BEACON

“Holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run my race in vain, neither laboured I in vain.” Philippians: 2:16

I was on my way home a few days ago and I passed by a church that I have passed  by probably thousands of times by now and I have often just truly marveled at its presence and beauty. Beauty that everyone NOTICES because this particular church looks likes something from a Hallmark movie.

It kinda meets you at the top of a steep, curvy road and suddenly there it is, absolutely beautiful with the backdrop of nothing but sky, it’s beautiful steeple adorned with the cross that just seems to almost kiss the sky as a beacon for tired and weary travelers as if to say “You are almost there” and once you have “topped” that little hill you then see green fields and gorgeous mountains and valleys in the backdrop and it is spectacular.

I always admire it but for some reason the other day, it just hit me, what a BEACON, what a sign of HOPE that is! The little church in the middle of nowhere, and the beautiful, unassuming, simple little cross speaking the most profound and ageless message of the of all time.

Holding forth in all of its simplistic but profound beauty the simple truth that we all need here on this earth.

The message so simple and that so often gets completely lost in all our debates and our deep philosophical studying of scriptures and theology as we vainly believe we need to understand something so much deeper that has already been revealed and revealed in such perfection that it is said “Even a child can understand” and we can lose sight of all that truly matters.

Jesus Christ. his birth, his life, his death, and his glorious resurrection and his soon coming reign on this earth.

That is the word to be held forth and as we know, “preaching of the cross IS foolishness to them that perish.”

But that scripture never said that by that token we should stop preaching it.

And believe me, I am not downing anyone here or their preaching, thoughts, or ministry.

I have had my share of carefully dotting every “I” and crossing every “T” for fear of ridicule and backlash from  those whom all in ministry suffer, “fruit inspectors” as my brother calls them, and we are to truly “know a tree by the fruit it bears” but there are times  when there are those who just want to core your apple and jerk out your seeds ONLY because they want to find anything possible to accuse you to the Lord and to “prove” to themselves that they were “right about you” and you were never “what you are supposed to be anyway” and you all know this because I know most of you have been through it.

Really doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as we make sure that it goes!

“Foolishness” to the world or not the cross MUST be preached, in the beauty, the simplicity, the pain, the sorrow, and above all the victory that the cross represents.

It also represents the love of the Holiest of beings, the Father of all of creation, who looked down in MERCY at those he had created watching them as they kick, punch, fight, and do every manner of evil and violence one toward another and in his supreme love, which goes so far beyond our human comprehension that we NOT even capable of understanding it he pitied us.

He knew we just did not get it, we just did not understand his plan and as the sin from the garden held hostage us all, Jesus came to this earth, in the most humble  way.

The virgin mother , the star and the shepherds and the host of heaven proclaiming his magnificent majesty as the king came to save his people that the Father had given from before the foundations of this world.

And God loved and still LOVES us that much!

So yeah, The Cross is STILL foolishness to them that perish, but it will STILL save them from perishing.

The Word is STILL life to those who hear it.

The Seed  IS still to be sown into hearts and lives that will one day gladly cultivate it.

He came, He lived as the perfect sinless Son of God and he dies as the spotless Lamb and one day He will return and He will reign for ever and ever as Sovereign King ETERNAL!

So “be” that little church, “be” that beacon a person who has been fighting battles that are all uphill as the troubles of this world so desperately needs to see

As you hold out that word of life, think about the awesomeness of this:

Psalm 89:9,10: “ALL the nations whom thou hast made SHALL come and worship before thee, O Lord; and glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things; thou art God alone.”

That word is already settled in heaven, just hold it forth and share it and wait patiently because it just a moment of time and in that twinkling of an eye that word shall come to pass, that is our hope and our comfort, it will ALWAYS come to pass!

Have a blessed week! Thanks for reading! Love & Peace till next time! Sister Nina

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2019/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

I love this song

 

 

Trying to handle the high places

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of years, in the midst of years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran, Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 

And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming from his hand (rays flashing from his hand); and there was the hiding of his power (his power hidden). 

Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.

He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow:  his ways are everlasting. 

I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction, and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.

Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers/ was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation

Thy bow was made quite naked  (bare), according to the oaths of the tribes, (oaths were sworn over your arrows) even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. 

The mountains saw thee, and the trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high.

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.

Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. 

Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundest the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neckSelah.

Thou didst strike through with his staves (his own arrows) the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. 

Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. When I heard, my belly (body) trembled; my lips quivered at thy voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up into the people, he will invade them with his troops.  

Although the fig tree shall NOT blossom, NEITHER shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive SHALL FAIL, and the fields shall yield NO meat (food); the flock shall be CUT OFF from the fold, and there shall be NO herd in the stalls: 

YET WILL I REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION. 

THE LORD GOD  (YHWH Adonai) IS MY STRENGTH, AND HE WILL MAKE MY FEET LIKE HIND’S (deer) FEET, AND HE WILL MAKE ME TO WALK UPON MINE HIGH PLACES… ” Habakkuk 3

Nothing quite like to “high places”, ever think about WHERE they really are?

They are the roads, valleys, paths, and foreboding cliffs that loom in the distance of this life.

And I love this prophets prayer because he remembers the power and majesty of the Lord.

He remembers that all of nature was created by him and bends to his eternal will.

He remembers that the moon and sun in all their brilliance stand still at his command. He remembers that all of creation declares his glory and shouts his praise and that all are held in the power of his hand.

He remembers God mighty display of sovereign rule over all the enemies of his people. He remembers that his word is those arrows that shoot forth and that we are to pray that word over all our troubles.

And YET he remembers in all things that even though things shall fail, even as Jesus cursed the fig tree and it did not bring forth, that all things of this life CAN and WILL sometimes fail, fall apart, or simply die on the vine, for whatever reason, that through it ALL  God is sovereign.

Through times of weakness, sickness, and lack spiritually, psychically, and even financially, and those high places of our lives are found there.

The high places of suffering, pain, regret, and absolute unfruitfulness no matter how hard we have tried or how much we have toiled that soil sometimes the ground seems so hard and unyielding that it refuses to let anything take root.

Could be we are just bad “farmers’ or could be a ground that wasn’t ours to farm. But as the prophet prayed, that he MIGHT REST during these troubles, these times, he gave us the secret to navigating those “high places”.

Not looking at those things that loom, set to swallow up, not looking down over those cliffs that we have just climbed, but looking to the author and finisher of our faith and looking to his JOY, the joy we can have in him, and the joy he TOLD us in his word to PRAY FOR. Adonai, LORD, MASTER of ALL, and HE IS.

And basically what he is saying is that EVEN when all these things go wrong, everything runs amok, that God is still God and that anything we are going through that he has allowed and has allowed to continue in our lives is for  a higher purpose, we are being led through those places and He is teaching us how to navigate those mountains, not painfully and clumsily, as we may be at the moment, but as agile hinds, that can leap effortlessly from peak to peak, because they have been created with that ability and that is what he wants to create in us.

That is why the prophet could have peace and DEVELOP this attitude, and he did develop while he was musing the thought, because he goes from horrifying fear, fear so strong that he trembled to the realization that it is all in God’s hands.

We say that, we declare that, but it is a wee different when IT IS ALL in his hands and we are truly helpless in our own efforts. We KNOW that we are, and we should be, but there are times that we are proven out on that.

Job 23:10: “But he KNOWETH the way that I take; when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.” 

Sometimes the hardest art of the journey comes in letting the realization set in that our plans are just that.. OUR plans and God never told us to make those, actually he said that he knows HIS PLANS for us, which of course are to give us HOPE and a future.

Sometimes the brook dries up and the ravens quit feeding us because it is time to go, like it or not, and times that we must go, and times that we are forced to go, such as Hagar, whom I love and if you have never read her story check it out EL ROI… wells in wilderness  if ANY human ever had a reason to complain, it was her, and even though she THOUGHT she had been thrown into the desert with her child to die, God showed her just how close he always is.

Now about that WAY spoken of by Job, just WHOSE way is it again?

2 Samuel 22:34-37: “As for God, his WAY is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried (proven); he is a buckler to all that trust in him.

For who is God, save (except it is) the Lord? and who is a rock, save (except for) our God? 

God is my strength and power: and HE MAKETH my WAY perfect (straight in him). He maketh my feet like hind’s feet:  and SETTETH me UPON MY HIGH PLACES. 

He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. 

THOU HAST ALSO GIVEN ME THE SHIELD OF THY SALVATION: AND THY GENTLENESS HATH MADE ME GREAT.

THOU HAST ENLARGED MY STEPS UNDER ME; SO MY FEET DID NOT SLIP.”

There is it… we may think we are climbing these mountains, that we are suffering these journeys but the reality is that as long as we may our best effort to follow him as he leads, he is doing a work within us and while he is doing that work, we have a promise, that he will NOT let us fall, and even when we feel that our feet are sliding and slipping, we are PROMISED that those steps are actually being DIVINELY enlarged as we walk that journey, in his gentleness and mercy, he is enlarging the way under us, even as we step, so that we will not fall through whatever crevice that we may happen up on. And our truest joy will be found there, in that blessed peace.

Love & peace till next time!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NB 2018