“Playing the hand that is dealt…”

Blessed New Year to you! I do hope that it has started off to a happier, healthier start and that dreams are being born again into hearts and while I do agree that this title is a bit different I do hope it will encourage someone somewhere today to have that hope and that faith that through Jesus even the toughest hands sometimes dealt in the game of life can be traded out one card at a time for a hand that is so much greater and can very well be the hand that wins it all.

And of course I do have to do my “preacherly” duty here and note that I am not advocating gambling by any means and when you think about this you can relate to playing the game “war”, or “Old Maid” as a child or even friendly for fun games such as “Spades” or “Rummy” and in my humble belief, if it’s not betting for money, it is just a game.

But of course we all must be led by our convictions as how the Lord has dealt with us, so please know I mean no offence whatsoever, but this is how I was led to address this thought today and maybe, just maybe, this  thought is sent forth to “hit the hand” of someone who does love a gamble here and there and today is the day that all that could change.

So on with it shall we go? As we said good-bye to 2020, a year, time, and season certainly destined to go down in the history books as a lyric from the song itself. “should old acquaintance be forgot”, a year everyone will want to forget as if an acquaintance that we wished we had not met due to the pain it brought many but even with the pain it brought it still brought families closer together and hearts bursting with compassion for the hurting, and a well deserved and long overdue admiration and respect for those who literally risk their lives to care for those who can’t care for themselves and often being the last hand to hold the hands of those who were going to their eternal home.

And will it be better and will it cease, not a one except the one who watches over us all knows the answer to that question and the only answer I have is the Gospel, He will NEVER leave you and he WILL never forsake you and He truly holds this world and all that are in it in the palm of his hand. And the hardest question ever to be answered and yet so often asked is why?

The answer to that is we are in this world, and this world was NEVER meant to be our final destination. I have wrote many a post on that subject, but it is well worth repeating, life trips us, the pain we endure on this earth is our stumbling block and the means that we often turn to deal with that pain can be our destruction, if we do not choose to opt for a new card from that deck that life deals from.

That’s what I would like to rely today, life is not always fair, actually the longer you live the more you realize, it is NEVER fair, and that is in our thinking because we can always find someone else whose problems and sufferings are so much greater than our own, and my late sister, my absolutely precious Ruby always said that, that we would never suffer what Jesus did, Jesus was sinless, spotless, and never ever hurt anyone or anything and only did good, always, even blessing those that cursed him and he was beaten absolutely unrecognizable and nailed to a cross.

The God of the universe, in the flesh, nothing but PURE LOVE and gentleness, and grace and they murdered him, they hated him for the same reason they hate you, for the same reason that “deck” of the cards of life seem and probably are stacked against you because you do belong to the Lord, whether you know it at this moment or not, even if you don’t accept it, you still belong to him and all the bad things that seem to come one after another is only the enemy trying to prevent you from ever accepting God’s love, mercy, peace, and forgiveness.

And often those who have accepted Christ feel so burdened, so discouraged, so alone and overwhelmed that the enemy can convince them that it’s just not worth it. but that is such a lie.

It is worth it and the reality is, just as God gave us his word in Eccesslaties chapter three, our human state is just that, the human state, all we all experience the same emotions and hardships, in many different ways, but we still all love, we still all struggle against hate, we all, cry and yet we all find seasons of rejoicing and others do truly experience more pain and sorrow than another but we are all subject to this life and as spring gives way to summer, we are always subject to the wind and rains that the storms of the changing seasons do bring. 

Perseverance pays off and it pays big because you will be rewarded on this earth but your greater reward is eternal and there will be NO heartache, no death, or no more pain once you are given that eternal reward. But don’t lose sight of it, don’t just accept the cards you have been “dealt”, don’t just leave them laying there, pick them up, look at each one, and play that to the best of your ability make the best of your life, don’t automatically assume that everything is over and that there is no hope for a brighter future ahead.

But you have to believe for that future. you have to believe, trust, and have faith, that if Jesus is your Savior, He will take care of you, and they he will give you victory over your enemies and he will take your brokenness and give you something so beautiful in return but you have to stay in the “game” and you have to play out that hand. He is STILL God, the ONLY God. 

He is still very much in the business of restoration.

Check out this passage of scripture, this is one of the many prophetic writings that Jesus fulfilled when He came to earth and He still offers us these wonderful promises TODAY.

Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings (good news) to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up (HEAL) the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty (FREEDOM) to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; and the day of vengeance of our God, to COMFORT all that mourn;

To appoint unto (console) them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they  might be called the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

And they shall build the old waste (ruins), they shall raise up former desolations, and they shall REPAIR the waste (ruined) cities, the DESOLATION OF MANY GENERATIONS.

And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowman and vinedressers. 

But  ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: Men shall call you Ministers (Servants) of our God: and ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. 

For your shame ye shall have double (DOUBLE HONOR); and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion; therefore in their land they shall possess the double (double blessing): everlasting JOY shall be unto them. 

For I the Lord love judgement (JUSTICE), and I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

And their seed (descendants) shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of SALVATION, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments (dresses himself elegantly for a wedding), and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels. 

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before ALL nations.” 

Notice all the beautiful promises of the Lord, and the promise of double blessing to you in return for all the shame and hurt that you have been cause by those who have lied on you and mistreated you, you will have double honor, and you will have everlasting joy.

Joy that this world or any person in the world can take away, rejoicing eternally and the awesome promise that not only can this be YOURS, you can through your obedience and your life CHANGE the lives of those you love for the better and for eternity.

Don’t  give away the  inheritance Jesus died to give you.

Anyone who reads any of my posts knows by now that I love the Apostle Paul and I love Paul because he was such a rough character, he was the nightmare of the early church, he persecuted the followers of Christ and hunted them down until that fateful glorious day that he had an unrequested appointment with the King and Jesus took what was the the churches most formidable enemy and changed him into one of the main writer of the New Testament and Paul NEVER forgot where he “came from”.

He knew in himself he was nothing and could do nothing but with Christ living in him God used to change the world and even today as we read and we study, he is STILL changing the world, think about that…

He wrote all these epistles, letters to other believer to encourage them and teach, and warn them all during his sufferings and while he would have prayed it made a difference to those who received those words, do you really really believe that he could have had a inkling that those words would span two thousand years?

Did ANY of them have even a small clue of the impact THEIR lives would have not only in that generation but for all the generations to come until the end of all time?

What about YOUR life? How could possibly know what difference your choices NOW can make even after you leave this world? You can’t know and that is why no one has the option of giving up or worse leaving all those cards turned face down because you are already so sure that you have lost the game.

Nothing is over until it is over and there is always hope, as long as you have breath in your body you have the gift, the grace of God to change your life and play those cards for all they are worth until a better hand is dealt your way.

And with that I am going to leave you with words about staying in the game, written differently by a far superior writer than myself, but “listen” to his words of encouragement to his spiritual son,Timothy, and know that he lived like we do, he had been wrong, he had sinned, he had to ask forgiveness, he hurt, he bled, and he was persecuted as he had persecuted BUT he trusted God, he prevailed through God and he played every hand that life “dealt” to the best of his ability.

2 Timothy 2:1-12:”Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Thou therefore endure hardness (harshness), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

No man that warreth (goes to battle) entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath CHOSEN him to be a soldier. And if any man strive for masteries (competes in athletics), yet he in not crowned except he strive lawfully (plays by the rules).

The husbandman (farmer) that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel;

Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil doer even unto chains, but the word of God is not bound.

Therefore I endure all things for the elects (chosen ones) sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

For it is a faithful saying; For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; If we suffer (endure), we shall also reign with him; if we deny hi, he will also deny us.”  He was referencing there his almost constant imprisonment for preaching the Gospel and even those he could be chained the word of God could never be bound and he was exhorting Timothy to stand strong, which then translated time as God had ordained taht those words would be to ENCOURAGE US ALL.

Now we’ll finish up here, as he is leaving his last words,a s he is ready to be put to death, beheaded, martyred for the word of God.

2 Timothy 4:1-8: ‘ I charge (urge) thee therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick (living) and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.

Preach the word, be instant (ready) in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke. exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

For the time will come when they will NOT endure sound doctrine (true gospel); but after their own lusts heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears (people will only want “preachers” that will tell them what they want to hear);

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (will believe lies and false teachings). But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

For I am now ready to be offered (killed), and the time of my departure (death) is at hand.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race) ,I have kept the faith:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day and NOT to me only, but unto ALL them that love his appearing.”

Now reading that, even though you have probably read it and heard it all before, refreshing it in your heart should give you hope, hope and courage to go on, go on and stay in the game, you will win, just keep playing and don’t be afraid to change hands,

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

Trying to handle the high places

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love & peace till next time!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NB 2018 

Making it through the night……

“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, TOSSED with waves: for the WIND was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night (the blackest, darkest hour)  JESUS WENT UNTO THEM, WALKING ON THE SEA.”
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they CRIED OUT FOR (because of) FEAR.
But STRAIGHTWAY (Immediately) JESUS SPAKE unto them, saying, BE OF GOOD CHEER (have courage) IT IS I ( I AM ); BE NOT AFRAID.” Matthew 14:25-27
Through the journey of this life many times we find that we are that ship, the waves crashing and tossing us about, unable to catch balance tossed with that horrible great wind that is blowing down on us in the worst possible hour.
The fourth watch, when we have been tossed by the raging waves of trails of life and circumstances that we have no control over.
Trails and troubles that comes just as a part of this life for us and for all others.
But when you add that horrid wind, that cold, fierce blowing of the fury of the enemy, because he loves to kick you when your down and it is always during last stretch of the night.
He thinks of it as this, you are already weak, tired, and completely exhausted, just worn out from the hours you have already battled through the dark and he knows if he can get you to lose focus that this night is never going to end, he will destroy your faith in God.
Notice Jesus came in that hour, Jesus knew where they were, he knew what they were battling and he knew at what point they would break IF he did not step in.
Being in an exhaustive state it is hard to see whose hand is whose and this was Jesus coming to their rescue but they were so mentally drained that they were afraid that he too was more trouble headed their way.
When they cried out (as we cry out to Him) it was then that he said IT IS I, and encouraged their faith.
Peter was so distraught, he needed reassurance, just as we too sometimes need to know that He is aware of what we are going through, that He really is there, and that He really is going to take us through the night.
“And Peter answered and him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me to come to thee on the water.
And he said, Come, And when Peter was down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
BUT when he SAW THE WIND boisterous (violent) HE WAS AFRAID, he cried, saying 
Lord, SAVE ME.” Matthew 14:28-30

Jesus had given him that reassurance that he was aware and was completely on the scene, and at 
the comforting voice of his Lord he began to walk on those horrible waves that had held him as their terrorized prisoner only moments earlier. 
In life, we sometimes feel like we can’t catch a break.
We think we see the shimmer of the morning starting to break through and then the darkness
only returns with even more blackness and wind howling.
We feel like as soon as things are finally looking up something happens and it all crashes in on us.

“And IMMEDIATELY JESUS STRETCHED FORTH HIS HAND, AND CAUGHT HIM, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, Wherefore didst thou ( why did you) doubt?
And when they were come into the ship, THE WIND CEASED.” Matthew 14:28-30

So many troubled waters, waves of sickness, waves of financial woes, waves of worry about our children and their futures, waves of family issues, the winds of past hurts and unresolved heartaches and the stone cold blow of lack of closure to doors of the past. It all rocks, it tosses, and that wind will blow. 
But Jesus came through in that darkest most tempestuous hour,  even though they thought they couldn’t make it, HE KNEW when they couldn’t and by allowing Peter to walk on those waves, he was really showing him something.
People are so mean about Peter, they are always pointing out the fact that he temporarily slipped, but how many of them have ever been in Peter’s sandals?
We can look at others and think well, this or that, but until we have truly, truly been in their shoes we don’t know how we would react, but Jesus does and he knows what we can handle has nothing to do with what we FEEL like we can handle.
Storms to weather, giants to fight, crosses to bear, and no one likes it. I have yet to meet a Christian who jumps up in Church and shouts “Woo, hoo bring on the storm!”
I have fought some hellacious giants, there are battles that I am not sure that I will win in this earth but I know if I hold on and keep the faith, that even if it is at the feet of the Lord in New Jerusalem that the battle will have been won.
There have been times when warnings to church has come that storms were brewing and I’d be like, please, please no, no more storms.
We all go through it and some are worse than others and there is always someone else whose storm makes ours look like a sunny morn.
I never will forget the testimony of a certain preacher, I love to hear him, he straight shoots, preaches hell, fire, brimstone, mingled with love and compassion and all with a comedic edge that can make you dig where he is coming from without making you want to hide under the pew.
He often made remarks about his childhood that confused me, because his Mom is an awesome woman and I couldn’t figure out how all this happened to him. 
One night he told us what God had brought him from, he had been born to stoned parents who had a house full of kids, and kept having kids, he told us about watching his baby sibling die, believing the baby may have frozen to death because there was a hole in the ceiling with snow actually falling in, and he kept a crew cut all the time and had a very visible scar on his head, he went on to tell us that he received that after opening a can of food without permission and being hit with the still attached to the can, jagged top.
When he and his siblings rescue came, he was eleven and his Mom later told me that he was barely dressed and wearing a ladies top.
And to know him now and to know that God stepped in and changed this child’s life and fulfilled HIS PURPOSE for him, placing him with a good family that would teach him of a God that loved him despite what that horrible storm he had lived in for eleven years had tried to convince him of.
Don’t try to wait out the storm to pursue the things of God for your life.
The young man who asked Jesus if he could “bury his father” before following him was answered by “Let the dead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”
It will not always easy, but sometimes we have to stop fighting with things that are dead, and trying to change things that will never be changed, and accept them as such, and go on in our walk with the Lord. 
Sometimes we have to take what we have and work with it, even if we think we are lacking what we “need” to get the job done.
In the story of Elisha, we are introduced to him as he is plowing a field having only eleven oxen, now we know that can’t be done and that is why we are told that HE HIMSELF IS THE TWELFTH OXEN!
Field needed plowed, he needed an ox, so he did what had to be done.
He could have said well, whenever we get another ox, I’ll take care of that field, but he didn’t.
So the giant you face is monstrous, the cross is growing might heavy, and that wind is threatening to smash your ship to smithereens, BUT JESUS IS RIGHT THERE.
He will slay that giant, He will give you His strength to make that cross lighter to bear, and He will lead you BACK TO SAFETY AND THAT STORM WILL CEASE.
Morning will come breaking through and at the end of it all, that little ship will be stronger, having weathered that dreaded storm, it will now be a proven sea worthy vessel, those giants won’t look quite so tall when you know the hand that is stretching out to catch you is the hand that controls it all.
Just so someone out there will know, this is NOT what I had planned for today, and He showed me things in this I had never noticed and I feel his presence with it, I will never pretend to know your pain or tell you life will be great, but one day the storm will pass and maybe sooner than you know!
I want to leave you with this, quote it, memorize and keep it to your heart:
Psalm 56:3 : “WHAT TIME I AM AFRAID, I WILL TRUST IN THEE.”

May God bless you and keep you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Φλογιζω/ all rights reserved. NBJ/2015

Awesome song, hope it will encourage you Shared from YouTube

 

EL ROI….. The well in our wilderness

“And Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, PUTTING IT ON HER SHOULDER, and the child and sent her away: and she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.” Genesis 21:14
                                      
I can only imagine the torturous thoughts that played out in Hagar’s mind as she attempted to take her child and embark on what she believed would be their death march to die a slow agonizing death of dehydration and starvation, if they even survived the wild animals that they could be attacked by at even given moment.
Yet again, this was Sarah’s plan, she was quite a character and could have taught Samson a thing or two about manipulation and self righteousness.

She is probably the gene donor responsible for the cattiness, jealousy, and vanity that have plagued women’s relationships one to another since the dawn of time, much more so than anything we inherited from Eve.
How had it come to this? That question surely  flooded her mind, I am sure there were many, many times that she wanted to see both of them suffer, as they had made her suffer.

And now, as he put the bread and water on her shoulder, sending her and the child he was responsible for out into a formidable land to make their way back to Egypt, he was laying the entire burden of the enormous mess on her shoulders to be born alone.
But she WAS NOT alone, she only felt that way. 

She had been down this road before, as a servant subjected to Sarah’s insane idea to force her to bear a child to Abraham, once accomplished Sarah’s jealousy kicked in and she mistreated Hagar, Abraham refused to intervene, BUT God let Hagar know that it was THE CRIES OF HER HEART that he heard, not necessarily Sarah’s.

 Genesis 16:7-14 tells us: “And the ANGEL of the Lord FOUND her  by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.  And he said, HAGAR, SARAI’S MAID, whence cometh thou? and whither wilt thou go (why are you here and where will you go?) and she said I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply THY seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael (God hears) BECAUSE THE LORD HATH HEARD THY  AFFLICTION.  And he will be as a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of his brethren.

And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God (EL ROI) seest me: for she said, have I also looked after (saw) him that seest me? wherefore THE WELL was called Beerlahairoi (well of one who lives and sees me); behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”

She did as she had been told, even submitting to the humiliation of giving birth to her son while sitting on Sarah’s knees to appease Sarah’s misguided  belief  that somehow this would really make the child hers.

But now they had Isaac and the very child they had forced her to bear and then taken from her, they have now given back, as if he were an unwanted pet replaced by one of a more valued breed and have sent them both on their way to an unknown fate.

But one thing Hagar was not aware of , this plan, although it had come from the mouth of Sarah, who didn’t care if they both died she just wanted them out of her face, God had given permission for this to happen and it WOULD NOW BE USED FOR HER GOOD.

God was going to use this, as He does all things, to her benefit, as when the angel told her to go back, this was a wilderness walk that she had to take, regardless of the pain and the injustice, this walk WOULD NOT LEAD TO THE DESTRUCTION OF HER AND ISHMAEL, BUT IT WOULD LEAD TO THEIR FREEDOM.
She would never again be slave to Abraham or Sarah and her maker would in fact now be her husband and a father to her son, who was now fatherless.

And just as her son was rejected by his own people and sent to Egypt, there would be another son called forth out of Egypt only to face the same rejection by his kindred.

But when all we can see is the wilderness in front of us, the hunger, the thirst and the fear of what is waiting down that road starts to set in, we forget the promises we have been given, what the angel has spoken and sometimes we need to be reminded.
Genesis 21:15-21 “And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs, And she went, and sat down over against (across) him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she had said Let me not see the death of the child. and she sat over against him and lift up her voice and wept.

AND GOD HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LAD; and the ANGEL OF THE LORD CALLED OUT TO HAGAR OUT OF HEAVEN, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? ( THIS TIME HE DID NOT CALL HER SARAI’S MAID) fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad, WHERE HE IS.

Arise, lift up the lad, hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and SHE SAW A WELL OF WATER; and she went and filled the bottle with water and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of  Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.”

I know the wilderness is a rough place, I don’t like it myself.
But you know had God not led Hagar on that journey and she had not agreed to trust Him on that trip she would have never realized the power and intimacy of God on her and her son’s life, remember the second time all she could do was cry, God heard Ismael’s prayers, HEAVEN ITSELF ANSWERED!  

She would have never known freedom. Just as Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness, and successfully resisted the devil and John the Baptist was prepared for his work and grew strong in the wilderness, it grows us.
There are required traits that we only acquire  in the wilderness, those barren, desolate places, sparse pastures that barely keep us alive, the side paths that are so lonely, we feel like tears are our only companion.
It is in those places, the wilderness, the deserts, the almost uninhabitable lands that the roses bloom and the fountains of living water burst forth out of that parched ground.
If you never had to go there, you would never know the sweetest of that water or the scent of a rose so strong and determined to live that it grew up through sand , pushing the rocks past, as the blazing sun-scorched down on it.

So don’t fight it, don’t even try to resist it, just take that trip with EL ROI, because He does live and He does see and He wants you to know you can depend solely on him, you may be like Hagar, alone in the middle of nowhere feeling like everything you love is about to die, have faith, He sees and He will show up and He will bless that which you thought was hopeless and prosper it and make it something so mighty it will beyond your wildest dreams.
Once you have been given these waters, you will never fear the wilderness quite so much again, I’m sure you won’t be excited to visit there again, but take along an empty suitcase, I promise you will return with a souvenir so rare, so priceless that you will never part with it.
Apostle Paul said “he glorified in his affliction” because he knew the sweet Holy spirit would rest on him and that was worth the brier scratches, the harder the enemy hit him, the greater the power of God would bathe him.
Go, you will be glad you did!
Original Post: 09/05/2014 & 03/28/2015 all rights reserved. Rev. Nina Brown Johnson/ baresoulphlogizo 2015/ revisited 05/02/2021 

Truly beautiful song.. As close as I could find to the thought of this post! Love and Peace!