“Protecting the Vines”

“And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priest and the scribes came upon him with the elders. And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gavest thee this authority?

And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven or men? 

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? But if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us; for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.

And they answered, that they could not tell where it was hence (where the authority came from). 

And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth (leased it out) to husbandmen, (tenant farmers) and went in a far country for a long time.

And at the season (vintage time) he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard; but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty (empty-handed)

And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entratedhim shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. 

Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.

But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the HEIR: come, let us kill him, THAT THE INHERITANCE MAY BE OURS.

So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him, What therefore shall the lord (owner) of the vineyard do unto them?

He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.

And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,THE SAME IS BECOME THE HEAD OF THE CORNER? Whosoever shall fall on that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 

And the chief priests and scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and (but) they feared the people: for they perceived (knew) that he had spoken this against them. 

And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves as just men (pretend to be righteous men of God) that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.” Luke 20: 1-20

A lot going there, of course we know Jesus was referencing the fact that God had leased out earth, if you will, and even the term husbandmen- literally, tenants, farmers living there and owing the owner a portion of those crops.

And as he sent the servants, we know these are the prophets, and instead of heeding the words of the prophets, they chose to beat and ostracize them, and what I really love about this passage is this, when the owner sent his son, they KNEW he was the son, never once says anything otherwise, they knew exactly who he was, they wanted him dead for one reason only, so that they could take his inheritance. 

And we also know that Jesus was also speaking to the fact that his own people had rejected him and in their doing so the vineyard would be given to others.

The priests and scribes who were supposed to be in service to him wanted not him, only the power and prestige that their positions brought them and they wanted that so much so that they will kill the very heir to ensure they kept that statue. And we also know that in their rejection of him, that vineyard was given to “others”, we know also that that means “us”, us being those as Jesus said “whosoever will-come”.

That rejection by his own people opening the door for all nations, all kindreds, and all tongues, as it is written, everyone, anywhere the world over now being offered that beautiful vineyard because those who were to keep only wanted to keep it for themselves. 

But we can also see so much more in this.  as the Bible tells us, “nothing new under the sun”, one of my go to scriptures, and there’s not. 

Is there really that much difference from those of  that day beating the servants and killing the son in order to hold on a little longer to what was nevers theirs to hold on to, and those of today that will try to destroy the servants of that same vineyard in order to keep power and prestige of this day? 

Those who will deny the very existence of God, sanction and even enforce the slaughter of the unborn, euthanize the elderly and those they consider “broken beyond repair” all the while pretending it is all for “the greater good” spreading hatred and division, inflaming others to pledge allegiance to them, being worked into such a frenzy that they never stop to investigate a little farther exactly what and who they are pledging that allegiance to. 

Same vineyard, different keepers and they will so anything, anything to try to keep an inheritance that is not theirs.

We know Jesus was talking about this earth and we know that just as they persecuted him, even sending out pretenders to spy on him, to listen to him, to try to trap him and we know he has children the world over under the same persecution today.

Same vineyard, same owner and same old devil working through those who want to take what belongs to a kingdom that shall never be taken.

So think about it today, and see it for what it really is, all the politics, all the power struggles and those who would sell their souls to the devil himself to feed the power hungry beast inside of them, who only want recognition and power and control over others and in gaining that control they will do everything in their power to keep that control, so choose your allies carefully and if it does not adhere absolutely to the word of God, don’t align yourself with it.

And if those “husbandmen” that are like those before that beat the servants, killed the son, are now persecuting you, know this wonderful thought, they did indeed kill the Son but he ROSE and that the next visitor to the vineyard will be the one who created it and he will protect and he is coming back to defend it.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

Groovin’ the Gauntlet

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” Romans 8:18

The Gauntlet, the reality of the answer of the age old question, what is the meaning of life. That is the answer, not quite what you would think is it?

We are all souls with God, who is eternal, no beginning, no ending, self -existing and ever existent  until we are born to this earth.

As God told Jeremiah, first chapter- fifth verse: “BEFORE I formed thee in the BELLY, I KNEW THEE; and BEFORE thou camest forth out of the womb I SANCTIFIED (set apart) THEE, AND I ORDAINED (appointed)THEE A PROPHET UNTO NATIONS.

As with the names that were written BEFORE the earth was formed. Our souls just as they are eternal, were with Him until time for whatever the reason, to be born onto the gauntlet field of this world.

1st Ephesians 1:4: “According as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE the FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

So we are born, hit the ground and IT IS ON.

 The gauntlet is formed against us BEFORE we can even hit the ground running, because the enemy knows more about you than you do!

The gauntlet of the “tares”, the weeds the devil planted among the children, on one side and facing you on the other side the demonic forces of hell, so you start your run between the tongue wagging finger pointers running themselves, trying to set those stumbling blocks before you, every imaginable scheme will be hatched for their use as a weapon against you, just trying to knock you down with everything they’ve got.

So you are running as fast as you can trying to keep one eye on the course in front of you and one eye on the weapons coming after you but then you see on the other side of your course the demonic forces armed and ready with snares and traps set every step of the way and many, many archers with their bows poised and the fiery darts ready to rain down, the farther you make it the more they are gonna hit from both sides, the “holier than thous” just dying to see you fall so they can tell all their buddies they were right about you the whole time, the devil starts bringing out bigger and bigger giants, more and more archers and sends the storms chasing you.

Sound pretty unbelievable?  Ah, Jesus said “for this cause” He was born into the world.  His cause being to DIE on a cross, not only die but to be tortured, humiliated, and rejected, his gauntlet beginning with his forty days in the wilderness, which HE MADE IT THROUGH HIS FORTY DAYS, he remained completely spotless and sinless and us being human CAN never achieve that, BUT we are to strive and stay on that course.

Now add in just the reality of living, grief, sorrow, heartache, because it rains on the just and the unjust, EVERYONE WILL RUN THE GAUNTLET.

But those with Christ have an expected end to this course.

This is the reason we are commanded to NOT look to the right or to the left, and NEVER EVER LOOK BACK, only forward, if we don’t look to either side we can’t lose focus worrying about what is getting ready to hit us and WE ARE COMMANDED more than once to not look back, if you do you will see what is gaining on you and you will stumble over those blocks that has been placed before you.

Your entire reason for living is to bring glory to the Father and to help as many as you can run the gauntlet that has been set before them by the god of this world  (2nd Corinthians  4:4).

Paul was very apt in describing his gauntlet and we often feel that our burdens are heavy but I know for me, I gain so much encouragement from reading what they suffered and being blessed to read the end of their stories and how God used all those things to enlarge the Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30 ” Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one (they thought it merciful to give 39 lashes as opposed to the 40 you were sentenced to, so at the time he wrote this Paul HAD RECEIVED A TOTAL OF 195 lashes) . 

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; journeys often, in perils of waters, IN PERILS BY THE BRETHREN, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, IN PERILS AMONG FALSE BRETHREN ( notice both groups listed, the ones who ARE your brethren that set those stumbling blocks and the FALSE brethren sent by the enemy). 

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings (sleeplessness) often, in hunger, in thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

BESIDES THOSE THINGS (other things) WHICH COME UPON ME DAILY, the care of all the churches.

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended (MADE TO STUMBLE), and I burn ( BURN WITH INDIGNATION) not?

IF I must needs glory, I WILL GLORY OF THE THINGS WHICH CONCERN MINE INFIRMITIES.”

 What he was saying if he survived all these things and yet glorified God in all them through showing love to others, how could ANYONE complain of their own sufferings?

He learned the groove of the gauntlet,  he learned to accept it for what it is and go with it.    

 He knew that is had to be ran, to fight it just held him up and there was people whose lives would be changed, there were others to help.

His purpose was NOT to fight in retaliation those who manned his gauntlet but to show the love listed above, to grab onto those who had fallen or were wounded by fiery darts and pull them with him to the finish line.

Acts 16 tells us of the arrest of Paul and Silas for doing just that, praying for a possessed girl to be delivered, this enraging those who were using her possession to make money through fortune telling, they were beaten and thrown in prison.

Paul had learned to be content in ALL situations and learned to REJOICE in affliction because the more he suffered for the Gospel, the GREATER the POWER OF GOD rested upon him, so with excruciating lash wounds on their backs they STILL sang and praised God, this pleasing God who sent an earthquake and opened every cell, now they could have left, completely free and thought “Ha, Ha the jerks get what they deserve for beating us.”  

BUT when Paul saw that the jailer was going to commit suicide because they had all escaped, Paul called to him NOT TO harm himself that they were all there.

That is that love and the jailer and his entire family was saved because Paul knew how to play the gauntlet and HE DID EXACTLY what GOD WANTED HIM TOO.

Just as Jesus “who for the joy SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, and is sat down at the right hand of the Father.”

Those of Hebrews 11, who should give anyone hope and courage to press on.

Learn to groove that gauntlet, play it smoother than any jazz tune ever played.

The prize we seek is NOT in this world.

It is in the next and the true secret is what they knew, press on, press on, press on.

Pick yourself up, let the tears fly as you run, but RUN, RUN with everything you got and grab on to all you see who have fallen in their own race against the gauntlet, pull them, drag them whatever you have to do to help them to that finish line, but never ever look at those opposing you just look to the Author and Finisher of your faith.

He made it through His forty days and Forty nights and then He ran that gauntlet that hell itself had prepared and he died running it BUT HE ROSE and FOREVER SHALL REIGN!

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2015 

Original post date 12/04/15 revisited 07/01/2020 As you go through your day and your week, please remember that this world and the troubles of this world are temporary, just as our first verse assures us and in these awful days in which we live set yourself with one purpose and one goal and that goal is this, a reminder of what Jesus told us,NEVER LET THEM STEAL YOUR CROWN.

Groovin’ the Gauntlet

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” Romans 8:18

The Gauntlet, the reality of the answer of the age old question, what is the meaning of life. That is the answer, not quite what you would think is it?

We are all souls with God, who is eternal, no beginning, no ending, self -existing and ever existent  until we are born to this earth.

As God told Jeremiah, first chapter- fifth verse: “BEFORE I formed thee in the BELLY, I KNEW THEE; and BEFORE thou camest forth out of the womb I SANCTIFIED (set apart) THEE, AND I ORDAINED (appointed)THEE A PROPHET UNTO NATIONS.

As with the names that were written BEFORE the earth was formed. Our souls just as they are eternal, were with Him until time for whatever the reason, to be born onto the gauntlet field of this world.

1st Ephesians 1:4: “According as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE the FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

So we are born, hit the ground and IT IS ON.

 The gauntlet is formed against us BEFORE we can even hit the ground running, because the enemy knows more about you than you do!

The gauntlet of the “tares”, the weeds the devil planted among the children, on one side and facing you on the other side the demonic forces of hell, so you start your run between the tongue wagging finger pointers running themselves, trying to set those stumbling blocks before you, every imaginable scheme will be hatched for their use as a weapon against you, just trying to knock you down with everything they’ve got.

So you are running as fast as you can trying to keep one eye on the course in front of you and one eye on the weapons coming after you but then you see on the other side of your course the demonic forces armed and ready with snares and traps set every step of the way and many, many archers with their bows poised and the fiery darts ready to rain down, the farther you make it the more they are gonna hit from both sides, the “holier than thous” just dying to see you fall so they can tell all their buddies they were right about you the whole time, the devil starts bringing out bigger and bigger giants, more and more archers and sends the storms chasing you.

Sound pretty unbelievable?  Ah, Jesus said “for this cause” He was born into the world.  His cause being to DIE on a cross, not only die but to be tortured, humiliated, and rejected, his gauntlet beginning with his forty days in the wilderness, which HE MADE IT THROUGH HIS FORTY DAYS, he remained completely spotless and sinless and us being human CAN never achieve that, BUT we are to strive and stay on that course.

Now add in just the reality of living, grief, sorrow, heartache, because it rains on the just and the unjust, EVERYONE WILL RUN THE GAUNTLET.

But those with Christ have an expected end to this course.

This is the reason we are commanded to NOT look to the right or to the left, and NEVER EVER LOOK BACK, only forward, if we don’t look to either side we can’t lose focus worrying about what is getting ready to hit us and WE ARE COMMANDED more than once to not look back, if you do you will see what is gaining on you and you will stumble over those blocks that has been placed before you.

Your entire reason for living is to bring glory to the Father and to help as many as you can run the gauntlet that has been set before them by the god of this world  (2nd Corinthians  4:4).

Paul was very apt in describing his gauntlet and we often feel that our burdens are heavy but I know for me, I gain so much encouragement from reading what they suffered and being blessed to read the end of their stories and how God used all those things to enlarge the Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30 ” Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one (they thought it merciful to give 39 lashes as opposed to the 40 you were sentenced to, so at the time he wrote this Paul HAD RECEIVED A TOTAL OF 195 lashes) . 

Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; journeys often, in perils of waters, IN PERILS BY THE BRETHREN, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, IN PERILS AMONG FALSE BRETHREN ( notice both groups listed, the ones who ARE your brethren that set those stumbling blocks and the FALSE brethren sent by the enemy). 

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings (sleeplessness) often, in hunger, in thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

BESIDES THOSE THINGS (other things) WHICH COME UPON ME DAILY, the care of all the churches.

Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended (MADE TO STUMBLE), and I burn ( BURN WITH INDIGNATION) not?

IF I must needs glory, I WILL GLORY OF THE THINGS WHICH CONCERN MINE INFIRMITIES.”

 What he was saying if he survived all these things and yet glorified God in all them through showing love to others, how could ANYONE complain of their own sufferings?

He learned the groove of the gauntlet,  he learned to accept it for what it is and go with it.    

 He knew that is had to be ran, to fight it just held him up and there was people whose lives would be changed, there were others to help.

His purpose was NOT to fight in retaliation those who manned his gauntlet but to show the love listed above, to grab onto those who had fallen or were wounded by fiery darts and pull them with him to the finish line.

Acts 16 tells us of the arrest of Paul and Silas for doing just that, praying for a possessed girl to be delivered, this enraging those who were using her possession to make money through fortune telling, they were beaten and thrown in prison.

Paul had learned to be content in ALL situations and learned to REJOICE in affliction because the more he suffered for the Gospel, the GREATER the POWER OF GOD rested upon him, so with excruciating lash wounds on their backs they STILL sang and praised God, this pleasing God who sent an earthquake and opened every cell, now they could have left, completely free and thought “Ha, Ha the jerks get what they deserve for beating us.”  

BUT when Paul saw that the jailer was going to commit suicide because they had all escaped, Paul called to him NOT TO harm himself that they were all there.

That is that love and the jailer and his entire family was saved because Paul knew how to play the gauntlet and HE DID EXACTLY what GOD WANTED HIM TOO.

Just as Jesus “who for the joy SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, and is sat down at the right hand of the Father.”

Those of Hebrews 11, who should give anyone hope and courage to press on.

Learn to groove that gauntlet, play it smoother than any jazz tune ever played.

The prize we seek is NOT in this world.

It is in the next and the true secret is what they knew, press on, press on, press on.

Pick yourself up, let the tears fly as you run, but RUN, RUN with everything you got and grab on to all you see who have fallen in their own race against the gauntlet, pull them, drag them whatever you have to do to help them to that finish line, but never ever look at those opposing you just look to the Author and Finisher of your faith.

He made it through His forty days and Forty nights and then He ran that gauntlet that hell itself had prepared and he died running it BUT HE ROSE and FOREVER SHALL REIGN!

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2015 

Original post date 12/04/15 revisited 07/01/2020 As you go through your day and your week, please remember that this world and the troubles of this world are temporary, just as our first verse assures us and in these awful days in which we live set yourself with one purpose and one goal and that goal is this, a reminder of what Jesus told us,NEVER LET THEM STEAL YOUR CROWN.

Sticks and Stones #2 “BLOOD BROTHERS”

“Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.” Mark 13:12

“For the son dishounerth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law:  A MANS ENEMIES ARE THE MEN OF HIS OWN HOUSE”  Micah 7:6        

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is BORN FOR ADVERSITY.” Proverbs 17:17                                                        

Fair to say these are some serious warnings of ye olde family unit making frequent appearances at Drama Ville dinner theater.

Recorded in the Bible it started at the beginning, Genesis chapter 4, and it started with Cain the firstborn of Adam and Eve and of course the older brother to Able.Cain became jealous and angry because God accepted Able’s offering but not his, Cain had offered what HE wanted to offer NOT what was acceptable as an offering, instead of heeding God’s warning to him, he let his anger simmer and steep until it hit the boiling point.                                            

Genesis 4:8 ” And Cain talked with Able his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in a field, that Cain rose up against Able and slew him.” 

He talked him into going into the field with him, with the intention of killing him the entire time. Again leading me to believe that Able, like Joseph just did not have a clue to this secret hatred was until it was too late.                                                                                            

We know the story of Joseph and how he was one of two sons bore to his father Jacob by his choice wife Rachel and he was half-brother to the ten bore by Leah, the wife that he had been tricked into marrying.

Now maybe the bad blood was a direct result of that and who truly knows the effect that all the strife and hatred between these sister wives had on the ten as they grew up, who knows the discussions they may have heard and who knows if their ultimate hatred for Joseph was born out of their own feelings of inadequacy because we do know Joseph was the favorite son.

But we also know that it was because Joseph was not anything like them,he was like his mother, he was gentle and mild, it was because he was pleasant to his father.                                                                

Maybe it was just the sowing of the tares with the wheat. I really don’t think Joseph understood that his brothers seriously hated him, I believe that in his innocent thinking and his young age that he just did not get it and when he shared his dream, satan then used that to push them over the edge, he was just a teen-aged boy sharing what in his eyes was the coolest dream ever, we know that his Dad rebuked him for this because being older, wiser he knew that the others hated him.        

Genesis 37:18: “And when they saw him afar off,even before he came near unto them, THEY CONSPIRED AGAINST HIM TO SLAY HIM”   

He did not have a clue, but after they had thrown him in a pit to drown (only there was no water in the well ) they sat around laughing and eating lunch and then changed their mind and sold him as a slave, he finally, painfully, understood.                                                                                                                                                                                 Selling Joseph forewarned of the entire Hebrew nation being enslaved to Egypt and many today live enslaved in emotional prisons built by the hands of their family members and built on their spiritual blood  The Bible really doesn’t detail Jesse thoughts toward David but we can read between the lines, he is young, writes poetry, plays music, the creative type, so he is given the job of watching over the flock.                                                                    

David was not even considered by his father when Samuel called for the sons to presented and that just about said it all. And we know when push come to shove and all the men of Israel was cowering down before Goliath, Davids true character started shining through:

1 Samuel 17:26,28: “And David spake to the men who stood by him, saying, What shall be done unto the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why comest thou down hither?and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thy heart; for thou hast come down that thou mayest see the battle”

Eliab’s entire personality revealed!

The oldest ones seem to have the biggest issues, the parable of the prodigal son even has this theme, the angry older brother. Always angry because they feel they did not get the attention they deserve. He was angry because he saw something in David that he knew he did not possess in himself, courage in the face of a giant.

He wanted to line David out and “put him in his place” in front of the other men as a show of bravado, he could still tell off little brother there.

Why are you here? Why were you born? Why do you have to be here anyway?

Sounds like some of the things many ears have heard. Who is watching your FEW sheep, just got to prove whatever the younger has watch over is not just quite as good or meaningful.

Now he has to let everyone know what he thinks about David with accusations of pride, (remember the accuser of the brethren, one of satan’s many name’s, well he loves nothing more than to accuse you through your brethren!) and of course he had to give a reason for good show.

And  I know  David put up with this on a regular basis, check out his answer: 1 Samuel 17:29; ” And David said,What have I NOW DONE? (what did I do now?) Is there not a cause?”

Breakdown, Cain was angry and jealous because of Able’s offering being accepted by Father God. his only response for his action was “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In his eyes, his little brother was not his problem and when he was called on his deed, he only cared about saving his own neck.

God was with Joseph, Joseph named his firstborn son Ephraim, meaning “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction”  and giving us all hope in the fact that what is meant for harm God will use for good.

Joseph’s brother’s were angry and resentful over his relationship with their father.

But he forgave his brothers but the cosmic repercussion of it all still sent an entire race into slavery for over four hundred years.

We do see that David fared pretty well, one whom the whole group of the thought was no more than a singing pretty boy is still considered one of the most fierce warrior Kings to ever have existed and whatever became of his brother Eliab, I haven’t a clue, but David’s throne is forever established of God.

Goliath laughed at David, mocking him, mocking his size and asking did he come against him with sticks as if he were a dog, more or less, sticks were something to beat something else with, but in the giant’s eyes it was no match for him, but the stones, the stones could break him, because just as that stone guided by the hand of God himself took that giant to the ground enabling David to take off the laughing giant’s head with his own weapon, God IS OUR ROCK and He always wins.

Maybe you have been or continue to go through these “family affairs”, but please hear me, just as with Cain and Joseph’s brothers, people can have far darker feelings toward us then we want to accept. It is hard to walk away from family member’s especially when subjected to the good old brainwashing like Eliab tried to use on David.

They will always blame you, they will always accuse you because Satan IS the ultimate older brother, to the children of God, he was created first, we were created in God’s image, he is older than mankind and he is jealous and angry because you can have a relationship with the Father that is now lost to him forever.

Giants even bigger than Goliath can be born of these relationships,so see it for what it is. Please stay with me, next time I want to give a boatload of scripture, God’s word to help with these things and take the heads off some giants, we’ll start it with a little “Blood Transfusion”!

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2015   

For more in this series, please check out these posts: Bad BloodSticks & StonesAnger DangerStrangle Hold