

You can read more details through studying the accounts of this in the four Gospels, including the salvation of one of the thieves, I encourage that, but as you read, you can see what he suffered and how these people did not fear God in the slightest, not only in crucifing Jesus but in their blasphemous words as he was dying.

We’ll check out the glorious resurrection next time and until then bless you, and if you have not accepted the gift Jesus has offered, what better time than now to accept him and accept the sacrifice of his blood that poured down.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson