“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

 

“Learning to just say… NOT SO!”

” And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, NOT SO; BUT HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED JOHN.” LUKE 1:59,60

Now the deal with this is that at that time sons were usually named by the father and after the father, but his name had come not from man but from God and knowing this, Elisabeth quickly spoke in the babies defense with NOT SO.

How often do we accept the names and titles wrongfully given to us and our children, not once arguing our own NOT SO! ?

I have written in the past about names and titles and the damage they can do but this was on my heart so strong concerning what does it do to our children, our families, and even us when do not loudly proclaim NOT SO at the wounding words and accusations of others? And what role will it play in ultimately fulfilling our destinies?

What if Zacharias and Elisabeth had disobeyed the voice of the angel of the Lord? What if they had chosen to name this child any name other than the commanded John? Well, we know of a certainty, “John the Baptist” would not have existed, all that was spoken, even in that time, among those who heard him and those who hated him, would never have been uttered and the destined place in the cosmic scheme of all things would have been void and John’s namesake message of GRACE might not have been so quickly proclaimed. 

Of course I know God is sovereign and God uses who He wants, when He wants, but I am just stirring your thoughts to the fact that this was PREDESTINED, PREORDAINED, and that I think many of us are fighting battles and fighting against that predestination by being caught up in names that we have accepted but God NEVER chose to call us or others. 

I can never think of names without thinking of the name of my sister, Ruby, who is my “sister-sister” natural sister and spiritual sister. When her name was in my Mom’s heart, it could have not been more perfect, she is beautiful inside and out, has so much compassion that she cries when others cry and missed her calling as a “Florence Nightingale” (notice the image of a loving nurse popped right up, ah.. the power of a name) due to care and nurture of the sick and wounded. And she truly has been a precious jewel placed in our family and we do thank God for her.

And I think especially of children, when labels are placed on them, especially when they HEAR these labels and all the negativity and self-doubt that those labels immediately cover them in and I do wonder what if, what if those labels change?

What if someone boldly stands and says, NOT SO! I wonder about times when people make accusations and spread gossip about others, especially, IN CHURCHES, often with the “But don’t mention it….” attached to it, ( I am meaning when people tell you the most awful things a person has done or supposedly still doing, and are attacking their character and accusing them to you, while wanting to stay anonymous, behind the others back with them not even aware they are being slandered) we are never to judge someone or listen to “charges” against them without first consulting that person to hear their side of the story, but often we choose to see the worst in others and become, judge, jury, and executioner without ever affording that person a “trail”.

And “as we judge, so shall we be judged” so we can be assured that somewhere along the way, someone will backbite, trash talk, and harm our reputation without us having the benefit of speaking on our behalf in the matter.

And in hindsight, which we all know it the greatest of all sight, I look with terrible, terrible regret at times when I should have stood on behalf of others and myself and screamed NOT SO!

Many “old timers warned of the ability to kill with words, to murder another’s reputation and in doing so we are in effect breaking the sixth  commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”. Because we are killing them with the power of that untamable beast and yet we don’t want it mentioned….of course they SAY they do not want to “stir up” trouble, but trouble is exactly want they want stirred.

This could never be discussed without a trip to the Old Testament and going down that tortuously, long hard road that Joseph trod. From the verse, in which his Mother, gives him, HIS name:

GENESIS 30:24: “And she called his name, Joseph; and said the Lord shall add to me another son.” To the naming of HIS sons;

GENESIS 41:51,52: ” And Joseph called the name of the firstborn MANASSEH  (fortified), for God, said he, hath made me FORGET ALL MY TOIL, and ALL my father’s house.

And the name of the second called he EPHRAIM(fruitful),; for God hath CAUSE ME TO BE FRUITFUL IN THE LAND OF MY AFFLICTION.”

And we can travel that road reading his story until words would be fulfilled about his very bones over four hundred years later:

EXODUS 13:19: “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he (Joseph) had straightly sworn (placed under a solemn oath) the children of Israel, saying, GOD WILL SURELY VISIT YOU; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.”

So Joseph’s namesake “add to” surely was fulfilled, but what about all the names and titles he had to have faith to ignore on that road? Hated by his brothers because of their jealously, he endured, that time equivalent to “brat”, “pet”, and “Daddy’s boy”, and suffered by their hands, now we add  “rejected”, “abused” “hated to death”, Finally “slave” falsely accused and imprisoned, he would have been labeled “rapist” and after those he helped remembered him no more, and as two years went by, he could have easily been labeled “forgotten and forsaken” but he NEVER allowed these labels to adhere to him and he held onto FAITH, that these names, these “titles”, these labels were NOT SO!

Can you imagine the pain, not only of the hurt and anguish he felt at the realization that they did indeed HATE him, but to be ripped away from all he had ever known and loved? But as God brought him out and brought him up, he chose to name his children,  “fortified” strengthen and protected, causing him to FORGET ALL his father’s house, all he suffered and unfortunately the pain of the loss of all he loved.

And “fruitful”, because he said GOD HAD MADE HIM FRUITFUL IN THE LAND OF HIS AFFLICTION. Many, many times he could have just laid it down, he could have lost hope and gave into to voices calling lies over him, and walked out on his destiny, but he chose to BELEIVE in his heart that these heartaches and struggles were only for a little while and when the enemies tried to convince him otherwise, he would remember in his heart what his father had taught, he would rest in his God and know all the lies and false labels had no power over him.

So I want to ask you today, what labels have been applied to you? What labels have been falsely attached to your family, your children? What words, names, and titles do you need to ask the Lord to tear down and break the yoke of those strangling, binding words today, because they HAVE POWER, but GOD HAS MORE!

But God gives us freewill and we must CHOOSE what voice we will hear and what we are willing to accept and we must have courage through the word of God to CHOOSE to hear what HE says about us.

As the Bible states, “Let God be true, and every man a liar”  DO NOT allow others to label you and for the love of God, never let the label children or the elderly while they are in “earshot”, what we hear, we tend to believe and if WE BELEIVE OTHERS THINK US BAD,SICK, OR MENTALLY UNSTABLE , okay, guess what? BAD, SICK, and MENTALLY UNSTABLE WE SHALL BE!

But if YOU choose to say to that person (or yourself) NOT SO! And offer instead to that person a word of hope, healing, or encouragement, and peace, that can change their mindset and MAYBE change the final outcome of that life. Find scripture and use them.

Afraid? “He hath not given us a SPIRIT of fear, but of a SOUND MIND”

Sick? “HE IS risen with healing in his wings”

Tired? COME UNTO ME…..I WILL GIVE THEE REST.”

Every single problem we can have, THERE IS  a word for that problem, use a reference Bible, go online and search scriptures for…… and use them, when everything and everyone around you says you are defeated…. NOT SO! “We ARE MORE THAN CONQUERS THROUGH HIM THAT LOVED US.”

Think about it today, don’t look back years from now when damage is done ( I do hold to the belief that THERE IS NO DAMAGE THAT GOD CAN NOT UNDO, but if it can be avoided, it will save much heartache) and wish you had said NOT SO! to thoughts, labels, titles, and the voices of others, regardless of WHOSE MOUTHS those wrong voices are coming out of! God and GOD ALONE holds your past, present, and future and HE IS the author and finisher of your faith.

He started you, he wrote your story and HE IS more than able to take a tragic beginning and compose into it the world’s most triumphant work! What HE starts in all of us, HE WILL finish. So again, please, please please, (see I really, really pleaded with you) DO NOT ACCEPT ANYONES thoughts, labels, and TRASH, just say, satan (they are his agents) THAT”S JUST NOT SO!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

“Fruit flavored drinks”

Lemonade, the classic, refreshing summer time drink, pretty groovy during a monster heat wave, like the one many of us have going on right now. Even better pink, in a pretty glass with a ton of ice.

Fruit flavored drinks, on the other hand, not quite as refreshing, for two main reasons:

#1. THEY CONTAIN NO REAL FRUIT. THEY ARE OF NO REAL VALUE TO YOUR BODY.

#2. THEY ARE PRODUCED WITH FAKE SUGAR TO HIDE THE NASTY CHEMICAL POISON THAT THEY ARE REALLY MADE OF.

 I, myself prefer an old-fashioned iced coffee, not the jacked up sissy versions sold nationwide because delicious or not all I care about it REAL.  I suppose, all things considered, fruit flavored drinks pair pretty nicely with candy coating.

Maybe that is why the churches are running over with sticky, sweet-smelling fluids to be given to those who seek and desire and desperately NEED the water of life.

When you need real refreshing, they just aren’t going to do the job, and the sickly sweet, nasty aftertaste is just going to leave you more thirsty than you were before for something real.

Sure, they are “sweet” sure they “care” but only to the point of convenience for them. After that, you can just choke on that sweetness they have just poured down your throat, they really don’t care, nor will they.

Talking about fake, artificial friends and “brethren”, definitely NOT talking about the world. I could have people actually write testimonies to their own experiences with this, because IT IS so common. That is truly, truly a sad statement.

But who cares? Seriously, who cares? They don’t. The world has no stake in it and would never come in if they had a clue as to how people are really treated once they are down. So who cares? Well, I tell you, one that does, the same one who cares about everything else:

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the GREEN herb.

 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily shalt thou be fed. Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as light, and thy judgment ( justice for you) as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: Fret not thyself because of him (any person) who prospereth in HIS way, BECAUSE of the man ( person, male or female) who bringeth WICKED DEVICES (schemes) to pass.  

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise (way) to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: But those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea. thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth ( back biting and two facing ). The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. ( he knows the wicked shall soon fall and laughs at their attempts to harm others).

The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay (kill) such as be of upright conversation (conduct).  Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

Wait upon the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt SEE IT. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a GREEN bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.”                                                                PSALM 37:1-15,34-36

 What I want to point out about these verses is this: IT APPEARS as though the wicked have the upper hand, that is why they are spreading THEMSELVES and the green being that they ARE thriving while doing so. We are not to envy the position they have weaved themselves into. We are not to “fret”, you know worrying and staying upset because of what they have cost us, or question whether or not they will answer to God for those actions, or lack thereof.

They hurt the innocent, they backbite, spread lies and try to destroy others but as you see, God laughs, HE LAUGHS while they are running about pretending to give a “cold drink” to the little ones, when the poisonous fruit flavoring clearly proves what is really being served.

While they may seem to grow and prosper, they will soon dry and wither away. We all know people like this, the world is full of them, and that should be no surprise because after all it is the world. The true testing of this comes when these people are supposed to be your friends and you can really get into what Jesus said with this, If someone takes what is yours DO NOT ask for it back.

And we all know what a “friend” Jesus had in Judas and those are exactly those of which I speak.  He also commands us pray for those who hurt us, USE us, and PERSECUTE us, and SPEAK EVIL AGAINST US. He tells us to forgive our brothers and sisters in Him. But you know what? These people ARE NOT REALLY our brethren! THEY ARE THE EQUIVALENT TO FRUIT FLAVORED DRINKS.

The reason we are to do good to them is that in by doing so, we are “heaping coals of hell fire on their heads”!

People who use other people and just pretend to care for them in order to gain whatever it is that they are after are not of God. I don’t care how often they go to church, what amount of tithes they pay, or how helpful they may seem or whatever else they can produce as a sign of being “green” in the fruitful sense. I guess that is where ceasing from anger comes in pretty handy.

I just can not stand fake Christians and I would rather have someone curse me to my face then pretend to be something they are not. I respect people who can look you in the eye and tell you the truth,EVEN if that truth is that they would love to see you six feet under, not hide their hate behind lies and drama and the beauty in it all in waiting upon the Lord, trusting in the Lord, resting in the Lord, knowing that soon the truth you know of them will also be made known to all.

So if life “gives you lemons” wait on the sweetness of the Lord, even though the base fruit may TASTE bitter and unpleasant, and very undesirable, as are many of the things that we must go through in life, once the Lord adds his sweetness to the mix that lemonade made from those awful lemons will be much sweeter and refreshing than the watered down fruit flavored drink you had been given because even though the lemons began as bitter, The end product WILL HAVE BEEN  PRODUCED WITH REAL FRUIT!

Be Blessed and stay cool! Seriously, it is really hot out there and go for the real lemonade!!!It will keep you cooler and help you keep your cool;) !

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016