“Stay”

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God .

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but by my Father which is in heaven.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Then charged (commanded) he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

From that time forth began Jesus to shew (reveal) unto his disciples, how that he must  go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again on the third day.

Then Peter took him (took him aside), and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, (God be merciful unto you) Lord; this shall not be unto thee.”

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not (are not mindful of) the things that be of God.” Matthew 16:16-23

Very understandable that Peter would have this reaction once Jesus keyed them on on the fact that not only was he not going into hiding, but quite the opposite, he instead, would in deed stay the course, stay on the path that would lead him into Jerusalem and that he would not only be arrested and tortured by that he would also die and the words that they couldn’t quite “hear” were that he would rise on the third day. Peter couldn’t quite “hear” that victorious ending because the process that would lead to that victory was too dreadful for him hear and to dreadful for his “heart” to understand and Peter loved Jesus and he knew, as he had Jesus affirmed, that Jesus was indeed the promised one, the hope of all mankind sent from heaven itself to save us all and free us all and establish the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth.

Peter also knew that Jesus was blessed of God and carried a power clearly not of this world and that he was indeed exactly whom he claimed to be, the Son of the only living God.

So Peter could not understand, much less dare to believe that this things would befall Christ.

Also note that Jesus had just reaffirmed to Peter, and even to all of us who now read their exchange, one very important fact, Peter was blessed and yet a few passages down Jesus would have to rebuke, the line out and correct the thoughts of Peter, the one who was truly blessed of God but through his human understanding and love and compassion could express thoughts and ideals that were so contrary to the word and will of God that if Jesus could have (and he could not) have possibly been swayed by his friend into a different path, choosing a different course, it would not only negated and made void his entire ministry work and even his purpose for coming to earth but would have benefited the enemy, which is why Jesus pointed out clearly where this thought originated.

The devil would have loved this, if Jesus had changed paths, if he had “ran” that would have meant that there would have been no going back to Jerusalem, there would have been no arrest, there would have been no torture, no cross, and certainly no death upon that cross but also there would have been no way in the desert for those who are lost, there would have been no freedom for those in prisons of bodies, minds, and demonic bondage, there would be no healing bought by those stripes that he endured, there would be no peace for us all given to us because he hang on that cross, bearing our shame and sin and without his death there would be no salvation and certainly no hope for any of us because without his death which had to come, it had to happen, just as he said because it was the only way we could be restored unto him and his death was the only way to bring resurrection. 

We are experiencing a time in our world like nothing ever seen before, there have since the fall of man times of famine, peril, and plague but nothing that could be seen the world over, we as a people, globally connected as humankind, have found ourselves facing for the past weeks and continue to face with every day bringing uncertainty as numbers fall and rise and those that govern us try their very best to lead us and guide us safely as possible through a maze, that they themselves must also navigate, their own health and the health of their families and loved ones as vulnerable as for us all.

We are truly in this together as the virus has no prejudice, no politics, and it cannot be bought or sold, meaning the rich, the poor, anyone and everyone, it cares nothing of who we are or what we are because it only has one purpose to invade, to infect, and to spread.

And we are all faced with one very real and inevitable truth, ONLY God knows where this will stop or when it will end. And only God has the peace and the comfort that can protect our minds and our hearts and most of all our souls during this.

And only by focusing on what can come of it, even if it does not come for us, to be happy for those that can and will find fruits in the most horrendous, lowest, and darkest valleys. Families that once were the backbone of society and should be this was God’s plan, for families to be just that, a family, to stick together, be together, love one another and be bonded in that love but overtime and the “need” for both parents to work because governments have allowed inflation and prices to rise to the point that multiple incomes are often a necessity for families to survive, and this has came at a great price, the price of parents who really do not know their children and children who are missing out on a deeper relationship with the very people God chose to be the forefront of their lives, to teach them, guide them and love them.

And that is one thing that is going to come form this nightmare. A re connection of families, a re connection of what is truly important and time to get to know and really appreciate one another for who they truly are as a person not just the “title” they have in our lives.

And I want to give a couple of scripture to show just how important the family unit is in the opinion of God and this is one of the many reasons Jesus came to earth, he wants those relationships to built on love, respect, kindness, and above gentleness which are some of his attributes.

He doesn’t want families to built on iron fists, control, belittlement, and fear of retributions for making mistakes or “coming up short” in the view of over zealous parents.

And more than ever it is time to seek the Lord and it is good for people to have hope and encouragement but the only way we can access the promises of God is to serve God, and I mean truly serve God.

I do believe that that is something else that will become clear as we proceed through these times.

The true Gospel has has became so watered down that some really believe that the promises of God are just that, promises and that it requires nothing on our part but that is absolutely not true.

We must repent, we must be saved, and that means a conversion for our “old ways” into  a newness and a real relationship with Christ when also means keeping his commandments and keeping his word, all of that word, and then we are heirs to all his promises and can seek him, his shelter and his peace in these times.

God sent us his word as instruction to want he wanted to take place in the family unit.

Malachi 4:6: “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statues and judgments.

Behold, I will send Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come a smite the with curse.”

This prophecy went down over John the Baptist, as we”listen’ to the words that were spoken to his father Zacharias by the angel Gabriel, as he foretold the conception, and birth and divine calling upon the life of John as John would preach the Lamb of God.

Luke 1:10-17: ” And as the whole multitude of the people were praying without (outside) at the time (hour) of incense.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell on him.

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

And thou shalt have great joy and gladness; and many people shall rejoice at his birth.

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy ghost from his mother’s womb.

And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make a people ready (PREPARED) for the Lord.” 

John preached a revolutionary new (to them) message, He was to introduce them to their God, not as they had perceived him to be, with fury and judgement, but a God that was love, gentleness, and forgiveness a God that they we meet as a Lamb, the perfect sacrifice but also showing humans, himself what exactly it is that he expects us to be and how he wants us to behave with each other. That is why he wanted the hearts of children to parents and parents to children, this is how the family of God works.

If you read this for the beginning you will notice so very important facts, Zacahrias was alone praying and offering incense but there were many, many outside the temple praying at the time he was to offer that incense. God’ s timing is as he, perfect, always perfect, and in the midst of every trail, torment, that comes upon this earth God is there. God knew all of these things would come, God told Noah to build the ark, God told Abraham that his descendants would go into bondage and God told Moses that he would deliver the children.

No one liked any of those circumstances but we can read about the miraculous hand of God in each account.

The only difference is today we have so much, so much to do, so much technology and the ability to know and see through the internet the devastation that has came that it has brought a new level of fear and uncertainty and it is hard to remember when faced with numbers, graphs, and charts one truth that is timeless, ageless,a and will never  ever change, GOD IS STILL THE SAME.

God has always been and God will always be. Thousands of years have came and gone, rulers, kings, powers, and kingdoms , but it is still the same Jehovah God that created it all.

So to get to the title and make an end of this post (you were beginning to wonder, Is it ever going to end? 🙂 weren’t you?) Just kidding, laughter is merry medicine.

But seriously, we will make it, holding on to God, that does not mean that we not suffer losses but it means we will make it, we will make it home.

We will make it by staying the course God has given us through his word. According to the handy dandy Wikipedia, this was probably an old nautical saying, and here it is as copied directly from the internet “encyclopedia”, (better known as Wikipedia), it means this: “Stay the course” is a phrase used in the context of a war or battle meaning to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism

And the flip side to staying the course was this, the vessel had the option to “cut and run” meaning to hurry off by cutting the ropes and cutting free of the anchor.

We must stay anchored.

Hebrews 6:10-19: “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister.

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 

For when God made promises to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself. Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiply I will multiply thee.

And so, after he had endured, he obtained the promise.  for men verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an an end of all strife. 

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability (unchangeableness) of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.

That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consultation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope THAT IS SET BEFORE US. WHICH HOPE WE HAVE AS AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL, BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST, AND WITH ENTERETH INTO THAT WITHIN THE VEIL (Presence behind the veil).” 

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

Shepherding the black sheep

 

“Baa baa black sheep have you any wool?”

Familiar nursery rhyme there, but I got a new one, 🙂

“Baa Baa black sheep have you any where to graze?

No Sir, No sir, been quite spiritually famished,

finding myself in a bit of a daze,

Not an earthly shepherd will have me,

without guidance to help me find my way,

this grass has all dried up and turned into a helpless maze.”

How many can dig that feeling?

Of course, I’m sure the title makes this post quite obvious, it is about and for the “black sheep” and I can write this from more than enough experience at being one!

 W.O.M.E.N. of Ministry can vouch for that.

We’ll look at the term itself, most know it to mean of course someone who for whatever reason is considered a disgrace to their family, church, group, whatever “flock” they were supposed to belong in.

But the good news there is that it also has an urban meaning, that being a black sheep  is caused by a person being a little too different.

Black sheep, I have learned, suffer what is treated as a “fatal flaw”, they tend to bleat and question while all the other lambs are busy munching they are busy looking over cliffs, seeing what is in that valley.

Black sheep run amok climbing up the mountains because they just know there is so much more if they could just reach the top. They question others, Why? How? and the deadliest question of all, Why not?

Runs people crazy when you have questions they don’t want to waste their time answering.

Maybe too different in their thoughts, their beliefs, their clothing, their style, and even their actions when they feel is worth fighting for, all this combined can make them seem to much like a hassle to for the shepherds to deal with.

Different makes others uncomfortable and for most sheep it is easier to concede to the thoughts and actions of the masses than to risk being labeled black and left stranded in a field of wolves alone.

And being different is NOT always bad and being black does NOT make them any less of a sheep. I also found that in certain places it was considered “good luck” for a shepherd to have at least one black sheep in his flock, of course we know there is NO such thing as luck.

And the other really neat thing is that they are considered LESS valuable because their black wool CAN NOT be dyed and there is some serious symbolism in that.

For all you Black sheep out there, take that as a compliment!

Think about that…their wool can not be dyed or changed, they don’t conform, they are what they are and they are what they were created to be… DIFFERENT!

But that is where the pain, hurt, and solitude comes in for so many people who either have been labeled “black sheep”, or have labeled themselves “black sheep” because they feel that way.

And to find out what becomes of lost sheep and black sheep, shepherd less sheep, we’ll look at Ezekiel 34:5: “And they were scattered because there is NO shepherd; and they became meat (food) to ALL the beast of the field, when they were scattered.” 

And I have written quite a bit about that over the years, because so many have told me that they just do not feel loved or cared for by the “church” world and many people do feel like they “just don’t belong”, they want to be in a church and they want fellowship, and they do love and try to serve God, but they have been in churches that they felt unwelcome because of their differences, such as how they dress, or shyness, or even feeling like others looked down on them because of financial differences and this problem has always been.

Many scriptures address these issues encouraging all to think of others and speak of dressing modestly and even considering jewelry and hairstyles, considering  others so that all would feel “equal” in all our conduct so that no one would feel left out when in the house of God.

Again this has been different people, different churches and denominations, so this is not “aimed” at any group, I just don’t think people realize HOW common it is and how badly we need to fix it.

So there are true black sheep and there are those who just FEEL like black sheep but either way, how are they supposed to be fed spiritually?

I kept hearing the term and as I said at the beginning I can certainly understand being one, so I started thinking that there must be OTHER sheep who are struggling finding “food” to keep them going up those mountains and through those valleys until they do truly happen upon the place of rest that the Lord had prepared for them to find all the while.

Ever think about that? We do all NEED to feel that we belong and I promise you DO belong when you belong to the Lord but sometimes the road to that place can be rocky, rough, and very lonely and if you are having problems finding a “leader”, have ever considered that God may be calling you to be one? 

Buildings cost a lot of money, basic utilities for buildings cost a lot of money, in order to have a traditional church, COSTS A LOT OF MONEY but you know, if you are feeling lead to so something, if you have thoughts and ideas and revelations on scripture that you want to share, if you have an outreach or a certain crisis group that you feel led to minister to, may I suggest that you keep doing what black sheep do best, be yourself and use those difference, those questions, those answers and instead of agonizing over not fitting in, just embrace that difference and share it with others who don’t fit in either.

Thanks to the internet and social media, (most absolutely free with endless possibilities) we can witness and minister to the world in multi ways and use every resource God has given to spread his word with those who don’t have a spot to “graze”.

And even ministering in music, if we have no talent of our own we have access to the greatest talents in music and when you think of all that, you don’t need a building, or a choir, or the latest gimmick to get them in the door.

If you feel God leading you and you have a call on your life, a heart for God, and the desire to feed His flock, and those of His flock that are often left unattended and uncared for, you ALREADY have ALL you need to fulfill that call.

God has given every single one of us a gift and in some cases multiple gifts (hoping to do a post on that soon) and His Spirit enables us to use those gifts for the Kingdom and His word also tells us that “without a vision, my people PERISH” and that is what often happens, no vision, no one to help us understand the path we need to take, and no one to help us find answers to our questions and people give up, they PERISH.

This post is to explain the new direction this blog will be going. I have been wrestling my own ministry and I have tried a few different things and wrestled keeping this blog, but finally decided embrace it differently.

So if you are a black sheep or just feel like a black sheep, please “stop by” on Sunday and Wednesday, my original post day when this all got started back in the day was Saturday, then I tried daily, and then I tried keeping up with two separate blogs, then I tried live social media, but it is hard to keep up with, but I believe in trying and trying 😉 until we find the niche.

So this is mainly going to be twice a week, hopefully teaching and prayerfully sharing hope, scripture, and love with ALL His sheep, but especially the “black” ones. I don’t claim to know anything, I don’t propose to have all the answers but I will share with you the Word of God and his love, his mercy, and all sheep will be equal!

We do have a shepherd, even when you may feel alone, you are not, when you need to talk and you need answers and no one is there or no one willing to be there, talk to YOUR Shepherd in heaven.

John 10:11: I AM the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

Because Jesus Christ loves all of us the same and He IS our Shepherd and maybe there are some that are not meant to have an earthly Shepherd, but know that no matter what you have a heavenly one and if He is calling you, I want to give you a some things to ponder.

Jesus broke every traditional mold ever held. And as I heard pointed once, John the Baptist did NOT follow in his fathers footsteps and become a priest.

He HAD been filled from his mother’s womb with the Holy Ghost and lived in the wilderness, others considering him a”wild man” and went on to preach and baptize which was until then unheard of. And we all know he was doing exactly  what he had been born to do, it just didn’t look quite like what everyone else was doing.

The disciples left all they knew to follow Jesus as their spirit within them KNEW that He was the one, no earthly ordination needed because God himself  had CHOSEN and ordained each and every one of them  before the foundations of the earth.

All who have went on to greater works did so by absolute faith in God for those greater works leaving all tradition and typical mindsets behind.

With NO expectation of what that work should look like or how it should come to pass.

They had NOTHING to base it on, it was all new and sometimes we need to not look at how others are things, but seek how God wants us to get things done.

Maybe that is the bright side to being “black”, if you are used to feeling isolated it will be easier to face those who are NOT going to like you, your ministry, or anything you touch, but they aren’t even who matter.

“Listen” to what Jesus said from John 8:16-20: “Ye have NOT chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained (appointed) you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

These things I command you that ye love one another. 

If the world hate you, KNOW that it hated me before it hated you. 

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but BECAUSE ye are NOT of the world, but I have CHOSEN you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 

REMEMBER the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord, if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; IF they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also.”

IF they hear him they will hear you.

So let them hear you, feed the black sheep, they must be fed even if the other black sheep are doing the feeding! 

Have a blessed night! Join me tomorrow and we’ll have a little lesson on love!

Thanks for reading!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2018

 

 

“Fruit flavored drinks”

Lemonade, the classic, refreshing summer time drink, pretty groovy during a monster heat wave, like the one many of us have going on right now. Even better pink, in a pretty glass with a ton of ice.

Fruit flavored drinks, on the other hand, not quite as refreshing, for two main reasons:

#1. THEY CONTAIN NO REAL FRUIT. THEY ARE OF NO REAL VALUE TO YOUR BODY.

#2. THEY ARE PRODUCED WITH FAKE SUGAR TO HIDE THE NASTY CHEMICAL POISON THAT THEY ARE REALLY MADE OF.

 I, myself prefer an old-fashioned iced coffee, not the jacked up sissy versions sold nationwide because delicious or not all I care about it REAL.  I suppose, all things considered, fruit flavored drinks pair pretty nicely with candy coating.

Maybe that is why the churches are running over with sticky, sweet-smelling fluids to be given to those who seek and desire and desperately NEED the water of life.

When you need real refreshing, they just aren’t going to do the job, and the sickly sweet, nasty aftertaste is just going to leave you more thirsty than you were before for something real.

Sure, they are “sweet” sure they “care” but only to the point of convenience for them. After that, you can just choke on that sweetness they have just poured down your throat, they really don’t care, nor will they.

Talking about fake, artificial friends and “brethren”, definitely NOT talking about the world. I could have people actually write testimonies to their own experiences with this, because IT IS so common. That is truly, truly a sad statement.

But who cares? Seriously, who cares? They don’t. The world has no stake in it and would never come in if they had a clue as to how people are really treated once they are down. So who cares? Well, I tell you, one that does, the same one who cares about everything else:

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the GREEN herb.

 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily shalt thou be fed. Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as light, and thy judgment ( justice for you) as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: Fret not thyself because of him (any person) who prospereth in HIS way, BECAUSE of the man ( person, male or female) who bringeth WICKED DEVICES (schemes) to pass.  

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise (way) to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: But those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea. thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth ( back biting and two facing ). The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. ( he knows the wicked shall soon fall and laughs at their attempts to harm others).

The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay (kill) such as be of upright conversation (conduct).  Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

Wait upon the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt SEE IT. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a GREEN bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.”                                                                PSALM 37:1-15,34-36

 What I want to point out about these verses is this: IT APPEARS as though the wicked have the upper hand, that is why they are spreading THEMSELVES and the green being that they ARE thriving while doing so. We are not to envy the position they have weaved themselves into. We are not to “fret”, you know worrying and staying upset because of what they have cost us, or question whether or not they will answer to God for those actions, or lack thereof.

They hurt the innocent, they backbite, spread lies and try to destroy others but as you see, God laughs, HE LAUGHS while they are running about pretending to give a “cold drink” to the little ones, when the poisonous fruit flavoring clearly proves what is really being served.

While they may seem to grow and prosper, they will soon dry and wither away. We all know people like this, the world is full of them, and that should be no surprise because after all it is the world. The true testing of this comes when these people are supposed to be your friends and you can really get into what Jesus said with this, If someone takes what is yours DO NOT ask for it back.

And we all know what a “friend” Jesus had in Judas and those are exactly those of which I speak.  He also commands us pray for those who hurt us, USE us, and PERSECUTE us, and SPEAK EVIL AGAINST US. He tells us to forgive our brothers and sisters in Him. But you know what? These people ARE NOT REALLY our brethren! THEY ARE THE EQUIVALENT TO FRUIT FLAVORED DRINKS.

The reason we are to do good to them is that in by doing so, we are “heaping coals of hell fire on their heads”!

People who use other people and just pretend to care for them in order to gain whatever it is that they are after are not of God. I don’t care how often they go to church, what amount of tithes they pay, or how helpful they may seem or whatever else they can produce as a sign of being “green” in the fruitful sense. I guess that is where ceasing from anger comes in pretty handy.

I just can not stand fake Christians and I would rather have someone curse me to my face then pretend to be something they are not. I respect people who can look you in the eye and tell you the truth,EVEN if that truth is that they would love to see you six feet under, not hide their hate behind lies and drama and the beauty in it all in waiting upon the Lord, trusting in the Lord, resting in the Lord, knowing that soon the truth you know of them will also be made known to all.

So if life “gives you lemons” wait on the sweetness of the Lord, even though the base fruit may TASTE bitter and unpleasant, and very undesirable, as are many of the things that we must go through in life, once the Lord adds his sweetness to the mix that lemonade made from those awful lemons will be much sweeter and refreshing than the watered down fruit flavored drink you had been given because even though the lemons began as bitter, The end product WILL HAVE BEEN  PRODUCED WITH REAL FRUIT!

Be Blessed and stay cool! Seriously, it is really hot out there and go for the real lemonade!!!It will keep you cooler and help you keep your cool;) !

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016