“PRECONCEPTION”

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter (murder) AGAINST the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired (asked) of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way (followers of Christ), whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound (arrested) unto Jerusalem.

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus; and SUDDENLY there SHINED ROUND ABOUT HIM A LIGHT FROM HEAVEN: and he FELL to the earth, and HEARD a voice saying into him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

And he said WHO ART THOU, LORD? and the Lord said, I am Jesus who thou persecutest: it is hard to kick against the pricks. (pricks meaning goads, it all meant that was USELESS for Saul to even attempt to resist the Lord)

And he TREMBLING and ASTONISHED said, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and IT SHALL be told thee what thou must do.

And the men with journeyed with him stood speechless, HEARING a voice, but SEEING NO MAN. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.  And he was there three days WITHOUT SIGHT, and NEITHER DID EAT OR DRINK.

And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; AND TO HIM SAID THE LORD IN A VISION, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he may receive his sight.

THEN Ananias answered, Lord, I have HEARD BY MANY OF THIS MAN, HOW MUCH EVIL (harm) HE HATH DONE to thy saints at Jerusalem: And he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call upon thy name.

BUT the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel; For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my names sake.” Acts 9: 1-16

Now got some serious events going on right there, as we know it as “the conversion of Saul/Paul” God was taking a man whom had made his LIFE all about persecuting Christians and at that time to even bind women and drag them off was especially despicable but what Saul did, he did one hundred percent, and gave it all he had to give.

And the beauty is that his TRUE PREDESTINATION was a total 360 and the cause he so hated would be the cause that he would ultimately and WILLING GIVE HIS LIFE in favor of!

And once his spiritual eyes were OPENED to the Lord, he did not even try to fight it because he knew he had BEEN WRONG and that he was now had. The other insight into all things human with this, is that Saul, whose entire being would be changed, EVEN his name, as he would now journey roads that led to so much greater than Damascus, roads that could only be navigated in his PREORDAINED, DESTINATION of walking those roads no longer as Saul the Enforcer, but as Paul the Apostle and truly remarkably, while Saul was YET blinded, and horrified, in complete darkness, God ALREADY told Ananias His own divine plan for Paul’s mission!

So see, Ananias, even though he was TERRIFIED of Saul, knew the work Paul would do BEFORE Paul even knew! So we are going in this post to the land of preconceptions, you know, that nasty little place that we arrive at when we decide a persons worth based on what we HEAR, just as Ananias had HEARD all these things about Saul, and while these things HAD BEEN TRUE after GOD CHANGED PAUL, they no longer held any merit and often we judge others based on pre-Christ lives and ancient history and how are we benefitting them, witnessing to them, or furthering the Kingdom of God by doing this?

pre·con·cep·tion
[ˌprēkənˈsepSH(ə)n]

NOUN
preconceptions (plural noun) · pre-conception (noun) · pre-conceptions (plural noun) · pre-conception (noun) · pre-conceptions (plural noun)
a preconceived idea or prejudice.

(from Oxford Dictionary)

I had the most strange encounter, I had recently met a person and pick up no weird vibes or maliciousness coming from them and it happened that another person, I had never met, strikes up a conversation and we start talking and they bring up this other person and that I should know them and they proceed to tell me in about three minutes the entire life history of the other, and of course, the good, the bad, and the most of all the horrific.

And of course I am trying to figure out, in my head, why on earth did they feel the need to tell me all that?

I often remember something the “old-timers” always preached.. that we CAN KILL A PERSON with our words, we KILL their reputation, we KILL their testimony by CHOOSING to share every single detail of their lives NEEDLESSLY and usually those details are never of any good they may have done, BUT all the bad, all the mistakes, and the WORST possible “proofs of character” or rather proof of LACK thereof.

And as I questioned all this, in my heart, the sovereignty of God and goodness of Him came shining through as I actually overheard a conversation between the person “in question” and another, and they were actually talking about GOD, and they used a scripture that they said had helped them through a situation. And all that was said, was all I needed to hear because I know as a minister, that the wording they chose is only chosen by people who truly believe.

So anyway, I pondered the whole deal, and I was like, what was THAT all about?

And I came up with this conclusion, of course sometimes we are WARNED in life, BUT what if, sometimes, we are told things to make us fear another SO THAT WE WILL NOT SHARE THE GOSPEL, things told us so that we will be so guarded and not give a person even a moment, the benefit of doubt and to prevent us from even trying to see WHO they are in Christ, whether of not, they even ARE in Christ YET.

Just as Ananias had to be reassured by the Lord, sometimes we need to ask God to reassure us, we have no business in the pasts of others, we WERE NOT in their past but if God has placed us on the same path, in their present, even for  a moment, we owe them the same respect and opportunity to “prove” their character as we ourselves desire.

Because as the Bible so eloquently states in Romans 3:22,23:

EVEN the righteousness of God which is BY FAITH of JESUS CHRIST unto ALL and upon ALL that BELIEVE: for THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE: For ALL HAVE SINNED, AND COME (fall) SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.”

That is the deal, MAYBE God wants us to try to see others AS He sees them, He SEES them as what they CAN be, what He created them to be, in the spiritual work that He predestined and when He forgives, He FORGIVES and FORGETS and He never considers those sins again, so why should we?

Why are we allowed to hold against others actions that we had no stake in or right to accuse now? And if we do CHOOSE to hold those negative thoughts, attitudes, and PRECONCEPTIONS about them, then WE could very well be the ones who cause them to stumble and cause them to stay who they once were rather than being lights and encouraging them to have faith and embrace who they can become in Christ!

And again, I want to STRESS that if you KNOW a person to be in danger through another person, or that they are ABSOLUTELY going to cause harm, BY ALL MEANS warn whoever is in that path, and I want to STRESS, I personally DO NOT BELIEVE we have to be buddies with people who have wrecked our lives, we do have to forgive but we are not required to hang out with them.

BUT please really, really consider what NEEDS to be said about  a person or their past BEFORE saying it, and ask YOURSELF this question, IF that IS who they STILL are, or WHO they STILL want to be, would they NOT STILL BE THERE IN THAT SAME PLACE, SITUATION, OR LIFESTYLE? 

People DO NOT change until THEY WANT to change and we NEED to be discreet in our disclosures (UNLESS, they are warranted) and LET them change!

Thanks for reading! Have a Blessed week, Love & Peace till next time!

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

MISSION….Staying the course

“Then Jerubbaal who IS Gideon, and ALL the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod; so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are TOO MANY for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt THEMSELVES AGAINST ME, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

Now therefore, go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and DEPART early FROM mount Gilead. And there returned (left) of the people twenty and two thousand; and THERE REMAINED ten thousand.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet (still) TOO MANY; bring them down into the water, and I will try (test) them for thee THERE: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee; and of whomever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shall thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.

And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were THREE HUNDRED men;  but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand; and let all the other people go every man into his place (home).” Judges 7:1-7

Most know the story of the oppression by the Midianites and they were fierce and when God called Gideon  to lead the people to freedom, he wanted some assurance and…. a little more.. well much more  reassurance that this was God’s will and that is a very good and noble desire. So I would imagine that deep down Gideon pictured this battle taking place with a multitude of the strongest of the strong and with the host of heaven as guard and with back ups for his back ups.

We too, fall into this human realm of thinking, we want that back up, that assurance that our numbers are far superior than those of our enemies, but as Christians, we have our enemies we see and we have the many, many more unseen enemies to our salvation and our walk. God sees things a bit differently, He wants the enemies, the world, and US to know that our victories come through Him and through Him ALONE.

Zechariah 4:6: ” Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This IS the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, NOT by might, NOT by power, BUT BY MY SPIRIT, saith the Lord of hosts.” 

Things that may not always look quite right to us can be EXACTLY right on target with God’s plan. Our problem come when we question, ponder, and consider the why’s , why not’s, and the dreaded what-if’s.

Instead of pondering we need to go down to that water for a little bit, what was so different about the three hundred?  For starters, twenty-two thousand left for fear, and there is nothing wrong with admitting fear.

And there is nothing wrong with being afraid, that IS why God gave us so much comfort through His word, with scriptures such as, “What TIME I am afraid, I WILL trust in thee” and His promise to “NEVER leave us or forsake us” but that is sometimes and there are sometime when we have that fear we have to just set it out and wait for that fear to pass, because we have all been afraid in life, BUT in the operations of battles of faith, there IS no room for fear. Fear and faith can not coincide because it will lead to double mindedness and we can not waver into fear creating doubt against the very thing we are believing for, that is why we were warned over and over again about fear, remember, ” For God hath NOT given us the SPIRIT of fear; but OF POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Those fears play over and over attacking our minds with the what-ifs, and why’s and why not’s and that creates doubt and discouragement that stifles the faith that He has given us and the working of His power in our lives and His perfect love which casts out ALL fear.

So now he is down to ten thousand, still quite a number, but STILL too many, because it would have been a little too easy for the flesh to rise up and convince people that they were strong and that was what won the battle.

And God likes to work in the realm of IMPOSSIBLE, that IS His specialty! The test was in the water… they were ALL at the water, the separation came based on how they chose to drink it. The MAJORITY just bowed at the water and the three hundred paid attention and stayed on alert and they USED what they had, they brought the water to their mouth by hand and they weren’t afraid of being inappropriate or considered uncivilized, they had a mission and the mission was there only concern. 

I think this is how the last day harvesters are going to play out, as the separation continues, as we are in the great falling away but we know we are also approaching the pouring out ( I think we have actually already entered into it) people have to know their mission and not look to the left or to the right, ONLY to the Lord because it IS all Him, just like the mighty victory He gave Gideon. Gideon needed ONLY to obey and God gave him every encouragement he could have dreamt of along the way.

Maybe your church doesn’t look quite as full as you’d like, or your ministry seems stuck on auto pilot, life may seem to be taking you everywhere but where YOU WANT TO GO. Have faith, you have no ide what God is doing behind the scenes and if you give up, you WILL never know hat could have been, so DON”T EVEN ENTERTAIN THAT THOUGHT.

The army of the Lord is not for quitters and once you make that conscious decision to stand, even if you are the last one standing, you will be glad you did, when all looks hopeless, when all looks impossible, THAT is when the sweetest victories come, and it makes you stronger in the Lord because you KNOW, HE has allowed you to stand, in the face of the enemy, in the face of your fears, in the face of your hurt, sorrow, and despair, you then can show others, that they too can stand.

Don’t despise the “small things”, don’t question things you may not understand at the moment, stay your course and accept your mission, USE what He has given you, no matter what others may think, when you find yourself at that water, don’t be too afraid drink!

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

LOVE this song! Try singing it!

Relinquishing Regret

Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to thy mercy remember me for thy goodness’ sake O Lord. Good and upright IS the Lord: therefore he will teach sinners in the way. The meek (humble) will he guide in judgment(justice): and the meek he will teach his way.

ALL the paths of the Lord are MERCY and TRUTH unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name’s sake, O, Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” Psalm 25: 7-11

Nothing can eat away our life, our health, and our soul quite like guilt. The most self destructive of all human emotions and the biggest of all burdens that are to be brought and LEFT AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS. 

It is often the binding tie that satan uses to hold his prisoners captive, convincing them in themselves that they DO NOT deserve to be free from the chains of actions taken yesterday whose consequences are forever now written.

He uses it on Christians, who even though they have come to the cross, they have failed to lay down that burden and continue to beat and badger themselves over and over again, not accepting the truth of forgiveness and allowing that guilt and regret to taint and rob the joy and peace that Jesus provided at the cross.

When we are constantly emotionally punishing ourselves over and over, the enemy has little to fear because we are doing his job for him. Why does he need to accuse the brethren when the brethren accuse themselves?

Regret WIIL make you sick, it WILL make you miserable, and it can very well lead you to hell, IF you allow guilt and regret to prevent you from accepting God’s salvation.

We can think we are not worth but Jesus thought we were VERY MUCH WORTH IT and He gave His life for ALL our sins. ALL of our mistakes, shortcomings, and failures and to hold the guilt rather than accepting forgiveness is making our guilt our god.

Regret is just guilt’s enabler, a life spent pondering things we could have and should have done is again a life, precious, given of God, completed wasted in endless analytical thoughts of how things could have been different.

Guilt and regret have no place in your life, they are past tense only and to bring them with you in the present is only sabotaging your future and the well-being and futures of all you interact with and have influence with.

As we know I am BIG on preaching influence because WE all have influence, even if you live alone, you have the POWER to impact others, someway, somehow, or maybe due to your availability, there is a ministry of service and outreach with “your name written all over it”, just waiting in the background, until you are ready to shed guilt and regret, send them packing, and spread your spiritual wings and let God lead you where HE ALREADY PREDESTINED FOR YOU TO GO!

But if your holding guilt and regret, He is NOT going to just reach down and jerk them out of your hands, YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO LET THEM GO! Then He can give you all the good things of His mercy and His Truth that HE WANTS TO GIVE YOU.

The verses above, for me is the absolute guide to repentance, quoted them many, many times myself and when I was first saved it was reading these verses over and over through floods and rivers of tears.

We have ALL messed up, we have ALL sinned, we have ALL been best friends with guilt and regret, but Jesus is faithful and HE wants us to let them go and TRUST in Him and forget all those things and press on, IN HIM.

And the ONLY way to true freedom IS found in Him and His blood and the washing by that blood, we can’t drink them away, can’t snort them away, and your sure not going to wish them away, all the methods people use in attempt to dull their inner pain always ends the same, once your down and the crash comes your only more messed up and deeper and deeper in that sinking pit and NOTHING is going away, more regret is just being added.

Continuing in Psalm 25:12-22: ” What man (human) is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. HIS SOUL SHALL DWELL AT EASE (in goodness) and his seed (descendants) shall inherit the earth.

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew (cause them to know) his covenant. Mine (my) eyes are ever toward the Lord; FOR HE SHALL PLUCK MY FEET OUT OF THE NET. Turn thee unto me, (please come to me) have mercy upon me; for I am desolate (lonely) and afflicted.

THE TROUBLES OF MY HEART ARE ENLARGED (burdened with worry, guilt, regret) ;O BRING THOU ME OUT OF MY DISTRESSES. LOOK UPON MINE AFFLICATION AND MY PAIN; AND FORGIVE MY SINS. Consider mine enemies (negative emotions and even ourselves ARE enemies); for they hate me with a cruel hatred.

O keep my soul, and DELIVER ME: let me not be ashamed; for I put my TRUST IN THEE. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I WAIT ON THEE (wait IN FAITH on thee). Redeem Israel, O, God, out of ALL his troubles.”

Jesus is more than willing to heal us in these places, if we only ask. So many are trapped in prisons of heartache, regret, and remorse but PLEASE, PLEASE, as a minister of HIS GRACE, I am pleading with you, DON’T STAY THERE.

We ALL have those spans of time we dearly wish would could go back and change.. but we can’t. What we CAN change is how those times can be used to propel you into your destiny and in to the kingdom where you can maybe one day use those lessons learned to help another NOT make the same choices.

As my very wise sister always says, it really is like burying something dead and going back and digging up rotten old bones.Take them to the cross and leave them there and never think about them again.

God gives us beauty for ashes, to produce ashes something has had to burn. Don’t wait another moment, You can talk to God anywhere,  you don’t have to be in a church house, HE WILL MEET YOU WHEREVER YOU ARE.

STOP being your own enemy and unwittingly sabotaging your own life, lay guilt and regret, and all that hurts you today, on HIS altar and let it all be burned away. Let a NEW day unfold because you will never EVER know freedom until you are FREE in Him. Blessing and Peace to you in Jesus’ name.

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

 

 

Am I too late?

Most have experienced the pain of waiting too late. Too late in making a decision and living with that regret for years or sometimes life. Being late to an event or the fear that maybe you have already arrived too late and lost out on something you had long looked forward to, or feel that if you could only go back and change this or do that, everything would be different.

I feel like this goes on in the kingdom pretty often, people feel like they have waited too long in moving out into their calling, or they were hurt and rejected once they did step out, I promise you that is just part of the deal, you step out for the Lord you’re gonna be hurt AND rejected but take it for the compliment that it is! The enemy is NOT going to waste his time (because he knows it is short) fighting people for fun, he fights what he knows is a threat.

So they feel like they maybe they were mistaken about even being called, (another trick from the enemy) they feel they can’t “go back” to “that” church or “those” people because there is just “too much water under the bridge.”

Have you ever thought of it this way, maybe the WATER under that bridge is exactly what the enemy is trying to keep you out of! Maybe you think you missed your calling, waited too long, and too much time has passes, too many struggles have ensued… Got some good news on that story, what if you discovered one day that it was ALL part of the plan for your life to get you EXACTLY where you need to be spiritually in order to go EXACTLY where God wants to take you?

We’ve got two situations going here so we will hit the both, It is NEVER too late! Until you are dead and in the ground then it is too late to pursue the call of God on your life no matter if it was given fifty years ago because: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (ARE IRREVOCABLE).” Romans 11:29

Which means God is NEVER going to say, “Oh sorry, I really did not mean to give you that, let me just take that back.” NO it means He has given them for ever and ever.

And for whatever reason the have been unused I want you to be encouraged, get back up, get back on that boat, do not care who likes you, who doesn’t and do the will of your Father because it is Him that we answer to and sometimes, we are required to swallow our pride for the kingdom because pride does not belong in the kingdom and God ALWAYS deals with those who come against you and your calling, but if you hide it and refuse to use it, what reason would he have to exonerate you from your enemies, and prove them wrong?

Now to prove it is not too late, remember in Revelation when Jesus is warning and encouraging the churches as to what he expects of them, He is speaking to the church of Ephesus, who left their first love, I just want to use part of this verse, because these people WERE saved, their WERE known to Him, “Remember therefore from whence (where) thou art fallen, and repent, and DO THY FIRST WORKS; Revelation 2;5 (1)

So He is telling them DO your FIRST works. I want to get this out-of-the-way, I know there could be the argument against this, because of the verse “called in one hope of your calling” but if you do not accept your ONE hope on this earth to do your job, and use your calling, you sure aren’t going to need it in heaven or New Jerusalem because everyone there will already be saved.

So if you are reading this, rest assured it is NOT too late! I do want to warn you of a common snare with this, once “people” find out you are called, many of them can not wait to give advice and tell you what you should do” it is YOUR job from the Lord, HE will put in your heart or give to you by prophecy what you should do. Don’t need it please don’t listen to it unless you want to ask your Pastor, or prayer partner their thoughts on the best way to go about something, but please don’t let anyone influence you in your work for God, He calls us all differently.

Situation two, we’ll call, “You are growing, growing, growing” Think about David, do you realize that David was anointed THREE times, anointed means to be separated for a specific purpose, the first time He was only about fifteen years old, and this was done privately, only in the presence of his family,

1 Samuel 16:13:” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren; and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day FORWARD…….”

From this point on, the spirit of God was with him, and even though he had ALREADY been anointed to be King, the time was not yet, and when he was sent to Saul, it was NOT as his replacement but as his harpist!

His next task would be to fight the mighty giant Goliath and I don’t even think David was even thinking about his future or the job he was already in training for, when he ran AT Goliath it was in confidence of the Lord, that no one was going to threaten and enslave the people of the Living God, and at NO point did he tell Goliath “I come to you as the future King” He told him that he came in “NAME of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel”.

He then went on to endure Saul’s insane jealously, hiding and fearing for his life, battling bloody battle upon battle, growing and growing into who he had been created to be.

He is anointed a second time, 2 Samuel 2:4,”And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah….” this time is publicly with his countrymen.

And on he goes… growing and growing, battling and battling, “friend” and foe, learning to deal with situations and all the qualities he would NEED, imperative to his success and survival. He has been anointed privately, publicly, and now he will be anointed and accepted by the elders as King over all of Israel.

“So all the elders of Israel came to the king, to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord; and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.” 2 Samuel 5;3,4

The fulfillment of that promise unfolded over the period of his life that he was fourteen, fifteen years old until he was thirty, and even NOW part of the divine purpose for the throne of David is STILL unfolding and will be until the return of Christ!

How much do you think he matured and grew and learned and developed over those fifteen odd years? What if he had given up half way through and decided to “rethink” what had been told to him at that private anointing?

David was successful in that long journey because he never lost focus of the big picture, and allowed himself to be exactly what Go wanted, a vessel and David knew that no army, no power, nothing of this earth could defeat God or stop His divine will for Israel and this is what keep David going… and going.. it was NEVER easy and I am sure he experienced many moments of absolute sorrow during those dark times but he always held on and we must also!

Do not give up on your calling! I love the story of Nehemiah and it has been encouragement many times for me personally, I actually have it written and taped in the front of my Bible, along with many other verses, we NEED this encouragement.

This took place  as Nehemiah set about to rebuild the wall and the enemies came forth to STOP THE WORK and I love this verse, Nehemiah 6:9; “ For they ALL made us AFRAID, saying, their hands SHALL BE WEAKENED FROM (because of) the work, that it not be done. NOW THEREFORE, O GOD, STRENGHTEN MY HANDS.”

This is a great verse to remember when “people” are telling you that “it” is impossible to accomplish what GOD SAID you could and trying to discourage you with the thought that the work is too hard and you can not possibly finish it.

Maybe what you think is a little too late could actually be right on time,”Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is NOT unto death, BUT FOR THE GLORY OF GOD, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he heard therefore that he was sick, HE ABODE (stayed) TWO DAYS STILL IN THE SAME PLACE WHERE HE WAS. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again.

His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou hither again? ( why are you going back)  Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in a day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

These things said he; and afterward he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; But I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death; but they thought he had spoken of taking rest in sleep.

Then said Jesus unto them, plainly, LAZARUS IS DEAD. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, TO THE INTENT THAT YOU MIGHT BELIEVE;……John 11:1-15  most know the rest of the story.. the sisters go on to tell Him, if He had only been there, their brother would still be alive.

We often think about our pain in what we go through, but it was NOT easy for Jesus to allow them to go through this sorrow and everyone is crying and now HE IS crying also, and I ALWAYS have to point this out because it just tells you WHO HE IS, He KNEW that in matter of moments Lazarus would be very much alive, it just broke His heart seeing them hurt, it does break His heart to see His children cry, NEVER doubt that.

“Jesus said, Take ye away the stone, Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh; for HE HATH BEEN DEAD FOUR DAYS. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, IF THOU WOULDEST BELIEVE, THOU SHOULDEST SEE THE GLORY OF GOD?” John 11:39,40

As we know from the verses, He LOVED them, but Lazarus was allowed to die so the GLORY would be revealed. But it was not the END of Lazarus’s  story and EVEN four days dead was still not too late!  Just as He said, it was that the GLORY OF GOD WOULD BE REVEALED AND THAT THEY WOULD BELEIVE!

It may look dead, doesn’t mean it is dead! May just not be as late as you think it is after all! So if you find yourself asking.. “Am I too late?”, have faith.. it all may just be right on time!

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

 

 

 

 

“Feet First”

Beauty, what a word. What a list of infinite definitions. EVERYONE has a different definition of what is beautiful and yet we often find ourselves feeling the pressure of a senseless society to attempt to obtain those unclear and ever evolving levels of the standard of beauty.

This had been rattling around in my head for quite a while, but once I began to pray the way He led me was quite unexpected. With the holiday happenings, most of us feel that we NEED to look our best and of course with the busiest time of the year, that is sometimes even harder and once nature and time comes into play… well the temptation of all the vast beauty “solutions” become harder to resist.

We all have “THOSE” people to deal with, you know the ones that you really don’t know if they are a “test” on patience and tongue bridling or if they are just sent from the devil to make you feel inferior and that your head belongs in a  bag.

The root of it has NOTHING to do with how we really look, it has to do with our perceived ACCEPTANCE and self-worth and all the Botox in the world cannot produce the true glow of what God has ordained to shine in us.

And I know so many ladies who suffer the onslaught of remarks and jabs at their self-worth. Our family actually knows one lady who manages to insult everyone that she runs into. She is a constant barrage of “You are looking old, you need to get something done” and forever running down others who are not even present, with so and so “Sure has let themselves go” and she seems to have a chart of exactly what each person should weigh, and in her mind she is the score keeper on status quo of how we all should appear.

My family and I ran into her awhile back and I seriously prayed the entire time, I was like Lord, please don’t let her start because if she hurts one of mine with her words,  I really don’t know that I could not have “returned” her the favor with some advice of my own concerning her own appearance. But Jesus is awesome like that, she did not say a word, I’m sure she said plenty the moment we were gone but I know those biting words “come out of the abundance of her own heart” and that is truly sad.

I detest hearing anyone comment on people’s weight and have lost the control over my tongue on more than one occasion. I hate it, probably because I struggled and struggled being skinny and flat chested (still flat chested) during my teen years as my friends “blossomed” and all I heard was “that a good puff of wind could blow me away” you often hear the hurtful remarks in the other direction but believe me, people are mean because they are just mean and they will find a way to hurt you no matter your size because your size is really not their issue.

The issue is to hurt you to feel better about themselves. Funny story with that, my husband briefly worked with a guy that we hadn’t seen in probably twenty years and my husband said one of the first things he had asked was about my weight, a few weeks later, Lo, and behold, “test?/temptation?”  we ran into him and I truly could have had a sadistic field day going off on his fallen attributes, but I didn’t, sure is nice to know my body shape meant so much to him.

God has brought me  along way from that little girl who so desperately needed acceptance, because the acceptance I needed to gain COULD never be achieved, not through make-up, not through dating a virtual army, not through any one man because who I need to “prove” my worth to no longer existed and would have never accepted it, if I were dipped in gold I would still have been utterly worthless.

But see THIS is where all this comes from in all of us and society has run wild with it. I do not own a scale, and I will never allow one brought into my home, I don’t need the drama, I’m going to weigh what I am going weigh.  I do wrestle with fear that Marty Stuart is gonna call and want his hair back, (no offense to him, it looks good on him, not so much on me) while other days the clowns would declare me their leader because the “fro knows” and the fro knows humidity well, and it will burst through any styling product with an absolute vengeance and all the lines, droops and scarves made of neck flesh bear witness to the fact that the old “Brown” mare ain’t as young as she used to be.

But when my thirty-six year old niece who is very beautiful informed me that she wanted to get the new “double chin” therapy, I was just disturbed. This is a major epidemic and there are plenty of celebrities that have taken plastic surgeries to the extreme in searching for the fabled fountain of youth that they now look more like cartoon characters and there is nothing remotely attractive about any of it.

So here is what He enlightened me to, because we know He does not approve of vanity, intentional or unintentional and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG IN WANTING TO LOOK YOUR BEST, He wants us to feel beautiful, but BEAUTIFUL IN HIM, that does not start looking in the mirror at our own face, nor does it start by looking in the eyes of another for approval.

It does not start with hair, faces, bodies, clothes or any other decorative ornamentation known to man. It happens feet first and works its way up.  REVELATION 4:11 : ” Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for THOU HAST CREATED ALL THINGS, AND FOR THY PLEASURE THEY ARE AND WERE CREATED.”

That includes US. We all have some type of creativity because God puts that in all of us, whether it is culinary masterpieces, floral arranging, crafts, sewing, woodworking, pottery, on and on, but we ENJOY what we create and we create it they way WE want it. So also, HE CREATED US, THEY WAY HE WANTED US.

Beauty is not found in the three-inch heels encasing the soles of our feet, it is found in our souls touching HIS feet and “uncovering” that mystery, it is an intimacy and a place of humble worship, not worshiping the fashion gods, but worshipping the true and living God. True beauty is found not in becoming obsessed with our “beauty” but becoming obsessed with HIS BEAUTY.

And that my dear friends is from the inside out and will rock you to your core and produce a glow that everyone will know. Now why do I think you have to pursue this?

Humility, a fully aware willingness to surrender, willingness to submit, all those “s” words that strike horror and outrage into our proud little minds in our new self-righteous, always right society, to a being that is supernatural, all-powerful, and holds life, death and heaven and hell in His hand and allow His complete control over your soul, your body, your will and allow Him to take you into that inner sanctum of His Holy Presence where you will worship in the absolute BEAUTY OF HIS HOLINESS and there you will find your self-worth and you will find a beauty that can never be bought, dyed, or injected into you.

How do I know that we “resist” this intimacy with the Lord? Our go to book on issues of the church concerning her King;

Song of Solomon:1:7: ” Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flocks to rest at noon: for WHY SHOULD I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?”

Wasn’t a question of love, the love was there, it was a question to the submission in humility, she wanted all the answers up front, she questioned WHY SHOULD she have to appear to be of a more questioned character, WHY should she have to “lower” herself in her pursuit of him? It would be good enough for “others” to do that, but oh, no not her. See the religious snobbery there? Remember we were created, we did not create Him.

You can see the foreshadowing for this need of surrender, and not just surrender to salvation, in Ruth, we’ll pick it up as Naomi advised her in more or less a marriage proposal to Boaz, as he was by right a kinsmen.

RUTH 3: 3-11: “Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment (best clothes) upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: and make not thyself known unto the man, UNTIL he shall have done eating and drinking.

And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.

Want to stop there for just a second, notice she listened to wisdom, she was clean and presented herself at her best (take that spiritually), she was to not interrupt him, as with Solomon’s “stir not up my love until he pleases” WE WAIT ON THE LORD, not jump up and down and demand an audience with him, she was then to uncover his feet, that place of intimacy and THEN LAY HER SELF DOWN, leaving all that she was, SO SHE COULD HEAR HIM.

Picking back up at verse five: ” And she said unto her, ALL that thou sayest unto me, I WILL DO. And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.

And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid (startled), and turned himself; and behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth, thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt (garment corner) OVER thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsmen.”

Think about the Lord “lifting up His countenance” on us, that is His  APPEARANCE, His protection, His covering all the way around us.

Verse 10,11: ” And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in thy latter end than in thy beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst NOT young men, whether poor or rich.

And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requires ( ask); for the city of people know that thou art a virtuous woman.”

Notice she was BLESSED of the Lord for not pursing the other “things” but pursing the RIGHT path. This union would ultimately produce King David and we will now pay a visit to another lady who laid herself at the feet of the ultimate production of that bloodline:

Mark 5:25-34: “And a certain woman which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had SUFFERED many things of many physicians, and had spent ALL she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.

When she heard of Jesus, came in the press (crowd) BEHIND, and TOUCHED HIS GARMENT. For she said, IF I MAY TOUCH BUT (even) HIS CLOTHS, I SHALL BE MADE WHOLE.

And straightway,(immediately) the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus immediately knowing in himself that virtue (POWER) had gone out of him, turned him to the press and said, Who touched my clothes?

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, KNOWING what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter,thy faith has made the whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

Now as most know, to have any bleeding made the woman unclean and under mosaic law, no one could go near her, but the beauty of Jesus is that transcends all laws and human conditions and she knew just making it to His feet would indeed heal her completely.

Mary proclaimed that her soul did magnify the Lord, when she was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost the magnification of His Presence through her and in her soul brought forth that conception, as His power went forth to heal the terrified lady at His feet, as Mary Magdalene found forgiveness, love, and unimaginable peace at His feet, we also will only find what we need in His presence.

Don’t buy into the world view of finding it any other way, don’t buy into the lies that you are of a lesser value based on idiotic notions of this world. You will never know who you are or what beautiful really is until you lay yourself, all of yourself, all the insecurities, hurts, wounds down and “uncover” the truth of time well spent at the feet of the only one worthy of praise, the only one who possesses true beauty and the only one who can make you feel beautiful when His love beams through you.

1 SAMUEL 2:1-4: “And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged (smiles) over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation, There is NONE holy as the Lord: for there is NONE beside thee: NEITHER is there any other rock like our God. Talk no more exceeding proudly; let NOT arrogancy come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken; and They that stumbled are girded with strength.

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

 

This is absolutely my favorite Praise and worship song. And so perfectly descriptive of Him.

“Bought & Sold” Riches Untold

Buying and selling, we are all so different when it comes to how we will spend our money and at what price we are willingly to sell what is ours. Some really don’t care what the price is, if they want and can afford it,then they will have it. While others tend to be more practical, and count up the cost and necessity before they make that purchase.

And what has this post to do with impulse buying? Absolutely nothing!!! It is actually about impulse selling!

Don’t hear that one every day. I had been thinking about someone and they have been on the heart of many others and to be honest when I wrote Prodigals, Prophets & Puttin’ it off, I could see the persons face in my mind the entire time I was working on the prodigal.

God started putting a thought in my heart about inheritance and I wondered. We all know that Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, so why did Satan just not kill Jesus BEFORE he fulfilled his destiny to die on the cross? Why did he try to BUY him by offering him FOOD, and POWER, and ALL the kingdoms of earth, and finally trying to make him question who he even was?

The answer is this, he could NOT kill him, and take his inheritance, his only option was to attempt to BUY it from him.

Let’s see where it started. GENESIS 25 details the story of Esau and Jacob, the sons of Issac, the were twins but not anything alike and Issac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob, Jacob was very cunning and thinking things through would have served Esau well, but..

GENESIS 29-34: ” And Jacob sod pottage (cooked stew): and Esau came in from the field, and he was faint (very hungry): And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom (red).

And Jacob said, SELL ME THIS DAY THY BIRTHRIGHT. And Esau said, Behold I am at the point to die: and WHAT PROFIT SHALL THIS BIRTHRIGHT DO TO ME? 

And  Jacob said, Sware to me this day; and he sware unto him: and HE SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT UNTO JACOB.  Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage (stew) of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: THUS ESAU DESPISED HIS BIRTHRIGHT.

Now part of the deal was done, GENESIS 27 Rebekah and Jacob tricked Issac, who was old and could not see well, into giving his verbal blessing of inheritance to Jacob who was PRETENDING to be Esau. When Esau came to be blessed he was met with the terrible truth of his actions:

GENESIS 27:30-35: ” And it came to pass, as SOON as Issac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone from the presence of Isaac his father (had just left), that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.

And he also had made savory meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison , that thy soul MAY BLESS ME. And Isaac his father said unto him, WHO ART THOU? And he said, I am thy son, THY FIRSTBORN Esau. 

And Isaac TREMBLED very exceedingly, and said, Who? Where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all BEFORE thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed. 

And when Esau HEARD THE WORDS OF HIS FATHER, HE CRIED WITH A GREAT AND EXCEEDING BITTER CRY, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.

And he  (Isaac) said, THY BROTHER CAME WITH SUBTILITY ( DECEIT) AND HATH TAKEN AWAY THY BLESSING.”  Now that is scary!Just think of what Jacob inherited, remember his name would soon be changed to ISRAEL, the father of THE tribes of the nation of GOD, that will also set as tribes in New Jerusalem. An INHERITANCE of worth that is STILL ACCUMULATING thousands, and thousands of years LATER!!!

Now back to Jesus, so why didn’t the enemy just kill him? HE COULDN’T! HE DOES NOT HAVE THE SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY OF GOD TO DO SO! 

Remember God gave Satan reign over the circumstances in Job’s life, with the exception that HE COULD NOT KILL HIM. Only God has power over life and death, and there are many scriptures attesting to that fact. This is the SAME reason that Satan has bought off so many who were predestined to the kingdom of God.

The very chosen, elect of God who are selling their birthright FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! As the scripture goes “they have sold themselves for nought” like Esau, not even taking time to think about what they are doing, SELLING IT FOR THE SATISFACTION OF THEIR FLESH FOR THE PRESENT DAY, QUESTIONING WHAT GOOD IS IT DOING THEM ANYWAY, never thinking about the fact that it takes time for accounts to mature and interest to grow! 

ROMANS 8:29-30,33: ”   For WHOM HE did FOREKNOW, HE also DID PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of HIS SON, that he might be the firstborn among MANY brethren.

Morever, whom HE did PREDESTINATE, THEM HE ALSO CALLED: and who HE CALLED, them he also JUSTIFIED, them he also glorified.

WHO shall lay anything to the charge of God’s ELECT? IT IS  GOD that justifieth.

Just as God told Jeremiah “BEFORE I FORMED THEE IN THE BELLY I KNEW THEE: AND BEFORE THOU CAMEST FORTH OUT OF THE WOMB I SANCTIFIED THEE, AND I ORDAINED THEE A PROPHET UNTO THE NATIONS.”  JEREMIAH 1:5

He was not a special case, as Romans tells us, we WERE with God and the gifts He has placed in us WERE given BEFORE we were even born! The CALLING was placed on our life BEFORE we ever existed in the earthy realm! This is why scripture also states in ROMANS 12:29: “FOR the GIFTS and CALLING of God are without repentance (ARE IRREVOCABLE).”

Whatever gift God has given you, whether it is to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover, if it is the gift of miracles to pray blinded eyes open, deaf ears to hear, or even the prayer of faith to raise the dead. The gift of tongues and prophecy, the gift of words of wisdom or knowledge.

The callings as pastors, preachers, teachers, helpers, givers. Whatever those are ARE FOREVER. And you can choose to sell them out to the highest bidder but you will never escape the knowledge and the hurt when you discover the true price of what he had given you! Run, go right on, run,run as fast as you can,  YOU WILL NEVER OUTRUN GOD. 

PSALM 139:7,8: “Whither (where) shall I go FROM thy spirit? or whither (where) shall I FLEE from thy presence?  If I ascend UP into heaven, THOU ART THERE: If I MAKE MY BED IN HELL, BEHOLD, THOU ART THERE.”

No matter where you go, what you do, HE CREATED YOU FOR A PURPOSE and you will not escape either fulfilling that purpose or being held accountable for your failure to do so.  Satan can not just take your birthright, However God did say that His spirit will not always strive with man and I do believe that there does come times of reprobation and we will not get into that here. God places that hedge of protection around you, He protects what is His and as it is written “touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm” the enemy can not just take over you life, you have to sell out your life and your birthright as a child of the King to him.

And you will never have any idea what that is or what that is truly worth until you live for the Lord and maybe even then, just like what came to pass with Jacob and Esau, the full value will go on accumulating AFTER your work on earth is finished.

So please think of what you are selling and don’t sell your eternal destiny for any thing the enemy can offer, he is ONLY TRYING TO BUY YOU BECAUSE HE KNOWS THAT WITH GOD’S HAND ON YOU, HE CAN NOT DEFEAT YOU and HE KNOW WHAT YOUR WORK BLESSED OF GOD WILL COST HIS KINGDOM!

The regret Esau had was endless, HEBREWS 12:16,17: “Lest there be any fornicator or profane (godless) person, as Esau, WHO FOR ONE MORSEL OF MEAT (FOOD) SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT.

FOR YE KNOW THAT AFTERWARD, when he WOULD HAVE INHERITED THE BLESSING, he was REJECTED: for he found NO PLACE OF REPENTANCE, though HE SOUGHT IT CAREFULLY WITH TEARS.”  

Even though he had regret upon regret, and he tried and he cried, and he tried some more but there was no way he could go back and change what had been done, there was “no place” he could find in this situation to change what had already been done and what he lost was the headship over all Israel and I am sure the bad aftertaste of that stew lingered for a lifetime! Think about it! Love and peace till next time!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω Reverend Nina Brown Johnson 2016

AND YOU ARE?

Don’t you just love it when you voice an opinion in mixed company only to have the person with the opposing view look at you and say in that smug tone laced with sarcasm and disgust at the mere thought that you could possibly question their obviously superior intelligence, and they say “And you are???
I for one love it! Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of exactly who we are in God.
Elijah the prophet of God, who was allowed to pray that it not rain, pray the rain would return and pray that fire would come down from heaven in the presence of his enemies.
Elijah started those prayers with this statement “If I be a man of God..” Paul, in his writings dubbed himself “The prisoner of the Lord”, James refers to himself as “Servant of Jesus Christ”, John the “Beloved”  and Mary who never gave herself a title but at his feet she knew exactly who she was and she fell absolutely, helplessly in love with him, a love born from being touched by love itself in the most pure form, a love so gentle, humble so powerful that it had restored her soul. She knew to be separated from Him would be a fate far worse than hell.
They and so many more throughout the Bible have a very common denominator, they knew who they were in God and never let anyone convince them otherwise.

Today we hear so many voices telling us what to think what to eat, what to buy, what we should wear, and who would should be, our minds can become so clouded that we don’t even know who were are and we become too quick to forget who were are in Him.
To achieve our purpose in these blessed last days God has chosen us to be born into, please give up a little you time, or TV time, just make a little time to get in that prayer closet, your personal secret place that is just and God, pray and fast, and remember this does not have to be food, you can fast anything.

Salvation and grace are completely free gifts, but to get in position for the last day outpouring of the spirit and great harvest of souls, and to allow him to stir the gifts and the calling he has placed in you, well it requires diligence on your part.
2 Thessalonians 2:3, tells of the great falling away of the church, we’ve been seeing that come to pass over the last few years.
It is a time to weed out those who serve one day a week or for some reason other than a relationship with Christ and they will fall away.

 Those who are willing to make any sacrifice necessary to see His Kingdom come will be those left standing, the approved of God .
The ones before us who held on, no matter what suffering, ridicule and persecution they had to endure. and when they fell they sought God to lift them up again.
David was human just as human as we are, yet he made tragic mistakes but he sought forgiveness.
God said David was a man after his own heart, I know the common thought on it, but I really take it as David sought the very heart of God, to know Him and be part of the very heart of God.
His praise was constant and he continually sought to have his heart searched, cleansed, restored and anything that may stand between them to be removed.
God wants to help us and there is nothing inside of us that He doesn’t already know. He is a supreme gentlemen, he will never embarrass you ,or tell the whole world all of your secrets. He wants us to bring everything to Him and  admit that we have problems so he can help us.
Everyone needs trusted prayer partners but you also need that one on one with God, seek purification, seek out the calling and gifts and seek confirmation of them at church.
We can feel lead in certain areas, but I tell you ,whatever area of ministry that stirs your heart is usually where your calling will be found BUT always study God’s word and if seems like a foreign language in the King James , get the New King James, it’s more easily understood, there several of versions of the Bible out there but I personally stop here, but no matter what you are called to do, you must have a good foundation of the word of God. It protects you from false doctrine especially when you are seeking.

“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which is given thee by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” 1 Timothy 4:14

I feel this is another shortcoming of modern churches today, we are to seek these gifts because they are not for us, they are needed to accomplish the work in the Kingdom.

“Meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly unto them; thy   profiting may appear to all. TAKE HEED UNTO THYSELF, AND UNTO THE DOCTRINE; CONTINUE IN THEM: FOR IN DOING THIS THOU SHALT SAVE THYSELF AND ALL THAT HEAR THEE.” 1 Timothy 4:14,15

 

The time has come to seek and stir up those gifts of God, as he said if you will do these things you will see the lost saved.
And while seeking, the enemy will rear his head to attempt to discourage you, and he will ask “And you are?” 

Take your answer from Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:10 (a)”But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain:..”

We are the generation chosen to seek His face, now it is up to us to believe that!


Original Post Date: 02/15/14  Φλογίζω/  All Rights Reserved.  Nina BrownJohnson/ 2015