“Today and the tomorrow that may never be”

“But exhort one another daily, while IT IS called TO day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.  While it is said, TODAY IF YE WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS, AS IN THE PROVACATION (rebellion).” Hebrews 3:13,14 

Wouldn’t we all love to have a blank calendar or a calendar from the past that we could go back and “x” off certain days, days of hurt, sorrow, or days that we made tragic mistakes and maybe not make those mistakes again?

And wouldn’t we all love to have God’s calendar? You know that is why He tells us some much in His word, TODAY, TODAY, TODAY and even saying, in Matthew 6:34: Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

What He is warning us against here, is our human habit of worrying about tomorrow, while not realizing that we may not even be able to handle today and EACH day comes with its own set of either joys, or heartaches, victories, or trails, but either way LET TOMORROW WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW and just be concerned with YOUR TODAY.

The REAL problem with the TOMORROW mentality is when people apply it to their spiritual health and salvation. Got to give my beautiful big Sis credit on this, I had called her for prayer about something I was going through and we got off on the subject of so many people that the enemy sells the same old line to, that THEY SHOULD WAIT UNTIL THEY FEEL LED TO GO TO GOD.

What kind of thinking is that? You know that is NOT from God, God said COME unto me and even in the end at Revelation AGAIN, the SPIRIT and the BRIDE TOGETHER are URGING ALL WHO WILL to COME!

I hope to give more than enough scriptural proof with this post that there should no longer be any doubt as to whether or not the Lord has sent out those invitations to ALL who will, ALL who will come to Him, His household, and His Kingdom.

So I want to go back to our starting verse to establish just what goes on here, with that deceived thinking, notice that is says “lest ANY of you be HARDENED THROUGH the DECEITFULNESS of sin” and what that means is that you are to call on the Lord TODAY, because sin will hardened your heart and LIE to you and have you “put off” salvation, “put off” the call of God, as sin tells you must wait on a formal invitation.

An invitation that has ALREADY been sent in the form of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ on earth, an invitation that has already been sealed by the blood of His Son bearing the approval of His signet, and invitation that was DELIVERED when His dead body rose victorious.

And the words “WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD, SHALL BE SAVED” recorded in His word for the ENTIRE world to receive.

So it is not that they have no invitation, they are simply REFUSING to open it!

We always use the thief on the cross to prove this out, the man WAS slowly dying, he had NO time, and he KNEW he had NO tomorrow and he KNEW that it was then, there, TODAY or never.

And as we all know Jesus response, pure gold and blessed with assurance so that not even one doubt could have entered the mans mind, Verily I say unto thee, to day thou shalt be with me in paradise

No going down to the altar, no church introduction, no baptism, no time to do “ministries”, not even time to tell any person that he was sorry for any wrong he had done them.

But time, that day, that was his last TODAY on this earth, and his first TODAY in glory with Jesus Christ!

We are all given ONE life, and we have ONE day, yesterday is gone, gone forever and ever and will never, ever come again, and tomorrow is NOT guaranteed,

James 4:13-14: ” Go to now (come, listen) ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain (make money) WHEREAS (because) YE KNOW NOT WHAT SHALL BE ON THE MORROW (you do not know what tomorrow holds); for WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? IT IS EVEN A VAPOUR, THAT APPEARETH FOR A LITTLE TIME, AND THEN VANISHETH AWAY. FOR THAT (for this reason) YE OUGHT TO SAY, IF THE LORD WILL, WE SHALL LIVE, AND DO THIS, OR THAT.”

So you have TODAY, TODAY is YOUR responsibility and TODAY we have the responsibility to DAILY exhort those who may not have to tomorrow, that they should consider TO DAY, so for any who “lost” the invitation, that they failed to open, consider this:

Isaiah 55:6-7: ” Seek ye the Lord WHILE he may be found, CALL ye upon him WHILE he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and LET HIM RETURN unto the Lord, and HE WILL HAVE MERCY UPON HIM; AND TO OUR GOD, FOR HE WILL ABUNDANTLY PARDON.”

Simply put, SEEK God, give up your ways that are leading to destruction, return to God and He will take care of the rest!  2 Corinthians 6:2: “( For he saith, I HAVE HEARD THEE IN A TIME ACCEPTED AND IN THE DAY OF SALVATION HAVE I SUCCOURED (helped) THEE:  behold (pay very close attention) NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME; BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.) 

So as you see, above there is a completely blank calendar, you did not know your beginning, you certainly do not know your ending, but YOU do know your TODAY, and Lamentations 3:22,23 : “ IT IS of the LORD’S MERCIES THAT WE ARE NOT CONSUMED, BECAUSE HIS COMPASSIONS FAIL NOT it is only because of  his mercy that we have not been destroyed). They (His mercy) ARE NEW EVERY MORNING, great is thy faithfulness.”

Chose, chose today and let that calendar represent a new life, a new hope, and a new future eternal, count every day, and count every day as the precious opportunity a gift that it is.  Help us understand the full POWER of TODAY.

Psalm 90:12: “So teach us to NUMBER our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Hope you have a blessed today, tomorrow, and always! Love & Peace

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

“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

Ever blooming….

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken (caught) in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering THYSELF, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. If a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto (share with) him that teacheth in all good things.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of his flesh reap corruption; and he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:1-9

I love these verses but to start us off thinking about the beginning… if we see our brother or sister struggling, hurting, and sinking in the waters of their battle IT IS OUR JOB to help them up. IT IS OUR JOB to do whatever we can to help with those burdens, that behavior, or whatever trail or temptation they have come under.

And this verse is not to the world.. this verse is to THOSE WHO ARE SPIRITUAL, He is telling us that THIS is our job, not just pray for them but to actually HELP them. 

Our next instruction in this is, for US to go to them in the SPIRIT of meekness, meaning gently and humbly and in no way pulling a “holier than thou” or “stronger than thou” attitude on them because we are to CONSIDER OURSELVES, our own well-being because even if we aren’t in a battle at the time, how we treat others during their battles can ACTUALLY BRING ABOUT A HORRIFIC BATTLE IN OUR OWN LIFE.

Bearing each others burdens instead of turning a blind eye and questioning their salvation and Christianity, their relationship to God, such as Jobs “friends” reacted the attack the devil waged against him. They BLAMED Job, belittling, accusing, and chastising him unmercifully, while arrogantly proclaiming their own self-righteousness.

Which completely explains the next verse, FALSELY believing that we have it all together and pride fully accusing others that their struggles are solely caused by their SHORTCOMINGS in spiritual things.

We must prove our own work, again knowing that God knows our hearts and our intentions whether others wish to misconstrue those intentions or not. It should be none of our concern because people are going to think what is in THEIR hearts to think anyway, and they are going to make those judgments against us based on again, what looks right and sounds right to THEM, not always what is the truth.

We just have to learn to let that go because we can’t change people only God has that power and they have to want that change. That is why we are also told in scripture: 

He that reproveth (tries to convince of truth) a scorner (SCOFFER) getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh (admonish, scold) a wicked man getteth himself a blot (ONLY HARMS HIMSELF). Reprove NOT a scorner, LEST HE HATH THEE: rebuke a wise man and he will LOVE thee.” Proverbs 9:7,8

Pretty self-explanatory, when we try to talk to them about something for the good, they will only get mad and hate us and we in turn can become angry at them, thereby only hurting ourselves!  We are only to try reason with a WISE man because he will accept that reason and appreciate us for it.

I recently found myself in a situation because I had decided to not attend a funeral for a person who had really come against my family concerning our faith (or rather their perceived lack thereof ) during the terminal illness of my late brother. I could feel the vibes of hurt and “How can you be so cold” coming straight my way from someone after the fact.

And I truly thought about giving my reasoning but it was pointless to do so. The person who died had apologized, apologies had been accepted and even with that, for me to have went would have been tasteless and I think even more nerve wrecking for the loved ones and for me because the enemy would be very convincing to all that my intentions of being there were not for condolence purposes, because he died from the same disease that killed my brother. What could I have said if I had went? What could I have possibly done, when in my self I knew going to it would have only brought back the same old pain of holding my brother’s dead body asking myself questions that had been put in my head by the enemy. I had prayed and prayed and prayed and had faith and I know he died because it was his time, but it is hard to remember all that once something gets in your head deep enough. I also know that we can pray and pray and have faith and yet it does not always go the way we would want but it does not mean that God does not love us or that we have “caused” their death rather than their healing, because we are “faithless”. Bringing all that back up would help no one and even dealing with the thought only causes grief.

I have no joy in his death, my heart breaks for his family for what they have endured and the mourning that follows and I just thought the best thing to do was to do nothing, not even acknowledge it and not give any one a reason for my absence, and pray and hope that it was the right decision. Sometimes things are just better left alone.

And as much as I don’t want people hurt and mad at me, I am planting my own garden.. every day with what I say, what I do.. and how I treat others. We all are and we have to really think about what we would want to grow.

The garden of life holds many varieties of beautiful plants, our hopes, dreams, and goals that grow and take root. The beautiful flowers that are our family, friends, loved ones and pets, all different, all bringing different experiences, memories, and treasures to our life. The spices of joy, peace, happiness, even when mingled with the bitter still create our existence that will always be unique to us and our life. 

But of all that we plant and the one thing that should be ever blooming in the garden of our life is kindness. Kindness is free, it costs us nothing to share a smile and share a hug and in showing kindness we can bear one another’s burdens.

Kindness can break through even the most concrete walls that surround the most wounded soul, and kindness is the sunshine that melts away the frost covering even the most frozen heart.

And when we sow in kindness and understanding to another, even when we ourselves can become stretched thin, we are sowing  into a garden that we will reap bountifully from, because when we need it the most, it will bloom, it will prosper, and we will reap abundantly of those good things, but only, only IF we have planted them into another’s life.

Romans 12:10: ” Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” as the saying goes, we never know what another is going through and we can use that opportunity to judge and harm or we can use that opportunity to encourage and lift up.

The choice is ours but the garden we plant is also ours and we are the ones that will be left with whatever takes root and grows there, so let’s plant with love, and mercy, understanding, and patience and only send out what we want to have returned to us.

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed weekend!

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

 

 

THIS day…

I often ponder how we wish our lives away. Anyone else who just could not wait to turn the magical eighteen, as teens often do because we are always in a hurry, striving to reach some momentous peak in our aging process that, as in a fairy tale world will change our lives and fill us with wonder and awe.

We wish our childhood away, we wish our school years away and like an old country song, we wish it away until there is nothing else left to wish away. Some people have OCD, I have GHACH, “Gotta have a clean house” I think sometimes this is all in order to please some imaginary visitor who peradventure may pop in during the wee hours of the morning and horrifically gasp at my most untidy kitchen.

My hips were hurting, my back was aching, battling a long standing incurable dental condition, struggling as I put clothes away in the closet, almost complaining to myself that I will surely fall over dead one day, right there on the floor, something else dawned on me. If I live long enough, there WILL be a day when I will think back and yearn for one more visit to this time in my life. My beautiful daughter, my beautiful husband, my “wild kingdom friends” and my parents, we have a prayer meeting each week and I started really realizing how blessed I am (not that I ever questioned it) but there is something so endearing about sitting on a couch with your feet not quite touching the floor with two “well seasoned” seniors, (although quite vivacious) and each time them insisting that I spit out my gum and do not swallow it, before we pray, we go through this every time and each time it is just as sweet as it was the last time and I still really don’t believe that I have a giant ball of gum inside my body that will one day be my doom, however If I die that way please know that I had been warned!

I know I am blessed with every single moment that I have with them and everyone else I love because I know far too many who have had to say goodbye to their parents far too soon. My friend Genia and I have often discussed this.. approaching fifty and the days of our inseparability and constant companionship of my late brother with us seems ONLY mere years ago, although we JUST couldn’t wait to grow up, be our “own” women, make our own decisions and yet either of us would gladly time travel back for just a second too laugh one more time, to not have a care in the world, and to have never knew the true growing pains that come with being a grown up.

In our good times, happy times, and bad times as in the Books of Jeremiah and Job, when they wrote of times they felt such pain they wished that they were never even born.

Times of tragedy and heartache, why and what ifs but it is all woven in a one of a kind tapestry of time crafted by the master Himself and as we know there WILL also be a day “when TIME shall be no more” endless and infinite and time WILL be just a word, no real meaning because it will no longer exist.

EPHESIANS 5:16-20: “Redeeming the time, because the days ARE evil. Wherefore be ye NOT unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the spiritSpeaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in YOUR heart to the Lord. Giving thanks ALWAYS for ALL things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 Redeeming the time, making good use of every day, every second and every breathe in that new day because the days are “evil” …bad world, bad times and time itself as an enemy against mere mortals in this realm where we are subjected to its harsh, unyielding, authoritative rule over us.

“Give us THIS day our daily bread” Spiritual Bread of life,  natural bread for nourishment and the breaking of that bread with those we love and hold dear.

PSALM 90:12-17: ” So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to our wisdom. Return, O Lord, how long? Let it repent thee concerning thy servants (have compassion on us).

satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN ALL OUR DAYS. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear into thy servants,and thy glory unto their children. 

And LET THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD OUR GOD BE UPON US:  and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands ESTABLISH thou it.”

Only the Lord can take our yesterday, our hurts, our joy, our memories our pain, all the things that are woven into that tapestry that is the Master’s piece of OUR personal time and fashion it into sometime so beautiful, so complex and ours and ours alone. Forget the past, don’t cry for the days that have long since passed, try not to question the losses of relationships and seasons that were seemingly blessed more than others.

ECCLESIASTES 7:10-14: Say thou NOT, What is the cause that the former days WERE BETTER than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this (do not ask why the “good old days” were better, we are not using wisdom when we ask this)

For wisdom is a good WITH an inheritance: and by it there is a profit to them that see the sun. For wisdom is a defence , and money is a defence: but the excellency (advantage) of knowledge IS that wisdom GIVETH LIFE to them that have it.

CONSIDER the work of God, for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked? In the day of posterity be joyful, BUT IN THE DAY OF ADVERSITY ( rough days)  CONSIDER: GOD HATH ALSO SET UP THE ONE OVER AGAINST THE OTHER, (surely has appointed the one as well as the other) TO THE END THAT MAN SHOULD FIND NOTHING AFTER HIM.

So life happens, but every single day IS blessed, God is WITH US in all things IF we will allow him to be. Don’t worry quite so much about yesterday, let it go and be thankful for the moments that were had, and remember as the other old saying goes, yesterday was once tomorrow and all you truly have is TODAY, THIS DAY.

If today is full of  sorrow and uncertainty, and pain, know that it will soon be over, hold to God’s promise that we will never be forsaken or forgotten and every tear will be away by HIS own hand. If you are having a good day, be glad, be thankful, savor every single moment of that precious time.

PSALM 118:24 ” This IS the day which the Lord hath made; WE WILL BE GLAD AND REJOICE IN IT.” Never take for granted what will never be again and never count on time that we may not have, serve Jesus, enjoy what is to be enjoyed and live and love as though it were the very last thing you will ever do.

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ2016

“Done Deal”

When Jesus chose to come to earth through the womb of a humble virgin and chose a stable as the destination for his arrival and He chose a poor carpenter as His earthly step-father, it would be to the confusion and confounding of those who awaited the Messiah to be born in splendor, in the finest of palaces with the proverbial golden spoon in His mouth.

And it worked quite nicely, He wanted those who came to Him to come to Him because HE IS not because of who thought THOUGHT Him to be. Only a true King could have such a test to reveal His true servants from those who just wanted His prestige. As we know even after hearing His very words spoken in their own ears, the Pharisees and Jews could still not grasp the thought that the loving, gentle, ORDINARY man could possibly be the Son of the one true God.

Although He did come as ordinary and unpretentious, No matter how it may have appeared we know that HE IS ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY! I am not so sure that we have moved quite far enough away from those thoughts that also easily sway our minds.

We often ignore that still. small voice because our ears are striving to hear a loud proclamation. Sometimes we are so enamored with the thought of having our worlds rocked that we completely miss the fact that the ground IS already shaking.

We can completely miss what is right in front of us, simply because it does not look like we had pictured it to look. It does not sound exactly as we thought it would and by holding onto to OUR thoughts we can miss out on a lot. Just as He said, His ways ARE higher than our ways and His thoughts ARE higher than are thoughts, it rests on forgetting what we ever thought in the first place and acknowledging His will.

I used this particular passage in a former now non-existent post, but I would like to revisit that SAME thought here, again. This is the amazing story of Peter being arrested, imprisoned, supernaturally  freed and those who WERE praying for his freedom, NOT BELIEVING when he literally showed up on their doorstep! We’ll pick up here:

ACTS 12:4-16: “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions (squads of four) of soldiers, to keep him: intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

 Peter was therefore kept in prison: but PRAYER WAS MADE WITHOUT CEASING OF THE CHURCH UNTO GOD FOR HIM. And when Herod would have (was about to) bring him forth, the same night, Peter was sleeping BETWEEN two soldiers, BOUND WITH TWO CHAINS and the keepers before the door kept the prison (guards were also at the door).

And, behold, the ANGEL of the Lord came upon him (stood by him), and  A LIGHT SHINED  IN THE PRISON: and he smote Peter on the side, and RAISED HIM UP, saying, Arise up quickly. and HIS CHAINS FEEL OFF FROM HIS HANDS.

And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals (get dressed and put shoes on).  And so he did. And he saith unto him cast thy garment about thee, and FOLLOW ME. And he went out, and followed him: and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel (did not know for sure if it was real) but THOUGHT he saw a vision. 

When they were passed the first and the second ward (guard posts) they came unto the IRON GATE that leadeth into the city; which OPENED TO THEM of his own accord (opened WITHOUT ANY HUMAN HELP): and they went out, and passed through one street; and the angel departed from him.

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety (for certain), that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod,  and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

And when he had considered the thing, he CAME to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where MANY WERE GATHERED TOGETHER PRAYING.

And as Peter KNOCKED AT THE DOOR OF THE GATE, a damsel came to hearken (answer the door) named Rhoda. And  when she KNEW Peter’s voice, she opened NOT the gate for gladness (she was so happy that she actually FORGOT to open the door) but RAN IN, and told how Peter stood before the gate.

And THEY SAID UNTO HER, THOU ART MAD (OUT OF YOUR MIND). BUT she CONSTANTLY affirmed that it was even so (true). Then they said it is his angel.  But Peter CONTINUED KNOCKING: and WHEN THEY HAD OPENED THE DOOR, AND SAW HIM, THEY WERE ASTONISHED.”

So much there, here they are praying and praying, seeking and seeking and Rhoda answers the door and she is so happy and overjoyed that she just forgets to open it. When she tells the others they just simply DO NOT BELIEVE it. Now again, maybe if God has sent an old dude leaning on a staff, with a long gray flowing beard, suing terms such as”Hearken, grand prayer warriors…” or sent thunder and lighting to flash as Peter approached, well maybe that was WHAT they thought they should receive as acknowledgment that their prayers had been heard. But no, they got Rhoda, and what they told her, actually translates to, “YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND” so they are like, ” Well, that is just that crazy Rhoda,, making up stuff, just ignore her….you know she isn’t quite right in the head anyway.”

Cute side note, Rhoda must have not been too crazy, she did, after-all get an honorable mention in the book :)! But even after all that praying they STILL REFUSED TO BELIEVE, and decided that it was his angel. If it does not make sense to our human minds, we must FIND an explanation for it, right?

Not sure why we do these things. Do we doubt that our prayers will be answered? Do we really believe that it just COULD NOT be THAT simple? When actually, IT IS that simple. Do we feel that we need more grandeur? And do we feel we need that for the glory of God… or is it for us?

Do we just dislike the messenger and feel that we are worthy of a higher, more “spiritual” messenger? You know, like waiting on a group of herald angels to break down the door and proclaim the answer you have been seeking when actually all that is needed is FOR SOMEONE JUST ANSWER THE DOOR! And acknowledge WHO is standing there! 

We can miss many wonderful events by our own refusal to let God be God and answer AS HE calls and not get so caught up in the delivery or manifestation of these events. Just as His humble arrival to this earth heralded the greatest event of all time. What if the wise men had decided that the place the star led just didn’t look the part? The humble shepherds NEVER expected to hear an angelic chorus praising the birth of the Saviour… which IS EXACTLY WHY they were allowed to hear it! Don’t lose out on a done deal just because you refuse to open the door.

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

“Fruit flavored drinks”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

“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