“A heart to hear the Hope…”

“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 

He shall be great, and he shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

And he shall reign over  the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing that I know not a man (am a virgin)?

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing (one) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:31-35

Nothing, nothing like the story of the conception and birth of Jesus Christ! Nothing like reading how the angels appeared and praised God as the proclaimed the greatest message ever delivered on this earth!

Remember that message? Luke 2:8-15: ” And there were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were so afraid (terrified).

And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone AWAY from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us NOW GO even unto Bethlehem, and SEE this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath MADE KNOWN UNTO US.”

I know we go over that and over that but we should! It is worth remembering every single day! Especially on those days when you may not feel like there is anyone  knows your heart or what you may be going through! God sent his best, his SON, Himself to this earth and he came in the sweetest, most humble way because that is who he is.

As Herod sought to have all the baby boys slaughtered in hope of destroying this one child, a child that could not be destroyed because his time “had not yet come” and hell knew, the devil knew what that child meant to this world, which is exactly why they wanted him killed. It wasn’t Herod’s insane jealously over what he felt was a threat to his throne, that may have been the seed that satan planted in his mind to have him go to such atrocious and heart breaking lengths, but it was the greater plan to destroy one of the greatest gifts (among the innumerable) that Christ brought to this earth.

So what was really born on that night as the world carried on, all gathered to be taxed, all having a place to stay with warmth and as Mary gave birth and laid her baby in of all places a manger, the world did not notice and had they known who this child was there would have been those that would have gladly given her their room and their bed, bed like so many of us now no one had a clue as to what was really being born that night.

We can sometime fail to GO and to SEE what God wants us to too, once the “angels” have gone away, meaning, it can be so easy when we are new, fresh, and just washed in the blood of the Lamb, but time and life being life can make us jaded and we can quickly forget the very truths that we were once so grateful to find.

Hope, hope was born that day into this world, hope, not like the world had knew but living, breathing, and crying in the still of the night. Hope whose hand,if we will faithfully hold,  and give it the proper place and respect in our lives can never be truly stolen away because the hope that came into this world with the Birth of Christ is hope, as himself,  is not of this world,  as is not subject to any thing in this world.

Not emotion, not death, not powers, politics, not anyone “hating on ya” nothing can steal that, if you don’t let it!

Christ came to save us through his teachings, his example, his miraculous, birth, his horrific death, and above all his magnificent, glorious resurrection from that death. He lived out his very teaching that we “are in the world but not of the world” and that for his believers that not a hair on our head would perish EVEN through death and that was the hope he gave us.

Hope that this life is not it, it is nothing, this mortal bodies are nothing compared to the glorious resurrection to come, a resurrection into the world without end, a world where he will be fully known as who he is and he will reign forever.

FOREVER. PERIOD. He gives us hope in this life but the hope his birth brought was a much greater hope, it is the hope in him for eternity, this is one of the ways the Bible puts it:

1 Corinthians 15:17-22 “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins.Then they which are fallen asleep in Christ (have died believing salvation) are perished.  If in THIS life ONLY we have hope in Christ, we of all men are most miserable (pitiable). But now Christ IS risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept (have died). For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made ALIVE.”

Is there any greater hope? I think not!

Have a blessed holiday, full of love to him, mercy and truth and the hope that he brought and that hope is not in this world, it is not in yesterday, tomorrow, or even today, that hope is IN him and him alone and in the promise of the world after this world, the world which is yet to come and all the yesterday and tomorrows and today’s it will bring.

That is your hope, just as Paul said, if we have hope in Christ just in our present time, we are pitiful, and would be truly hopeless! Our hope is to be in him now and for the future, so far into that future that we may be among those resurrected from the graves and that changes the perspective about the true importance of today or any day.

Don’t get me wrong with that our days are important to God and how we live is very important to him, but don’t let your hope “rest” in these temporal days, let your hope SHINE, let the hope of eternity which Jesus let your life be as that star was for us and for the wise men, shine for him, there are yet greater things to come!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Thanks for reading!  Reverend Nina Brown Johnson/Φλογιζω NBJ 2019

 

Thinking thankfully

Psalm 118:24-29: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will be glad and rejoice in it.

Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.

Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.

God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.

Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” 

Americans are all gearing up for Thanksgiving tomorrow, myself included, and as we all know this day was set aside for us to gather together and give thanks to God for what we have and most certainly who we have. I personally believe that the Pilgrims were keeping feast days.

But for the present time we can be thankful for the relentless persistence of a lady named Sara Hale who finally convinced President Lincoln to make it a national holiday. The first “recognized” Thanksgiving was November 26, 1863 and everyone eagerly embraced it.

Of course over time it has become more about the turkey and the next day shopping for the secular world and for all, especially in season of difficulty, it can be lonely and painful,and a time of mourning for those we no longer have.

And I understand that completely.

I know many, just in my circle who have lost mothers this past year, myself included again, and one beautiful sister who lost her Mom last December, who will be having her first Thanksgiving without her Mom, and for many of us the wounds are fresh.

I have a niece and nephew who lost BOTH Grandmothers two months apart and another family member who has been hospitalized for over thirty-five days and counting, fighting for her life, and her family fighting alongside her, absolutely exhausted. And I am NOT saying all that to be negative, I am saying that actually to be HOPEFUL.

We are never so reminded of those losses as we are during the holidays and it doesn’t matter if it has been two months or twenty years, the loss of a loved one or friend will ALWAYS hurt. But most still have so much to be thankful for.

God blesses us each and every day we wake up.

If you are healthy and live in safety today you ARE blessed. So many the world over and also here in America do not have food, they do not have a place to live or any where to sleep.

So many who live in fear and have no sense of safety or security for one day to the next and so many suffer with loneliness and abuse, depression and physical illness. But we all have something to be thankful for, even if we are hurt, devastated, lonely, or rejected.

We can be thankful for what we have and especially who we have today. And if not for “today”, we can be thankful for past experiences, memories and happier times and seasons in life.

Thankful for love, and joy that we have known. Thankful for the people and  friends, pets, and all the joys of yesteryear.

We can be thankful for the future, seasons change and rain doesn’t last forever.

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts OF peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (a HOPE and a FUTURE).”

And the future in the future of eternity.

Revelation 21:1-4: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away: and there was no more sea.

And I John saw the holy city new Jerusalem COMING DOWN from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice our of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God IS with men, and he WILL dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God HIMSELF shall  be with them, and be their God.

And GOD SHALL WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES; and there shall be NO more death, NEITHER sorrow, NOR crying, NEITHER shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

If we have even ONE thing to be thankful for and we all do, we can rejoice in even that one thing.

But don’t miss out on the others in your life, the ones who still live, every single day, ever single moment and second of those days are precious and once they are gone, those days will never be ours again.

Don’t miss out on opportunity to take what may feel like broken nothingness today and allow God to teach you how to use the brokenness you have endured yesterday or today to help someone else along the way tomorrow.

Don’t ever give up on the future he has promised you, that future of hope and most of all NEVER lose sight and hope of that eternal future. 

Be thankful for his enduring mercy, mercy he shows before we even know him because he has known us from before the foundations of the earth and it is by that mercy that we have not be destroyed, again yet another reason to be thankful.

Thankful for his never-ending, never expiring offer of salvation.

Thankful that the loss of our lives and those of our loved ones is precious and tender in his sight.

Psalm 116:12-18: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?

I WILL take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the lord in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

O Lord, truly, I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaiden, thou hast loosed my bonds. 

I WILL offer to thee the SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.” 

Sometime we just need to think about thinking thankfully and we will find a thousand reasons to thank him for yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and the tomorrow that will never end. 

Love & peace till next time, and I want you all to know how truly thankful I am for you!

God bless you and I pray that you have a blessed Thanksgiving and if your sick that you will be healed, if you are lonely that God will comfort you, and if that if you are hurting I pray that God brings you into a season of rejoicing and peace.

Psalm 126:5,6: ” They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bring his sheaves with him.” 

Praying for those who have shed more that their share of tears this year, that your harvest of joy is coming soon.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2018

This is such a true song and it always reminds me of my late Aunt Evelyn, who always dedicated to me on a radio ministry.