“Sizing up the stumbling block”

And WHOSOEVER shall offend (PUT A STUMBLINGBLOCK IN THEIR PATH) one of these little ones that believe in me, IT IS BETTER FOR HIM (WOULD BE BETTER FOR THEM) THAT A MILLSTONE WERE HANGED ABOUT HIS NECK, AND HE WERE CAST INTO THE SEAMark 9:42 

“Then said he to his disciples, It is impossible but that offences (stumbling blocks) will come, (it IS impossible for offences NOT to come) but WOE UNTO HIM (those) WHOM THROUGH THEY COME!

IT WERE BETTER for him (would be better for those who set the stumbling blocks) that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and cast into the sea, THEN HE SHOULD OFFEND ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES. (CAUSE SOMEONE TO STUMBLE) LUKE 17:1,2

Stumbling block, quite an interesting word, always reminds me of setting a trap and chasing someone down a preplanned path in hope that they will fall across the wooden beam that had been placed there and carefully hidden under brush.

It actually comes from a Hebrew word that when translated into the Greek is “skandalon”, which in turns translates into our modern English word SCANDAL.

What a better way to ruin a persons reputation, self-esteem, and life as they know it that to create a scandal about them, and of course completely behind their back.

Jesus is talking about those who would intentionally cause his children to fall and be hurt as they try to walk on their path with Him. As we see He is not fan of it and is very point-blank in what His judgment is concerning the vengeance that will be suffered at His hand by those who would do this.

The Bible has so many wonderful scriptures on how we are to treat others, such as “love your neighbor as yourself” “carry each others burdens”, and even if we see someone struggling in a temptation, we are to help that person, without them being ostracized,  belittled and  or creating a SCANDAL about them.  

And to reject, ridicule someone and to publicize any ones failure is punishable by falling into the SAME snare and that is indeed Bible.

What about someone who SAYS that they love a person and secretly bad mouths them and tells others that they are a bad influence and goes over and above anything normal to keep their physical person interjected between this person and their friends with the constant pretense that they are “protecting” them, even demanding that the other person not be spoken too or included in any way and yet, they LOVE them.

What if the ostracized person is a teen? Nothing like bullying, even better when the bully is a grown up or at least is according to their age?

Just as satan invites himself into places that he is not welcome, just as when he stopped by in the Book of Job, as the sons were worshipping God, just to see whom he may devour.

That’s why he sends people to create scandals, to separate the lambs from the flock, when they are hurt, and shunned, he convinces them that they are a bad person and that everyone hates them, left abandoned by the flock, he then can move in for the kill, laying waste the path that God  had preordained them to walk in His Kingdom.

No shocker that Jesus’ judgment is that it would be better for the one who causes it to be drowned  than to meet with the fate that he will deal to them.

But God is faithful and he keeps our mouths shut and sends us help and His reassurance that vengeance is His and we are in no way to repay evil for evil. But when it comes from someone who pretends to be all good and all love, and  tries to set it up as though everyone else is just crazy, well, God had someone pray for me and these are the scriptures I was given when I was recently dealing with a situation: 

Proverbs 26:21-28:  As COALS are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so IS a CONTENTIOUS MAN (PERSON) TO KINDLE STRIFE. The WORDS of a TALEBEARER ARE as WOUNDS, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

BURNING LIPS and a WICKED HEART ARE LIKE  a potsherd covered with silver dross.

He that HATETH, DISSEMBLETH (DISGUISES) WITH HIS LIPS, AND LAYING UP DECEIT WITHIN HIM;

When he speaketh FAIR (TRIES TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH THEY LOVE YOU), BELIEVE HIM NOT: FOR THERE ARE SEVEN ABOMINATIONS IN HIS HEART.

WHOSE HATRED IS COVERED BY DECEIT, HIS WICKEDNESS SHALL BE SHOWN BEFORE THE WHOLE CONGREGATION.

WHOSO DIGGETH A PIT SHALL FALL INTO THEREIN: AND HE THAT ROLLETH A STONE, IT WILL RETURN (ROLL BACK ON) UPON HIM. 

A LYING TONGUE  HATETH  THOSE THAT ARE AFFLICTED (CRUSHED) BY IT; AND A FLATTERING MOUTH WORKETH RUIN.”

Pretty good advice, they will fall into their own pit, so if you know someone who is tempted to spread rumors, gossip, and just try to ruin someone else, here is some more Biblical advice to share with them, that may make them think twice:

ROMANS 14:13 : “Let us NOT therefore JUDGE one another any more: BUT JUDGE THIS rather, THAT NO MAN PUT A STUMBLING BLOCK OR AN OCCASION  TO FALL IN HIS BROTHERS WAY.”

And if you are being bullied or suspect someone else is, as in my situation, pray about and keep praying till you get your answer, it is hard especially for kids to talk about and God WILL let you know. I promise.

Never cover for a bully, they ARE NOT your friend and their only desire is to hurt you and see you miserable, whatever their motive may be. And as our scripture shows when they say the love you and have your best interest in mind, DON’T  BELIEVE THEM. Real friends may have to tell us something sometimes for our own good that we may not want to hear, but they do it with love and they never hover over us and control us and every move that we make.

Love is NOT harsh and Love will NEVER hurt you or say mean, unkind things about you. Love will never spread rumors, or tell lies to control your friendships. That is Not love.

That is the devil and as the T Mac’s song goes, he needs to  “Go on, get his junk out of here” NO ONE NEEDS IT and NO ONE WANTS IT. Talk to someone who you can trust or call a help number. Don’t spend another second being the victim of someone’s insecurities.

So you really have to size up the stumbling block, if  it something small, maybe  you can solve by just cutting off all contact with the bully, try to avoid them if at all possible and when it is not possible always have another person with you, maybe give up social media for a while or close out an account and reopen using maybe your middle name or initials that the bully would not be aware of, and limit contact with anyone who could give them information about you but ALWAYS let a friend or trusted person KNOW what you are doing and why. That protects you.

 If is a really big stumbling block and they are threatening you or ruining your reputation, it may be necessary to take legal action, there is no shame in that, that is why we have laws in place to protect us and I know, I’ve had to stand up to an abusive boyfriend kind of bully as a very young woman, I know it is scary and it is hard but you will be glad you did, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. People who threaten you count on that fear to keep you held there, don’t give them that. And if you know someone who is being bullied, you be strong for them and help them and let others know what is going on so that they can get help. Remember when you are afraid TRUST in HIM. Love and peace to you in Jesus’ name.

N. Brown Johnson 2016

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THAT..

I love old sayings, people long ago learned lessons and passed that wisdom down to forewarn future generations.
Ministers are like front line soldiers discovering what’s in the enemies arsenal and reporting back to the troops what weapon is needed to take them down.
Some of the wisest words ever spoken were, “With friends like that, who needs enemies.”
As Paul said “when he thought to do good, evil was ever-present with him.” Sometimes it is difficult for us to see just who our real enemies are.
Think about it, the Bible says that Satan himself “can transform into an angel of light” and we know that he is well versed in the scripture and loves nothing more than to try to twist the word of God to snare, trap, and pervert us.
Genesis 3:1(a) “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made…” and most know this story, through convincing Eve that she really, really wanted this and she should just trust him, it would all be okay, he deceived her into making a decision that we all paid for and Jesus gave his life to repair the damage that “friend” caused.
David, not even trying to resist his lust for Bathsheba ( I know it was lust because he had tried to get Uriah to go home, hoping he would sleep with her and think he had fathered the baby and let them all live a lie) when all of his plans failed, he in effect had Uriah “murdered by war” using him to deliver his own death warrant.
The wages of sin are death, this brought it down on his entire family. Nathan the Prophet went so far as to deliver the judgment handed down from God that the sword would never leave David’s house.
So that voice as the serpent rose again, David’s son Amnon became completely possessed by a spirit of incestuous lust toward his half-sister Tamar. As Satan purposed all this in Amnon’s heart he sent his messenger with just the reassurance Amnon’s flesh needed to act upon that lust.
2 Samuel 13:2,3 ” And Amnon was so vexed (distressed) that he feel sick for his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her ( knew it was wrong ). But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shiva David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.”
His “friend” talked him into raping her, destroying her and filling her brother (his half ) Absalom with such hate that it mirrors the rebellion Lucifer led in his attempt to overthrow the Kingdom of Heaven.
He had Amnon murdered and led a rebellion against David and died trying to flee David’s army, when his long beautiful hair became caught and tangled on a tree branch leaving him helpless against the sword.
Snared and tangled up, some prophetic symbolism in that, what unchecked bitterness and hate will do to us.
That is what happens when one person chooses to listen to the wrong voice. A girl’s life was completely devastated, two brothers were dead, two mothers, a father, and an entire kingdom was left to mourn and to never be the same.
One more example, sometimes the enemy wants to take you down so bad that he will send a multitude of voices, because after all, how can so many be so wrong?
The story of Queen Esther tells us of Haman, the King’s power-hungry, right hand boy who hated the Jews especially Mordecai ( Esther’s uncle ) because Mordecai refused to bow to him. So Amidst his whining over the injustice of the situation, Esther 5:14 “Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made fifty cubits high, and on the morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go merrily with the king unto the banquet. and this thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.”
Long story short, Haman was hanged on his own gallows and Mordecai got his job.
God tells us “surely they shall gather together, but not by me, no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.”
Haman fell into his own trap, a trap laid at the urging of those closest to him, who supposedly had his best interests in mind, telling him exactly what his blackened, sin-laden heart wanted to hear.
So like those collect calls from Egypt, you don’t realize the price until you get the bill and if you knew the cost you would have never agreed to accept those charges, it may be a bill like David’s, that his family ended up having to pay.
Your true friends may not understand your faith, but they will respect it and be happy for you.
Read Luke 15:8,9 the parable of the lady who found her lost silver and her friends rejoiced with her.
Steer clear of “friends” who only want to drag you back to “Egypt”, because misery loves company and if they are not free they surely don’t want you to be.
Just as with Adam and Eve, once the blinders were off and their eyes were opened to the truth,they knew the sin and the shame.
Amnon, when his “love” immediately turned to complete disgust and hatred once he had achieved his desire.
That is what sin does and no matter how good they make it sound or tell you just how much you are missing, if you give in to them, when the day comes, and it will come, like Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, yours will be also and I promise you that your are not going to like what you see.
The truth is that not only are friends like these a danger to your soul, they also endanger theirs by tempting you as a child of God.
As the Bible teaches us, if we as believers defile this temple God will destroy it (us).
Daniel 5 tells the story of Belshazzar, who had the bright idea that it would be fun to defile the vessels of the Lord which had been taken from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar.
He and all with him drank from them, while praising their false pagan gods and having the equivalent to a big drunken feast, within an hour,  his eyes beheld with horror and his knees actually shook with terror as a hand appeared from nowhere and proceeded to write out his death warrant on his own wall, when Daniel interrupted it he would soon learn that no one could save him from the judgment of God and he was dead that night.
We are vessels, holy unto the Lord, set aside for his use and anyone who wishes to defile us will truly have hell to pay.
Friends like these you don’t need. Pray and ask the Lord for real ones. And while you are waiting, remember he is the best friend you will ever have!

Companion post:COLLECT CALL FROM EGYPT. WILL YOU ACCEPT THE CHARGES?
A theme song for you, “Satisfaction” David Phelps

Φλογίζω / 05/24/2014. All rights reserved. Rev. Nina BrownJohnson 2015

COLLECT CALL FROM EGYPT. WILL YOU ACCEPT THE CHARGES?

Ever wonder what Moses went through? You know, being a prince of Egypt, brought up as an Egyptian, taught by them, trained by them and having close family bonds with them.
Moses had all of Egypt laid at his feet all that was required of him in order to live a lavish life of riches and unimaginable power was to deny his own lineage and turn his eyes away from the suffering of those in bondage.
He couldn’t do it because he was cut from a different cloth, he would forsake all of Egypt, its power and wealth bought by the blood of his true people. That he would not overlook.
He would rather go into bondage with them, than to enjoy his good life at the expense of their freedom. How many times did he hear, “You are one of us, you need to just calm down and forget this nonsense, just stay where you belong.”
Pharaoh tried his different tactics, my favorite is Exodus 10:10,
“And he said unto them, Let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.”
Classic Satan and classic control. “Oh, you don’t really want to be out there on your own, what about your loved ones? The world is a bad place and bad things will happen if we aren’t there to protect you. It is not so bad here in Egypt, just stay where you belong.”
Anyone ever felt this kind of pressure? Pretending to wish you well but letting you know that not only will you not make it in your new walk of faith but neither will those you hope to lead with you.
How can you ever leave the Egypt of this world and all you have known to follow Christ into the land he has chosen?
So as we know this story, Pharaoh decides when his logic fails, he will just get rough with them. His heart so hardened that he failed to see the hand of the one true living God at work in all this. And he failed to see all of its strength, ready to come down on him, and he failed to see the anguish it would to his own people.
Once God had forced his hand by sending the plagues ending it with the deaths of the first-born of Egypt, he finally released the Hebrew slaves, but in his stubbornness and pride he could not leave well enough alone and decided to mount his army and set out after them to bring them all kicking and screaming back to Egypt.
As the Israelite’s stood horrified as the Egyptian army grew closer and the Red Sea stood as a formidable obstacle against them. The enemy trying to convince them that they were never even meant to be free, they cried out to the Lord, who was their ever-present help.
Exodus 14: 13, 27&28: And Moses said unto the people, fear ye not, stand still, see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew you to day: For the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. and Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remaineth not so much as one of them.”
Sometimes in life when the Red Sea in view and freedom is almost certain, the spirit of Pharaoh will rear its ugly head and spew out a warning cry to try to force you to stay in Egypt, in sin, in bondage,and misery, to try to convince that you will never be free.
Remember the words of our Lord, the word that is the double-edged sword given you from God, to cut through all the powers of hell, as Jesus said, the which will never, ever prevail.
“Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm”
Serve notice on the Pharaoh in your life, tell him to send his messengers, rally his troops, mount his chariot and prepare his battle against your soul because soon you will see the salvation of your God and Pharaoh and his host will perish in the sea as they try to pursue you.
When Egypt tries to call you back, do not accept those charges, don’t even bother picking up the phone to answer their call because the price for one conversation with them could lead to a bill you will be trying to pay off for the rest of your life!
It would be better to be speared through the back running away than to submit to life under servitude under a spiritual Pharaoh.
Let that old Navy motto ring true in our battles today, “D**N the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”
Φλογίζω /original Post   05/03/14. All rights reserved. Rev. Nina BrownJohnson 2015