“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

 

“Stealing fields…”

Yea, mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me (acted as a traitor against me). But thou , O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite (repay) them.” Psalm 41:9,10

As we know that first verse was also in reference to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, most know that story painfully well, but we also know at the end of that story, Jesus ROSE victorious and Judas hung himself, and Jesus actually said that it would have been better FOR Judas, if he were NEVER even born.

I pray about many things but one that never ceases is for all who have been hurt and offended to come back to God. This is rampant today there are more people OUT of churches for this reason than there is for ANY other reason. Once someone has been hurt, trashed, and alienated because of the lies, jealousy, and sheer evil will of another, it is very hard to convince them that NOT all believers act like that and if someone treats others this way, then that person is NOT even a true child of God anyway, but to win them back is another matter, just as stated in this verse:

Proverbs 18:19: ” A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

That hurt and that offense WILL forge bars stronger than that of any fortified castle and hold that soul perpetually in a state of lock down. As the clock ticks louder sounding into the last days and the wolves and the false prophets work to root out and move out of their way the true ones of God, the battle against this is NOT going to end until THE END.

So I want to offer a little food for thought to anyone who is going through this. First you must REALIZE that as always the force at work here, IS still the same old force whose accusations you had to overcome in order TO EVEN COME TO THE CROSS.

He never changes, he is NOT going to shut up, or let UP on you UNTIL you ask the Lord to shut him up. He is what he is, the ACCUSER, and you have to just get into that place to not put so much emphasis on what others say about you, and concentrate on what GOD says.

And people will steal your, hopes, your dreams, and even try to “steal” your ministry” and your “life”. Just as a co-worker whom was supposedly your BFF and suddenly they have a promotion that was guaranteed yours and you are unemployed, sometimes people just want what you have and don’t care how they get it, it is called coveting and it is alive and well, and some of them will just sell you out to the highest bidder whose grass looks just a little greener.

Now how to climb over those prison bars. Remember God IS sovereign, He IS faithful, what HE has started in you, HE WILL finish it and He promises that they will come against you but IT IS NOT by Him and NO weapon that they have formed against you will prosper, and that HE will work ALL things to your good, just as Joseph’s brothers selling him into foreign bondage WAS used of God to catapult him into power over ALL of Egypt, and finally God PROMISES that only “with thine eyes shalt thou behold the REWARD of the wicked” and I know it hurts, and it hurts bad but if you stay in that self-made cell, well, your just going to stay in that self-made cell!

The person who hurt you is free to just have a good old-time and it IS not hurting them at all! But to overcome”them” and get out of that cell and on with your life and SERVING the Lord opens up the door for a little divine justice, in the form of “do unto others” to come knocking at THEIR door, because I promise you, whatever they have taken from you is so NOT going to be as great as they thought.

Gotta give you a good Bible example: 1 Kings 21: 1-25:  ” And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite, had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria, And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, GIVE ME THY VINEYARD, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give unto thee a better vineyard than it; or if seems good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.

And Naboth said to Ahab, The lord FORBID it me, that I should give the INHERITANCE OF MY FATHERS UNTO THEE.

 And Ahab came into his house heavy (sullen) and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said,  I will NOT give thee the inheritance of my fathers, And he laid him down upon his bead, and turned his face, and would eat no bread. 

But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread? And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give the another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.

And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I WILL GIVE THEE THE VINEYARD OF NABOTH THE JEZREELITE.

So she wrote letters IN AHAB’S NAME, and sealed them with his seal, and SENT LETTERS UNTO THE ELDERS AND  TO THE NOBLES that were dwelling in his city, DWELLING WITH NABOTH.

And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set (seat) Naboth on high (at the head) among the people. And SET two men, SONS OF BELIAL, before him, TO BEAR WITNESS AGAINST HIM,saying, THOU DIDST blaspheme God and the king, and THEN carry him out, and STONE HIM, THAT HE MAY DIE.

 And the men of the city, EVEN the elders and the nobles who were inhabitants in his city, DID as Jezebel had sent unto them, and AS it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them.

They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. And there came in two men, CHILDREN OF BELIAL, and sat before him: and the men of Belial WITNESSED AGAINST HIM, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king.

Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, NABOTH IS STONED, AND IS DEAD. 

And it came to pass, When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, TO TAKE POSSESSION OF IT.

And THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO ELIJAH THE TISHBITE, SAYING, Arise, Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria; behold he IS in the vineyard of Naboth, whiter he is gone down to possess it.

And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, THUS SAITH THE LORD, HAST THOU KILLED, AND ALSO TAKEN POSSESSION?

And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, THUS SAITH THE LORD, IN THE PLACE WHERE DOGS LICKED THE BLOOD OF NABOTH SHALL DOGS LICK THY BLOOD, EVEN THINE.

And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? and he answered, I HAVE FOUND THEE, BECAUSE THOU HAST SOLD THYSELF TO WORK EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD.

BEHOLD, I WILL BRING EVIL UPON THEE, and I will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, (all males) and him that is shut up and left in Israel.

And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for THE PROVOCATION WHEREWITH THOU HAST PROVOKED ME TO ANGER, and made Israel to sin.

And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, THE DOGS SHALL EAT Jezebel BY THE WALL OF JEZREEL. HIM THAT DIETH OF AHAB IN THE CITY THE DOGS SHALL EAT; AND HIM THAT DIETH IN THE FIELD SHALL THE FOWLS OF THE AIR EAT.

BUT THERE WAS NONE LIKE AHAB, WHICH DID SELL HIMSELF TO WORK WICKEDNESS IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD, WHOM JEZEBEL HIS WIFE STIRRED UP (incited).” 

Some stuff going on there… serious covetousness and pouting and then add Jezebel, determined to make her honey feel all better, notice the superiority, when she asked was he not king?  Notice also that she managed to get all the elders and nobles in agreement with her plan of having Naboth lied on and accused, especially by people who were pagan, and of course no one questioned it, they just did as she said.

But the beauty is GOD knew and HE knew right where to find Ahab, which is one of the many beauties of the Lord. I think you can apply the lesson of this story exceptionally well to “ministry” or a “vineyard” that the Lord had given you to work and notice how he even tried to exchange vineyards telling Naboth that he would give him a much better one… but Naboth vineyard WAS his and notice EVEN after he was dead, the Lord referred to it AS NABOTH”S VINEYARD.

And Naboth was CONSIDERED the worst because he SOLD himself out, but he did plead for mercy from the Lord, but the fulfillment of the word of the Lord came:

1 Kings 22:37,38: “So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.”

Now for the demise of the mastermind behind the plot:

2 Kings 9:30-37: “And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it: and she painted her face, and tired (adorned) her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace (Is it peace), who slew (murdered) his master? And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who?  And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs.

And he said, THROW HER DOWN. SO THEY THREW HER DOWN AND SOME OF HER BLOOD WAS SPRINKLED ON THE WALL, AND ON THE HORSES, AND HE TRODE HER UNDER FOOT.

And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go see now this cursed woman, and bury her for she is a king’s daughter.

And THEY WENT TO BURY HER; BUT THEY FOUND NO MORE OF HER THAN THE SKULL, AND THE FEET, AND THE PALMS OF HER HANDS.

Wherefore they came again, and told him, And he said, This IS the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezebel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel. And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.” 

No matter what you feel that you have lost, please know it IS not lost in the Lord, and whoever has intentionally hurt you and tried to steal or destroy the vineyard that BELONGED to you absolutely has not go anything past the eyes of the Lord and it is no wonder Jesus told us that if someone takes what is ours don’t ask for it back, because once they get it it may be like Ahab and Jezebel and the vineyard that cost much more than they knew they were going to pay.

Or perhaps like the story from 2 Kings, chapter 5, of  Naaman’s leprosy and how that Elijah’s servant had run after Naaman to take the “payment” that Elijah knew better than to accept because it was the LORD’S POWER that had healed Naaman, all Elijah did was the asking on Naaman’s behalf and what Gehazi came away with was the leprosy that Naaman had been healed of…

It will never work out quite the way they are thinking. Please don’t give up, and don’t think anything is over, rest in the comfort of this KNOWING that IT IS GOD who defends His children and in Him you can trust!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017