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!

Ever blooming….

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken (caught) in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering THYSELF, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. If a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto (share with) him that teacheth in all good things.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of his flesh reap corruption; and he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:1-9

I love these verses but to start us off thinking about the beginning… if we see our brother or sister struggling, hurting, and sinking in the waters of their battle IT IS OUR JOB to help them up. IT IS OUR JOB to do whatever we can to help with those burdens, that behavior, or whatever trail or temptation they have come under.

And this verse is not to the world.. this verse is to THOSE WHO ARE SPIRITUAL, He is telling us that THIS is our job, not just pray for them but to actually HELP them. 

Our next instruction in this is, for US to go to them in the SPIRIT of meekness, meaning gently and humbly and in no way pulling a “holier than thou” or “stronger than thou” attitude on them because we are to CONSIDER OURSELVES, our own well-being because even if we aren’t in a battle at the time, how we treat others during their battles can ACTUALLY BRING ABOUT A HORRIFIC BATTLE IN OUR OWN LIFE.

Bearing each others burdens instead of turning a blind eye and questioning their salvation and Christianity, their relationship to God, such as Jobs “friends” reacted the attack the devil waged against him. They BLAMED Job, belittling, accusing, and chastising him unmercifully, while arrogantly proclaiming their own self-righteousness.

Which completely explains the next verse, FALSELY believing that we have it all together and pride fully accusing others that their struggles are solely caused by their SHORTCOMINGS in spiritual things.

We must prove our own work, again knowing that God knows our hearts and our intentions whether others wish to misconstrue those intentions or not. It should be none of our concern because people are going to think what is in THEIR hearts to think anyway, and they are going to make those judgments against us based on again, what looks right and sounds right to THEM, not always what is the truth.

We just have to learn to let that go because we can’t change people only God has that power and they have to want that change. That is why we are also told in scripture: 

He that reproveth (tries to convince of truth) a scorner (SCOFFER) getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh (admonish, scold) a wicked man getteth himself a blot (ONLY HARMS HIMSELF). Reprove NOT a scorner, LEST HE HATH THEE: rebuke a wise man and he will LOVE thee.” Proverbs 9:7,8

Pretty self-explanatory, when we try to talk to them about something for the good, they will only get mad and hate us and we in turn can become angry at them, thereby only hurting ourselves!  We are only to try reason with a WISE man because he will accept that reason and appreciate us for it.

I recently found myself in a situation because I had decided to not attend a funeral for a person who had really come against my family concerning our faith (or rather their perceived lack thereof ) during the terminal illness of my late brother. I could feel the vibes of hurt and “How can you be so cold” coming straight my way from someone after the fact.

And I truly thought about giving my reasoning but it was pointless to do so. The person who died had apologized, apologies had been accepted and even with that, for me to have went would have been tasteless and I think even more nerve wrecking for the loved ones and for me because the enemy would be very convincing to all that my intentions of being there were not for condolence purposes, because he died from the same disease that killed my brother. What could I have said if I had went? What could I have possibly done, when in my self I knew going to it would have only brought back the same old pain of holding my brother’s dead body asking myself questions that had been put in my head by the enemy. I had prayed and prayed and prayed and had faith and I know he died because it was his time, but it is hard to remember all that once something gets in your head deep enough. I also know that we can pray and pray and have faith and yet it does not always go the way we would want but it does not mean that God does not love us or that we have “caused” their death rather than their healing, because we are “faithless”. Bringing all that back up would help no one and even dealing with the thought only causes grief.

I have no joy in his death, my heart breaks for his family for what they have endured and the mourning that follows and I just thought the best thing to do was to do nothing, not even acknowledge it and not give any one a reason for my absence, and pray and hope that it was the right decision. Sometimes things are just better left alone.

And as much as I don’t want people hurt and mad at me, I am planting my own garden.. every day with what I say, what I do.. and how I treat others. We all are and we have to really think about what we would want to grow.

The garden of life holds many varieties of beautiful plants, our hopes, dreams, and goals that grow and take root. The beautiful flowers that are our family, friends, loved ones and pets, all different, all bringing different experiences, memories, and treasures to our life. The spices of joy, peace, happiness, even when mingled with the bitter still create our existence that will always be unique to us and our life. 

But of all that we plant and the one thing that should be ever blooming in the garden of our life is kindness. Kindness is free, it costs us nothing to share a smile and share a hug and in showing kindness we can bear one another’s burdens.

Kindness can break through even the most concrete walls that surround the most wounded soul, and kindness is the sunshine that melts away the frost covering even the most frozen heart.

And when we sow in kindness and understanding to another, even when we ourselves can become stretched thin, we are sowing  into a garden that we will reap bountifully from, because when we need it the most, it will bloom, it will prosper, and we will reap abundantly of those good things, but only, only IF we have planted them into another’s life.

Romans 12:10: ” Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” as the saying goes, we never know what another is going through and we can use that opportunity to judge and harm or we can use that opportunity to encourage and lift up.

The choice is ours but the garden we plant is also ours and we are the ones that will be left with whatever takes root and grows there, so let’s plant with love, and mercy, understanding, and patience and only send out what we want to have returned to us.

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed weekend!

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

 

 

Willful Words

“Set a watch (guard), O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my mouth” PSALM 141:3

Most honorable of prayers and desires of the Lord. Our words truly can be of life or of death as the Bible so clearly tells us. Ours words can hold encouragement and hope and our words can tear down and destroy. We are also told that by and through the words of God we are kept from the destroyer, but how about we our OWN words can be that vehicle of destruction?

This is truly not about “speaking over”, although I do believe we should speak hope over all things and it is not a hit on lashing out, God knows I have made more than enough mistakes with my own mouth and immediately felt such conviction that there wasn’t a rock I could hide under and we all know that sorry, no matter how sincere those words are, can never go back and change the hurt that has been done.

No, this about the need for us to be so careful, so thoughtful in ALL we say, and taking a moment, especially in times of hurt, sorrow, and anger to just not say anything because those gushed out words of woe will undoubtedly come flying back home, when we least want to be visited. It is not just anger, it is times of “lack” and confusion and the temptation to pronounce all sorts of horror over your own life, especially in the areas of that it has always been that way and always will be that way and that alone is defeat and it is not the devil’s doing, maybe he is pulling the strings but when you feel that tug, think of Jesus and SPEAK not a word.

Again, I am not into the “speaking” thing, if  a request is NOT God’s will, we can “speak” until the cows come home and it is still not going to happen. But we do need to be careful not to speak discouragement because that is the first sign of “heart” trouble, we are only relying what we feel, but we can’t afford to feel failure and defeat, because it will “become us”. 

“My son, if thou be surety (collateral) for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art SNARED with the words of thy mouth, thou art TAKEN with the words of thy mouth.” PROVERBS 6:1,2

We can be snared, trapped, and hindered by our own words and words spoken with, to, and on the behalf of others. I want to show you the power of these proclamations, the regret, and the unbreakable bind they do bring.

First, we’ll go to the book of Judges and learn the valuable lesson of WAITING on the Lord and not prematurely vowing things to Him, God loves us, it is His good pleasure to give us victories, even maybe when victories don’t look exactly like we thought they would, but this story is a good warning to all of us.

Jephthah wanted victory and he wanted assurance of that victory, JUDGES 11:30-35: “And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, if thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands.

Then shall it be, that WHATSOEVER cometh forth of the doors of MY HOUSE to MEET ME, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, SHALL SURELY BE THE LORDS, AND I WILL OFFER IT UP FOR A BURNT OFFERING.”

Needless to say, he had his victory, but GOD HAD NEVER ASKED HIM TO MAKE A VOW, remember that, this was his own freewill that had been talking, drop down to verse thirty-four:

“And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto HIS HOUSE, and behold, HIS DAUGHTER CAME OUT TO MEET HIM with timbrels and with dances; and SHE WAS HIS ONLY CHILD; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

And it came to pass, when he saw her, he rent (tore) his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art as one that trouble me: FOR I HAVE OPENED MY MOUTH UNTO THE LORD, AND I CANNOT GO BACK.”

He was bound by his words, words that were never required of him but tragically binding nevertheless. Many other examples, but I want to use this one:

MARK 6:17-26: “For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias sake, his brother Philip’s wife, for he had married her (so it was to appease her) For John had said unto Herod, it is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.

Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him, but she could not, For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy (holy man) and observed (protected) him, he did many things, and HEARD HIM GLADLY. 

And when a CONVENIENT day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, and pleased Herod and THEM THAT SAT WITH HIM, the king SAID unto the damsel, ASK OF ME WHATSOEVER THOU WILT, AND I WILL GIVE IT TO THEE.

And he SWARE unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt asked of me, I will give thee, up top half the kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by (at once) in a  charger (on a platter) the head of John the Baptist.

And the King WAS EXCEEDING SORRY: yet, FOR HIS OATH’S SAKE and FOR THEIR SAKES THAT SAT WITH HIM, HE WOULD NOT REJECT (refuse) HER.” 

And we all know that would be the earthly end of the prophets prophet and a sorrow even today. But do you notice that it was a “convenient” time for the evil to break forth and notice that Herod had SAID this in front of all his friends and also that because of HIS word and the fact that he had spoken and given his promise in front of them, HE HAD TO LIVE UP TO THAT VOW. He had GLADLY listened to John and was keeping his wife happy by locking him up but he was also keeping John alive and through his OWN mouth, he signed John’s death warrant.

ECCLESIASTES 5:4,6: “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer (delay) not to pay it; for his has no pleasure in fools; pay that which thou hast vowed. BETTER IS IT THAT THOU SHOULDEST NOT VOW, THAN THAT THOU SHOULDEST VOW AND NOT PAY.

SUFFER NOT THY MOUTH TO CAUSE THY FLESH TO SIN;NEITHER SAY THOU BEFORE THE ANGEL (messenger) THAT IT WAS AN ERROR (mistake), WHEREFORE SHOULD GOD BE ANGRY AT THY VOICE (excuse) AND DESTROY THE WORKS OF THINE HANDS?

Scary business? We’ve been given the stories above and many others that we could go to prove just how scary it is and the one making the vows wasn’t the only one that suffered the consequence.

Whether it is anger, distress, hurt, passion, whatever the reason do not let your own words cause the train wreck that destroys your own happiness. Never say never, as the saying goes because what we stubbornly proclaimed we would never do is usually the very first thing that happens.

God NEVER asks for deals, it is easy in the moment to promise a list of works you will complete on His behalf in gratitude for salvation, BUT HE DOES NOT ASK YOU TO DO THAT, so don’t.  For your own good.

Unless it is something that you know you can only give up by vowing it to him and are willing to honor that promise, because it can be quite a deterrent to a hard to overcome behavior. But don’t think you have to vow to get something, God blesses you BECAUSE that is His nature toward His children. 

Be patient, We are all works in progress.. let Him work and see the goodness of God, IN HIS TIME, he “maketh rich and addeth no sorrow with it” so don’t let words and actions add sorrow that He had never intended.

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016