Shrouded In Darkness:  Divine Protection By Pastor Brandon Johnson

Shrouded In Darkness:  Divine Protection  

“Dad…Dad, wake up! Bianca needs you upstairs. There is  something wrong with Kailea.” These were the words that our oldest daughter, Destiny, said to me early Wednesday morning. Startled out of my sleep, I rushed upstairs, afraid of what I would find. On my way upstairs, a story that Bianca had shared with me years ago popped into my head. It was a story about a couple who  took in their son for his immunizations, and that evening the mother told Bianca that she literally watched as the “light left his  eyes.” The mother said their son has been autistic since that moment. This story had only come to my mind because Kailea had just had her immunizations that day to prepare for kindergarten. In my short trip upstairs, that story played at least twice in my head, not helping matters. I arrived in the room to find concerned looks all around. When I saw Kailea, I knew this was not normal. Her face was gray, her eyes were slightly open,  and she was trying to talk but could not form words. When we would call her name, it seemed as if something was turning her away from us while it seemed that she was fighting to turn her head towards us. My mother-in-law described it best, “You could  see something trying to suck Kailea’s mind back like she was  being pulled away.” I laid my hands on her, and we began to pray for her. We took her downstairs to our room so we could keep a close eye on her. Bianca became angry and said that this was an attack by the enemy to steal our daughter from us. I believe this to be true, especially since Pastor Eb, Pastor Percell, and I had only finished the “Shrouded In Darkness” series a few days prior.  Also, this was not the only attack; by the time the last part of our series had finished, I had only the use of one hand and one good leg due to flared arthritis within the joints. So we prayed for  Kailea again and anointed her with oil. This time we took authority and commanded the foul spirit to leave our daughter alone. I picked up my Bible and turned to Psalms 91, and began  to read it over her:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Highest Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 

2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 

3Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the [a]fowler And from the perilous pestilence

4He shall cover you with His feathers

And under His wings you shall take refuge; 

His truth shall be your shield and [b]buckler. 

5You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, 

Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 

6Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness

Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 

7A thousand may fall at your side, 

And ten thousand at your right hand; 

But it shall not come near you.

8Only with your eyes shall you look, 

And see the reward of the wicked. 

9Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Highest, your dwelling place, 

10No evil shall befall you, 

Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 

11For He shall give His angels charge over you,  

To keep you in all your ways.  

12 In their hands they shall [c]bear you up,  

Lest you [d]dash your foot against a stone.  

13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,  

The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver  him; 

I will [e]set him on high because he has known My name. 15He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; 

I will be with him in trouble; 

I will deliver him and honor him. 

16With [f]long life I will satisfy him, 

And show him My salvation.” 

Many understand Psalms 91 to be a song of protection from pestilence, plagues, and fowlers, in other words, bad things from happening to them, but that was not the only reason I was using this Psalm.  

As I started preparing my sermon, “Shrouded In Darkness,” I  began to read the works of scholars who had a deep knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew in both the New and Old Testaments concerning demonic origins and oppression, and deliverance. What I  found amazed me and showed me how truly deep God’s Word really is and how seamlessly it weaves together.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High:  

עליון) El Elyon) means Most High God, which is the same language found in Deuteronomy 32:8 when it says that the Highest God divided the human race into portions that were allotted to the lesser sons of God (the Bene Elohim: the watchers) while  God made Israel His portion. The Watchers fell and became hostile supernatural forces. So El Elyon is the Name of God that separates Him from the sons of God who fell, had children with the daughters of men (Genesis 6), and was worshipped among these nations. Their descendants, once they died, became disembodied spirits that could not be redeemed because of their hybrid nature and became what we know as demons today.  

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the [a]fowler  And from the perilous pestilence.  

  

Pestilence in the 3rd verse is not what it seems throughout this  Psalm. Due to a missed translation by the Septuagint translators, the Hebrew word here is רֶּבֶּ ד) deber). December is actually a name  of a Canaanite deity and is used 50 times in the Bible, including  once again in verse 6 of this chapter where it says, “nor the  pestilence that stalks in darkness.”

V4 He will cover you with His Pinions (Feathers of Flight like in Isaiah 40:31), and under His wings, you will find refuge (like an Eagle protects her young). His faithfulness is a Shield and Buckler (small shield). 

This talk of God’s faithfulness and truth being a shield is very reminiscent of the language Paul uses in Ephesians 6:11-16 when talking of the Armor of God. We see another possible tie  to Ephesians 6 in verse 5 of Psalm 91, which reads, 

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the ARROW that flies by day. 

Ephesians 6:16 says that it is with the Shield of Faith that you  will be able to extinguish the “Flaming Arrows of the evil one.” 

The ancient Canaanite deity referenced in verse 5 of Psalm 91 is, “Resheph” a deity depicted as an archer who would shoot flaming arrows at his enemies. 

“Nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.” 

The word, “destruction,” here is the Hebrew word, בֶ טֶק) Qeteb) believed arguably to be a Canaanite deity closely related to their  kind of taunting these deities in Hosea 13:14,

“I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death (Mot). 

O Death (Mot), where are your plagues (Deber)? O Sheol, where is your sting (Qeteb)?  

Dr. Michael Heiser interprets this best when he says it’s like  God is saying, “Hey Mot, where’re your buddies, deber and qeteb? They weren’t too effective here, and now I’m going to  redeem the people out your hands.” 

This is the God we serve, the one who openly shames the enemy as He redeems His people. Colossians 2:15 reads, 

“He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them  publicly; He triumphed over them by Him.” 

Let’s return to Psalm 91:7-10, 

“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. V8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.  V9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— The Most High, who is my refuge. V10 No evil shall be  allowed to befall you; no plague will come near your tent.”

Now let’s read the part that Satan quoted to Jesus (Matthew 4), beginning with verse 11: 

“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. V12 On their hands, they will bear you  up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” 

Satan conveniently left out verse 13 for a reason, 

“You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion  and the serpent you will trample underfoot.” 

I would have left it out as well if I were him, but he had to of known that Jesus knew the next verse, but Jesus chose to let  Satan experience this first hand at the Cross, Burial, and  Resurrection. 

It has been recorded within the Dead Sea Scrolls that David wrote over 4,000 Psalms. Only 4 of them were recorded as being for the “possessed,” and Psalms 91 was found among them.  

This is why I chose this Psalm to read over to my daughter that night. Psalms 91 is not about a guarantee that you’re not going to get sick or that you’re never going to have any troubles if you read it over yourself. Psalms 91 is a reminder to the Devil and  all demonic forces that they are defeated, and my family and I 

are under my Father’s protection as long as I dwell in that Secret  Place. 

The next day after this attack, our daughter woke up and slowly returned to her normal self. I believe this was due to fervent prayer, faith in God, and the use of God’s Word to remind Satan that we dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High, which means he has no place in our lives and he is defeated. 

  

– Pastor Brandon Johnson

 

 

Is Jesus a Democrat or a Republican?

Disclaimer this is a longer reader, about 10 to 15 minutes! It is my hope that this post illuminates God’s word and brings clarity to your understanding when it comes to God and Politics. 
– Pastor Eb
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“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” 
These were the words spoken by Jesus Christ in Matthew 10:34-36. Harsh words by our savior isn’t it? Seemingly divisive, intolerant, extreme, and inflammatory.
“I did not come for peace but a sword?” What is Jesus declaring war on? “To set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother?” I thought he came to unite us, to bring peace. It’s quite a contrast from what many Christian leaders are preaching today and far removed from modern Western Christianity. So what did Jesus mean?
In looking at the political and religious structure at the time of Jesus there were three distinct groups, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes. In ancient Judaism, there was no sharp distinction between religion and politics. All three groups were concerned not only with religious behavior but also with the political issues of their day. These religious leaders like the Pharisees were also a part of the Sanhedrin which was the Supreme Court of the Romans. These religious leaders had not only amassed a great deal of power by the Roman government but they had become corrupt by the culture of their time. When Jesus entered the scene, he had stepped into a perfect storm of political and religious making. Much like what we are seeing today. I’ve even heard it said, “Never mix politics with religion.” The problem with that statement is that Jesus did exactly that and He expects us to.
Jesus came bearing the sword, the insignia of heaven which was the word of God. He declared war on those who had corrupted the word of God. Leaders who were leading people astray and devouring the sheep for religious and political gain. Who were trampling the word and by doing so causing people to stumble. Much of the sins brought about in Roman culture had come through the political process. Jesus made it His mission to expose them. He would say things like, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.” (Matthew 23:15,27,33-34)
Jesus was prophesying that those who would stand up for the true word of God and be bold enough to declare it would not only suffer persecution, but many of them would pay with their life. Now let me once again remind you, Jesus is not talking to the religious leaders only, but he is also talking to the politicians of his time. And if your still not convinced let me ask you a question. What happens in an election? We choose, we elect and we appoint. The words choose, elect, and appoint are mentioned over 100 times in scripture. God himself is a God of and over government, did you know that? (Romans 13:1) 
He instituted the nations and kingdoms of the world and is actively involved in the political process of who He elects and approves to be in power. (Acts 17:26-27) Does that mean we are spectators to God’s dealings in this area? No! On the contrary, we can influence God’s decisions based upon who we elect or choose to rule over us. Simply put, a people who abide in God and in His words, who love truth and are actively involved in sustaining, applying and protecting the essence of God’s word, God will bless and honor with righteous leaders. (Deut 28:1-2) But when we stray from God as individuals and ultimately as a people or nation and seek our own will and desires apart from God’s word and counsel, He grants us what we have asked and judgment shortly follows. (Hosea 4:6-9) 
Now here is where the rubber meets the road if you are a true follower of Jesus Christ. Can we have political views outside the considerations of our Christian faith or more specifically outside of God’s word? The answer is no. Why? Because politics are a central part of policy. Policies are the instruments or mechanisms by which laws derive from. Those laws will either draw us closer to God or farther away from God. The founders of America understood this and made sure to mirror the Bible within the founding documents. The crucial section of the Declaration says: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I often say that the constitution doesn’t give us any rights, it simply affirms the rights God has already given us. Now follow me for a second. Did you know that every law is connected to morality or some form of a standard? The word, “political platform” means, a document stating the aims and principles of a political party. Did you catch that? “Principles.” What are principles? A principle is defined as a basic truth, law, or assumption. A rule or standard, especially of good behavior.
Now to simplify all this. The word of God is the expression of his character, nature, and personhood. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14) Jesus didn’t only come to die on the cross as a sacrificial lamb for mankind but he also came to testify to the truth that had been corrupted by the so-called religious leaders of His time. We see this when Jesus was facing Pilate, the representative of the highest political authority on earth and he said, “For this, cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37) Did you hear Jesus’s words? “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 
In light of everything you just read, here is the question;
“Is the policies of the Democratic party compatible with scripture?” The obvious answer is a resounding, no! Why? Oh Lord, where do I begin? To say, “I am a follower of Jesus”, or “I love him”, means you obey Him and His word. (John 14:15) And I know many of my Democrat friends may be upset at my next statement. “I believe if you vote or have voted as a Democrat, you need to repent before God.” Please hear me!  In the area of politics, that drive policy, that birth forth laws, laws that undermine the word of God and cause people to suffer and stumble and falsely secure them; to that end, I like Jesus say, I did not come for peace, but I have come with the sword. The sword is the word of God. The word is supreme. The same word in which he says, “I place my word above my name.” (Psalm 138:2) So let me elaborate. And what I am about to say, in spite of what you may be feeling right now, I say it for love and with love.
When we, as followers of Jesus Christ elect politicians who have outright trampled the word of God under their feet and have called evil good and good evil. Who have mocked all that is Holy and have legislated laws that are in direct violation of God’s word. Leaders who are morally bankrupt and devoid of any truth, but are filled with lies. Leaders who are endorsed and celebrated by an ungodly culture to include the vilest and most abhorrent individuals in the entertainment and music industry. Leaders who by virtue of their filth have enacted laws that are incomplete rebellion and defiance of the Holy scriptures. When you cast your vote, which is a choice, for these types of individuals who represent an abandonment of God statutes, laws, and principles, you have chosen man over God, sin over righteousness, truth over truce, color over covenant and convictions over comfort.
Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits, Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt 7:16,21-23) Listen to the words of Jesus, you who practice lawlessness or in this case empower those that do. You are guilty by affiliation or association. What fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? (2 Cor 6:14-16) You are empowering them to act on your behalf, that is what voting means. God is love but He is also justice and there is no justice without judgment. How can we elect people who have no moral compass and are devoid of the words of life, to bring about justice for us? Only God can do that by using people who still revere and obey His word. Or have we forgotten about the flood. You only have to read 7 chapters into the Bible to understand that God will not be mocked, whatever you sow, that you will reap. (Gal 6:7) When His anger is aroused and the cup of His wrath runneth over, who shall escape His judgment for judgment begins in the house of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
Have we forgotten about the abominations of Sodom and Gomorrah? How God’s response to the rebellion of a people who abandon the natural order of God’s decree? He turned the entire city to ashes and spared only a single-family. (Gen 19) God legislated the law to keep us from sin but today while claiming Christ, we elect officials who legislate sin to keep us from the law. The law is not the problem, it is the evil heart of men who, drunk with the culture around them have failed to discern good vs evil, darkness vs. light, righteousness vs unrighteousness. (Romans 7:14) Still to this day in many Christian homes Obama is celebrated and touted as a great leader. This is the man who lit the White House in rainbow colors in celebration of the 2015 Supreme Court decision of sanctioning same-sex marriage. The rainbow which signified a covenant with God and men that he would never destroy the entire world again with water, over the sins that today we are endorsing. What your Bible calls an abomination. And why is it that we still celebrate a man who declared war on God?
Consider this! What political party or individual member affiliation has brought about the following; in direct violation and defiance of God’s written word?
  1.  Removed Prayers out of schools – 1963 (Violation: Psalm 33:12)
  2. Legalized Abortion – 1973 (Violation: Luke 1:41)
  3. Legalized Gay marriage – 2015 (Violation: Gen 2:24, Romans 1:26)
  4. Pushes the LGBTQ Indoctrination – Current (Violation: Romans 1) 
  5. 10 Commandments Removed from Courts – 2015 (Violation: Ezek 11:20)
  6.  Push to pack Supreme Court w/ungodly men –Current (Violation Ex.18:21-22)
  7.  Push to bring about a one-world government – Current (Violation Acts 17:26)
  8.  Push against conservative Biblical values – Current (Violation The Bible)
  9. Pushed the lie of separation of church and state – Current (Violation Psalm 33:12)
These are just a few of the policies the Democratic party has run on for decades. Many of these are mentioned in scripture as sins that are an abomination to God. And every year they make it crystal clear where they stand and quite honestly when I look at the church overall I am bewildered and saddened to see what I see. While we are seeing society unravel due in large part to these radical demonic policies we still have Christians electing people who will bring about much worse in the days to come if elected. Notice I am using the word Christians because this post is primarily for those who claim they are followers of Jesus Christ. We are the watchman on the tower for the rest of the world. (Isaiah 49:6) If we fail to let our light shine, then darkness overtakes us. What we see happening in society is a direct responsibility of a sleeping church with their sleeping leaders who have become drunk with the wine of this culture and have endorsed what God had detested. Out of fear of persecution and reprisal have remained silent while the Kingdom is being besieged. We are called to defend these truths entrusted to us. (2 Tim 1:13-14)
This is not about politics; it’s about maintaining the integrity of the Word of God. It’s not about a man running a race, it’s about the man Jesus Christ who completed the race and now sits at the right hand of the father. It’s not about supporting a party or defending a platform, it is simply about supporting those who support the laws, morals, and principles of the Bible and the faith in which you lay claim to. Our hedge is his word. Abiding in his word is we’re we stay protected. We destroy the word, we destroy our hedge and ultimately ourselves. I am motivated by love because love without truth is not love and truth that isn’t loving will not be heard.
I leave you with a quote from the word of God, in which I place my trust, hope, and love.
“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.  For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” (Rev 18:4-5)

A Call to Fast

Call for a“fast”in a church service and you will find most of us thinking to ourselves how “fast” we can get out of it by fasting everything but food. Some of us would choose television, others would fast a hobby, while many will fast social media. One has to ask, “Why do we want to give up everything BUT food?” I believe it is due to the pain that is felt as one begins to miss a meal, the pain of self-denial. You can always find other distractions to take place of the usual fasted items listed above, but you will be hard pressed to find something to distract you from the pain felt when fasting food. 

On Sunday(5/3), our Pastor issued a call for a fast of food and to pray for seven days starting 5/4. I encourage every single one of you to join together in one accord to pursue God through prayer and fasting. If you haven’t started already, please consider starting now. Join us for prayer on Wednesday, starting at 6pm. Watch God move in your lives as you lay down your wants and desires in your pursuit for more of Him. Remember, fasting is a denial of your flesh. My father use to say this concerning his many 40 day fasts, “All of me, none of God. Less of me more of God. None of me, all of God.” 

-Brandon Johnson

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