“Twenty-two for Twenty Twenty Two”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6 NKJV

It’s that time again! The New Year and the sense of renewed hope that it brings.

And of course, we know it is truly nothing more than the changing of a calendar, the changing of the date from one year to the next, but it always offers a renewed sense of hope.

Hope for newness, hope that all old challenges to pass away and dark nights dawning now with hope of a brighter day.

And with all going on in the world and all the events we are watching play out before our very eyes as we will go forward in our study of all things apocalyptic, I did want to take a moment and send out a holiday wish and reminder that once you trust in Jesus, you have no need to fear these things.

Jesus wants us to be aware of the time, as he told us “So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” Luke 22:31

Also, as he commanded the disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16  

Some teachings, especially prophetic writings can be heavy and quite terrifying, but we have to be aware, for ourselves and also for those around us in whose lives we pray to be a light.

Now to start our New Year off right on God’s promise of this: Psalm 17:4: “Concerning the works of men, by the words of thy lips, I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”

Twenty-two scriptures to hopefully encourage and prayerfully equip you with verses to remember as we take on the new season of unknown, knowing that the word of God never changes and while we never know what a year may bring, we do know that we have these promises and that is why we are to trust in Him and not be so concerned with it appears that we see.

#1. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord thy God, he it is that goth with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deuteronomy 31:5

#2.”Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Psalm 68:19

#3. ” The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their afflictions.” Psalm 34:17

#4.” Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” Psalm 33:18,19

#5. “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23

#6.” Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he will exalt thee to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” Psalm 37:34

#7. But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; he is their strength in the time of trouble.”

#8.” God is our refuge and strength, and very present help in teh time of need.” Psalm 46:1

#9. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

#10.”And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM;…” Exodus 3:14

#11. ” Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am.” John 8:58

#12.“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish; but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

#13.”And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

#14.“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for their’s is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:3-12

#15.“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

#16. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:23

#17.”Submit yourselves, therefore to God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

#18, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

#19.”And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

#20.” There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

#21,”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

#22.”For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” Romans 1:17

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson

“Nothing to prove”

“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre (going to the tomb).

So they ran both together; and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying: yet went he not in.

Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie.

And the napkin, that was about his head (the face cloth that had been over Jesus’ face), not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together (folded) in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

For as yet, they knew (understood) not the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 

Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

But Mary stood without (outside) at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre.

And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

And they said unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing there, but she knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence (carried him away),tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 

Jesus saith unto her, Mary, she turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master (teacher). 

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

And when he had so said, he shewed (showed) unto them his hands and his side, Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost;

Whose soever sins ye remit (forgive), they are remitted (forgiven) unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 

But, Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was NOT with them with Jesus come. 

The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and out my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

And after eight days again his disciples were within (inside), and Thomas with them; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 

Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless (unbelieving) but believing. 

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. 

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through (in) his name.” John 20 1-31

I love that last verse! “But” these are written… so we can have the choice to believe the Bible accounts and that we can have that choice to accept eternal life, simply by choosing to believe for ourselves, that Jesus was indeed born as a man on this earth to a virgin mother, led a completely sinless life, while subjected to all the traps and snares of this world, even more so than us, and yet without committing one sin.

Something no human can do, and Jesus was constantly bombarded by those demanding that he “prove” himself to them, even as he was suffering, dying, on the cross, they still demanded, “IF you are the Son of God, come down” and so many today have quite the same attitude when they chose to not accept salvation, it is often said, “Well, when God calls I will get saved,”

Bad idea, because God already called, the very first time any of heard the name of Jesus and the message of salvation, we were called and every single say he allows us on this earth that we are aware of the teachings of Christ, we are still being extended that invitation to eternal life.

And when we give all the excuses and somehow think he should chase us down and beg us to serve him, we are not interested in serving God out of love and worship of him, we are in reality acting just like the Pharisees and Jews when they demanded proof of who he was and is, and God answers to no one.

Thomas, poor Thomas, even today, his name is still associated with disbelief, as we refer to perpetually skeptical people as “Doubting Thomases” and doubt often comes from the enemy because he does not want you to believe, and mix that up with human rebellion, people often spend their whole life in misery, looking for happiness, peace, and the meaning of life, searching for “something” while refusing to accept the very thing they seek because they want it on their terms.

Jesus also enlightening us to our blessed state, as he told Thomas, we are blessed because even though we have never saw the Lord, was not present at his crucifixion, never walked Jerusalem with him, did not watch him cast out devils, heal the sick, give sight to the blind, or raise the dead, we still believe, we have chosen to believe and  in that we are blessed.

Once we chose to believe, even when we have not seen him or touched his nail scarred hands or saw the marks from the crown of thorns, we know he is there and we know he lives and we know because he lives, that he lives forever and because he lives, as the Bible tells us, so shall we.

Even though we did not see firsthand all his miracles while he walked earth, we can see the miracles he sends today and we can one day see the resurrection, the resurrection of all who have died in him, as those who are “asleep” in God will be gathered together with him in that glorious day.

This scripture was not originally part of this post, but as I write, it is on my heart, to share this, one more time, 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18:

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first;

Then they which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to MEET the Lord in the air; and so we shall ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

This is the hope, this is one of those many blessings that we are given, the promise that living on this earth, remaining faithful to the Lord, or dying, being buried, cremated, or even, heaven forbid, something so cataphoric that there isn’t anything even left of our earthly bodies, still God will repair and raise those bodies back up.

And you notice in the accounts of Pharisees’ and those of that day, constantly demanding that “proof” of Jesus, and Jesus had nothing to prove to them, but yet when Mary wept, so distraught that she just answered the angels when they asked why she cried, even though they sat positioned as those that adorned the mercy seat, as this was a complete mirror, and yet, she never questioned any of it, she was so distraught and devastated and someone once asked why did he come to her first, and in my mind, like a kid at school, raising their hand, shouting, “I know! I know!”, I do know and many of you do too, and the person asking knew, they just, I believe, wanted people to really, really think about this, she needed him the most.

They were all traumatized, devastated, and their lives turned upside down, going from walking with the one who walked on water to being in total horror, hiding as they knew those who killed Jesus could come at any moment to take their lives also.

And such a dependence on him, and rightfully so, but where would they turn when the one that they had turned to was, in their grief stricken minds, now gone forever.

And while the others hid, Mary sought, she thought nothing of the soldiers, or nothing of the Priests, or the impending doom and death that could have very easily beset her, all that was going on in her mind is that his body was gone and she loved him, adored him, and was determined to find him.

And he came to her.

As we are promised, we will find him, when we seek him with our whole heart.

But this world, and especially the Great Babylon, that demands “proof” of his existence and “proof” of his return, do not seek him, they only use the need of “proof” to excuse their disbelief, thereby in their thoughts, excusing them from adhering to his commands that were given to all mankind, but as we know, there will be no excuses, either we believe or we don’t.

He will bless belief by revealing himself but he will never “prove” himself to appease unbelief.

He has nothing to prove, he is God and he does as he chooses and if we refuse to accept his death and resurrection as the sacrifice for our sins, then we can certainly not blame anyone other than ourselves.

Believe or not, as the old saying goes, one day he will make “believers” of us all, even those whos refuse to repent will still know and see him with their own eyes, and for many, that day will be too late.

So today, if you love him, seek him all the more, as the world grows colder and more belligerent, let your love and devotion to him grow that much stronger, the greater their denial let your proclamation sound louder, be like Mary, she didn’t care that the disciples thought she was insane and refused to believe her report, she didn’t care who was at the tomb, she didn’t care how far she had to go or how she would get there, all she knew is that she had to find her Lord, and that is all we need to remember in these last days, it wasn’t about him and the disciples, or him and the Pharisees, or what the Priests, Pilate, or anyone else thought, said or did, it was all about her and her relationship with him and she was beyond blessed for that.

Love & Peace till next time, thanks for reading!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Reverend Nina Brown Johnson