“Peace in this…”

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

And the fruit of peace is sown in peace of them that make peace,” James 3:15-18

Thinking about peace today, and a very specific kind of peace, the peace we find ourselves needing when trying to make certain decisions.

Decisions that truly once made will impact our life forever, we do sometimes have the opportunity to change our minds about something that we had either decided to do or not to do, and sometimes the hottest battle fought is in making a decision period.

As a new Christian, I had always heard the question, ‘Well, do you have peace about it?” as the answer often given to those seeking life choice advice from the “Old Sages” and sometimes my own answer to life’s questions has honestly been, “Maybe… yeah, I think so.”

So how do we know, how do we really know that the choice were about to make is going to be the right choice for this season in life?

And I do say season because as life changes and as the seasons of life change also, what seemed dreadful yesterday could be a blessing today and what seemed the perfect sunshiny path yesterday could be an uphill walk during a hail storm today.

So life changes, we change but the sovereignty of God never changes. As his word teaches us, He is eternal, self existing, and sovereign and nothing about him ever changes.

The same God that created Adam and Eve, and forgave them for their sin and delivered the oppressed and made a way of escape for those enslaved by the Egyptians , and then went on to rescue us all through the blood of his Son,  the promise of eternal life now ours forever if we will only accept it

He is the same and only God and he is the only one who can answer our questions and “lead us in the paths of righteousness” as stated in Psalm 23. He leads us in those good paths for his name’s sake, and not only because we bare his name and are representatives of him and his holiness, but also because he genuinely loves us and wants nothing but the best for us.

That was the hardest struggle for me, the hardest thought that had to be surrendered, like so many, I always felt that while God was awesome and I admired Christians I knew, but in my thinking, they were just born “that way”, they were just “special” people that God adored while I, on the other hand had just been “born bad” and ignorantly thought I had no hope,

That is the big lie that satan tells so many to keep them bound by his lies.

Because through Jesus we all have hope.

But even after you accept Christ, the enemy and this world can still try to steal your joy, your happiness, and most of all your peace by whispering confusion concerning the paths you should travel.

As the thought to write this post came to mind, I wondered what would be the best example of this kind of faith and this kind of peace that we will always need to use as a comparison when choosing those paths and making those decisions.

Now I have used this story before, I have written for eight years, including the two that I wrote for a church,an undertaking that in fact, led to this, so it goes without saying that after that kind of time, usually a Bible account has been used already, but the awesome thing with God is that often he will show you something different in a verse that you maybe feel like you have read hundreds of times, but he always has something else he wants you to “get” if he keeps leading you back to the same one.

But for me, for us, for this post, this is the most perfect example among the many that we are given through the pages and accounts of the Bible.

If you know this story, please bear with me, and if you are not that familiar with it, please as you read, get the mental picture of this, as it happened, in your mind, which will be “blown” when the full image of the kind of faith this lady had is revealed.

We will pick this up as Pharaoh had ordered the midwives to kill all the Hebrew male babies, but as these ladies feared God they would not, and we’ll pick up at Pharaoh’s next move.

“And Pharaoh charged (commanded) all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.

And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.

And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark (basket, little “boat”) of bulrushes, and daubed it with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags (reeds) by the river’s brink.

And his sister stood afar off, to wit (know) what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark (basket) among the flags, she sent her maids to fetch it.

And when she had opened it, she saw the child; and the babe wept. And she had compassion on him. and she said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.

Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.

And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, TAKE THIS CHILD AWAY, AND NURSE IT FOR ME, AND I WILL GIVE THEE THY WAGES. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.

And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses (literally means, Drawn Out); and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 1:22, Exodus 2:1-10

Isn’t that just mind blowing? The hand of God in this was amazing! Now of course we know that because we have read the book… but Jochebed, the Mother of Moses, had no way of knowing how that story would end nor did Miriam, his sister as she watched over him, as this tiny little three month old baby was floating in the Nile River!

But God knew, God knew exactly how this was going to go down and that this little baby he had sent to this earth for the purpose of being drawn out of that river he would one day use to draw his people out of Egypt and just as the Nile did not take him under, neither would the Red Sea, as God’s plan for this child included the literal dividing of that Sea.

Absolutely amazing when you think about it, the fact they did not know, just believing, believing with an incredible faith that it would be well. And we are not told at any point that God spoke to her or that he sent an angel to instruct her, we are only told this…

Hebrews 11:23:” By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of (by) his parents because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.”

God gave them peace that is how they knew, that is why they were not afraid. God had given that knowledge in their heart and soul that everything would be fine, no matter how scary it looked.

And can you imagine, making a basket, by hand, to put your baby in and then putting that baby in a river?

The only way she could have done it at all is for God to have given her peace otherwise she would have been overwhelmed by the “What if’s’… What if the pitch doesn’t hold? What if water seeps in? What if it capsizes?, What if he is eaten alive?

And what about the ‘What if’s” concerning her daughter? “What if someone sees her watching and discovers who put the baby there?, “What if something goes wrong and she is injured trying to save the baby?” “What if Pharaoh’s daughter suspects that this was the family of her tiny foundling?”

You know what she did! She had to have known, especially when a little girl just happened to be there to offer to find someone to help her take care of the baby.

Talk about the right place at the right time, can you imagine if the soldiers or taskmasters had been the ones to find Moses, they would have surely killed him and if they had saw Miriam hiding, they would have killed her also and would have attempted to find the parents so they could kill them too for disobeying Pharaoh’s command, and I don’t know if she just had a completely different heart or if God had softened it, I personally believe she was cut from a different cloth, since God had chosen her in advance for this job, when we are told that she had compassion on him when she heard his cry and you can almost imagine being there as she said “This is one of the Hebrew children”, which to me, reads as if it would have been laced with sadness and regret, because even in her own power, she still would not have had power to stop the slaughter of these babies or change any decision made by Pharaoh.

Either way she would have had to have known that Miriam was related to the baby and that this woman she was going to fetch was actually his Mother, and to me, it is priceless when she tells her to “Take this baby”, she let her keep him, wean him and actually paid her for doing it and when he was old enough she brought him into Pharaoh’s palace as a prince.

That my friends is why of all the stories of miracles and faith we could have read, we read that one, sometimes in life, things can look good but not quite feel right while other times it can look hopeless but somehow feel like it is the perfect place to be.

And those who should be against you are not always your enemy.

It’s all in the peace God gives us and even concerning your own quandary that you may be struggling with today, think of it like this, with our beginning verse, if there is strife, envy, any negative feelings tugging inside of you take that as your answer, no matter how good something seems, if you can’t “get any peace” with that decision than it means that for whatever reason, even if seems like it is a good thing, it is however not going to be a good thing for you.

While another decision may seem like the worst mistake you could ever make but yet you feel peaceful in that decision, than that is the right choice for you.

So whatever you are facing today, life change, career change, moving to a new location, ending or beginning a relationship, seek God, seek his peace for you and then honour his guidance in your life…even if it looks like you will never reach your desired “location” by choosing that path, if God prompts us, choose it, because in reality only he knows the way we should ever go.

God bless you, till next time, with love, mercy, and that peace today and for your tomorrow… and what is that peace?

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

 

“Pilot Light”

“And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.” Exodus 27:20 Now we know that was for the temple.

But 1 Corinthians 3:16 asks us this: “Know ye NOT that ye ARE the temple of God? and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 

What about our lights and the light that burns in us? The light that is to shine into a world of darkness a fire burning for and on behalf of God?

The oil for that lamp, HOLY, Holy oil that WE CAN NOT PRODUCE OURSELVES. Oil given from the Holy Spirit as we spend time in prayer and worship.

It has to be a ready supply, CONSTANTLY being poured into us and we are not allowing that to happen, our lamps contain only the oil from the last “deposit” and over time it will start to “evaporate” and little by little, the level starts going lower and lowering and you don’t even realize that you are almost “running on empty” as far as fuel goes.

And once you realize you need it and it is not quite there, there may not be time to get a fill up, Take Matthew 25:1-13 for a great example:

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The five that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them; 

 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight, there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Then all the virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:  but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

And while they went out to buy the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Notice that the five foolish did indeed have their lamps, they just didn’t bother worrying about the oil. Next time, next week, maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow may never come.

The five wise took oil in their vessels, lamps, bodies, oil inside US. It is ironic, of course NOTHING really is, but after these verses Jesus gets into His teaching on the talents and the hidden talents and the talent being taken from the one who hid it and given to the one who already had ten. 

The overtaking of complacency has been on my heart so strong lately and it is truly a major problem for the body of Christ currently and we do have to take into consideration the great “falling away” but this is a horse of a different color.

If we all know there IS a great falling away and that the “saints are being worn out” by the enemy, why would this be a good time for anyone to rest?

We NEED and SHOULD BE doing double duty, working harder and harder for the kingdom, trying to win souls and trying to minister and feed the ones that God has sent us. 

I have said this before, but I am saying it again, is it any shock that Jesus told us in Luke 10:2:..“The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Jesus TOLD us we have a great harvest but it is not going to gather itself! We have to be the light and we have to have the oil and we have to OVERCOME complacency.

If we approach our walk with Christ and our Christianity in everyday as nothing more than a doldrums, take it or leave it “lifestyle” we are going to soon find the pilot light will go out.

Jesus deserves SO MUCH MORE.

Lukewarm or even barely warmed over christianity is an absolute insult to Him and every single thing He has done for us.

And NOTHING will snuff that light out faster than complacency.

Complacency is described by the dictionary as a “smug, uncritical view of one’s accomplishments” when even doing nothing still feels quite right and one synonym of it is STAGNANT, not moving, not going forward, just staying in one place.

With our next scriptures, please note that it refers to women, but this could be men, women, whoever falls into this category and it should be a wake up call for us all.

The beginning of Isaiah chapter 32 deals with the evils taking over and all the damage that is being done (sound like our world?) then verses 9-17, says it all, here IS our problem and IF we want things changed, our answer follows:

RISE UP,ye women, that are at ease, HEAR MY VOICE, ye careless (COMPLACENT) daughters; give ear to my speech.

Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless (COMPLACENT) women; for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall NOT come.

TREMBLE, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless (COMPLACENT) ONES; strip up, and make you bare, {RID yourself of whatever is holding you down} and gird sackcloth upon your lions {REPENT}.

They shall lament (mourn) for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.

Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all houses of joy in the joyous city: Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts, and towers shall be dens for ever, a joy to wild asses, a pasture of flocks; 

UNTIL the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be  a fruitful field, and the fruitful field counted for a forest.

THEN judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness REMAIN in the fruitful field.

AND THE WORK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL BE PEACE, and THE EFFECT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS QUIETNESS AND ASSURANCE FOR EVER.

He said it THREE TIMES,  so this tells us what a huge problem this is, and has been, we must overcome complacency WHILE we still can. 

1 Samuel 2, around verse 22, gets into the story of Eli, and Eli just absolutely let his sons (these men were supposed to be priests) run wild in the unholy things they did in the temple, even sleeping with prostitutes that were actually gathering outside, which is horrifying in itself,  and he just pretty much told them it was wrong, but did NOTHING to stop it.

So the judgment of God came down on him and his sons all died and even, and even the grandson whom was named “Ichabod” which means “inglorious” the mother said because the “Glory of the Lord had departed…’ (1 Samuel chapter 4) because of the transgression against the house of the Lord.

But here is the forerunner 1 Samuel 3:2,3 (a) ” And it came to pass that at that at that time Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes begin to wax (grow) dim, that he could not see; and ERE (IN TIME) THE LAMP OF THE GOD WENT OUT IN THE TEMPLE…” 

This was an EXTREME example but it serves as a very sobering, terrifying reminder to us all to remember that those virgins represent US, God’s children, and any of us can become discouraged and complacent, but we can’t stay there! 

We all have a “pilot light’ that must be lit and kept lit and we have to keep check on that fuel and it seem that light starting to grow low, we have to make sure we get back up to full flame because nothing is worth letting that light go out.

And if you see a brother or sister growing “dark” encourage them, pray with them and help them get that spark back and as the verses from Isaiah proved out We will all be thankful for their new ignition!

Love, Peace, & have  a blessed week! Keep that fire burning!

Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017