“Stay”

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God .

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but by my Father which is in heaven.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Then charged (commanded) he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

From that time forth began Jesus to shew (reveal) unto his disciples, how that he must  go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again on the third day.

Then Peter took him (took him aside), and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, (God be merciful unto you) Lord; this shall not be unto thee.”

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not (are not mindful of) the things that be of God.” Matthew 16:16-23

Very understandable that Peter would have this reaction once Jesus keyed them on on the fact that not only was he not going into hiding, but quite the opposite, he instead, would in deed stay the course, stay on the path that would lead him into Jerusalem and that he would not only be arrested and tortured by that he would also die and the words that they couldn’t quite “hear” were that he would rise on the third day. Peter couldn’t quite “hear” that victorious ending because the process that would lead to that victory was too dreadful for him hear and to dreadful for his “heart” to understand and Peter loved Jesus and he knew, as he had Jesus affirmed, that Jesus was indeed the promised one, the hope of all mankind sent from heaven itself to save us all and free us all and establish the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth.

Peter also knew that Jesus was blessed of God and carried a power clearly not of this world and that he was indeed exactly whom he claimed to be, the Son of the only living God.

So Peter could not understand, much less dare to believe that this things would befall Christ.

Also note that Jesus had just reaffirmed to Peter, and even to all of us who now read their exchange, one very important fact, Peter was blessed and yet a few passages down Jesus would have to rebuke, the line out and correct the thoughts of Peter, the one who was truly blessed of God but through his human understanding and love and compassion could express thoughts and ideals that were so contrary to the word and will of God that if Jesus could have (and he could not) have possibly been swayed by his friend into a different path, choosing a different course, it would not only negated and made void his entire ministry work and even his purpose for coming to earth but would have benefited the enemy, which is why Jesus pointed out clearly where this thought originated.

The devil would have loved this, if Jesus had changed paths, if he had “ran” that would have meant that there would have been no going back to Jerusalem, there would have been no arrest, there would have been no torture, no cross, and certainly no death upon that cross but also there would have been no way in the desert for those who are lost, there would have been no freedom for those in prisons of bodies, minds, and demonic bondage, there would be no healing bought by those stripes that he endured, there would be no peace for us all given to us because he hang on that cross, bearing our shame and sin and without his death there would be no salvation and certainly no hope for any of us because without his death which had to come, it had to happen, just as he said because it was the only way we could be restored unto him and his death was the only way to bring resurrection. 

We are experiencing a time in our world like nothing ever seen before, there have since the fall of man times of famine, peril, and plague but nothing that could be seen the world over, we as a people, globally connected as humankind, have found ourselves facing for the past weeks and continue to face with every day bringing uncertainty as numbers fall and rise and those that govern us try their very best to lead us and guide us safely as possible through a maze, that they themselves must also navigate, their own health and the health of their families and loved ones as vulnerable as for us all.

We are truly in this together as the virus has no prejudice, no politics, and it cannot be bought or sold, meaning the rich, the poor, anyone and everyone, it cares nothing of who we are or what we are because it only has one purpose to invade, to infect, and to spread.

And we are all faced with one very real and inevitable truth, ONLY God knows where this will stop or when it will end. And only God has the peace and the comfort that can protect our minds and our hearts and most of all our souls during this.

And only by focusing on what can come of it, even if it does not come for us, to be happy for those that can and will find fruits in the most horrendous, lowest, and darkest valleys. Families that once were the backbone of society and should be this was God’s plan, for families to be just that, a family, to stick together, be together, love one another and be bonded in that love but overtime and the “need” for both parents to work because governments have allowed inflation and prices to rise to the point that multiple incomes are often a necessity for families to survive, and this has came at a great price, the price of parents who really do not know their children and children who are missing out on a deeper relationship with the very people God chose to be the forefront of their lives, to teach them, guide them and love them.

And that is one thing that is going to come form this nightmare. A re connection of families, a re connection of what is truly important and time to get to know and really appreciate one another for who they truly are as a person not just the “title” they have in our lives.

And I want to give a couple of scripture to show just how important the family unit is in the opinion of God and this is one of the many reasons Jesus came to earth, he wants those relationships to built on love, respect, kindness, and above gentleness which are some of his attributes.

He doesn’t want families to built on iron fists, control, belittlement, and fear of retributions for making mistakes or “coming up short” in the view of over zealous parents.

And more than ever it is time to seek the Lord and it is good for people to have hope and encouragement but the only way we can access the promises of God is to serve God, and I mean truly serve God.

I do believe that that is something else that will become clear as we proceed through these times.

The true Gospel has has became so watered down that some really believe that the promises of God are just that, promises and that it requires nothing on our part but that is absolutely not true.

We must repent, we must be saved, and that means a conversion for our “old ways” into  a newness and a real relationship with Christ when also means keeping his commandments and keeping his word, all of that word, and then we are heirs to all his promises and can seek him, his shelter and his peace in these times.

God sent us his word as instruction to want he wanted to take place in the family unit.

Malachi 4:6: “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statues and judgments.

Behold, I will send Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come a smite the with curse.”

This prophecy went down over John the Baptist, as we”listen’ to the words that were spoken to his father Zacharias by the angel Gabriel, as he foretold the conception, and birth and divine calling upon the life of John as John would preach the Lamb of God.

Luke 1:10-17: ” And as the whole multitude of the people were praying without (outside) at the time (hour) of incense.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell on him.

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

And thou shalt have great joy and gladness; and many people shall rejoice at his birth.

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy ghost from his mother’s womb.

And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make a people ready (PREPARED) for the Lord.” 

John preached a revolutionary new (to them) message, He was to introduce them to their God, not as they had perceived him to be, with fury and judgement, but a God that was love, gentleness, and forgiveness a God that they we meet as a Lamb, the perfect sacrifice but also showing humans, himself what exactly it is that he expects us to be and how he wants us to behave with each other. That is why he wanted the hearts of children to parents and parents to children, this is how the family of God works.

If you read this for the beginning you will notice so very important facts, Zacahrias was alone praying and offering incense but there were many, many outside the temple praying at the time he was to offer that incense. God’ s timing is as he, perfect, always perfect, and in the midst of every trail, torment, that comes upon this earth God is there. God knew all of these things would come, God told Noah to build the ark, God told Abraham that his descendants would go into bondage and God told Moses that he would deliver the children.

No one liked any of those circumstances but we can read about the miraculous hand of God in each account.

The only difference is today we have so much, so much to do, so much technology and the ability to know and see through the internet the devastation that has came that it has brought a new level of fear and uncertainty and it is hard to remember when faced with numbers, graphs, and charts one truth that is timeless, ageless,a and will never  ever change, GOD IS STILL THE SAME.

God has always been and God will always be. Thousands of years have came and gone, rulers, kings, powers, and kingdoms , but it is still the same Jehovah God that created it all.

So to get to the title and make an end of this post (you were beginning to wonder, Is it ever going to end? 🙂 weren’t you?) Just kidding, laughter is merry medicine.

But seriously, we will make it, holding on to God, that does not mean that we not suffer losses but it means we will make it, we will make it home.

We will make it by staying the course God has given us through his word. According to the handy dandy Wikipedia, this was probably an old nautical saying, and here it is as copied directly from the internet “encyclopedia”, (better known as Wikipedia), it means this: “Stay the course” is a phrase used in the context of a war or battle meaning to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism

And the flip side to staying the course was this, the vessel had the option to “cut and run” meaning to hurry off by cutting the ropes and cutting free of the anchor.

We must stay anchored.

Hebrews 6:10-19: “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister.

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 

For when God made promises to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself. Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiply I will multiply thee.

And so, after he had endured, he obtained the promise.  for men verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an an end of all strife. 

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability (unchangeableness) of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.

That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consultation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope THAT IS SET BEFORE US. WHICH HOPE WE HAVE AS AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL, BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST, AND WITH ENTERETH INTO THAT WITHIN THE VEIL (Presence behind the veil).” 

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

“STAR”

 

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

That wondrous star that led the kings to the Messiah. Think how many times they were probably discouraged by those around them as they sought out the most ancient of signs from the most ancient of prophecies.

But they were being drawn by the divinely magnetic force of the universe, the same divine force that placed that heavenly light in the sky for all to see, but only these three understood the significance of it all, but the “pay off” for them, in the form of all the hopes, dreams, and diligence being rewarded as they were among the first allowed to worship the King.

How could they help but rejoice? And they rejoice they did, and that joy would have truly been beyond comprehension.  I am sure many go through that process of seeking, as Abram sought for a city whose builder and maker is God, many others sought out the path predestined and purposed deep inside their hearts long before birth, even placed there BEFORE the foundations of the world. The longing of their souls driving them to seek deeper and deeper into the knowledge and treasures of God as the world around breathes “delusional” and “brainwashed by religion.”

And as the “Christ” in Christmas grows harder to recognize in this world, even in churches with many now no longer holding “traditional” services, but these days were always honored for very good reason.  They are referred to as THE HOLIDAYS in reference to celebrating the HOLY DAYS. With all that goes on around us and all who try their best to discourage us that we are seeking pipe dreams and fairy tales, it is ever pressing to remember what the wise men sought.

I know it can be argued and argued as to the origins of the holiday season, but a couple of things remain true, the day was adopted as the celebration of the birth of Christ, the greatest event spanning time, universe, and all that is or ever will be.

When God overshadowed Mary with His glory, majesty, and everything that He is and placed in her the seed of Himself because humans had been tainted at the fall of Adam and even though we had been created in His image. The health, longevity, peace that God had intended they enjoy would now  through two people, at the badgering, beguiling voice of the serpent had now become tainted and polluted with sickness, sin, and death and the beautiful mercy and grace that should have been in us turned to wickedness and violence as the seed of the enemy was introduced into the human equation.

So on this beautiful, blessed night that heaven would kiss the earth and angels would proclaim the lullaby to end all lullabies mingled with humans HEARING the songs of heaven itself as they sang “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST”, the breach was repaired by the same means by which it had been destroyed when the absolute Holy of Holiest came through a vessel of purity and would allow the spiritual birth of a new kind, first fruits of the Father and of the Son, and those to be of the Kingdom yet to come.

Secular shows with their ideal of “comedic” nods to the nativity that actually are blasphemous, songs written in churches long ago as praise and glory now have parodied lyrics and among the parties, gifts, and feasting of our present day, the shepherds who stood in awe, the  angels whose heavenly appearance and song would have melted even the hardest heart, the obedient but ever rewarded wise men, and the glorious star who shone with incredible splendor are being quickly forgotten and are no longer welcomed in our popular society.

So as Christmas approaches think about that star, think about what has been seeded inside of YOU as a believer, think about what YOU can bring to the King in adoration and worship to Him when He has opened YOUR treasures, (secret there, HE IS the one who has given you the gifts that you give back to the Kingdom) His Royal gold, pure, tried and true word of God. His Myrrh, purification for our souls and His dying that IN HIM we live. His frankincense in intercession for all the world and all those created by Him and for Him.

And that glorious star that burns ever so brightly STILL today if you will only choose to see it. His glory that still visits earth, His glory that will ONE day be revealed to all. “ARISE, shine; for thy light IS come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” ISAIAH 60:1

Let HIS light SHINE on you and through you this season and all year. Remember it is about LOVE, COMPASSION, MERCY, and CHARITY to our fellow-man, not necessarily fellow family members.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more (brighter and brighter) unto the perfect day.” PROVERBS 4:18

As we KNOW HE IS that light that leads us as it led the others over two thousand years ago. And it will lead us into the ways of the Lord and it will lead us into that truly perfect day.

REVELATION 21:22-25: “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb ARE the temple of it. And the city had NO NEED of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: FOR THE GLORY OF GOD DID LIGHTEN IT, and THE LAMB IS THE LIGHT THEREOF.

And the nations of them which are saved SHALL WALK IN THE LIGHT OF IT; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: For there shall be NO NIGHT THERE.”

Don’t let the world steal your Christmas cheer with all the materialism that Christmas should cost a fortune, and if you can not afford the latest this or that, your family will be disappointed. Remember gifts are from the heart and the true price for Christmas was not paid for until Calvary and that was a gift none of us could have afforded to purchase.

Reports show that depression is at its height and the greatest numbers of suicides occur during the holidays, why? Because we have bought the lies of a Norman Rockwell family Christmas and lost sight of the TRUE meaning, we have made it a celebration for US and completely forgot about HIM. And I am not talking about people who have recently lost loved ones or been through some other horrific event, this is in reference to seasonal depression because we allow commercials and story books to convince us of the illusion of a holiday that nothing could ever measure up to.

No celebration in this world will ever live up to the true JOY and the true MEANING of REJOICING EXCEEDING, they were REJOICING in finding HIM! Shouldn’t we also? Once you have experienced the glory of the Lord in person and beheld the King in all HIS Majesty, and stood in His presence, (well, for the period that you are ABLE to stand) there WILL NEVER BE any event or reason to seek anything other than HIM.

So keep your head up, your ears deaf to the whispers of the merchants, your eyes turned away from all the “must have” gifts of the season and please, by all means FOLLOW THAT STAR!

May the Lord Bless you with a wonderful Christmas season filled with His love, mercy, grace and that His peace will be with you and yours!

Φλογιζω NBJ original post date 2016, revisited 12/01/2019

 

Related posts: Two turtledoves     Abiding in the fields     Hope        Golden      Mothers Love

 

“Patient reminder”

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing.” James 1:4

All the things that could be said of the need of patience, the most notable of all, “patience is a virtue”, and it truly is but there is so much more to such a simple thought.

And to get to that thought, we’ll back up on this passage a little bit.

“Listen” to his greeting carefully, as we go to James 1:1-3: “James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trails):  Knowing THIS, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience.”

And that patience that comes from those “tests” and  that trying and stretching of your faith, think of the saying “…would try the patience of a saint.” 

Jesus stressed this to us many times, even telling us “In your patience possess ye your souls.”  

James was in a sense telling us that those tough breaks, rocky roads, and crooked paths that we navigate in life, those “tests” are to be all counted as joy, and all that comes with being human, being alive, and are often simply “part of life” all those things are to be not so much as viewed as still images, each shot overwhelming in sight but more to be considered into the big picture of growing, developing, and becoming the men and women that God created us to be. And that is that perfection that will come from all that “trying”. 

The definition of perfection in Christ does NOT mean our definition of perfection, to be one hundred percent, to have absolutely no need of improvement.

From far from it, the spiritual  definition of perfection is to allow ourselves to be conformed to the will of God, to be “blameless”, meaning keeping a level head and clear thoughts even in the midst of times that are anything but peaceful. And notice that it is the “perfect” work that brings that “perfection” about.

Our true hope, as believers is not even IN this world, it is not in this life, it is in the eternal, a thought that seems silly to those who do not believe, but as a child of God, you know the truth, but during “trying” times it is so easy to lose sight of those things we can not see, that blessed assurance that there is so much more to our beings than living and dying.

And we can’t lose that hope, Hebrews 11: 34(c)-36: “…knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance (possession). Cast not away (Don’t throw it away) therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

So whatever you are “waiting” for, whatever you are believing for in your life and in your walk with Christ, keep waiting and keep believing.

And if does not turn out exactly as you had envisioned, never think that somehow means that God does not love you or that you are completely off base, life does indeed have  away of working out completely different that we would have ever imagined but nothing is ever surprising to God.

Don’t give up on your hopes, dreams, and desires of your ministerial heart.

Puzzles are nothing more than oddly shaped pieces scattered about until it is patiently and carefully put together to reveal a beautiful complex image and life is much the same and the reason some of those “pieces” are so oddly cut will remain a mystery on this earth and we will not have those answers until the day they are revealed by Jesus himself when he wipes every tear away.

But I will tell you this, the definition of patience is this:”the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

That my friends speaks for itself. I’ll leave you with the words of our favorite David. Psalm 25:13-14: ” I had fainted, (I would have given up) unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living

Wait (wait in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage (try you best to be positive), and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

May the Lord bless and keep you this week.

Rev. Nina Brown Johnson/Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2019

 

“Iron Mask”

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get the up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God!

Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand (strength), and his arm shall rule for  him: behold his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead  those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:9-11

I love Dumas, I love the Musketeers, I love the sword fights , I love the Chivalry, justice, honor, and especially mercy in mercy out policies that were a must for his heroes and use them a lot in my writing.

But my all time favorite is “The Man in the Iron Mask”, and the intrigue behind the actual person behind that legend. But my thought with it comes from a line from the movie version, my total favorite version of the movie is the one from the seventies starring Richard Chamberlain, I was ten and thought he was the most handsome man on earth, whom I was totally going to marry one day when I grew up 🙂

But anyway in the newer version after the foiled coup the good guy is captured again and as he makes his pleas to his sadistic psychotic brother to just kill him instead of putting him back in that mask and to which his evil twin rants and screams with no mercy.

And as strange a comparison that this may be it just reminds me of how the enemy and even ourselves can try to put us back into the iron mask that that God has delivered us from.

The mask that we either were fitted when we were bound by the shackles of that are sometimes just part of being born into this world, just as Jesus always taught us, and this world is full of evil and only through accepting his salvation , and his peace, can we allow his grace to guide our lives and above resting in the assurance that through him we can overcome and live for him so that we will with  him.

The mask that we sometimes find ourselves in when we are faced with difficulties so far beyond our control and pain that we just can’t deal with so we try our best to hide the hurt, the grief and function through life, at work at home or sometimes even at church. When we try our best to smile and “go on” when secretly inside, behind that mask we really just want to lay down and cry.

But God and life has a way of bringing us out of that because we tend to see “hiding” our emotions, “working past the pain” somehow as “protecting” ourselves, our hearts, when it truth it is the opposite of that, it is not about being “courageous” it is actually about fear and not so much as being brave but rather our human fear of being broken.

Jesus specializes in broken, in fact we have to be broken, broken from our thinking and our false sense of self reliance so that we can accept him and him he desires for us, which is to live a life authored and finished by him.

Trusting him in everything and trusting him in our pain and trials and being who he has created us to be and that can require moments and times of revealing our vulnerabilities to others around us and most of us are not ever entirely comfortable with that. And that uncomfortableness leads to fear and fear makes us want to hide.

2nd Timothy 1:7,8: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be thou not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel with me according to the power of God.”

God gave us liberty through his salvation, because as Jesus told us, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

And that truth is knowing in his word and knowing in him that this world and the suffering, pain, and sorrows is just a little while as Paul had described a “thorn in his flesh”, that the messenger of Satan had come to buffet (beat) him, as Paul went on to explain what translates to this, if he never went through troubles or faced difficulties or things he could not handle he would have became cold and exalted, and he would have never been effective as a representative of Christ.

 But because Paul did not hid from us (his future readers) or from those around him, his troubles and his pain, and most of all his vulnerabilities, he effectively allowed the power of God to manifest in his life and that power to effect others.

I want to remind us all again with 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: “For this thing I besought (PLEADED with) the Lord thrice (on three separate occasions) that it might depart form me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. 

Most gladly therefore will glory in my infirmities (weaknesses) that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress for Christ’s sake: for When I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Of course was by no means saying he loved trouble or going through all the turmoil that he did, but he is saying, to us, that by embracing the things he had no control over and seeing them in a different light and doing as we were commanded and “counting it all joy” that he discovered the true meaning of Christ with him and he and all around him saw the evidence of God’s power on his life.

And he wrote these words, and Jesus had him record these words to give hope and encouragement to those of the time, those who came before us and us now.

When God stripped away the “mask” of Saul, as Saul persecuted Christians and sought to destroy the church through violence, hatred, and self righteous, he became Paul and the power of God gave him the ability to show the vulnerability of his true face, the man God had created him to be and God removing that hard, unyielding, “iron” covering  allowed him to effectively minister to others through the revealing of his own struggles.

This was the “pleasure” he took in that, he knew God would prove strong and he knew that this would encourage others to embrace who they were and embrace the Gospel for the truth that it is.

Jesus brought us out of darkness into his glorious light so that we could be light and once that light has broken those “iron masks” that use we hid behind, we must be very careful to not allow the devil, the world, and most of all, our own flesh to cover us again with that unyielding iron.

Embrace who you are, embrace all the struggles of life that have made you who you are, don’t ever feel like you have to be “strong” and don’t ever let anyone make you feel “weak” for being vulnerable, because we you are at your breaking point or if you have already broke that it when you are shielded, covered, and surrounded by the absolute glory and absolute power of the only, living, Holy God and this is why scripture refers to God making our face to shine, in doing so you will shine his light to others giving them hope and courage to embrace the freedom to take off their own masks.

John 8:36: “IF the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” And your freedom will inspire others.

2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is  that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

But we all, with open face (uncovered, bare face) beholding as in a glass (as looking in a mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed (being transformed) into the same image from glory to glory, even, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

You can see from these verses that God is telling us that as we are saved we are changed through his Spirit giving us freedom as we are being processed, changed, through the process of life, and all the difficulties that come with that are actually being used for our good to transforms us as God desires. 

We have to consciously remember his word and  keep that word on our mind and apply that word to our hearts, for example when Jesus said that He would never forsake us, that means  he will never forsake us.

When the Bible promises that no weapon formed against will prosper, that means that no scheme or plot has power to destroy you, it may feel like you are going to be, but you will not be, because God sees  with the eyes of eternity. And we must apply his promises to our lives every single day.

If we fail to do that, we can easily get off course and forget what we once knew.

We go to James 1:23-25: “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass (looking in a mirror).

For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was (glances in the mirror, leaves and forgets what kind of man he even is).

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty (freedom), and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man is blessed in his deed.”

God gave us two views of  the same issue, we can look honestly or we can give it a quick glance  a note that we are after all, “just human” and go our way and completely forgetting who God called us to be and forgetting his promises and just give up and be quickly lead into the temptation of not particularly liking “what” we see staring back at us and putting ourselves back into a mask that God  had already removed. And that is not his desire or his purpose for any of us.

So today I want to encourage you to BE who God says you are. And LIVE how he told you to live, and this one is a hard one, when everyone around you is fitting in and hiding their faces behind the masks they feel comfortable in, let Jesus shine through you and let the pain, the scars, be visible because someone else NEEDS to see them.

Let them see his gentleness lead you in his paths!

Rev. Nina Brown Johnson  2019 / Φλογιζω NBJ 2019

If you have never heard this please do, I believe it will bless you, probably make you cry but those tears are precious to God!

 

 

 

 

“Gazingstock”

1 CORINTHIANS 4:9-13: “For I think that God hath set forth (displayed) us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death; for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to the angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake ( the world opinion) but ye are wise in Christ; we ARE weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we ARE despised.

Even unto the present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked (poorly clothed), and ARE buffeted (beaten) and have no certain dwelling place; and labour, working with our own hands: BEING reviled, we bless; BEING persecuted, we suffer (endure) it. BEING defamed (slandered) we entreat (encourage): we ARE made the filth of this world, and ARE the offscouring of all things unto this day. ”

We often think of the Apostles as almost super human, almost as if, had they needed to, they could have run through stone buildings.

We are half right, considering that they, with the exception of Paul hung out with Jesus and SAW Him ascend into heaven and combined they were FREED by angels, SAW demons cast out and SAW the dead resurrected back to life.

BUT the super part belonged to the LORD the other is just human!
As we read the verse above, nothing about that sounds glamorous, or remotely desirable as a life style and these are the things we often forget.

I truly believe that this is what causes so many “new” Christians to slip and some seasoned ones to misplace their robes and end up wearing a coat made of jade 

For the most part it is preventable.

Once we accept Christ, and especially if we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have that wonderful newness.

Everything IS brand new, WE ARE New but then life, emotions, and the enemy come and often no one has ever told the “new” person that what they are going through is NORMAL for the course and no one helps them through that maze and they end up lost in it and give up even trying to find their way home.

The second group comes into play, as often having a fight with hell all the way to the altar and sometimes passed the altar and into the water because they have a call on their life.

And once they do make it “in” that fight only intensifies and I really, really wish I could give a “one word will make it all go away” answer right here.

BUT it does not exist.
Once this particular spiritual warfare has been engaged, it can not be disengaged because:
#1. The calling of God on lives is determined before birth and “they do not expire until we do.”
#2. Giving up is not an option, you will lose your salvation, and everything you have ALREADY fought through will have been for nothing.
#3. Outside of the will of God and without His protection, satan will chew you up and spit you out.
#4 Your fall will affect every single person you love and all those whom you were to minister to.
#5 THE most important reason is that JESUS died for you and saved you and He will NEVER let you be tested beyond what you can handle and a servant can not be above His Master, to reign with Christ we must suffer with Christ.
“Think It not strange…” sometimes battles are so fierce and dark that you can not even see daylight but you must remember you war against principalities and powers of the air.

I don’t know how I would have ever made it had God not blessed me with the people he did in my life and ministers that would share their own personal battle stories and some so hard to fathom, that my problems would pale in comparison.

Without the knowledge that these things happened to people whom I knew were Godly and doing their best in their walk, I could have never kept my head above water, I held onto every single word and would remember their stories and how they got through it and that they were still standing and that I serve the same God.

HEBREWS 10:32,33: “But call to remembrance the former days, in which after ye were illuminated (enlightened), ye ENDURED a GREAT FIGHT OF AFFLICTIONS (struggle with sufferings); partly, (in part) whilst ye were made a GAZINGSTOCK (SPECTACLE) BOTH BY REPROACHES AND AFFLICTIONS (tribulations) and partly (in part) whilst YE BECAME COMPANIONS OF THEM THAT WERE SO USED (treated).

What can we say there?

The days after your salvation, such a GREAT FIGHT with sufferings and troubles. You were as one that the world would look at and stare upon, as one in medieval stocks for the entire village to mock and ridicule.
Reproaches of those who laugh at your salvation and the enemy who questions “Where is your God now?”

But it is due in part so that YOU CAN become who you are to become in Christ.

1 PETER 1;4-8,10: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding GREAT and PRECIOUS promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And beside (along with) this, giving ALL DILIGENCE, ADD to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge: AND to knowledge temperance ( self-control); AND to temperance patience; AND to patience godliness; AND to godliness brotherly kindness; AND to brotherly kindness CHARITY ( love).
FOR if these thing be in you (are yours) and abound, they make you that YE SHALL NEITHER BE BARREN NOR UNFRUITFUL IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Wherefore the rather brethren, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: FOR IF YOU DO THESE THINGS YE SHALL NEVER FAIL.”

So you have heard it from Paul and you have heard it from Peter, now they are some pretty reliable sources!!!

All these things WILL work to your good and all these things WILL produce every quality needed to be productive in the Kingdom of God.
If you are “new” please stay close and active in a good Bible believing church, read along with them, find ministers that you enjoy hearing and enjoy the word, don’t pressure yourself or let anyone else pressure you, the only opinion of you that should matter is God’s and He is awesome and will teach you all things.

Find a good prayer partner that you can trust, that can pray with you when life comes at you or temptation comes calling and if you fall of the boat, repent and get back on the boat!

And keep trying, IT WILL GET BETTER and IT WILL GET EASIER.
If you are in group two, seek the old paths and surround yourself with prayer warriors and try to spend time with older ones who have been there and done that and they WILL encourage you and give you godly advice that is imperative to stay on track in your calling.

And the best news is this, once you successfully war against an attack of the enemy, he will no more use that same weapon, because it is no longer effective.

Once you make it through a tough battle you will soon find that the battle made you stronger and you will be able to stand against attacks that would have put you out earlier in your ministry.

You will also be better at seeing attacks coming and be prepared more easily, not to say there will never be blind sides, but when it is said and done, you will be glad you stayed the course, because medals are not just given, they must be won.
Φλογιζω NB/2016

! Original post 02/2016.  Still battling blue screen, Please check out this blast from posts past!🐦

 

 

 

 

“CAVES” Part 2 “Cavin’ with Dave”

“He that is our God IS the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues (escapes) from death.” Psalm68:20

As the Lord asked Elijah what he was doing, and Elijah answered, the Lord called him out of the cave, where He then showed a magnificent display of His power, I believe to try to snap Elijah out of it with the remembrance of WHO was truly on his side. He spoke to Elijah in a quite soft voice asking him again (1 Kings 19:13) ” What are you doing here?” Elijah again word for word gave him his reason and it is so clear the main reason he became discouraged was the solitude. He became so distraught and discouraged that he could no longer see the majesty, the power that would slay his enemy.

He KNEW  it he just lost his ability to continue the fight. You will notice with these passages that God asked TWICE and after that he gave Elijah instruction for turning over his assignment to Elisha. God will not override our wills, it was not his idea for Elijah’s work to come to this end and He showed extreme mercy in how He dealt with him.

This can be proven through the account of Jonah, who just bucked on God and decided he just was not doing what God had commanded him to do and after he found himself in the belly of as he put it “hell”. He found it to be in his best interest to do as he had been asked and even by the end of the book he was still all mad at God and I have never found anything else on what finally became of him.

So you can see there was a complete difference in what was going on in these guys by the difference of how God dealt with them.  As we all know Elijah did not die, he was taken and in my personal opinion, just a little rest, a little reprieve until time to come back to this earth as one of the two witnesses described in Revelation. His work has not been completed. It does prove mercy toward our messed up worn out human minds and half broken spirits. and that we can make OWN ON DECISION to “die” in the cave.

David also did some caving, like Elijah he felt mortal fear. the very real threat of King Saul trying to kill him. Whereas I think Elijah just didn’t want to deal with Jezebel, I think he was tired of fighting the whole bunch. {Complete unrelated side note here, I do love what Jesus said about Jezebel in the book of Revelation, He refers to her as “That woman, Jezebel” and notes that He gave even her a chance to repent, she just evidently did not accept it. Worth thinking about when the devil tries to tell people that they have been too “bad” to be saved.}

Back to David, here he is, he has already BEEN anointed to be King over Israel but as it looks now, if he dares show his face, he will never be King because Saul is very intent on “making a memory outta him.”  Now the funny thing about caves is that sometimes what your hiding from can end up in that cave with you!

 1 Samuel24:3 : ” And he (King Saul) came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a CAVE; and Saul went in to cover his feet ( attend his needs): and DAVID AND HIS MEN REMAINED IN THE SIDES OF THE CAVE.” Now David’s men were ecstatic and told him this was a divine appointment to take out his enemy but David saw it an a chance to sow some mercy and trust the Lord and would not kill Saul. Instead he cut off a piece of his clothing to prove to Saul just how close he had been and that if he wished him harm he could have nailed him right there. But even in doing that he felt guilty, because vengeance IS God’s and sometimes that is hard for us to remember but David passed this one.

  Now, how he got through his cave experience, he REMEMBERED what God tried to make Elijah see and he thought upon these things and this was his daily bread. This is some of what he actually wrote while in the cave.

Psalm 57: 1-3  “BE MERCIFUL UNTO ME, O GOD, BE MERCIFUL UNTO ME:  for MY SOUL TRUSTETH IN THEE:  yea, IN THE SHADOW OF THY WINGS WILL I MAKE MY REFUGE, UNTIL these calamities be overpast (passed by). I WILL cry unto God most high: unto God that performeth all things for me. HE SHALL SEND FROM HEAVEN, AND SAVE ME FROM THE REPROACH OF HIM THAT WOULD SWALLOW ME UP. SELAH. GOD SHALL SEND FORTH HIS MERCY AND TRUTH.” 

His strongest assets were that he KNEW the power of prayer and praise. Even though we view him as someone who was so close to God (and he was) who could kill lions and bears (and he did) and someone who could hit a giant head on and take that head, someone who walked in the anointing and presence of God, but still he was exactly what we are, HUMAN and he also became afraid, troubled, and discouraged but here is his cry, let it be ours:

Psalm 55:1-8: “Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not thyself from my supplication. attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn (wander) in my complaint, and make a noise; BECAUSE of the VOICE OF MY ENEMY, BECAUSE of THE OPPRESSION OF THE WICKED: for thy cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. MY HEART IS SORE PAINED WITHIN ME: AND THE TERRORS OF DEATH ARE FALLEN UPON ME, FEARFULNESS AND TREMBLING ARE COME UPON ME, AND HORROR HATH OVERWHELMED ME. And I said, oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I FLY AWAY AND BE AT REST. LO, THEN WOULD I WANDER FAR OFF, AND REMAIN IN THE WILDERNESS. SELAH. I WOULD HASTEN (SPEED UP) MY ESCAPE FROM THE WINDY STORM AND THE TEMPEST.”

Yeah, KING DAVID, the mighty warrior to end all warriors, who throne IS established FOREVER, whose words written in his place of anguish still shine as a mighty light THOUSANDS of years later.

He was scared, he was tired, and he very much wanted to run away to escape all these things and NEVER return again. Sometimes so do we. Next time we will listen closely and try to hear the words of the KING OF KINGS as HIS voice resonates into our own caves, as He calls us out, our souls feeding on the bread of life, His word and His promises. 

Φλογίζω NBJ 2016

Original post date: 01/16/2016 *Revisited 06/27/2019*

 

CRAWLING OUT OF THE CAVE #1

“But he answered and said, It is written MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.” Matthew 4:4

Not only as Christians but just as humans we go through many seasons in life and all these seasonal changes can often leave us  disillusioned, drained, despondent and the most dreaded and deadly of the “D” words, discouraged. It rains on the just and the unjust and that is THE “go to” scripture for all who are weary and when winds blow and the devil wants to convince us that if we were right we wouldn’t be going through this.

But again we all know that he IS the liar of all liars and everyone born upon this earth will suffer heartache whether they choose to follow Jesus or not. As a watchman who no longer has a tower and now sits perched upon a precariously wobbly wall only hoping that the shouts reach the ears of those for which they are intended, I can more than ever relate to all of the above. 

January 2015 my Dad was hospitalized and it really did not look like he was going to make it, before going to visit him one morning I got prayer and I had never before nor have I since received a word at that particular church. Of course my nerves were a whole new level of shot and after the service a man came back and told me that when they had been praying he had received a word for me, and it was that 2015 WOULD BE a good year for me, I knew by the delivery of the message and the eyes of the messenger, that it translated to this, there would be NO time during the coming year that it would FEEL good and that NO MATTER what IT looked like or how trying it became that somehow in the spiritual realm it would be working for a greater purpose and all in all in the book that God keeps of all our lives that it would be recorded as a positive.

I think we tend to look at prophecy sometimes as we wish to see it and not so much as what GOD IS TRYING TO TELL US!

It is often something we may not want to hear but had we not known it we have lost hope and the dreaded “D” word would lead us straight back out into the world under bondage to the other “D” word.

I thank God for the word he sent me, it kept my eyes focused through an extremely painful year. My Dad had also received a word at the worst of his illness that his work was not quite finished and had he not received that, he may have not had the will to go on.

But still sometimes enough wind, enough rain, and just enough cold from feelings of disconnection can turn us to cave dwellers. We like to believe it is a place of shelter, a place of rest, and most of all a surrounding to block out all those nasty attacks and the only way they can get us is head on and we will be able to see that coming.

Right? Well, no, Not quite, caves are very dark, isolated, and filled with bones of whatever had made it a prior shelter and never made it back out, and your not going to get much rest if you have to always keep watch for fear of what is going to come through that “door”.

Elijah tried it, 1st Kings 19, God had already done mighty, mighty works through Elijah, really think about seeing this with your own eyes, FIRE FALLING FROM HEAVEN, PROVISIONS THAT WOULD NOT FAIL, A HUMAN FED BY  RAVENS,THE DEAD RAISED TO LIFE. And yet even he, who had absolutely NO DOUBT anywhere in him concerning the power of God. He ran for his life, he had became so weary that he just wanted it all over and just wanted to go home.

God always patient and merciful sent an angel to feed him and strengthen him, showing us as always God knows right where we are, even when he did not send us in that direction and even though he continued on his emotionally self propelled journey God provided for him. Once he made it through the forty day journey and found the refuge of his cave the Lord asked very point blank “WHAT DOEST THOU HERE ELIJAH?”  After Elijah gave his reasoning to the Lord GOD CALLED HIM OUT OF THE CAVE.

Now God gave a rather majestic display of His power and might over all the universe, and sometimes we also could use a refresher course.   ALL POWER IN HEAVEN AND EARTH.

Psalm 97:1-6 “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation (FOUNDATION) of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. HIS lightnings enlightened the world: THE EARTH SAW, AND TREMBLED. THE HILLS MELTED LIKE WAX AT THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, AT THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD OF THE WHOLE EARTH. THE HEAVENS DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THE PEOPLE SEE HIS GLORY.”

 

ISAIAH 45-5-7 “ I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: THAT THEY MAY KNOW FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN, AND FROM THE WEST, THAT THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME. I AM THE LORD, AND THERE IS NONE ELSE. I FORM THE LIGHT, AND CREATE DARKNESS: I MAKE PEACE, AND CREATE EVIL (CALAMITY): I THE LORD DO THESE THINGS.” 

ISAIAH 54:16  “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument (weapon) for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.” 

This is the power that created the universe. The voice that spoke everything into existence. The one who named the stars and flung the into existence. The sun and moon will cower in His presence and the very mountains will flee from before Him. Heaven is His throne and earth is but His footstool.

And all nations and people will bow before Him and the same small voice who spoke to Elijah is still that same voice that speaks to us today. He is calling us out of the caves and His word is the way.

Please join me next time, Lord’s will, and we’ll look at David’s caving and follow up with that voice and the word of his promises that will help us see a brighter day OUTSIDE of the cave.

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2016

Original post date: 01/14/2016 to read the remainder of this series, please check out: “CAVES” Part 2 “Cavin’ with Dave”

“RESONATE”Crawling out of the cave #3