Angels, Roses, & True Love part 3 “Truest Love of All”

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

These things I command you, that ye love one another. 

If the world hate you ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world,but I have CHOSEN you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”  John 15:9-18   

Love is the most misunderstood word in existence, and love in its truest sense is often left undiscovered.

When Jesus gave us these words, which he went on in verse twenty to remind us to, “REMEMBER the word that I have said unto you…” as He went on to warn them that we can never expect to be treated any differently than he was.

We are truly judged by the company we keep and often once you starting keeping company, as our old Southern sayings go, with Jesus, you will find out pretty fast who your real friends are, which in most cases, will then mean were. 

So often all of us at one time or another have been hit with the old routine of  “If you really loved me…” and you know that is the biggest trap the enemy has ever set. People who really love you will NEVER play that game, they will NEVER use the love that they know you have for them as a tool against you, to manipulate and control you or to coerce you into to bending to their will never caring at all about you or your feelings.

So that my friends is the state of the world, and just as Jesus said, the world, referring to those people, people who do not honor God or his teachings and sure do not want you to honor him, they will hate you. 

Being human will all need to feel love and we need acceptance and the enemy plays on those needs because he knows where our greatest weakness lies. That it why it is imperative to cultivate a relationship with Jesus and of course if you have never excepted salvation, that is where you must start.

Think about that, just as he told us, there is NO GREATER LOVE, the love of God, the one who created you, just as He told the Prophet Jeremiah… “BEFORE, I formed thee in the belly  I knew thee”…  and he knew you, me, and ever other person who was or ever will be created.

And His lovemercy, and grace will never fail, and He gives this freely, openly, honestly, no strings attached, no deals to be made.

He just gives and he gives from the moment He brings you into this world through all the ups, downs, of life until your golden years, He gives that hope, that choice, and that offer to open that door as He beckons for you to open your heart and as He also promises that even as time fades from us that He is there.

Isaiah 46:4: “And even to your old age I am he and even to your hoar hairs (gray hairs) will I carry you; I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”

Now those are the words of God Himself promising us that even to the end of everything, He will carry us, deliver us, and as He also promised in scripture elsewhere, He will never leave us or forsake us. THAT is Love.   

So you see no matter where you are, where you have been, no of it matters, God wants you right where you are, and maybe the enemy has told you that God has called to many times, or you have went to far or that your family, relationship, or circumstance disqualifies you from ever being able to serve God, again one of the biggest lies of all.

Jesus loves you and He died on the cross to save you, and it is  never too late until you take your last breathe, He will save you, all you have to do is ask him into your heart, because He will not just force you  accept him,  or force you to accept the greatest gift of all, His love the only true love, and a love that will never fail.

And as I leave you, I want to leave you with this question why spend life never knowing what you can not know until you have accepted it?

I know that was a tongue twister, meaning this, never dismiss the thought of the existence of God or the relationship that is waiting for you, a relationship of peace and love, and truly knowing God, until you have at least sought Him.

Before I was saved I did not understand that either.

I always thought of God as just out in Heaven, we could pray to him and I believed in Him but never understood what it meant to know His presence and no one can know that or understand that until they are saved.

This is how it works… you believe, you ask and then you know.

He is not in the business of proving Himself to us before we believe, we believe and then He reveals Himself to us. that is the part the world that he referred to is missing, and they do hate him or rather the belief in Him, because their hearts are so darkened and their minds so blinded that they do not believe in anything, they live in the moment, never believing that there is more.

Falsely thinking that this world, this life is all that there is, and as the Bible teaches us, if we only had hope in this life, and our only confidence was in the things of this world we would be miserable.

He proved how much He loves us, enough to die for us, and there is no greater nor will there ever be a greater love than that of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for reading, sorry that I was running so late with this series that was supposed to be for Valentine’s Day, but God knows everything and His timing is perfect so I hope in some way this will bless you TODAY!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

Series posts: Angels, Roses, & True Love/ Intro

Angels, Roses, & True Love : Part 2 “Angels”

Angels,Roses,& True Love/ part 3 “A rose by only one name”

 

Angels,Roses,& True Love/ part 3 “A rose by only one name”

“The wilderness and the solitary (desert) place shall be glad for them: and the desert shall blossom as the rose.

It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and signing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon,  they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.

Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm (make firm) the feeble knees. Say unto them that are of a fearful heart (are afraid), Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Then the lame man shall leap as a hart (a deer), and the tongue of the dumb (mute) shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert.

And the parched ground shall become a pool and thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of dragons (jackals),where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

And an highway shall be there, and a way (road), And it shall be called The way of Holiness;  the unclean shall not pass over it: but is shall be for those; the wayfaring men (those who walk the road), though fools, shall not err therein (will not go astray).

No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed of the Lord shall walk there

And the ransomed  of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; the shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.   Isaiah 35

Well to get started, Happy leap day, Happy leap year, Happy Sadie Hawkins Day! That is a lot for a day that only comes every four years!

It is cold and snowy in my part of the world, looked quite like a post card this morning, absolutely gorgeous with snow covering every branch of every tree and glittering down sparkling as the sun tried to shine through.

And it is a beautiful refreshing change from this time yesterday, as I was feeling a little ” Bob crackit-ish” having just came out of a nineteen hour power outage caused by a fallen tree…ah the joys of electric heat. 

And things can and do change fast sometimes, like the old saying, “What a difference a day can make.”

Like our passage above, I know that seemed excessive, an entire chapter, but it is needed. God often works in our lives the same way, one day is catastrophic, your entire world crashing around you, such as in the first verse, a spiritual wilderness, a barren deserted land in which you feel that you have found yourself helplessness alone.

Then Jesus comes in and lets us know that He is already there, He is in that place with you and for you, and in those places of solitude is the very place that God often uses to bring that gladness and joy of his presence to us.

This is why the desert can be “glad” for us, and why it can be a place, starting out with feelings of lonely abandonment and quickly becoming a beautiful fruited land in where find a renewing and strengthening of your personal relationship with God.

A place in which you learn complete trust and complete surrender while gaining faith and complete confidence in his power over your life and the blessed knowledge that he is doing something wonderful in you despite what everything around you may be saying to the contrary.

And the blooming of that rose, a rose not only blooming but blossoming into perfection out of the parched dry ground.

A rose that would seem doomed to never in bud given the hardness of the soil in which it is planted but once those sweet waters come bringing the glory and joy of the land over that land, everything will change.

Wasn’t Shakespeare’s famous line that told even by any name a rose would smell just as sweet?

Ah, but I do beg to differ…

“I AM the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As my lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” Song of Solomon 2:1,2

And talk about beautiful fragrances…

“Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows (more than any other), All thy garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia…” Psalm 45: 7, 8 (a) 

No name greater, no fragrance sweeter than our God, the only true rose, the only rose whose love does bloom in us, even in the middle of a desert and who is the lily producing a beautiful sweet fragrance covering and replacing the smell of the awful ash left by what had once consumed our life.

That sweet aroma  of that lily, whose beauty shines forth even from among the painful thorns as we go through the valleys of this world, as all the “dragons”, all that would hurt and hinder are made silent and renewing, as that fresh grass growing starts to take place. So you see, you can’t stop, you can not give up, because where you are today can change in twinkling of an eye. The place of the desert that you may feel will engulf you may very well be the place you look back on one day with a higher knowledge and understanding that if it had not been for that desert you may have never be given the only truly perfect rose.  

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour (aroma).”  Ephesians 5:1,2

Nothing, absolutely nothing that can be sweeter or any rose more beautiful than Jesus.

Trust him, just TRUST him.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

For series posts, please click links:

Angels, Roses, & True Love/ Intro

Angels, Roses, & True Love : Part 2 “Angels”

Angels, Roses, & True Love : Part 2 “Angels”

 

“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about the that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7

I really had a rough time thinking about this one. There are so many stories in the Bible of the interactions between those of us on earth and the host of heaven, who are sent to us, I believe, more often than we could ever imagine.

And it is truly hard to write for six years dealing in the same subject matter and not get redundant, and redundant I do not wish to be, so this post with be heavy laden with golden links that can be clicked on for more posts concerning heaven meeting earth.

But we have all experienced those moments in life, usually near fatal accidents that somehow, miraculously we were spared and stories upon stories that can have only one explanation divine intervention carried out by servants of the most Divine.

We can get into the mindset of this by recalling the stories of old.

One my personal favorites the angel that visited Hagar not once but TWICE.

Daniel whose life was spared through his faith in God as God sent an angel to “shut the mouths of the lions” which I believe this meant that the lions were calmed and lulled they knew the angel was there as we know from the story of the beaten donkey  , the donkey that kept stopping because she saw what her evil rider could not… the angel whose compassion toward that donkey almost brought an even earlier end to Balaam. 

The angel Gabriel proclaiming blessed news to Mary, and again angels coming to proclaim to simple shepherds that that blessed promise had been fulfilled.

Other births had been foretold as those of the angelic realm paid visits also to Samson’s parents, his mother first and then at the prayer of Manoah, God sent the angel again to clarify how this child should be raised.

Not to mention Zacahrias, the father of John the Baptist was also visited by Gabriel as he performed his duties in the temple. 

There are stories of encounter after encounter with everything from bring prophecy and good news, to warning of danger ahead and assurance that the future will be brighter as in Hagar’s case.

An angel fed Elijah when he was so discouraged he could no longer continue. Jacob wrestled with the angel before becoming Israel, Joshua was given comfort meeting the captain of the host that were for them.

Stories of the Lord sending his angels to fight against those that were to strong for his children to fight and opening the eyes of the servant of Elisha to allow him to see just how many were really there for that fight if needed. Other times he sent them forth in judgment  to destroy those that sought to destroy his chosen or defiled his temple.

They announced his birth, his resurrection, and spoke to the disciples at his ascension assuring them that he would indeed return just as he went away and they will continue to watch over us and do his will until that day. 

So when I think of God and I think of love it is very difficult to not think of the angels and his beauty, grace,and kindness in sending them to watch over us and when I think of all the times in life all of us could have encountered an angel and not have ever even known is even more amazing to me! 

“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Hebrews 13:1-2

Our gentle warning to always respond in love (I fail this one often!) and a bigger warning that we should always be very careful how we treat others because we can actually be talking with an angel.

I want to point out something here, if you were to ever encounter an angel posing as human to check your true usage of the golden rule  you would probably never even know that you had but just know that an angel would never test you on anything contrary to the word of God.

They would never request anything of you that is wrong or illegal or immoral. And they are NEVER to be worshiped. 

“And I John saw these things and heard them, and when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it NOT: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings (words) of this book: WORSHIP GOD.Revelation 22:8,9

I love “angels”. I have angels on almost anything you can imagine and love giving Christmas cards with scriptures of “Glad Tidings” and art work of the same.

When we think of  all the beautiful cards with truly inspirational sayings and thoughts of love and peace with gorgeous illustrations of what we perceive the angels to be, lets always bear in mind one thing.

These thoughts and sentiments that we have came to cherish are actually a reflection of the love God has sent to us, the only difference is his angels ARE real!

So I want to give you some of that good news, the words from God concerning those of the heavenly host that he does in deed give “charge over you” to watch over you, comfort you, protect you, and be there in the loneliest, most barren place of hopelessness .

Much like the place Hagar  found herself in, through no fault of her own and just when she thought EVERYTHING was hopeless and she truly believed that she and much worse her son were going to die in that wilderness, God sent his angel with not only words of comfort, words of hope, and the PROMISE of a future for her son but also he miraculously sent them water so that they could physical continue on that journey.

God know all of our needs emotional, spiritual, and physical and he addressed all these for Hagar, taking care first of the emotional, then the spiritual, by giving her reassurance delivered no less than through an angel, and then her physical need was met.

And he does the same for us, we just have to believe and be open and mindful that even when we feel alone and it looks like there is no one on our side, Jesus is and he sends his angels as proof of that.

John was told to not worship them because they are workers together with us for the kingdom of God. Which is so important to say in a world that wants to worship everything except the one true God and always be careful of media posts and sites that touting messages from angels or connect with your angels.

We don’t connect with them… God sends them to us, they are ever present.

There is always the question that if God is real and angels are real why does bad things happen? 

That is explained quite simply as being on this earth, being human, God never promised this earth would be easy, it is not our eternal home, we are not  in the realm of immortality and the pain and heartache felt by one is surely felt by another.

And the best way to be mindful of that, especially when we are going through particularly painful seasons is remembering a very crucial lesson, Jesus was Mary’s   firstborn son and he was also God in human form and will for ever be and Jesus who was the perfect, sinless, Lamb of God DIED for us so that we could live.

The Bible is also full of stories of heartache and blessings given for the generations by those near the end of their own.

The apostles Peter and Paul both writing of the deaths that were soon to come and yet both of these men spared, miraculously rescued by the angels and not just once.

Peter after having been arrested and chained between two guards had this encounter as recorded in Acts 12:7-10: “And, behold, the angel  of the Lord came upon him (stood by), and a light shined in the prison: and he smote (tapped) Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly, And his chains fell off from his hands.

And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals (get dressed and put on your shoes), so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.

And he went out, and followed him; and wist (knew) not that it was true (real) which was done by the angel; but he thought that he saw a vision.

When they were past the first and second ward (guard posts), they came unto an iron gate that leadeth unto the city, which opened to them on his own accord (meaning the gate miraculously opened): and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.”

Paul as he was in the midst of the storm while a prisoner on a seemingly doomed ship, had the to speak of his encounter and what they must do to survive:

Acts 27:22-26: “And now I exhort (urge) you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship (the ship would be destroyed).

For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve. Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

Wherefore sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast (run aground) upon a certain island.”

The angel reminding Paul, bringing God’s words and promises over his life back to his mind, assuring him that no matter how dark  it was not quite time.

It was not yet time for them to go to that eternal home but when the time started to come they knew and they never questioned God’s love for them.

The one common thread that weaves it all together is this, it is only temporary and the entire reason for our faith is believing that there is so much better, in the life yet to come.

Lets actually just quickly look at what they both said concerning their inevitable deaths.

Paul wrote this ending his directions to Timothy concerning what he must do to be a successful minister for the Kingdom of Heaven.

2 Timothy 4:6: For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (death) is at hand.”

And Peter, also giving instructions as his last words before saying this:

2 Peter 1:13-15: “Yea, I think it meet (is right), as long as I am in this tabernacle (body), to stir you up by putting you in remembrance:

Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle (die), even as our Lord Jesus has shown me.

Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease (death) to have these things in remembrance always.”

How could they have such comfort and such peace? Because they knew, they had the Lord and they knew had the angelic host and we never alone. 

They are with us from birth, through childhood, just as Jesus said concerning the children when he gave this warning from Matthew 18:10: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

When we have ran amok, wasting our inheritance like the prodigal sons and daughters that we are, hanging out with the wrong people and as messed up.as we are he still loves us.He still watches over us and still his angels watch over us and Jesus said this about the moment that they are observing as we come into the truth.

Luke 15:10: “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repeneth.”

These are they who cease not to praise the Lord and there are those who are night and day around the throne and the only time we are told they are silent is just before judgment is began against earth. They are with you in life and they will be with us in death as again Jesus relays the story of Lazarus.

Luke 16:22: ” And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: and the rich man died and was buried.”

Quite a contrast the rich man died and was buried (we know that he also lifted up his eyes in hell, never have accepted salvation)  but Lazarus carried by the angels.

Start to finish, God send us his messengers and when we have doubt and fears, loneliness and grief we should always rest in that comfort, as they have been with us silently and invisibly here, one day we will be with them there, we also we be part of that host of heaven but until then rest assured knowing that they are always around!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev Nina Brown Johnson

Posts in series: Angels, Roses, & True Love/ Intro

Angels,Roses,& True Love/ part 3 “A rose by only one name”

Angels, Roses, & True Love/ Intro

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the  most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is  my refuge and my fortress: my God in whom I will trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome (deadly) pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust(take refuge); his truth shall be thy shield and buckler (shield).

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in the darkness; nor for the destruction that wastesth (lays waste) at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only wit thine eyes shalt thou behold the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come thy dwelling. 

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalm 91:1-11 

Most familiar passage of scripture there, most know it and if you don’t, what a more fabulous time to learn it! And what a better time of the year, i am just a wee late on this but love should be celebrated every single day!

Not just once a year, but every single day. And I am not talking about carnal love, or the romantic love of a married couple, but the true healing balm that softens even the hardest heart and seals even the deepest spiritual wounds.

The love that is best understood by carefully reading and spiritually dividing his Word an this passage is an excellent place to start.

“If ye have heard of the dispensation (stewardship) of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward;

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in in few words,

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

That Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel;

Wherefore I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifest wisdom of God.

According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you which is my glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.

That he would grant you according to to riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded IN love, may be able to comprehend (understand) what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:2-19 

Part of the lesson the be learned from this scripture is this, the “mystery” of God, that had perplexed humans since the dawn of time, is not quite a mystery after all. Humans have a need to understand, to know, even to believe in something s much more than ourselves.

Love itself testifies to this because we know that love can not die and God created us with that very desire to know to understand something so much greater, but in that we have through time searched for these answers in so many wrong places.

Never understanding the simplicity of the truth, and being human we want to attribute our human thinking and logic to a divine force that can not be reduced to our human mentality.

This is why Jesus came to earth, everything that thought and everything that attributed to God was quite skewed, He wasn’t all about fire and brimstone, punishment and death, and the ability to hand down the sentence of eternal damnation, which all those have their place, but he came here for one reason and one reason only to save us and save us not with punishment and terror but to save us, and to save us with thew most misunderstood yet greatest attribute of His divinity, His LOVE.

I do hope you will join me for the remainder of this series, lord will, we will look at how that love which does truly surpass anything our mortal minds can comprehend, goes so far beyond and yet touches us every single day and just as our customs of angels, roses, and never ending love stories,but the real love story was written by the greatest author of all and that story has no end and that rose never fades and that love never dies or grows cold but lives forever, eternally in a story yet to be told.

And here is your final verse for our intro,

Romans 5:8: “But God commended(demonstrates) his love toward us, in, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Join me next time! Have a blessed week.

Rev. Nina Brown Johnson / Φλογιζω NBJ 2020