“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

“PREPARED” part#3 “Would-be wedding crashers washed inside out”

WHOSOEVER believeth that Jesus IS  the Christ IS BORN OF GOD:  and every one that loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

For this IS the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are NOT grievous (burdensome).

For WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD OVERCOMETH THE WORLD:

And THIS is the VICTORY that OVERCOMETH the world, EVEN OUR FAITH.  

WHO is he that overcometh the world, but (except) he that believeth that Jesus IS the Son of God?

This IS he that came by WATER and BLOOD, even, JESUS CHRIST; NOT BY WATER ONLY, BUT BY WATER AND BLOOD.

AND IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT BEARETH WITNESS (proves in agreement), BECAUSE THE SPIRIT IS TRUTH.

FOR THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN, THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY GHOST: AND THESE THREE ARE ONE. 

AND ARE THREE THAT BEAR WITNESS IN EARTH, THE SPIRIT, AND THE WATER, AND THE BLOOD: AND THESE THREE AGREE IN ONE (as one)1 John 5:8

As strange a comparison that it may be, our human natures are not that different from delicate clothing that comes with a laundry label stating, “Turn garment INSIDE OUT before washing” and for most of us, we seek salvation when our lives have been “turned inside out”, when everything falls apart just like those improperly washed garments. 

This was once the first and foremost thought of the Gospel, the cleansing power of Jesus Christ and the fact that it is vital and non-negotiable. WE MUST BE WASHED and we don’t need me “preaching” over and over to know that the “common” societal view of “the church” and the leniency concerning sin and acceptable service to the true God is truly in need of a good scrubbing!

I UNDERSTAND the thought process of it, I UNDERSTAND not wanting to push people or make others feel “judged” but seriously, if you are saved, didn’t you at one time feel the CONVICTION of the Holy Spirit LEADING you to that water to be washed and cleansed by the blood from all your SINS?  There is NO middle ground concerning this. 

In the Book of Matthew, chapter twenty-four, Jesus tells us the parable of the Wedding feast, He is telling us that the Kingdom of heaven is like a great wedding feast and those who were invited (the Jews of that day) just blew off the invitation, they MADE THEIR EXCUSES as to why they could not come, and he even said this, But they MADE LIGHT of it, and WENT THEIR WAYS… Does that sound familiar?

Have you talked with someone and witnessed to them about Jesus? Gently warning them about all the changes of the world events and that no one know WHEN he will return but that he surely will, and have them “make light of it”, just blow it off, like nothing, like time is under their command? “Nothing new under the sun”…same rotten attitude.

He goes on in the parable to tell of the anger and wrath of the King who had invited them to the wedding of his Son, because not only had they scoffed at his invitation they attacked and murdered his servants that he had sent to them delivering “those invitations” on his behalf.

And as those who scoffed and made light, there were also those who tried to “crash” the wedding, ones who, even though they WERE invited, THEY REFUSED HIS INVITATION and decided at the last possible moment to attend, NOT bathed and not appropriately dressed, when HAVE to be clothed in “HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS” that has always been one of my favorites verses, because it is such a  comfort “OUR righteousness IS as FILTHY RAGS”, that is the BEST we can do as humans!

That is WHY it is so COMFORTING! We can never “clean ourselves up” but GOD gives us his cleansing water and the robe of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and NO ONE is getting into the wedding without that.

Back to our scriptures, so those who were originally invited REFUSED, the servants were sent back out.

Matthew 22:8-14” Then saith he to his servants, the wedding IS ready, but they which were bidden (invited) were NOT worthy.

GO ye therefore into the highways, and AS MANY AS YE SHALL FIND, BID (invite) TO THE MARRIAGE. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together ALL as many as they found, BOTH BAD AND GOOD: and the wedding was furnished (filled) with guests.

And when the king CAME in to see the guests, he saw there a man WHICH HAD NOT ON A WEDDING GARMENT:

And he saith unto him, FRIEND, HOW CAMEST THOU IN HITHER NOT HAVING A WEDDING GARMENT? AND HE WAS SPEECHLESS.

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and TAKE HIM AWAY, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called but few are chosen.”  

I have read this and used this passage numerous times but one thing kinda jumped out a me today, his servants just kinda GATHERED, good and bad, which of course ALL were bidden but I am not so sure that the servants really “prepared” those the found, I think they were more interested in just rounding them up.

When the man was asked HOW did he get in without the REQUIRED “garment”, he was SPEECHLESS. Not knowing how to answer, what to answer, so he just did not answer.

Did he even KNOW that there were requirements? It really seems that he didn’t have a CLUE as to what was EXPECTED of him or what should be EXPECTED by him if  he chose “crashing” over his invitation.

And for the king to ask him HOW he came to even be there UNPREPARED, does seem like some of that falls on the servants failure to explain “the fine print” on those invitations.  Nicodemus could have been close to an almost wedding crasher, he WAS NOT but he first came to Jesus by night, in secret, he BELIEVED but he wasn’t PREPARED to admit that at that particular moment, and that is our other battle, you must CONFESS him as your Lord.

Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man BELIEVETH unto righteousness; and with the mouth COFFESSION is made unto salvation.” That is the wedding crasher mentality, they secretly think the marriage is a great idea, that the groom is an awesome guy, they just ddon’t want ANYONE else to know how they really feel.

Which is WHY Jesus said this, Luke 9:26“For WHOSOEVER shall be ASHAMED of me and of my words, OF HIM SHALL THE SON OF MAN BE ASHAMED, WHEN HE SHALL COME IN HIS OWN GLORY, AND IN HIS  FATHER’S, AND OF THE HOLY ANGELS.”  

It is not negotiable, back to his answer to Nicodemus, John 3:3-8: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I SAY UNTO THEE, EXCEPT (unless) A MAN BE BORN AGAIN (from above) HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD. 

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I SAY UNTO THEE, EXCEPT (unless) A MAN (human)BE BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

That which IS born of the flesh IS flesh; and that which IS born of the Spirit IS spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

The wind bloweth where it listeth (wishes), and thou heareth the SOUND thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth (can’t tell its direction either way) SO IS EVERY ONE THAT IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” 

That is THE message, that IS the most pressing task before any of us in this moment, they must be prepared and they MUST be born again! We MUST be washed by him!  Remember when he washed the disciples feet?

John 13:5-7: “After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash his disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet (are you washing my feet)? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest NOT now; but thou shalt know hereafter (do not understand now but will later) Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt NEVER wash my feet, Jesus answered him, IF I WASH THEE NOT, THOU HAST NO PART WITH ME.” 

We go back again to WHOSOEVER will, WHOSOEVER will COME and take that water, but we have to let these invited guests know that they have to TAKE the water, they HAVE to be WASHED and they have to be WASHED INSIDE OUT!

Love and peace till next time and join me for part#4

For series posts:Prepared Part #1 Preparing for the wedding of a King

Prepared Part#2 Oxygen to Fire

 

Φλογίζω Σαλπίζω  NB 2018

Original post 2018 revisited 08/12/2020 Rev.Nina Brown Johnson

 

 

Having confidence in this…

“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging (urging) them before the Lord that they strive (argue) not about words to no profit, but to the subverting (ruin) of the hearers. Study (be diligent) to shew (present) thyself as approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the truth of God. But shun profane and vain babblings (worthless talk): for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” 2 Timothy 2:14-16

Now that is quite a warning there, perfect for that day and precise perfection for this day. Now more than ever we need to seek God and we need to seek his word and we have to be so careful when we are dependent on others for our spiritual food, and so often we can take the teachings of others while neglecting what God may want to reveal to us by not having those moments in private study of his word. And that is is NO WAY saying not to listen to your preacher or your pastor, God put those people in your life to help you and help you grow, but it is so vital that you know the word for yourself. As we are warned in that passage we are not to argue the word of God. Since the day that the Serpent TWISTED those words he coerced Eve with causing the fall of mankind, there have been and will be until Jesus returns those who only want to discuss it as a way to try to disprove it, and as we are warned this only leads to more ungodliness, because while they are debating with “us” someone else is always listening and that someone can can be very easily swayed into choosing the wrong path.

“THIS know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous (money lovers), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.

Without natural affection, trucebreakers (irreconcilable), false accusers (slanders),incontinent (without self control), fierce, despisers of those things which are good.

Traitors, heady (reckless), highminded (haughty), lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers (various) lusts; 

EVER LEARNING, AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7

Now think of this as in the phrase “old wives tales”, when someone would hear something no matter how far out and repeat that and on and on it would go, but many along they way believing these various superstitions and “teachings”, such as “breaking a mirror will cause seven years bad luck” and one cute on from the south, is that if you look out and see a red bird (cardinal, to the rest of the world) the next man you see  will be your future husband, if this would were true many people would be in for a world of hurt, but I suppose it came along when prime husband material was far and few in between and someone made up to give some young ladies hope on the prairie when many lived in the middle of nowhere and “pickings were slim” (I had to throw that one in there because I am just that kinda chick 😉

My all time favorite that I heard more than once as a child, that if you keep eating spoonfuls of salt your blood will actually dry up, I was very suspicious of that, but it is an interesting way to keep children from early hypertension.

But you get my point, you all, no matter where you are, know some old weird saying, now apply this to those who twist and distort the true teachings of God, and cause those who would serve go to believe things that are just not true concerning actually living for God.

The Bible dictionaries often state that the term there “having a form of godliness” is in reference to having been created in the image of God,and I am not disputing that, but I would like to submit another thought on the usage of that here, if  a person such as the ones he is referring, has the appearance of being godly, you can think Jim Jones or some of the other famous false prophets there, and even apply it those teachers that lead people astray today in allowing them to wallow in unrepentant sin.

Just as that verse states, led away by those lusts, those things that God absolutely says we can not do, it disturbs me to no end how many teach now that it’s okay to drink… no it is not and the Bible gives us very clear reason why because it will destroy us and yes some people may be able to drink wine with dinner and be fine but you can’t tell them there is a one glass limit, that is why we are in the state that we are in, people are seriously confused concerning the teachings of God because there is so much taught that has “moderation”, there is no such “clause” and if people are needing a “clause statement” to serve the Lord, with a list of what sins or borderline sins that are allowed to commit and what their allotted quota is before they tap out and have to refuse their flesh is not serving the Lord anyway and they still need to repent because when you come to God, you give God your all or don’t even waste your time playing games, that is what the form of godliness is referring to, attributes that would lead on an onlooker to assume and even believe that that what they are seeing is of God, but the heart and intent is so far from God that they are denying the very power of God to change and redeem lives.

So now to counter all that information that may just not be quite right it is imperative that you know the word for yourself, and I know that for many of us old English is quite confusing, and I will be glad to tell you that before I knew Christ I could have won the seat as Mayor of Heathen-Ville hands down and I promise if I could be blessed to learn the Bible anyone who has that desire can, I could understand some of Jesus’ teachings but after that it became a completely foreign language and even after I was saved and realized that much of it is accounts of lives and held references of places and terms that I was clueless of, it seemed even more a challenge, and not that I think I know anything now, I do know what God has taught me, but let me give a word from James.

James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth it to all men liberally,, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given him.”

Meaning that God will never make you feel rejected or inferior in heart, God never chides or belittles us, God wants us to know him and know his word and he wants us to grow and anything concerning his kingdom he will teach you, through his word and the leading of his Holy Spirit as you study that word and then you become a workman that needs “not be ashamed” because you know how to “divide” that word, meaning God gives you the understanding of that word as he has intended and you will have confidence and stronger faith because you have the word of God in your heart and mind for yourself.

When others try to lead you astray or convince you of something that that little voice inside is telling is not quite right, you will know God’s word concerning that, which is for not only your benefit but for those others who hear your response and you will also know just how far to go with that response and at what moment you should end the conversation.

So if you are new to all this, please, please let me suggest you start with the Gospel of Matthew, or the Psalms, and you do need the Old and New Testaments because they are together for a reason contrary to some popular teachings, but as you study do it just as you are comfortable whether it is ten minutes here, or an entire chapter there and take notes as certain passages “come alive” and encouraging words for your own life are found in those blessed pages.

I promise as you ask God to bless you in his word your mind will be blown and don’t be so surprised if that seemingly daunting task of taking on that giant book suddenly ignites into such a fire in your heart that you will find it hard to put it down out of sheer necessity, he can bless you that much that it becomes a love, a passion, and just as Jeremiah stated, “His WORD was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones…”

There is a reason that it is the “Living Word” we are so close, as this world is darker everyday, and God will have his kingdom and he will send his workers into harvest that field but those workers must be trained and that training comes studying his word, so I don’t know who he is raising up but I know that his word will go forth in the last days and it will be preached, all the word, the sugar free version that needs no artificial sweeteners because it is sweetened to perfection, …”as Christ also hath loved us , and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour (aroma).” (Ephesians 5:2)

But no matter where you start, just start, if you don’t have the KJV Bible, get one and if you feel like you need a little extra help, get an audio Bible to listen along as you read, but once you start and give it all you got you will be amazed and you will be amazed when he starts revealing all he has for you and passages you had never noticed will suddenly become profound and don’t be so shocked when you suddenly have to share that word with others, again, He is raising some people up! 

Have a blessed rest of your week, and for a little more of this topic, please check out this post: Psalm 119: A Study Guide

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

 

 

 

 

“360”

“Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. 

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Micah 7:7,8

Ever feel like the enemy and often enemies are having one heck of a party celebrating what they think and hope is your demise?

I have been through quite a little season and we ALL have, so I never want to come off that I think it is only me…I know better.

I know God’s people have come under attacks like nothing seen before and attacks on every side, many almost falling under that pressure, stumbling a bit, trying to navigate through that darkness as the enemy rejoices because he thinks he can keep us there but he can’t, he doesn’t have that kind of power and the only way we will remain in that darkness is if we continue to sit in it. And the first step to being pulled back up by our boot straps is allowing the light of God that shines on us, to shine through us, and in us.

As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:5-9: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord: and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 

For God, who commanded the light to shine OUT OF THE DARKNESS, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

BUT we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled (hard-pressed)on every side, yet NOT distressed (crushed); we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but NOT forsaken; cast (struck) down, but NOT destroyed.”  

Which now brings me to my “360” anyone who follows this blog knows that I lost my Mom in September and also had two more very close family members battling cancer at the same time, so I really hadn’t been keeping this up as I should have so I had felt impressed to “revamp” and do a 360.

I pulled a lot of posts that were personal in content and took away the “baresoul” part of the name and planned to return it to what it was meant to be, so if you are redirected to 360, I assure you, it is safe.

Anyway as I began this process my sister’s condition became worse and there was no one on this earth like my sister, we often joked that we had one brain between us and each had a half, we were that in tune with each other and she was one of the few people who ever encouraged me in ministry, and I knew she was dying, she had been given 24-72 hours the morning I wrote my last post, so I wrote it, dedicated it to her because I couldn’t imagine doing anything without her in my life. So I called it done and went to her house and was there when she passed, even though I had planned to not be there for the last moment, it doesn’t always work out the way we want it to, I wanted her healed, I wanted my Mom healed, I wanted my brother healed but God has reasons and purposes for everything and He is still sovereign.

But during the course of all these things, the enemy loves to use people to just add a little more, it’s like you can’t be going through enough hurt and sorrow, they have to just make that load a little heavier and I was the subject of the most vicious lie filled social media attack and this was hitting areas that were so deplorable that only a sick evil person could have a heart black enough to say such trash, things concerning the death of my mother and even her funeral expenses, which Mom had insurance, but for all the hundreds of people who read that, they’d never know it.

Back to my point, you know, sometimes whipping boys grow a little weary of being whipped. So I held my peace as long as possible and after the burial, I did indeed make that quite known, so I got another social media rant threw at me, which is funny considering I am not even on it now.

But anyway after people believe lies and the looks you get when that final straw snaps does kinda make one rethink everything and I have known through it all that the first thing that would get questioned is my ministry. But you know, God is still God. God is ever merciful and God knows our thoughts before we even think them.

So I determined after two weeks pondering and praying that if I just throw away the opportunity God has given me and I choose to sit in that darkness then I have no one to blame but myself if I fail God and fail the call he has given me. So the 360 is for me, a 360 back to the Lord, to His mercy and forgiveness and away from the games and drama that he NEVER told me that I had to be part of.

A 360 back to the ONLY one whose opinion should matter to me.

A 360 back under the shadow of His wings and his protection.

A 360 back to the prayers that David sang in Psalms as he asked not for power in his flesh to turn back the enemies that rose against him, but he prayed and sang for God, the ONLY power to turn back those enemies on his behalf.

A 360 back to the everlasting arms that hold not only today but our yesterday and tomorrow.

And a 360 for my ministry, which after six years did needed a fresh ray of sunshine, or should I say SON SHINE!

Posts hitting a verse or two, short and hopefully sweet to encourage someone somewhere that you are NEVER alone, NEVER gone to far, and a darkness does not exist that can not be pierced by his marvellous light. 

He sees and He knows and He forgives and He helps us when we can’t help our selves. When we can’t fight the temptation to hold our tongues, when the world looks on in shock because they think they can somehow hide from God their own thoughts.

But He loves us and in that love HE forgives us and His mercy is renewed every single morning IF we will receive it. And I for one have decided that I will receive it and with that I absolutely rescind my “resignation” from my calling.

As long as the Lord allows and as long as He blesses me with this avenue of ministry , it will go on.

And here is our proof, for ALL of us, that He knows, He sees, and we are to be grateful for that.

Psalm 139:1-18: “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off.

Thou compassest (comprehendeth) my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset (enclosed, encircled) me behind and before (front and back), and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whiter shall I go from thy spirit? or whiter shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover (fall upon) me ,even the night shall be light around about me.

Yea,the darkness hideth not from thee (is not dark to thee); but the night SHINETH as the day: The darkness and the day are both alike to thee.

For thou hast possessed my reins (formed my inward parts): thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

My substance (bones) was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect (unformed) and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them (our days prepared BEFORE we were still in the womb). 

How PRECIOUS also ARE thy thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” 

No matter how down the world gets on us, or how down we get on ourselves, these words should make any heart rejoice!

God telling us through his word that EVEN before He formed us in our mother’s womb. He KNEW us and as these verses describe that formation and that EVEN our days are known BEFORE we ever come forth and that His thoughts toward as are innumerable and ALL those thoughts are precious and for our good!

Thanks for reading!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2019

“PREPARED” part#3 “Would-be wedding crashers washed inside out”

WHOSOEVER believeth that Jesus IS  the Christ IS BORN OF GOD:  and every one that loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

For this IS the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are NOT grievous (burdensome).

For WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD OVERCOMETH THE WORLD:

And THIS is the VICTORY that OVERCOMETH the world, EVEN OUR FAITH.  

WHO is he that overcometh the world, but (except) he that believeth that Jesus IS the Son of God?

This IS he that came by WATER and BLOOD, even, JESUS CHRIST; NOT BY WATER ONLY, BUT BY WATER AND BLOOD.

AND IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT BEARETH WITNESS (proves in agreement), BECAUSE THE SPIRIT IS TRUTH.

FOR THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN, THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY GHOST: AND THESE THREE ARE ONE. 

AND ARE THREE THAT BEAR WITNESS IN EARTH, THE SPIRIT, AND THE WATER, AND THE BLOOD: AND THESE THREE AGREE IN ONE (as one)1 John 5:8

As strange a comparison that it may be, our human natures are not that different from delicate clothing that comes with a laundry label stating, “Turn garment INSIDE OUT before washing” and for most of us, we seek salvation when our lives have been “turned inside out”, when everything falls apart just like those improperly washed garments. 

This was once the first and foremost thought of the Gospel, the cleansing power of Jesus Christ and the fact that it is vital and non-negotiable. WE MUST BE WASHED and we don’t need me “preaching” over and over to know that the “common” societal view of “the church” and the leniency concerning sin and acceptable service to the true God is truly in need of a good scrubbing!

I UNDERSTAND the thought process of it, I UNDERSTAND not wanting to push people or make others feel “judged” but seriously, if you are saved, didn’t you at one time feel the CONVICTION of the Holy Spirit LEADING you to that water to be washed and cleansed by the blood from all your SINS?  There is NO middle ground concerning this. 

In the Book of Matthew, chapter twenty-four, Jesus tells us the parable of the Wedding feast, He is telling us that the Kingdom of heaven is like a great wedding feast and those who were invited (the Jews of that day) just blew off the invitation, they MADE THEIR EXCUSES as to why they could not come, and he even said this, But they MADE LIGHT of it, and WENT THEIR WAYS… Does that sound familiar?

Have you talked with someone and witnessed to them about Jesus? Gently warning them about all the changes of the world events and that no one know WHEN he will return but that he surely will, and have them “make light of it”, just blow it off, like nothing, like time is under their command? “Nothing new under the sun”…same rotten attitude.

He goes on in the parable to tell of the anger and wrath of the King who had invited them to the wedding of his Son, because not only had they scoffed at his invitation they attacked and murdered his servants that he had sent to them delivering “those invitations” on his behalf.

And as those who scoffed and made light, there were also those who tried to “crash” the wedding, ones who, even though they WERE invited, THEY REFUSED HIS INVITATION and decided at the last possible moment to attend, NOT bathed and not appropriately dressed, when HAVE to be clothed in “HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS” that has always been one of my favorites verses, because it is such a  comfort “OUR righteousness IS as FILTHY RAGS”, that is the BEST we can do as humans!

That is WHY it is so COMFORTING! We can never “clean ourselves up” but GOD gives us his cleansing water and the robe of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and NO ONE is getting into the wedding without that.

Back to our scriptures, so those who were originally invited REFUSED, the servants were sent back out.

Matthew 22:8-14” Then saith he to his servants, the wedding IS ready, but they which were bidden (invited) were NOT worthy.

GO ye therefore into the highways, and AS MANY AS YE SHALL FIND, BID (invite) TO THE MARRIAGE. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together ALL as many as they found, BOTH BAD AND GOOD: and the wedding was furnished (filled) with guests.

And when the king CAME in to see the guests, he saw there a man WHICH HAD NOT ON A WEDDING GARMENT:

And he saith unto him, FRIEND, HOW CAMEST THOU IN HITHER NOT HAVING A WEDDING GARMENT? AND HE WAS SPEECHLESS.

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and TAKE HIM AWAY, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called but few are chosen.”  

I have read this and used this passage numerous times but one thing kinda jumped out a me today, his servants just kinda GATHERED, good and bad, which of course ALL were bidden but I am not so sure that the servants really “prepared” those the found, I think they were more interested in just rounding them up.

When the man was asked HOW did he get in without the REQUIRED “garment”, he was SPEECHLESS. Not knowing how to answer, what to answer, so he just did not answer.

Did he even KNOW that there were requirements? It really seems that he didn’t have a CLUE as to what was EXPECTED of him or what should be EXPECTED by him if  he chose “crashing” over his invitation.

And for the king to ask him HOW he came to even be there UNPREPARED, does seem like some of that falls on the servants failure to explain “the fine print” on those invitations.  Nicodemus could have been close to an almost wedding crasher, he WAS NOT but he first came to Jesus by night, in secret, he BELIEVED but he wasn’t PREPARED to admit that at that particular moment, and that is our other battle, you must CONFESS him as your Lord.

Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man BELIEVETH unto righteousness; and with the mouth COFFESSION is made unto salvation.” That is the wedding crasher mentality, they secretly think the marriage is a great idea, that the groom is an awesome guy, they just ddon’t want ANYONE else to know how they really feel.

Which is WHY Jesus said this, Luke 9:26“For WHOSOEVER shall be ASHAMED of me and of my words, OF HIM SHALL THE SON OF MAN BE ASHAMED, WHEN HE SHALL COME IN HIS OWN GLORY, AND IN HIS  FATHER’S, AND OF THE HOLY ANGELS.”  

It is not negotiable, back to his answer to Nicodemus, John 3:3-8: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I SAY UNTO THEE, EXCEPT (unless) A MAN BE BORN AGAIN (from above) HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD. 

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I SAY UNTO THEE, EXCEPT (unless) A MAN (human)BE BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

That which IS born of the flesh IS flesh; and that which IS born of the Spirit IS spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

The wind bloweth where it listeth (wishes), and thou heareth the SOUND thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth (can’t tell its direction either way) SO IS EVERY ONE THAT IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” 

That is THE message, that IS the most pressing task before any of us in this moment, they must be prepared and they MUST be born again! We MUST be washed by him!  Remember when he washed the disciples feet?

John 13:5-7: “After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash his disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet (are you washing my feet)? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest NOT now; but thou shalt know hereafter (do not understand now but will later) Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt NEVER wash my feet, Jesus answered him, IF I WASH THEE NOT, THOU HAST NO PART WITH ME.” 

We go back again to WHOSOEVER will, WHOSOEVER will COME and take that water, but we have to let these invited guests know that they have to TAKE the water, they HAVE to be WASHED and they have to be WASHED INSIDE OUT!

Love and peace till next time and join me for part#4

For series posts:Prepared Part #1 Preparing for the wedding of a King

Prepared Part#2 Oxygen to Fire

 

Φλογίζω Σαλπίζω  NB 2018

Original post 2018 revisited 08/12/2020 Rev.Nina Brown Johnson

 

 

Wrapping a few things up…

 

Chy.2I had been seriously debating as to whether I would be keeping this site, and at the moment, I am temporarily “in processing” so it may be  a little bit before I do any new posts.

So please during my downtime, please consider checking out some of the older posts. God’s word is eternal and always timely.

Thank you so much for visiting! I truly appreciate it.

Love and Peace and hope to return soon! Sister Nina

 

Finding Paris

“The wilderness and the solitary (desert, lonely, desolate) place shall be glad for them, and the solitary place shall be glad for them and the desert SHALL rejoice and BLOSSOM AS THE ROSE.” Isaiah 35:1

Finding Paris, strange I know but trust me this is not going to be a world travel post but hopefully a travel to the inner space of ourselves and all those emotions and hopes, and dreams that old man time tends to run roughshod over and with the passage of time we forget that we even had those dreams.

The notion of “romantic” Paris is probably as old as dirt but the mention of the name usually brings to mind, roses, beauty, the Eiffel tower, whose reach toward the sky can be quite a reflection of reaching higher and the sheer romance of all it all will stir the feminine heart in a way unlike any other place on earth.

When as little girls do we first have those feelings that we are DIFFERENT, is in when we sneak into the perfumes, jewelry, and all the “womanly” treasures often found on the dressers of our mothers?

And for me there was nothing quite like the beautiful stationery that my big sister used when writing mushy love letters to her boyfriend who was in the army.

I’d watch her put the gold seal on the envelope and could not wait until I was big enough to have fancy gold seals and write mushy love letters!

And there was nothing quite like sitting playing with my doll watching her and Mom try new lipsticks and hairdo’s together because I SO was going to wear make up and do my hair just like them one day.

And I know you have your memories of when all things feminine, and beautiful stirred in you.

No matter what kind of a childhood you have had, even if it was not influenced by your own mother, there was still a lady, a grandmother, someone that you looked up as a what being female was all about.

There is always still some thread in time that influenced you and stirred thoughts in your heart and your soul that led to the journey of “finding Paris”, that beautiful place of womanhood that we are all eventually led to.

With me I really had to hold on, after my sister married and my mom started worked the majority of my time was spent with my brothers and that could be a whole other post series!

Hard to stay focused on future femininity with daily wrestling, name calling, and “gas” contests going on constantly between them, but thank goodness for afternoon television visits with Ginger Grant 😉 

So WHAT were your hopes, dreams, and destination as you planned as a child? Bear them in mind.

Usually, we do find “Paris”, when we are around fifteen or sixteen, we blossom, discover our own style, we grow inside and become more self-aware, and often more assertive in being allowed who we want to be.

There is a freedom in knowing who we are as women but life changes so fast, especially when we are young.

As as the clock starts to tick the newness wearing off, things never quite measuring up to what our expectations had been, and real life sets in.

Soon the moon over the tower loses luster and doesn’t shine quite so brightly and the captivating scents of jasmine and lilac fade, and petals start to fall from those beautiful roses.

Life does that, bad relationships do that, like countless women who married young, married FOREVER, expecting the road ahead to be filled with happiness, family and Prince Charming only to find that Prince Charming was in reality, the Prince of Persia, (a Biblical reference to Lucifer) that lied, cheated, and battered them and always managed to convince them that they were to blame.

And choosing to leave, others have been faced with being single mothers, taking on the role of both parents, doing the back breaking work of often working two jobs to provide and the double duty task of feeding, clothing, laundry, housework, not one moment for themselves or to worry about what they may need or even want because their children come first.

Others, for a multitude of reasonings, become entangled in bad lifestyle choices and professions that leave you in place alright, but it certainly isn’t paris.

And those who have had good lives but have suffered loss of family, friends, and worse of their children, have actually lost parts of themselves and have a hard time trying to move forward because their hearts long for the happy days of the past, the days when the still had those who have gone on.

The dreams of long ago have but vanished and just making it through the day, week, or month becomes the focus.

No joy, no hope, and no more believing for a “magical” age or time when things will change because as we become jaded, we lose hope, we lose faith, and we lose the ability to see past circumstances to see that “paris” is still really there, it still exists, we just have to find our way back to it and we have to find a way to rekindle the desire to even want to go there.

Last time we talked about aging and the fact that TIME is NOTHING to God, AGE is nothing to God.

He has ALL power in heaven and earth, and time bends to his will.

The scripture above so perfectly reflects what goes on in so many of us, the wilderness, the places we find ourselves in but can’t find our way out.

The lonely deserts, lonely, barren times in life when it seems that nothing you have planted will ever grow and all your best efforts are met with scorching thirst.

But it is in journeying to this place that you will find refreshment, you will find joy, and your hard, dry places will blossom with a beauty you have never known, God created us to have all those wonderful feelings and He wants you to feel loved, beautiful, and precious, and priceless in Him and only He can renew, restore, and rejuvenate all the areas inside and out in each of us that need refreshed.

That really is what it all about, you are still you, you are still the same person you were when He created you, NOTHING can ever change your core being. If you find yourself in a desert you need to stop and take stock, don’t look at the desert, don’t beat yourself up or question how you ended up there.

Ecclesiastes 7:10: “Say NOT thou, What IS THE CAUSE that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.”

Which means that we are not to question that the past was better than our present and in doing so we are not asking the right question.

REMEMBER where you were going, what you wanted to accomplish, REVIVE your hopes, REMEMBER your dreams and ask God to show you what He wants you to see in that place.

It’s like the alabaster breaking, which will we soon get to, we have to want change, we have to be to the point that it is all or nothing and in that place your rose will again bloom and it will bloom abundantly and you will be made completely new.

Jesus NEVER touched or touches a life without that life being made COMPLETELY new, new thoughts, new joy, new peace, and a renewed hope that THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING and your life is a book not yet written. 

Of course, He knows the plans, but for us it is ALL BLANK PAGES AND A CLEAN SLATE and with that you can dream again, you can hope again, and you can feel beautiful, feminine, and BE exactly WHO HE CREATED YOU TO BE!

Don’t be so sure life is “over” when it has even yet begun!

So go, go find Paris! If you thought the first time was good, the second time is going to blow your mind! 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Have A Blessed Week! Εξυπιζω NBJ 2017