“2020 Constant in continuance”

“As he spoke these words, many believed in him,  If ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed: and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:31,32   

Going to be going back to those passages in just a bit, but I wanted to stop there and talk about that truth, His truth, the truth that this entire season is supposed to celebrate. Jesus arriving on earth as a perfectly innocent babe, just as Jesus always was and still is and will forever be.

That is the truth that He brought to us, his beauty, his humility, and most of His grace.

A grace to so compassionate and so extensive that instead of destroying us in judgment against our sins, He chose to save us, save us from sin, save us from the devil, and most of all save us from ourselves. 

That is what I have always found so astounding and so amazing, not that everything about God and His majesty isn’t astounding, it is because He is supernatural while we are just barely natural!

But how a being who could speak everything that we know as the universe into existence, could separate the heaven from the earth and the heavens from the heavens and fling the starts, planets, sun, and moon into an endless space.

Created innumerable species on such a scale from the largest of beasts to the tiny little daphnia, who being only 0.01-0.20 inches in size has a beautiful little features including a perfect little heart that can be seen beating through its translucent body under a microscope, so tiny that this does not hurt them in anyway.

The SAME God who created the mammoths, the whales, also created the tiny little humming birds, the incredible assortment of color changing and electrically charge sea creatures and right down to the microscopic communities of absolute GOD GIVEN life.

And every single one with hundreds of types and varieties within their species, all intelligent, beautiful, and with uniquely their own social orders.

The birds who are especially brilliant with their dances of courtship and the bower-birds, the males building beautifully designed masterpieces of found art to impress potential mates, while other males seriously stake out his joint waiting for a chance to destroy it so that he can take out his competition for those potential mates.

And the male red birds who sing sweet songs as their “lady” birds set patiently on the eggs that will be their new family.

And all these much better parents and partners than their human counter parts on any given day.

And we could go on forever with example after example across the board of God’s creation.

And in all the splendor, all of the magnificent display of His creations, He came to save but one of all the kinds he created. the only species that ever questioned his existence, the only species that ever dared think itself quite so high, the only species that needed  a Saviour!

You can “see” this uniquely human attitude as we return to our scriptures, now bear in mind that these guys are actually saying this to God, the very one who created them!

And yet they question him.

John 8:33-43:”They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, (descendants), and we were NEVER in bondage to any man: HOW sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 

Jesus answered them,  Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever (forever). If the Son shall therefore make ye free, ye shall be free indeed.

I know that ye are Abraham’s seed: but ye seek to kill me, because my WORD has no place in you.

I speak that which I have seen with my Father; and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.  

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father, Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

Ye do the deeds of your father.  Then said they unto him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.”  

They couldn’t hear, even though they probably had perfect hearing they still could not hear the word, even with the Living Word standing right in front of them.

And in our world today it is so easy to get side tracked to get out of focus with the truth of God’s word, as Jesus so simply stated as this, John 8:47: “He that is of God heareth God’s words…” 

And that is not even about hearing the literal voice of God (which I am not disputing that some do) He means His written word, his commandments, his teachings and all that he had others write to us when giving us the Bible as our handbook to survival of this world.

2 Corinthians 3:1-17: “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

Forasmuch as ye manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. 

And such trust we have through Christ to God-ward: 

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. 

Who also hath made us ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather (more) glorious?

For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

For if that which was done (passing) away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.  

Seeing then that we have such hope we use great plainness of speech:

And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

Nevertheless when it (one) shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. NOW the Lord IS that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord IS, there IS Liberty.”

So basically what he was saying with much of that is this, as Moses face actually shone from being in the presence of God, and that glory was there even though the Mosaic law called for strict punishment and when the law of Christ comes into our heart how much more is that glory because the glory of that is the promise and hope of ETERNAL freedom!

And if you have Jesus and have his word and keep his word as he told us multiple, multiple times then we will have that promise.

Not much for him to ask, is it? And why doers he ask? For the same reason he warns and advises on any other subject… it is for us, for our GOOD. 

Psalm 119:11: “THY WORD HAVE I HID IN MINE HEART, THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN AGAINST THEE.” 

Lack of his word leads to sin and as his word tells us “sin leads to death” and death without him leads to an eternity no one wants to think of. 

So continue in him, in his word, and take him for his word and enjoy the goodness, mercy, and grace that he came to this earth to give us. 

What better way to start our new year in him, a fresh commitment to staying in his word and true to the simplicity of his word, not mega ministers not theories or thoughts but JESUS, and his word at face value, just as he intended, one of the many reasons he came, prophet after prophet he sent, but then he came and he told us HIMSELF!

Think of that as we go into 2020…

Φλογιζω NBJ 2019/ REV. Nina BrownJohnson

 

 

“360”

“Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. 

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Micah 7:7,8

Ever feel like the enemy and often enemies are having one heck of a party celebrating what they think and hope is your demise?

I have been through quite a little season and we ALL have, so I never want to come off that I think it is only me…I know better.

I know God’s people have come under attacks like nothing seen before and attacks on every side, many almost falling under that pressure, stumbling a bit, trying to navigate through that darkness as the enemy rejoices because he thinks he can keep us there but he can’t, he doesn’t have that kind of power and the only way we will remain in that darkness is if we continue to sit in it. And the first step to being pulled back up by our boot straps is allowing the light of God that shines on us, to shine through us, and in us.

As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:5-9: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord: and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 

For God, who commanded the light to shine OUT OF THE DARKNESS, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

BUT we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled (hard-pressed)on every side, yet NOT distressed (crushed); we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but NOT forsaken; cast (struck) down, but NOT destroyed.”  

Which now brings me to my “360” anyone who follows this blog knows that I lost my Mom in September and also had two more very close family members battling cancer at the same time, so I really hadn’t been keeping this up as I should have so I had felt impressed to “revamp” and do a 360.

I pulled a lot of posts that were personal in content and took away the “baresoul” part of the name and planned to return it to what it was meant to be, so if you are redirected to 360, I assure you, it is safe.

Anyway as I began this process my sister’s condition became worse and there was no one on this earth like my sister, we often joked that we had one brain between us and each had a half, we were that in tune with each other and she was one of the few people who ever encouraged me in ministry, and I knew she was dying, she had been given 24-72 hours the morning I wrote my last post, so I wrote it, dedicated it to her because I couldn’t imagine doing anything without her in my life. So I called it done and went to her house and was there when she passed, even though I had planned to not be there for the last moment, it doesn’t always work out the way we want it to, I wanted her healed, I wanted my Mom healed, I wanted my brother healed but God has reasons and purposes for everything and He is still sovereign.

But during the course of all these things, the enemy loves to use people to just add a little more, it’s like you can’t be going through enough hurt and sorrow, they have to just make that load a little heavier and I was the subject of the most vicious lie filled social media attack and this was hitting areas that were so deplorable that only a sick evil person could have a heart black enough to say such trash, things concerning the death of my mother and even her funeral expenses, which Mom had insurance, but for all the hundreds of people who read that, they’d never know it.

Back to my point, you know, sometimes whipping boys grow a little weary of being whipped. So I held my peace as long as possible and after the burial, I did indeed make that quite known, so I got another social media rant threw at me, which is funny considering I am not even on it now.

But anyway after people believe lies and the looks you get when that final straw snaps does kinda make one rethink everything and I have known through it all that the first thing that would get questioned is my ministry. But you know, God is still God. God is ever merciful and God knows our thoughts before we even think them.

So I determined after two weeks pondering and praying that if I just throw away the opportunity God has given me and I choose to sit in that darkness then I have no one to blame but myself if I fail God and fail the call he has given me. So the 360 is for me, a 360 back to the Lord, to His mercy and forgiveness and away from the games and drama that he NEVER told me that I had to be part of.

A 360 back to the ONLY one whose opinion should matter to me.

A 360 back under the shadow of His wings and his protection.

A 360 back to the prayers that David sang in Psalms as he asked not for power in his flesh to turn back the enemies that rose against him, but he prayed and sang for God, the ONLY power to turn back those enemies on his behalf.

A 360 back to the everlasting arms that hold not only today but our yesterday and tomorrow.

And a 360 for my ministry, which after six years did needed a fresh ray of sunshine, or should I say SON SHINE!

Posts hitting a verse or two, short and hopefully sweet to encourage someone somewhere that you are NEVER alone, NEVER gone to far, and a darkness does not exist that can not be pierced by his marvellous light. 

He sees and He knows and He forgives and He helps us when we can’t help our selves. When we can’t fight the temptation to hold our tongues, when the world looks on in shock because they think they can somehow hide from God their own thoughts.

But He loves us and in that love HE forgives us and His mercy is renewed every single morning IF we will receive it. And I for one have decided that I will receive it and with that I absolutely rescind my “resignation” from my calling.

As long as the Lord allows and as long as He blesses me with this avenue of ministry , it will go on.

And here is our proof, for ALL of us, that He knows, He sees, and we are to be grateful for that.

Psalm 139:1-18: “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off.

Thou compassest (comprehendeth) my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset (enclosed, encircled) me behind and before (front and back), and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whiter shall I go from thy spirit? or whiter shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover (fall upon) me ,even the night shall be light around about me.

Yea,the darkness hideth not from thee (is not dark to thee); but the night SHINETH as the day: The darkness and the day are both alike to thee.

For thou hast possessed my reins (formed my inward parts): thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

My substance (bones) was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect (unformed) and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them (our days prepared BEFORE we were still in the womb). 

How PRECIOUS also ARE thy thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” 

No matter how down the world gets on us, or how down we get on ourselves, these words should make any heart rejoice!

God telling us through his word that EVEN before He formed us in our mother’s womb. He KNEW us and as these verses describe that formation and that EVEN our days are known BEFORE we ever come forth and that His thoughts toward as are innumerable and ALL those thoughts are precious and for our good!

Thanks for reading!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2019