“Simply Blessed”

“BLESS the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, Bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases;

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satiisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment (justice) for those who are oppressed.

He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

The Lord is merciful, and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

He will not always chide (strive): neither will he keep his anger for ever.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; neither rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as heaven is high above earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Like a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

For he knoweth our frame (human condition);he remebereth that we are dust.

As for man, his days are as grass: as the flower of the field, so se flourisheth.

For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know (remember) it no more.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness upon children’s children.

To such as keep his covenant, and those that remember his commandments to do them.” Psalm 103:1-19

We often think of blessing as asking the Lord to bless us, or bless those we care for, or have a need, and he does truly bless us and those we seek him on behalf of.

But what about when we bless him? When we give praise and honor to him and his Holy Name.

When we worship in his presence in that secret place of our prayer closet bringing all of our gratitude, not only for what he has done but for who he is.

When we begin to bless him, we then are blessed in him and in his presence, his mercy and grace, forgiveness, and healing, even renewing us, repairing the damages caused by the years of toil and strife of years of life lived without him.

He will repair all that has been broken, he will restore the years the cankerworm has eaten away, he will give the oil of joy for mourning, and he will renew not only your strength as the eagle’s but renew your youth.

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

As you bless him you will be the one who is truly blessed!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2022/ Rev. N. Brown Johnson

 

“Enough for Today”

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought (Do not worry) for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat (food), and the body more than raiment (clothing)?

Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are you not much better than they? 

Which of you, by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? And why take ye thought (worry about) for raiment?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed (clothed) as one of these.

Wherefore if God so clothed the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore take no thought (do not worry) , saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil (trouble) thereof.” Matthew 6:25-34

I love birds, all birds, it fascinates me to no end how God used the dove to bring back the olive branch to Noah to let him know it was now safe to resume life on earth, and that he used the ravens to feed Elijah during the famine. and the Holy Spirit in the bodily form as a dove resting on Jesus, and now forever the world’s symbol of peace, and even the super scary bird supper that takes place as the book of Revelation is fulfilled.

They are simply beautiful and to just listen to their songs in the morning and some even sing at night. 

Today I looked outside and noticed on my steps a darling little brown bird, I have no idea what kind, maybe a sparrow, I know some of them super well but others, not so much 🙂 and this little bird had hanging dried weeds out on both side of its beak, just bouncing on the step, looking around, making sure no predators were watching, quite obviously in the process of making a nest, planning for its future family.

I on the other hand, like most of us, had been pondering the craziness of our government (as I do often) and after reading that it had been recommended to start stockpiling food, I started seriously questioning whether or not people should start buying in bulk and stockpiling food and other items for their families and to have it to share if the worst case scenario should occur.

And then I thought about the literal starvation the world over much thanks to Putin who is determined to go down in history, but he is sure not going to go as he thinks, h evil be remember not, as the Great Czar he so wished to be but as a diabolic monster that destroyed millions, maybe billions of lives by the time all is said and done.

The constant threat of nuclear weapons over our heads, food will be a moot point.

How can we worry about all these things? Jesus said it best, as Gentiles, this is our logic.

We all are worried and concerned, gas prices, food prices, sickness, babies not even having formula in what is supposed as the richest country on earth, and looming threats of biological, chemical, and possible nuclear assaults is trying enough to make the most optimistic person think twice.

Then the scripture hit, “consider the ravens” which is how it is written in Luke 12:24, we worry and we worry, and often as my Mom always said, over things that never even happen.

As Jesus said, tomorrow will take care of itself.

We often buy trouble worrying about tomorrow and worrying about tomorrow causes us to lose the joy, and peace of mind that we could have today.

We can do very little in the natural world to change these things, we can give, and we can try to be an encouragement.

But ultimately, we have to pray and trust God, just like Jesus told us too and remember what he has already done  and be like that little bird and get on with life and get on with making future plans and setting goals and having hope. 

And even though the world may be saying that it would be wise, the moment we start to give in to those voices, and stockpile unnecessary food and supplies, gas, we are setting ourselves up for the worst form of worry and anxiety,

Will it be enough? How much would ever be enough?

What happens will it is all used up? It would eventually be all used up. 

Doesn’t take long to realize why Jesus told us not to fall into this trap. Even if we worried ourselves into having it all, we would then be worried about keeping it!

Because He knows what we all have need of and He will take care of every need, but He commanded us also to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” and that is exactly what he meant!

And of course, I am not talking about if God is leading you to do it, or you are buying up for food banks or anything like that or buying a few extras at a good price and I am talking about the anxiety that tries to sneak into all our minds from time to time.

One of my favorite old sayings is this. “If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.”

We will all know when it breaks and believe me, God will take care of it all then.

ENJOY your day! 

Φλογιζω NBJ 2022/ Rev. N. 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