“Protecting the Vines”

“And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priest and the scribes came upon him with the elders. And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gavest thee this authority?

And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven or men? 

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? But if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us; for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.

And they answered, that they could not tell where it was hence (where the authority came from). 

And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth (leased it out) to husbandmen, (tenant farmers) and went in a far country for a long time.

And at the season (vintage time) he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard; but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty (empty-handed)

And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entratedhim shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. 

Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.

But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the HEIR: come, let us kill him, THAT THE INHERITANCE MAY BE OURS.

So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him, What therefore shall the lord (owner) of the vineyard do unto them?

He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.

And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,THE SAME IS BECOME THE HEAD OF THE CORNER? Whosoever shall fall on that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 

And the chief priests and scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and (but) they feared the people: for they perceived (knew) that he had spoken this against them. 

And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves as just men (pretend to be righteous men of God) that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.” Luke 20: 1-20

A lot going there, of course we know Jesus was referencing the fact that God had leased out earth, if you will, and even the term husbandmen- literally, tenants, farmers living there and owing the owner a portion of those crops.

And as he sent the servants, we know these are the prophets, and instead of heeding the words of the prophets, they chose to beat and ostracize them, and what I really love about this passage is this, when the owner sent his son, they KNEW he was the son, never once says anything otherwise, they knew exactly who he was, they wanted him dead for one reason only, so that they could take his inheritance. 

And we also know that Jesus was also speaking to the fact that his own people had rejected him and in their doing so the vineyard would be given to others.

The priests and scribes who were supposed to be in service to him wanted not him, only the power and prestige that their positions brought them and they wanted that so much so that they will kill the very heir to ensure they kept that statue. And we also know that in their rejection of him, that vineyard was given to “others”, we know also that that means “us”, us being those as Jesus said “whosoever will-come”.

That rejection by his own people opening the door for all nations, all kindreds, and all tongues, as it is written, everyone, anywhere the world over now being offered that beautiful vineyard because those who were to keep only wanted to keep it for themselves. 

But we can also see so much more in this.  as the Bible tells us, “nothing new under the sun”, one of my go to scriptures, and there’s not. 

Is there really that much difference from those of  that day beating the servants and killing the son in order to hold on a little longer to what was nevers theirs to hold on to, and those of today that will try to destroy the servants of that same vineyard in order to keep power and prestige of this day? 

Those who will deny the very existence of God, sanction and even enforce the slaughter of the unborn, euthanize the elderly and those they consider “broken beyond repair” all the while pretending it is all for “the greater good” spreading hatred and division, inflaming others to pledge allegiance to them, being worked into such a frenzy that they never stop to investigate a little farther exactly what and who they are pledging that allegiance to. 

Same vineyard, different keepers and they will so anything, anything to try to keep an inheritance that is not theirs.

We know Jesus was talking about this earth and we know that just as they persecuted him, even sending out pretenders to spy on him, to listen to him, to try to trap him and we know he has children the world over under the same persecution today.

Same vineyard, same owner and same old devil working through those who want to take what belongs to a kingdom that shall never be taken.

So think about it today, and see it for what it really is, all the politics, all the power struggles and those who would sell their souls to the devil himself to feed the power hungry beast inside of them, who only want recognition and power and control over others and in gaining that control they will do everything in their power to keep that control, so choose your allies carefully and if it does not adhere absolutely to the word of God, don’t align yourself with it.

And if those “husbandmen” that are like those before that beat the servants, killed the son, are now persecuting you, know this wonderful thought, they did indeed kill the Son but he ROSE and that the next visitor to the vineyard will be the one who created it and he will protect and he is coming back to defend it.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

“Stringing mustard seed pearls”

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest thy trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6

This was just on my heart this morning and it yesterdays post, we looked at the verse that tells us that the preaching of the cross, the retelling and proclamation that Jesus was real and was everything the Bible says that He is and that to those whose minds have been trained and saturated by this world, it is just too much for them to believe.

So they don’t.

And when you think about it, everything we are taught in this world is completely contrary to the Word of God.

We are all born EQUAL, we are all created by the same Creator and as babies we know nothing but basic needs and as we grow we become toddlers and we all can remember being children and even in terrible upbringings most can still look back and remember that feeling in your heart and your soul that you are connected to something so much greater than yourself.

And that trust, trust in something that you can’t see but you know in your heart that there is more, that is why as children we have that faith and trust that allows tears to dry and laughter and joy to spring forth out of even the smallest of things, what may seem silly to  an adult is a source of endless merriment for a child.

We can fall down, get scraped up, maybe cry for a second and then in an instant get right back up on our feet and take off running again. No fear because we have just recently learned how to run.

Jesus also said a little something else, Matthew 18:3: “And he said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children,ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” 

And this is the condition we suffer from that He was warning us against in this verse. It is as we grow and as we develop and our minds are influenced by everything we hear and everything we see, we start to learn some very damaging lessons, lessons that we’d be far better off had they been left untaught.

But life does not work that way, it is not meant to work that way, at least not here.

When we begin to be taught fear, when we begin to be taught that we are not invincible, when we begin to be taught that if we are different, we will be rejected and when we begin to be taught that those who question and those who rock the boat will be  labeled, isolated, and made to stand in the corner alone and separated from the “rest of the class” until they can conform to the popular and expected thoughts.

That is the fear, that is the destruction that leads to the loss of the faith that we are born with, as we are told in Romans 12:3(c):”…according as God hath dealt every man (human being) the measure of faith.”

So we know  the faith is there, we just need to a little help sometimes in remembering where we hid it when we had to hide it from the world, when we cast our pearls and the swine ran over them and then attacked us for having that faith in what we cannot see.

The warning Jesus gave us means exactly that.

And I think sometimes even in our zealous attempt to win others to Christ, we will just throw those pearls out there.

And they represent wisdom and the holy things unto dogs means close to the same. If a person is NOT feeling conviction for their sins, if they are not coming under the prompting of the Spirit and we try to witness to them and we give the scriptures that they will NOT understand without divine revelation, the enemy and their flesh immediately kick into action.

They feel “judged” they feel like we are hypocritically accusing them and then they resort to exactly what they world has taught them, they attack, they attack us, they attack the word of God, and it only drives them further from the cross.

And what you are trying to share with a pure heart and sincere caring can actually cause a stumbling block for you.

Once we have been hurt while trying to witness, we feel dejected and question sometimes our own testimony, but remember you ARE right in trying to reach out to them but this can only been done by shining His light.

Being that light to them and praying constantly and standing in the gap through intercessory prayer for them and then as God draws them to Him, you can be there to answer questions only as that person opens the door and God always takes care of the rest.

We do get worried and often as we have been enlightened to the truth, we can become horrified, I know I was, when I realized just how real God is and just how His mercy had kept me and how close when we are not saved ARE truly standing over the mouth of hell.

Anyone who is saved HAS that testimony and when we will only remember who ministered to us and what events led us to the cross, when we think about who was effective in showing us the love of Christ

And to recover from the influence of this world, remember from our last post, this world referring to the teachings that are against God, making it declared an enemy of God, requires faith and faith is described as this:

Hebrews 11:1:”Now faith IS the substance (REALIZATION) of things hoped for, the evidence (CONVICTION) of things NOT seen.”

And THIS  is the kind of faith that Jesus refers to when He said this from Matthew 17:20: “…IF ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and IT SHALL BE REMOVE; and NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE UNTO YOU.”

And of course, yonder place just means telling the “mountain” to go and it WILL go.

And I know that this verse is classically taught dealing with the fact that a mustard seed is tiny.       

                                                                   

mustard seed

                                                  

But I want to look at it from a different perspective, how about IF think of ourselves AS mustard seeds?

How about if we just have faith and know that we are exactly what Jesus says we are and that we do have that access to Him and every promise in His word and not be afraid because the world has taught us that is foolish to actually believe that He could have possibly came to earth through a virgin, been the only Son of God, died and even harder to believe that He rose from the dead and that if we believe  that He did all these things, that one day we will also raise from the dead.

The world says that IS impossible, but God said IF we will BECOME like a little child (again in our thinking and innocence of heart) and be CONVERTED.

Which literally means, being changed, adapted for a NEW purpose and accepting that new purpose in Him and for His kingdom and then become a mustard seed in our FAITH in HIM and KNOW that He will do the miraculous simply because we believe that He will because as His child and Him as our Father, we have asked .

Be a mustard seed and just grow and hold onto those pearls, they serve a much better purpose displayed as a symbol of the love God bestowed on you when He gave you that precious strand, never take them off, certainly not to please this world and most definitely not to be thrown down and trampled.

If you have not accepted Jesus as the Lord of your life and you are feeling that pull, Him drawing you into a relationship with him, don’t be afraid of what others will think, what your friends will say or how you could possibly be shunned and ridiculed, you are where ALL of us who are saved have been.

We all face certain fears when we make the decision to break out of the mold this world shapes us in, so here is one last verse, I have used many times and have prayed it for MYSELF many times:

Romans 12:29(a,b): “And be ye NOT conformed to this world; but be ye TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind…” he does NOT expect us to be perfect or even close, He just expects us to at least make an effort!

Thanks for reading! Have a great week, love & peace till next time!

Σαλπιζω Φλογιζω NBJ2018

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