End of the season….

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

Being forty days tempted of (tested by) the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing; and when they were ended, he afterward hungered (was hungry).

And the devil said unto him, IF thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him saying, It is written, THAT MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD.

And the devil taking him up into a high mountain, shewed unto him the all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power (authority) I will give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. IF thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me Satan: for it is written, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE.

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, IF thou be the Son of God, cats thyself down from hence (here): For it is written, HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER THEE, TO KEEP THEE: AND IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR THEE UP, LEST AT ANY TIME THOU DASH THY FOOT AGAINST A STONE. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is SAID, THOU SHALT NOT TEMPT THE LORD THY GOD. And when the devil had ended all the temptation (testing) HE DEPARTED FOR HIM, FOR A SEASON (until an OPPORTUNE TIME).” LUKE 4:1-13

We sometimes are too easily convinced that NO ONE endures the same freaky, bizarre battles that we suffer and allow the enemy and ourselves into pushing us right off the boat because we believe the lie that if we were “right” these things would not be happening. If you are going through something similar today, be encouraged, we are never alone.

So in our story, this is not JUST any one that is going through this! It is our Lord, our Savior, the beauty is that as we all know, or should know NO HUMAN can fight the devil. Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost and then LED by the Spirit to go into that wilderness, He could not take a buddy, He could not decline the offer, He had to go this one completely alone.

Of course having all power in heaven and earth HE COULD HAVE did anything He wanted but to be the example to us, this is what He did and as He walked that wilderness, alone, fasting, praying and BEING TESTED BY THE DEVIL FOR FORTY DAYS!  

We fight the most heated parts of our battles when we are physically the most weak, and sometimes the most emotionally drained, the enemy is not going to hit you the moment you come from a house shaking revival, full of fire, and new oil, he is a lot of things but unintelligent is  NOT one of those things. 

First he attacked Jesus’ identity, his first move is ALWAYS to try to get us to doubt or question our Identity in God, and there’s some symbolism in that, I think in the bread also that we can sometimes be weak, weary, and lured into accepting the wrong thoughts and doctrines as “food”  during the times of famishing, but Jesus just quickly came back with the word, that hunger is nothing, but the true bread of life, the word of God is the only truly satisfying meal.

The devil then tries to make Him an offer, all the POWER, all the Kingdoms, ALL he could ever desire, IF, he would worship him. Pretty hilarious right there, trying to “buy a man with his own money” and we know to not sell out your eternal riches for “A MOMENT IN TIME” as the devil tries to sell it.

Again Jesus cut him with that sword of the spirit, telling him to his face that HE KNEW who he was dealing with. Sometimes you just have to let the devil know that you are not playing his game, call it for what it is and don’t let him bluff you.

And then he makes ONE MORE ATTEMPT to try to get Jesus “to prove” Himself, He USES scripture. Ever had anyone twist scripture as an argument back to your Biblical reasoning against an argument they have against you or something the enemy is trying to test you with? You know, that in my thinking is really deadly territory, and I love this part, Jesus no longer stating “it is written” instead He used “IT IS SAID” because not only was it written but God had spoken it and was indeed speaking it AGAIN and there is nothing quite like that, when you think it in context of parent to child … I SAID… carries all the weight needed and the devil knew he was absolutely busted. 

There is no power in heaven or earth, nor will there ever be that has precedence over what He has spoken. And with that the devil fled.. but only for a season.

Some things do just keep coming, all those who came against Him during His ministry, but think of all that came to Him for salvation. We do go through battles in this world that relief is only for a season, and there is always going to be struggles we may never understand here but God uses all things we suffer through as an opportunity to shine His light on our lives and we can often look back after a trail and see what He has allowed to grow and be nurtured in us during those moments and in the end, even though some have went through terrible ordeals, probably not one of us would go back and change a thing IF changing it would have altered the outcome of bringing us to the Lord. We know satan thought he waged the final battle against Jesus at the cross, he thought in this opportune season, that he had won it all only to have Christ overcome death, hell and resurrect victoriously forever and ever.

We have to have those enemies to have that table prepared for us in their presence. If we were never crushed in spirit, how could He draw nigh? If we never shed a tear how could He wipe them away?

Maybe life would be all happy-go-lucky but we would not necessarily know the redemptive power of Jesus and we would not have that promise of eternal life, we would not need it if this one was so fabulous, without the need for hope, we would be most hopeless.

We know also in the following passage after our verses that “Jesus returned in the power of the spirit…” So I want to leave you with His word, when you feel like the enemy is dragging you under, quote this: HE SAID …

“My sheep HEAR my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I GIVE unto them eternal life: and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck (snatch) them out of my hand.

MY FATHER which gave them me, IS GREATER THAN ALL; and NO MAN IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND. I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE.” JOHN 10:27-30

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω  NBJ 2016

“Now I lay me down….”

Very familiar children’s prayer there, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen”

Classic, many versions of it but still the same meaning. Even as children we are often painfully aware of the frailty of this life. And we seek that assurance from God, really more like NEED that assurance that even, heaven forbid death should come to call unbeknownst to us that even then we are covered by Jesus love and care.

As I always say, I was not raised in church, but God made sure I knew that prayer and knowing Jesus as I do now, I can never think back to those nights of laying there reciting that prayer, without a warmness in my heart and an awe of how sweet Jesus is toward us. We go through the same thing every night, I’d say it and then I’d start to list all my family, in order, and my pets, and then I’d get all hung up naming everyone else, and finally reach the conclusion of “could He please just Bless everybody, ALL the people and ALL the animals all over the WHOLE world.

This memory, along with many others, which unknown to me at the time of occurrences had actually been “divine appointments” along my path, came flooding back to mind after I was saved and I thought what an awesome God, to listen.. and listen.. and listen… as I was on and on, ever adding to my list of “and Bless.”

If anyone ever needs a character reveal concerning God and His willingness to listen and care about what we care about, just backtrack through the conversation between Him and Abraham, GENESIS 18:20-32 When God came and spoke to Abraham about the judgment coming upon Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham picked a number that if God could find such and such number would he spare them. Abraham kept lowering the numbers in hopes hat God would not destroy Sodom, his nephew Lot lived there and Abraham knew how bad it was but he still had to plead for Lot’s life, so God KNOWING the real question Abraham had, still patiently let Lot ask Him until he had the assurance he needed.

As with our prayer and the pleas of Abraham, we ALL need that assurance that somehow, no matter what our eyes see, or our ears hear, no matter the terror of the report and even if we are slain in the night, our reassurance rests in the eternal hands of a sovereign King, who still reigns and has victory over all we face or all we will ever face. 

And it is funny for me, not in the funny ha ha way, but funny in the oh how ironic way, that I could still have that same prayer and yet have the call to forewarn to repentance or face the unquestionably horrific judgment from that SAME God, that will one day cover the earth. How do you shine light in pitch darkness, how do you speak judgment tempered with unmerited, unwavering mercy? How do you proclaim that this way is rough but it will lead you home, because there is ONLY one way, out of the shadow of death in this life. There it is, our fear, our cause to stumble, the one thing, we as humans, get so hung up on, death. It is assured, as you are born, certainly you shall die, unless of course you are in the number who will be raptured, but to be effective and to be in those places of peace God wants us to walk in we must be willing to just embrace the walk on that path and know it really will be well in the end.

So I wanted to do this to maybe get you thinking about some of these things, as the “divine appointments” times I believe God steps in peoples lives, into their paths when they are lost, circumstances that once you are saved you will look back and KNOW that He was always there, always waiting and watching over your soul until the day that realization comes and you give your life to Him.

Tearing down the fear of death, breaking down the strongholds of the what-ifs, and the terror of the unknown is needed now more than ever because we live in a scary, scary world and I am so sorry to say, it is only going to get scarier and the only, ONLY peace we truly have is the peace of the Lord and it is imperative for this generation to find that peace, to embrace that peace.

We are praying and waiting for that last great harvest, but the reality is this, with much wisdom comes great sorrow, out of severe persecution comes signs, wonders, miracles and that great revival.

As we seek the last great harvest spoken of by the Prophet Joel, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh, we may need to also consider under what circumstances this will come and I’ll leave it at that for a moment.

Jesus said we must come to Him as a “little child”, I believe this means in the FAITH and ASSURANCE we have as childlike in Him, KNOWING as that little bedtime prayer states “if” we die before we “awake”, so our peace is knowing that either through the grave or through the rapture, we are covered. 

The world is scary but Jesus said that we are His, we are not of the world, He has kept us. So here is some food for thought. God has kept us; LAMENTATIONS 3:21-23: “THIS I recall to my mind, therefore have I HOPE, it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Facing real or perceived dangers, sickness, or persecutions, take comfort from the words of our “go to” guys Peter and Paul, who are examples of Christians sufferings and faith that moved mountains and the thoughts they left us with as their times approached, thoughts to persuade to fight for our calling in the Lord and run after those things God set before us in the knowledge that this life is temporal, just a vapor, to fight for our life eternal but to not fear and to have confidence in God through all things, even when that requires the laying down of this life.

2 PETER 10-16: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail (stumble):

For so an entrance shall be ministered (supplied) unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you in remembrance of THESE THINGS, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet (fitting) as long as I am in this tabernacle (his body) to stir you up by putting you in remembrance:

Knowing that shortly I put off this my tabernacle ( that he would soon be executed) even as our Lord Jesus Christ has shewed me. Moreover I will endeavor that  ye may be able AFTER my decease to have these things ALWAYS in remembrance.

For we have NOT followed cunningly devised fables, when we made know unto you the POWER and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses to his majesty.” 

His last desire was that we all remain in remembrance and go forth for the kingdom, even in his writing, that us, AFTER his death, centuries later, WOULD be stirred by his words. We ARE stirred by his words.

Apostle Paul when his time drew near left us with astounding words for OUR day, 2 TIMOTHY 4:1-8 :

I CHARGE thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick (living) and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.

PREACH THE WORD, BE INSTANT (ready) IN SEASON, OUT OF SEASON; REPROVE, REBUKE, EXHORT WTH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE.

For the TIME WILL COME WHEN THE WILL NO LONGER ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE (Gospel truth): but after their own lusts will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears ( chase after those who will tell them whatever they want to hear); And shall TURN THEIR EARS AWAY FROM THE TRUTH, and shall be turned unto fables (follow after lies and false doctrine).

But WATCH thou in all things, ENDURE AFFLICTIONS, do the work of an evangelist, MAKE FULL PROOF OF THY MINISTRY. For I AM NOW READY TO BE OFFERED, (his execution drew nigh) and THE TIME OF MY DEPARTURE (death) IS AT HAND.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH. Henceforth there IS laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: AND NOT TO ME ONLY, BUT UNTO ALL THEM THAT LOVE HIS APPEARING.

As they took courage and boldness in laying themselves down, it is time for us to lay ourselves down, lay down the fear, lay down the rejections, and take that courage and childlike faith and lay down everything that hinders us in these last days.

 ISAIAH 33:15-20: ” UNTIL the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment (justice) shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.

And the WORK of righteousness SHALL BE PEACE; and THE EFFECT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS QUIETNESS AND ASSURANCE FOR EVER. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure (safe) dwellings, and in quite resting places; When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; nd the city shall be low (brought low in humiliation) in a low place.

BLESSED ARE YE THAT SOW BESIDE ALL WATERS, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass” 

That is our hope, even though the world will fall by judgment God gives us reassurance that all will be well, and our commission to sow His seed and sow every opportunity we have, in all areas, beside all waters and send those feet forward. 

So today, rest in that reassurance, lay down in His peace, knowing the ultimate promise of His reassurance, come what may, death, grave, or caught away, that trumpet will surely sound and these words throughout eternity WILL resound: 

REVELATION 11:15: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD ARE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD, AND OF HIS CHRIST; AND HE SHALL REIGN FOR EVER AND EVER.”       AMEN

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

“DOWN TO THE WIRE…..” Prophets & Preachers WORD UP!

“And  now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with ALL BOLDNESS they may SPEAK THY WORD.” ACTS 4:29

That was Peter, praying as the disciples were being persecuted and threatened, he did not say, “Oh, sorry Lord, I can’t say that” and tuck tail and run. No he PRAYED FOR BOLDNESS. Not popularity, not bigger crowds, but BOLDNESS TO PREACH GOD’S WORD.

We’ve a wee problem going on right now. Seems courage has been lost, maybe it was never found. Our generation came up with a different church mindset, it is more about making the Gospel appeal to everyone. But Jesus said that if he is lifted up HE WILL draw all people unto Him. So we really don’t need to try to force the Gospel to be “appealing” and try to conform to the world in hope of converting the world.

Actually the world has  done a great job of converting the church. On the rise is a group of people who weld the Gospel sword in a church setting, as long as it sounds good, looks good and keeps the congregation in a realm of happy. But when they have a message that they KNOW is to be shared, they refuse to do so because of the fear of repercussion and the fear of maybe placing their own lives in peril for preaching those words.

I am sorry, bad news, can not stand before God and tell him that we were afraid and to be a coward will bring a cowards death, it will not extend your life and you should have read the fine print before taking the job, “whosoever seeks to save his life, shall lose it.” That we were afraid to speak HIS TRUTH as HE COMMANDED US.

That is the generational difference, generations of old sought the Gospel because they desired the Gospel. And many paid a hefty price, through persecution for that Gospel, but it was not watered down and it held the word of Life and the power of it was intense and so indwelling that one could risk life and limb for it.

More bad news, we are heading into the time of the persecution, the flood sent after the woman’s child, the church. And no one is going to stand through that if they can not stand in their own church and proclaim the truth. So now may be a good time for many to decide what they believe, what they will stand for and if it has not been for the necessity of the Gospel, now may be a good time to get out.

Does anyone really believe that the candy coats like “Ole Joelsteen” who will stand for nothing except standing for nothing, cheapening the Gospel to the level of condoning sin and outright lying against God by saying he will accept it into heaven, the money preachers, like “Markdown Mike” and “Ron Parsnip” and “Stu Munskey”are really going to stand against the forces of that persecution?

 What about the “prophets” who promise peace over people and nations, who are so far away from God, that they openly worship anything but him, and yet these prophets scream peace, peace, when there IS no peace, think they’ll risk their heads for those prophecies?

If you answer Yes to any of those questions, you really need to study a little more history and a lot more Bible. Lets check a prophet and then checkout what becomes of false prophets.

We’ll start with a “priest” badmouthing a real prophet because they so do not want to hear judgment and we’ll hear them telling him to stop it and just go away and do it somewhere else, and  then we’ll hear his answer.

AMOS 7:10-17 ” Then Amaziah,  the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying,  Amos hath CONSPIRED against thee in the house of Israel: the LAND is not able to bear (ENDURE) all his WORDS.

For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. {Not what they wanted to hear}.

Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O, thou seer, GO, FLEE thee AWAY into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, AND PROPHESY THERE. but PROPHESY NOT AGAIN any more at Bethel, for it is the king’s chapel, and the king’s court. {He kinda forgot that it actually belonged to the Lord}

 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was NO prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit.

And the LORD TOOK ME as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, GO,  PROPHESY UNTO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.  Now, therefore hear the word of the Lord: Thou sayest (you say), prophesy NOT against Israel, and drop NOT thy word against the house of Isaac. THEREFORE thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and THOU SHALT DIE in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth out of his land.

Trying to run him off really didn’t help them too much, what he was doing was NOT out of his own will, it was God’s will over his life and God’s will IS supreme

Now, we’ll go to a question God posed, as to why they did not want to know judgments, if someone is told what they are doing is wrong, they then have a chance to correct their behavior and repent. He also addresses the false prophets and the cause of the destruction’s.

MICAH 3:1-11:” And I said,  Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of Israel, Is it not for you to know judgment (justice)?  Who HATE THE GOOD, and LOVE THE EVIL, who pluck off their skin from off them (my people), and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and flesh within the cauldron.

Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings (been evil).

Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets THAT MAKE MY PEOPLE TO ERR, that bite with their teeth, and CRY,PEACE (all is well) and he that putteth not into their mouths ( gives them nothing), THEY MAKE WAR AGAINST HIM.

Therefore, NIGHT shall be unto you, that ye have not a vision; and it SHALL BE DARK unto you, that ye shall not divine; and THE SUN SHALL GO DOWN OVER THE PROPHETS, and THE DAY SHALL BE DARK OVER (for) THEM.

Then SHALL the SEERS BE ASHAMED, and the DIVINERS, CONFOUNDED (embarrassed) : yea, THEY SHALL ALL COVER THEIR LIPS (mouths); for THERE IS NO ANSWER OF (from) GOD.

But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment (justice), and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.  Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment (justice), and pervert equity.  They build up in Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.

The heads thereof  judge for reward, and the PRIESTS thereof TEACH FOR HIRE (pay), and the PROPHETS DIVINE FOR MONEY: YET WILL THEY LEAN UPON THE LORD, AND SAY, (saying) IS NOT  THE LORD AMONG US? NONE (no) EVIL CAN COME UPON US.”

We know this also references our modern-day churches and it is truly eerie, THEY do all these things and still proclaim that God is with them and no evil shall come, but we see God’s thought on the subject and the justice He shall have.

The day is coming that there will be a separation and as He said judgment must begin at His house and we will see many, many who will cave to the pressure of the persecution but those who will stand, will need to be as Peter and the disciples when they PRAYED for that boldness, no one wants to be hated, no one wants to be threatened, but if you suffer persecution for the Gospel, you ARE BLESSED.

I do understand, God knows my multi based “fan club” ( I mean that with the utmost sarcasm)  but we have to be strong and be, as JESUS told us, “of a good courage”, knowing that your courage is NOT your own but it is HIS courage, that He will give you, so you can truly “do ALL things through Christ” who strengthens you.

He was persecuted and hated, the prophets were hated, the disciples were hated, those murdered through-out history for the Gospel, and those who are martyred even today were also hated, but they were bold and of good courage, they were brave for the WORD even when they didn’t feel very brave.

Why on earth would we be an exception to that rule? I am sure someone is going to be like, “Well, that is your risk, I AM NOT doing it”, well, don’t.

That is between you and God, but don’t be expecting Him to protect if you will not stand for Him.

Doesn’t quite work that way. And don’t think just because I am at a computer it changes my life, my job has barely begun and I am no exception to those rules, all my work is dated and in a specific order for a reason and this post is no exception.

We are down to the wire on it and you are going to have to have a plan for a worst case scenario and you can not hold back messages and warnings that God is putting in your heart that are for the ears of all believers that He has given you an audience with.

So what do we do? You can’t hide, you can’t run, and if you are smart you will not denounce your calling, we will need to put away all the jealousy, resentment, and our religious snobbery and truly be in one mind and one accord, of one heart, and one thought to see His kingdom come……… Now back to the Book of ACTS, revisiting our starting verse.

ACTS 4:29-33: ” And now, Lord, behold their threatenings; and grant unto THY SERVANTS, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.

BY STRETCHING FORTH THINE HAND TO HEAL; THAT THE SIGNS AND WONDERS MAY BE DONE BY (through) THE NAME OF THY HOLY CHILD JESUS.

And WHEN they had PRAYED, the PLACE WAS SHAKEN where they were assembled together; and THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, and they SPAKE THE WORD OF GOD WITH BOLDNESS.

And the multitude of them that BELIEVED WERE OF ONE HEART AND OF ONE SOUL: neither said ANY of them that ought (any) of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common.

And WITH GREAT POWER GAVE THE APOSTLES WITNESS OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD JESUS: and GREAT GRACE WAS UPON THEM ALL.”

ROMANS 10: 14,15(a): “ HOW then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and HOW shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and HOW shall they hear without a preacher? And HOW shall they preach, except they be sent?

Preaching is for others to believe, to glorify God, to encourage of heaven and New Jerusalem, to exhort and to warn of sin and hell. Preaching is to lead others to the love and peace that is Christ and if you are unwilling to do that you only hinder the kingdom and those hindrances will soon cease.

Think about it! Peace and Love till next time!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω / Rev. Nina BrownJohnson / 2016

NUMBERED

CHICKS LOG: STAR DATE: DECEMBER 27 2015.  Sentimentally looking for the  approaching 2016 and as most of us welcome a new year. One more shot to get right things that maybe did not go as planned. Another chance to make something right and do the work of the kingdom. A New Year filled with perhaps golden opportunities that may never come again.

We all know that with all the new beginnings also come new challenges and often new heartaches and then we tally up those numbers into lists of credits, debits, and accounts that may never be settled in our hearts. We take those numbers with losses high-lighted and throw them down at the feet of old man time, as we desire old acquaintance be forgot. And give to baby new year a clean slate and look to the future and hope the baby treats us a little kinder than the old dude did and that we all will have a better year.

As humans we ponder the events of the past year and we set goals and make resolutions for our hopes and dreams for the new one. I don’t make resolutions but I do have hopes, dreams, and goals.  I pondered all this yesterday as my pre-Christmas cold had returned with a bloody vengeance and my dripping nose had me feeling like the guy from the hot dog commercial when his kid asked him to cook something and the room starts spinning and “cook something” echoes repeatedly. But with me it was like “write something, write something” my nose won that battle but here I am today! 

My lessons from 2015 is simple, a reinforcement of the knowledge that God is sovereign, storms come, winds blow, life hurts and it hurts bad but Jesus is still walking that water with us. He will go with us to the end of this world IF we will allow Him.

 How we view our circumstances and how we allow it to work into our relationship with Him is completely up to us but it is the deciding factor of the numbers game that will either make us or completely break us. I have been to eight funerals this year, there have been more pass away but those are the ones I have made it to. My daughters best friend lost her Mom in June. One Church sister lost her Dad, another lost her husband and I watched my  own Dad preach two funerals, I watched him lose friends, church family, his niece and then this month his sister. My husband lost his Dad two weeks before my Aunt passed away. His death leaving his family absolutely devastated beyond words because his condition had improved and appeared that he was going to be fine.  Two of these had lost their lives after battles with cancer. Watching all the tears and seeing all the pain, and all those who suffer, especially with prayer requests being to pray for God to please let them not suffer. It can overwhelm everyone, everyone involved. Knowing the entire time that the ones who will be left behind truly need the prayers more.

This is where we all learn dependence on the Lord and I want to share a story that was told at my Aunt’s funeral. The man who preached it has been an Evangelist for over 40 years and his ties to our family are truly God sent, he and another preacher prayed faithfully with our family and my brother when he was terminal, they preached his funeral and in the midst of all those visits he told Mom and Dad that he had prayed the salvation prayer with my eldest brother, either the day he died or the day before. This was in 1973 and had been a torment to my family for years, but see even in the middle of the suffering and ordeal of losing one child, God gave them comfort about the salvation of another.

Silver linings in those dark clouds and rainbows in between the storms. Anyway, he preached my Aunt’s funeral and he is so humble and uses God’s word to comfort all who hear him. His wife had battled cancer for years and years, in the meantime a man had asked him to promise that if he passed away before him would he preach his funeral, and of course he agreed. The way it all went down was like this, the man passed and his wife lost her battle, he had to preach his friends funeral at 2:00 pm and his wife’s services were at 4:00 the same day. He shared that story with everyone as proof of God’s love and mercy even in the worst possible situation. The same God who carried him through would also carry those who asked him.

It is all seasons of this life and some years you will have to add every flower, every rainbow, and every sunny day, and most of all every single morning that He has allowed us breath, into that credit column to prove that all in all the good DOES outweigh the bad. IT IS ALL HOW YOU CRUNCH THOSE NUMBERS.

Mention of numbers, here’s some good ones. 

GODS LOVE AND CARE TOWARD US: 

MATTHEW 10:28-31:  “And fear NOT them which kill the body, but ARE NOT able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both the soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthling? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. BUT THE VERY HAIRS OF YOUR HEAD ARE NUMBERED. FEAR YE NOT THEREFORE, ye are more valuable than many sparrows.”

GOD WATCHES OVER US:

PSALM 56:8: ” Thou tellest (counts or takes into account) my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are the not written in thy book?” 

JOB 14:16: For now thou NUMBEREST my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?”

LEARNING TO LEAN UPON THE SURE MERCIES OF GOD: 

PSALM 90:12,14: “So teach us to NUMBER our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may REJOICE AND BE GLAD ALL OUR DAYS.”

WISDOM FROM THE WORD:

ECCLESIASTES 12: 1-8:” REMEMBER now thy Creator IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH, WHILE THE EVIL (VEXATION, TROUBLES) DAYS COME NOT, NOR THE YEARS DRAW NIGH (while in your prime) when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

While the sun, or light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: (good days) In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease (stand idle) because there are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened (grow dim), and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up the voice of the bird, and the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

Also when they shall be AFRAID of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail, BECAUSE MAN GOETH TO HIS LONG HOME (DIES, ETERNAL HOME),and the mourners go about the streets: Or ever THE SILVER CORD BE LOOSED, OR THE GOLDEN BOWL BE BROKEN, OR THE PITCHER BE BROKEN (SHATTERED) AT THE FOUNTAIN, OR THE WHEEL BROKEN AT THE CISTERN.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and THE SPIRIT SHALL RETURN TO GOD WHO GAVE IT. VANITY OF VANITIES, SAITH THE PREACHER; ALL IS VANITY.”

HOPE IN GOD:        ROMANS 8:36-39:    “As it is written, FOR THY SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL THE DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER. Nay, (NO) IN ALL THESE THINGS WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERERS THROUGH HIM THAT LOVED US. For I am persuaded, that neither DEATH, nor LIFE, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, NOR THINGS PRESENT, NOR THINGS TO COME, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, WHICH IS in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

LAMENTATIONS 3:21-23:   THIS I RECALL TO MY MIND,THEREFORE HAVE I HOPE. It is of the Lord’s mercies THAT WE ARE NOT CONSUMED, because HIS COMPASSIONS FAIL NOT. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING: GREAT IS THY FAITHFULLNESS.”

That is MY HOPE,   WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERERS when He allows us to laugh through the tears and leap while lame, and shout when we are so emotionally drained that we no longer have words and are just speechless. I see the rainbows and hear the birds and even through the bad we had a beautiful, new little family edition and my sister started a beautiful new chapter in life,  my friend Michelle and our husbands attended a spring formal with our daughters only weeks before her death and even with stage four cancer, she danced and those, those are the memories that will forever shine. My Aunt Evelyn will forever be in my heart, I will forever miss her and miss talking to her and miss her always being there with us but I know one day we will dance on those streets of gold. I know just as He did for Brother Joe, God will strengthen all who ask and I know in the end when all numbers come up God allows us to hold the winning hand. From my heart to yours, may you and your family have a Blessed New Year in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2015

 

RESURRECTION PEACE/ Part 2

 2nd Thessalonians 4:16   “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;…
The fundamental of the Gospel of Peace.
Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, born of a virgin, completely sinless, crucified and rose from the dead three days later to reign forever in all of heaven and earth.
This is our hope and confidence, our Savior lives and reigns forever and of His kingdom shall be no end.
His name alone being the only name by which anyone can be saved and HE IS the only way to the father, any who try to come any other way, other than through the precious blood of the Lamb is nothing more than a thief and robber.
Maybe it does weird out those who don’t understand it, just a little, but again how can you voice an opinion against something you have never experienced nor understand?
Without this promise we would surely be hopeless and what would the hope of our salvation be?
But we that are his know that this is real just as HE IS real.
This does not mean, as some doctrines teach, that it is instant, kill us and we will pop right back up kind of thing. This will take place in the great resurrection when time shall be no more.
But it is our hope and confidence, I want to give you an extreme example:

Job 19:25,26:  “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter-day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy THIS BODY, YET in my FLESH SHALL I SEE GOD.”
                        
What is this power? Dead, BEEN dead, bodies destroyed by natural processes but yet those bodies will be made new?
The same power that created them and can recreate them regardless of damage.

Once we wrap our heads around letting go of the fear of losing these lives then the remainder and “the rest” will be peaceful!

The prophet Elisha who had been given double the anointing of God that Elijah held and remember Elijah had prayed for fire from heaven and for resurrection of another, rain and for the Jordan to let him cross, not to mention being divinely fed by a raven and an angel of God.
So the miracles he could ask for, the faith to move anything and ask for the impossible, Elisha carried double that in his body and the Bible tells the strength in that anointing and the fact that it is eternal:

 2nd Kings 13: 20,21: “And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast (tossed) the man into the sepulcher of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, HE REVIVED, AND STOOD UPON HIS FEET.”
My favorite example of this has not yet happened, oh, but it will!
As people get more and more evil and the true word of God becomes harder and harder to come by He will actually send back two that have been here before.
I personally believe this will be Moses and Elijah because of the description of their gifts.
Revelation 11:3,5-11:  “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, (around three and one half years) clothed in sackcloth.
And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth  out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies: and if any man hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
These have power to shut heaven, that it not rain in the days of their prophesy: And have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with ALL PLAGUES, as often as they will.
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and KILL THEM.
And their DEAD bodies shall lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations (all people) shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer (permit) their dead bodies to be put in graves.
And they that dwell upon earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall sends gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth.
AND after three days and an half, THE SPIRIT OF LIFE FROM GOD ENTERED INTO THEM, AND THEY STOOD UPON THEIR FEET; AND GREAT FEAR FELL UPON THEM WHICH SAW THEM.”
           
Once upon a time, this was hard for people to understand, how could the whole world see this, but we know now don’t we?
Most of us today couldn’t even stand even near these two with the anointing and the level of sheer holiness they will carry.
And as the world will continue to become more blind and hate all things of God when they come in sackcloth, urging repentance, pronouncing judgments the world will be so happy to see them dead because they will no longer hear the voice of truth, that they will in fact have a world-wide celebration.
But as we know, once they are resurrected and taken, the real party is just getting started!
Φλογίζω/All rights reserved NBJ 2015

RESURRECTION PEACE / Part 1

O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
What is the most natural human fear?
Death and the fear thereof, the questions of how and when?
As we discussed in a past post, this is Satan’s number one weapon.
Just as he dared challenge God that if He would only remove his protection from Job that he would lose his faith, because in his belief that humans would give anything in exchange for their lives.
Now about peace, Jesus said His peace He left with us, not as the world gives, but His peace.
“And when he had said so, he shewed unto them his hands (pierce marks) and his side (spear wound). Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  John 20:20,21
As He prayed in the garden before His arrest and crucifixion:And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world.”  John 17:13-18
These things have I spoken unto you, that IN ME ye might peace. In the world ye  shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”            John 16:33
So what is this peace, the gospel of peace which protects the feet of the warriors of the Lord. This peace in the knowledge of salvation  also pertains to the helmet but the main function is to cover the feet travelling to proclaim that gospel and stand in battle without fear because of the peace of the knowledge of the truth of the resurrection.
The ultimate peace, removal of the fear of death and the knowledge through the Holy Ghost and glory of God’s word that your peace is this, just as they killed Him and He rose, that same power through the Holy Ghost will resurrect you.
I know there are scoffers and that is dangerous and that is between them and God in judgment.
But I, like the disciples testify to what I know and I know the resurrection power of God.
We may have breath and a beating heart and function daily and yet be as dead as any in the grave.
Spiritually dead, without repentance or the knowledge of God, or chained up in a prison of our past and never having been freed or made alive in Him.
I spent twenty-seven years of my life trying to outrun”me”,trying every self-destructive behavior possible to deaden the pain that consumed my soul and anything to just feel normal and accepted.
But as with all evil, God does not cause it but it is used to make us run from the only one who can free us.
But GOD already knows, no matter what people think or how they tried to figure us out, He already has the answer and once we surrendered that pain, that one part of our hearts that we are so careful to hide, and He fills us with his Holy Ghost and the power of His resurrection, in the blink of an eye, everything changes.

WE KNOW God loves us and we know HE protects us and we are given peace that we truly, truly have never known.
The peace that HE IS our Savior, and HE IS our life, HE IS  our protector and that we will never, ever have to be alone without him again.
Which is precisely why I chose Φλογιζω  as the name of my ministry, what Satan intended to use destroy me with is what God used to save me and that one be one weapon that the enemy could never terrify me with again, I would also be filled with HIS fire.
And that is what we all need, to make ourselves consciously aware of that fact and the remembrance of that power, HIS power because the truth is that not death, not demons or all the forces of hell can ever hold our spirits down.
As we go into the unknown of the last days, hold onto that, nothing, nothing can stop that power or the peace you will have once you let that knowledge renew your mind.
Because truly the grave will have no victory. Because we can only die one time and that is more than enough to make any warrior want to run, but run like David, not away from the enemy but to meet him head on because you know that through Jesus, you will win the battle, even if it is ultimately won in the resurrection!

Φλογίζω/ Rights Reserved NBJ/ 2015

 

 

 

 

“GOOD BYE, ROXIE SMITH”

The name alone brings me to tears, my brother Stevie and I sat next to each other at our Dad’s eightieth birthday party, a party primarily intended to shift focus from the grief which had slowly consumed him for months.
Tears filling Stevie’s eyes and the pain on his face broke my heart in half. We were trying to be strong but failed miserably, the common denominator that held our family together was no longer there and nothing would ever, ever be the same.
I had been the youngest child to four brothers, my sister married when I was five and the oldest brother died  when I was six, our parents both worked full-time so we had a lot of interesting snow days and summer vacations! I spent most of my early childhood being the enemy of all things “manly” and learning to kill or be killed in the best possible way! My mom’s favorite movie is “Overboard” with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, I told her I know why, those children act like we did only they had me!
Over time Troy married and Stevie moved out, Donnie and I went to school together and hung out together with my best friend Genia,
I was plagued with fear growing up, especially of lightning and he would always comfort me during storms, he never belittled me for being afraid, he would just tell me it would be okay that it would be over soon and it always was. He always protected me and never wanted me to be afraid.
In the early eighties, Stevie moved back home and somehow as if set the sound track of “Gemini Dream” everything changed.
Donnie had found an old underground “bunker” down from our house. I don’t know if it had been a bomb shelter or something for storage, it was concrete with metal rungs used to walk down into it, but they turned into a teens paradise, they had a radio, candles, flashlights, snacks and Donnie used the concrete walls for his often abstract art.
One portrait would stick forever, she was quite a character and she would become the mascot of our lives, she had to have a name and someone suggested Roxie Smith and it stuck, from that point on, she became the scapegoat for all mischievousness we didn’t want to own up too.

“Roxie did it!” of course our parents never understood why we found that so hysterically funny, which made it even funnier.
We spent that summer laughing, listening to music and suddenly I was no longer that pesky, little brat but an equal.
We were something like Cheech and Chong meets The Three Musketeers, somehow honorable while being incredibly goofy!
Over time Stevie moved to Tennessee and  Donnie moved next to Mom and Dad, and I briefly lived about thirty minutes away, only to move back. Donnie and I stayed right next to Mom and Dad, our homes within shouting distance of each other, I teased her that she would never get away from us and in reality, she never wanted to.
But we always remained close with Stevie, Donnie’s daughter is like a little sister to me and although she never knew it he worried about her a lot and  he would always ask me about her when he felt like she was heading in the wrong direction with a friend or new boyfriend I’d always reassure him it was the growing process and she’d be fine.

I always had such a comfort knowing my daughter who adored him would have that, an uncle she could always talk to if she needed help and I would  have the reassurance of  knowing he would always be right there for her.
We all have problems and he had his with alcohol, like so many others he used to dull the pain in his heart that had built up over a lifetime, a battle I am glad to report that he did win, by overcoming it .

But a greater guy you would never find, big, good-looking with a Sam Elliott mustache, never turned anyone away when they need help, and he always knew what to do in a crisis. We believed he would be there forever.
But our plans aren’t God’s plans and May 2011 would test our faith almost to the breaking point.
He worked nights and most of his free time was spent helping our parents and fooling around with vehicles and hanging out with Dad, who always has to be doing something, that’s what has kept him going, anyway the day before Easter 2011 he started having pain in his ribs, he thought he had just pulled a muscle so he waited about a week before going to the ER, when they did a chest X-ray, it revealed a huge mass in his lung.

He was transferred to a cancer center for a biopsy, for unexplained reasons the night of the biopsy he suddenly seized up and  completely coded, no heartbeat, no nothing, his daughter had called and I was on the phone with her and they were preparing to try to start his heart back, she was screaming and understandably ended up passing out.

The center is about an hour and a half from us, so we all rushed there and it was like a nightmare from hell and I kept begging God that he couldn’t die he wasn’t saved, when we got there, she met us in the parking lot, he had come out of it and was fine, no medications, no procedures, just as quickly as it happened, he came out of it.
The doctor’s never could explain it, I told one of them I could, it was God and the power of a praying Mother, had God not spared him he would have died lost and he believed and he would not even eat unless grace had been said but he had never made that required confession of faith of Jesus as his savior.
We were soon informed that he had a rare, deadly inoperable cancer and would have to immediately begin aggressive chemo and radiation.

He had a great sense of humor and tried to lighten us up by saying it was his luck to get the worst kind. Once he got to come home Mom made him move in with them so she could look after him and he resumed life. He couldn’t go back to work but he tinkered with stuff with Daddy outside and planted his annual garden with my daughter and even with the chemo and radiation he did not get sick. Other than losing his hair he looked healthy as a horse.  And we believed…..
The time came for his next test, the cancer was not gone, it now had splintered and had spread to his ribs, and spine. The doctor who had once been so hopeful now conceded there was nothing more he could do.
In our desperation we begged him to go to another cancer center, our sister who stayed right by his side took him and she relayed the message to us that the doctor callously informed him that he now had no more than two weeks to live, even adding a “Do you understand, Mr. Brown?”
This news came October 10, 2011, four days before his forty-ninth birthday so we decided to have him a huge family dinner (and we believed) and even though he was now too sick to eat, he opened his gifts and even posed for the camera wearing our nieces furry hood. He never complained and never once asked why.
We were told not to take him back to the hospital but we had his primary care doctor, she was Godsend, we were told we could have Hospice which he was adamantly against, he did not want to die with tubes and strangers and we did our best to honor that wish.(And we believed) two ministers came faithfully to pray with him and us and to assure his salvation because he said he hoped he was saved and he was trying to be so they led him in prayer till he felt he was.
After his party he began to sleep, the last words he ever spoke to me was “Good Night”, in our family we were well-trained you did not go to bed unless you said Good Night, I would cry all day and then try to go act all strong and not hover over him but inside I just wanted to hold him forever and beg him to please not go I couldn’t live without him, I had never had too. I believe God let him sleep to kill the pain, it wasn’t the medicine because he couldn’t be roused to take it, I think he was just shielding him until it was time to go home.
The morning of October 24, 2011 in the arms of his ex-wife and our Dad, he passed away in our Mother’s bed on Stevie’s birthday.
The whole ordeal was like life playing a sick, twisted joke and wanting to wake up from a horrifying dream, someone had even commented to us that if he died it would be due to our lack of faith and because we “got into agreement” with the cancer, something they will answer to the Lord for but it was enough to almost send our Dad over the edge, when Donnie passed.
We had faith, we believed, the minister that came the day he passed told me he believed for a miracle but Donnie got his miracle when got spared him to be saved. And the hardest thing I ever had to do is watch them take his body away knowing that never on this earth again we would laugh, or hug or cry together and all our plans for growing old as neighbors was over, and even though his life on earth had ended his eternal one had been assured.
God carried us through unthinkable sorrow, he continues to carry our parents, Donnie’s children, our siblings and my daughter through it.
God never promised we would not lose loved ones or that the circumstance wouldn’t be mind numbing sadistic, God knows our death even before our birth and it is just that a part of living and every second, every moment is precious and he promises if they live for him, they are with him, Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.”                        Job 19:25-27 details it to the extreme.
For all that mourn, know those tears are precious to God,
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy, he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5,6
Revelation 21:4 “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 anymore pain: for the former things are all passed away.”
By the end of Dad’s party, the hymns of the singers driving stakes through the wounded hearts, most ended up outside crying together for what had been lost, Mom with the Victorian grace so rarely seen today hid her tears in putting away leftovers, Stevie and I toyed with the idea of going back to see if the old place was still there but in our realization that the second Musketeer was really never coming back and that the precious laughter of that innocent time that had bonded us through so much more than blood but through true friendship was now a priceless memory to be tucked away in our hearts and propel us to finish our race.
So My dear brother I love you and I will be strong, I will not be afraid of the storms anymore and I know one day I will hug you again. Good Bye, Roxie Smith, God knows I  desperately do not want to let you go but love never, ever dies it only sleeps for a little while.

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Probably the worst picture I could find, we had been laughing about “wearing the same outfit” the reason this one means so much to me is the circle of arms, I had never really noticed it until after the fact, but this is what he was to me and our daughters.

Had God not covered us….