“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


Just kinda like… MESSED UP…

I love funky terms, always endearing, always fun and one of my favorites is “messed up”, I love the fact that the slang phrase can mean virtually ANYTHING. 

According to dictionary.com it is adjective slang and “messed up” CAN literally mean ANY or ALL of the following: 

“Beaten up, looking disarrayed”

“Confused and unhappy”

“Intoxicated with alcohol or drugs”

We can be emotionally messed up, life can be messed up, or circumstances can just be messed up making you want to say, “Man, that is just messed up!”

And people often get “messed up” through the third meaning in hope of dulling the feeling of the first two.

And sometimes those who are seeking Jesus and a change in their life can be very easily swayed back out into sin and fall so easily into the trap of self-condemnation of feeling that they have “messed up”.

And you know, it is not even just falling into sin, it can be sometimes that we have turned left when we should have turned right, missed a truly golden opportunity by too hastily reaching out for plated brass that we mistook for twenty-four carat.

So many things in life can lead most of us to question, just how bad did we mess up.

But got some good news on that front, IF you are willing to ACCEPT it, BELIEVE it, and pick up your cross and try it again.

God IS faithful. God IS merciful. God wants nothing more than to dust us off when we have stumbled, give us a hug and tell us to try it again! 

Classic scripture here that everyone probably knows by heart but it is good to be reminded every now and again.

Jesus speaking, Luke 18:10-14: “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am NOT as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, OR EVEN AS THIS PUBLICAN 

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 

And the publican standing afar off,  would NOT lift so much as his eyes unto heaven, but SMOTE UPON HIS BREAST (beat on his chest)  SAYING, GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER. 

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified  rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; AND HIM THAT HUMBLETH HIMSELF SHALL BE EXALTED.”  

Ponder that, the Pharisee, in ear shot of the tax collector is telling God what all he has done and even taking pot shots at the moral character of the other man, in his “gratitude” speech, “thanking” God that he was so much BETTER than all those he named and EVEN better than the one who could not even look toward heaven because he was repentant.

He just asked for mercy and referred to himself as a sinner.He didn’t give a list of what GOD ALREADY KNEW, he just asked for mercy instead of judgment.

We are never given a list of his failures, mistakes, or how much he “messed up” but we are given all we need to hear in his own words the Pharisee spoke of  just how “messed up” the Pharisee was through pride and self-seeking, and self-righteousness expressed in his OWN words.

So there is a background to set up my main scriptures I really want to concentrate this post on.

Psalm 86:1-17: “Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul (life); for I am holy: O thou my God, SAVE thy servant that trusteth in thee.

Be merciful unto me, O Lord; For I cry unto thee DAILY (all day long). 

Rejoice (make glad) the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 


Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. 


Among the gods there is none like unto thee. O lord, neither are there any works like unto thy works. 

All the nations whom thou hast made SHALL come and worship before thee, O Lord, and SHALL glorify thy name. 

For thou art great, and doest (you do) wondrous things: thou art God alone.  

Teach me thy way, O Lord,: I will walk in thy truth: UNITE  my heart (give me singleness of heart) to fear (have a reverence and awe for) thy name. 

I will praise thee, O Lord, my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify thy name for evermore. 


O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. 


O TURN UNTO ME, AND HAVE MERCY UPON ME, give strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.

Shew (show) me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it. and be ashamed; BECAUSE THOU, LORD, HAST HOLPEN  (has helped) ME,AND COMFORTED ME.”

That was a prayer written by David, and you can really “hear” his desperation in that twice he asks the Lord, to HEAR, the first verse, “BOW down thine ear”, showing his humility by asking the Lord to come down to hear him.

The poor and needy reference spiritual state, David FELT pretty messed up, hurt and unhappy, fighting against his enemies, the word “assemblies” in verse fourteen, referencing those who hated him, literally meaning MOBS, mobs of angry, violent men who DID not know God and wanted David dead.

I love David and love reading about his life because he was so passionate. Everything he did he did wide open, all or nothing. When he soared, he soared and when he “messed up” it was crashing rock bottom.

And of course, the ONE thing he never swayed for one moment about was his absolute passion in his pursuit of the Lord.

He never once doubted the mercy and kindness of the Lord EVEN when he was painfully aware through his OWN  failings, his own shortcomings, and life altering lusts that HE WAS NEVER WORTHY OF THAT MERCY. Nor would he ever be. Neither are we, nor we will be.

So that’s the deal, we ARE messed up, life is messed up, and no matter how bad you may have messed up or how confused, unhappy, beaten down life has TEMPORARILY left you, keep holding on… knowing that no matter how messed up you may feel there is NO ONE so messed up that the mercy of God that cannot heal.

1 John 1:9: “If we confess (admit to God) our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”

Find your peace in that. 

Have a beautiful week! Wishing you love & peace until next time! Thanks for reading!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NB 2018

LOVE this song!

If you’d like a little more food for thought on overcoming our flesh, check out “Trip Junkie”   and “Prophets,Prodigals, & Puttin’ it off”

Building your “Hope Chest”

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt (ruin), and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up your for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 

During Christmas my family visited a local museum, we were there for the “festival of trees” which can only be described as tree extravaganza which local churches, various groups, and I think maybe some individuals decorating over eighty trees.

And every single one of them was truly magnificent,each with a theme or message, or both. And although a small “museum” it does hold a few treasures, one in particular was a sixteenth century (if memory recalls correctly) Italian “hope chest” that  had belonged to some of the former “mansion” owners whose family home of yesteryear has now became a historical landmark. 

The tradition of “hope chests” is quite the Victorian lure. The custom of young women collecting special treasures neatly stored away in the “hope” that one day all their romantic dreams and aspirations will come true.

This has been a custom in many areas the world over, many different names for these vessels of hope, but still in THE same hope.

And of course this isn’t so much a custom now in America as it once was, and a custom whose purity and beauty has been tarnished in many parts of the world due to the violence associated with the “dowry” concept, when those dowries haven’t been considered quite enough.

That is truly a disturbing and sickening thought that I did want to address, just to be clear that I am NOT would I ever condone this treatment of women, because these are two VERY different concepts.

A “hope chest” is WILLINGLY kept by the lady and a DOWRY is forcibly demanded by a groom.

But we do want to talk about hope! Anyone been needing a little hope? Or how about A LOT of hope? I will admit that my “hope chest” had been growing a wee sparse over the last year or so, more to the so… you know?

I write a lot about discouragement, battles, and storms and the ONLY way we learn about these things is by experiencing them. That is never fun and especially when we are so aware of the Lord, His goodness, mercy, and presence and YET we find ourselves in a “battle-royale” chest deep in water fearing every moment will be our last before we finally just become so tired and worn out and lose the strength to keep our heads above that water and in doing so… we would drown.

Ah, but hope… when hope finally does come shining through there is the new found expectation that soon everything will change.

Jesus told us about storing up our treasures, treasures not kept on this earth but in our “hope chests” which are located in the heavenly realms and safety kept for us there awaiting our arrival for that beautiful and glorious day when we as the Bride of Christ will open those precious chests and enjoy those treasures with the King Eternal. 

The things of this life and all the worry and strife are but for a moment and our true hope, as the Bible so often comforts our concerns about IS eternal.

The things we “store” up on this earth can often unknowing be nothing more than negative rags and the ruined garments of hurt, envy, resentment, while a true hope chest should contain at least one beautiful new dress, as in our case.. that beautiful wedding garment provided by Christ.

But when our chests are filled to brim from the storing of the wrong items of this world, we have no more room to store those beautiful treasures that should be stored there.

And that is when junk has to be removed from that trunk and GOOD things put it.

Knowing that there IS nothing on this earth or of this world that can separate you from God as we are told in Romans 8.

Knowing that no matter what life, the devil, or all of hell tries to set in your path as a roadblock or hindrance, that God will USE that very thing as a catapult for YOUR good, also Romans 8.

Knowing that your sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb and will NEVER be remembered of God EVER and that your name is in the Lambs Book of Life and the TRUTH of your future and your eternal destiny can NOT  be controlled by the enemy, people, or circumstance, that it can ONLY be affected by how YOU choose to proceed.

As the old saying goes… “No one can take us out of the Lamb’s Book EXCEPT us” and we can only do that but choosing to give up and surrender, turn back and go back and stay there.

Because if we do slip (and WE all do), when we do stumble, which is par for the course, (you ain’t gonna run a race without falling a couple of times) God IS faithful to pick us back up ,we repent and GO ON.

These thoughts and mindsets ARE the materials, the wood, if you will, that builds our wonderful heavenly storage “chests” and all the pieces are held together and fastened by hope.

The greatest of all hope, the hope and assurance that we are saved!

We start this mindset by REMEMBERING these things and MEDITATING on the truth of the promises given us through the Word of God, which IS our guide through this life. 

Philippians 4: 4-8: REJOICE in the Lord alway: and AGAIN I say, REJOICE. Let your moderation (gentleness) be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 

Be careful for nothing (try to NOT be anxious or uneasy about ANYTHING); but in every thing BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION WITH THANKSGIVING LET YOUR REQUESTS BE KNOWN UNTO GOD

And the PEACE of God, which passeth all understanding (goes beyond anything we can imagine), SHALL KEEP YOUR MINDS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.

Finally brethren, whatsoever things ARE true, whatsoever things ARE honest, whatsoever things ARE just, whatsoever things ARE pure, whatsoever things ARE lovely, whatsoever things ARE of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS.” 

Keeping our minds on the good things, lovely and pure that are worthwhile bringing praise and honor to our Father.

And keeping our hearts and thoughts ( and I promise I KNOW how hard this can be) steadfast where they should be, but this is the effect will be peace in your heart and soul.

Colossians 3:1-4: “If ye then be risen with Christ, SEEK those things with ARE above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. SET YOUR AFFECTION ON THINGS ABOVE, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, (to the world) and your life is hid with Christ in God. WHEN CHRIST WHO IS OUR LIFE, SHALL APPEAR, THEN SHALL YE ALSO APPEAR WITH HIM IN GLORY.”

Now that IS exciting! And that IS hope!

So if your going through a rough patch or many rough patches,take comfort knowing that you are not alone, and the strength you gain by overcoming this bad season in your own life while continuing the work storing your own treasures will be a comforting story and testimony that you will share to give someone else courage to keep building their own hope chest.

But know that we are never alone, God IS always with us and you can guarantee that other brothers and sisters in Christ are having their battles also, so you are not alone, start “rearranging” your hope chest, I started rearranging my own.

And if you are in a good season and your storms have passed use this fresh peaceful season to decorate your treasure box with the beauty of praise and worship, the lilies and roses thrown at the feet of the King!

Thanks for reading! Love & Peace till next time!

May God bless you and all you set your heart to do for His mighty Kingdom. I pray your HOPE in Jesus Christ builds your faith into a masterpiece.

Φλογιζω NLB 2018

If you need a little stirring to REMEMBER that hope, close your eyes and listen to this song!  (shared from Youtube)