Scripture lesson: Psalm 103

Hey there BCU Family!

For this post, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. Recommend listening to the podcast for more commentary. 🙂 In any case, we pray the podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

So this podcast/post is a special request from dear friend of mine, (I did not ask permission to use their name, so I’ll leave that out for now), who asked to read a passage of Scripture, and Psalm 103 came to mind. I realized about half-way into the reading, that I spoke on part of this Psalm a couple of years ago around this time,  but the Word of God, and this Psalm in particular, is always timely, relevant, illuminating, refreshing and encouraging.  Without further ado, let’s walk through Psalm 103:1-22!

1)Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

2)Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:

3)Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases,

4) Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

5) Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6) The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

7) He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

8) The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

9) He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.

10) He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11) As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear [reverence] Him;

12) As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

13) As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.

14) For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

15) As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

16) For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

17) But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children,

18) To such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.

19) The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom rules over all.

20) Bless the Lord, you his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

21) Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

22) Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.


Amen, amen, amen! BCU Fam, there are several passages of Scripture that speak to my heart–especially when the psalmist talks about God’s healing, redeeming, mercy and grace that is extended to his children. It is no wonder David started and ended the Psalm with “bless the Lord, O my soul!” Hallelujah!!!!!!

So what do you think of our Psalm/Scripture of the month? Should we keep that idea in the podcast/post rotation? Do you have a favorite Psalm or verse you hang onto? If you are not already on the BlenCouragesU.com site, please head there and down to the comment section so we can continue our conversation!

Also,  if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and Apple podcasts!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,
BCU

And..we’re back! Love notes–finale!

Happy New Year BCU Fam!

We are back and GLAD about it! You have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

Last time we were together, we talked about the seven things love is. Let’s follow up that post with the EIGHT things love is/does not:

  1. Envy: 

“Envy” defined is a feeling of discontent or resentment because someone has something you desire or feel like you deserve–perhaps because you feel like you are more “holy”, fit, pretty, handsome, qualified—-that’s envy. That’s not love.

A prime biblical example of the sin of envy are Joseph’s brothers. Acts 7:9 says they were “moved with envy” to the point that they sold Joseph to Egypt. You can read the entire account it in Genesis 37. 

Furthermore, if we practice envy, we will  be disqualified from Heaven. Romans 1:28-32 reminds us:

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

2. Vaunt itself up

Vaunting means to self-promote; someone who exaggerates his own virtues–many times to the point of lying. The only things they do count and they have little to no interest, understanding or empathy for anyone but themselves. Sigh.  🙄

In contrast, the agape love God gives will always consider the other person’s feelings, thoughts, situations before speaking or acting.  And even if you have exceeded someone in a particular area, agape love will NEVER expose that person’s shortcomings to make themselves look good.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3). 

3. Puffed up.

These words are based on the Greek word phusio, which means to be haughty, snobbish, swollen, or to be inflated. In other words, love is not prideful. Agape love is never haughty or snobbish when dealing with people.

Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). 

4. Behave itself unseemly. 

This word means to act improperly, selfish or out of order. Love doesn’t get cold when it doesn’t get her way. Love never plots, plans schemes, pouts, punishes, withholds, uses bad language or entertains the wrong thoughts about someone.  Love stays in formation.

A friend loves at all times…. (Proverbs 17:17a). 

5. Seeks not her own.

This meaning behind this phrase depicts a person who is so bent on getting their way, they will twist facts, search for loopholes, and/or use any means necessary to “make” the situation work for themselves–including sue in court! This is low-key manipulation and should never be named in the Body of Christ.

 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others (Philippians 2:4). 

6. Is not easily provoked:

This means love does not readily anger or be irritated behind every little thing. Now, we will get angry about things, but reaction should have a little thought behind it, so the agape love comes through.

 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

At the same time, we also should not be the ones who behave unseemly or speak words incite an angry response out of others–rather than lash out in anger, we should seek to understand the other person.

Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (I Corinthians 14:20). 

7. Thinks no evil

I LOVE this one, BCU Family! This phrase means to reconcile, calculate or keep a record of something so you do not forget. I read somewhere that in one country village, the residents spend much of their time fighting one another. When you spend a lot of time warring, it can be hard to remember what you are angry about, so the natives  keep a tangible object visible in their home in order to remember what the other person did to offend them. We may not keep physical objects, but often keep a mental ledger in our minds–and we replay it often to keep the hurt alive.

 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). 

8. Rejoices not in iniquity

Agape love does not rejoice in things that are wrong,  sinful, unjust, or even in the guilt or vices of others. Rather, true love rejoices in things that are true.

[Love] rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth..(I Corinthians 13:6).

Bonus–Love never fails:

Agape love does not run out, decay, decline or diminish over time, run out on dry seasons, behavior or circumstances. Jesus is a perfect example of love never failing–and if we have Jesus on the inside, our love will stand the test of time. Amen? Amen!


BCU Fam, I don’t know about you, but this study reminded me I have SO much more to come up to in the love area! What about you? What are your thoughts here? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section below this post!

In the meantime, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and Apple podcasts!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,
BCU

Love notes…

Hey there BCU Fam,

You have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study! 


I was having a conversation with my bestie Kenya about life and some of the trials we have to endure as soldiers of Christ—especially our battles with PEOPLE! It’s actually the spirit of iniquity that works through people, but nonetheless, it can be challenging to maintain your salvation to the standard that God has called us to, right? (Ask me how I know!) Yet, if Jesus dwells down on the inside of us, it is a requirement to follow the pattern of Christ in all our interactions. And the pattern starts and ends with one word, BCU Fam.

Love.

Jesus said, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40). Love is not just a conditional, sometimey feeling–it is a sacrificial lifestyle that Jesus modeled by dying for our sins, as well as leaving us His Word as a blueprint for us to follow. I recently did a “love study” and in re-reading my notes, with the help of God, I know I need ensure my love-meter is in high gear on a consistent basis. Let’s take a look at what agape love is and/or does based on I Corinthians 13.

Love…..

1) Suffers long—The word longsuffering in the Bible is made up of two Greek words meaning “long” and “temper”; literally, “long-tempered.” A longsuffering person does not immediately retaliate in anger or punish, but is patient.

2)Is kindMeaning a kind love shows tenderness or goodness; doing good or being gracious. Our We operate without harshness or cruelty in word, thought or deed.

3) Rejoices in truth: The Greek word for truth is aletheia, which literally means to “un-hide” or “hiding nothing.” This means that truth is always there, always open and available for all to see, with nothing obscured. Love rejoices in what is right and good, rather than hiding things.

4) Bears all things: This comes from the Greek word, “stego” meaning to cover, as in a roof, or a covering that offers protection from the elements. In a commentary from W. E. Vine, he explained that a stego or covering either supports what is placed upon it, or covers what is placed underneath it.

For example, a love that bears all things would cover/protect an individual by prayerfully approaching/talking/counseling them in a private setting. And of course, following the Lord’s leading while prayerfully considering the person’s situation, circumstances and reply throughout and after the conversation. The opposite of covering and protecting would be to berate or belittle the person, expose the situation publicly, and/or to other people unnecessarily.

5) Believes all things:
The word believes is actually the word “pisteuei,” which is the Greek word meaning to put one’s faith or trust in something or someone.  Of course, we need to trust God first and above any and everyone and remember the arms of flesh (people) will ultimately fail. (See Jeremiah 17:5). Matthew 18 reminds us that offenses will come. James 3 reminds us that we will offend many. In other words, this flesh we reside in is bound to mess up sometime! In this life, there will be challenges and situations to contend with, but we with the help and hope of the Lord, we are believing for the best in a person. To this end, believing all things means we overlook and forgive offenses quickly.

6) Hopes all things

The Greek word for hopes the word “elpidzo”, which means to anticipate and expect  good things from someone. Even if things look bleak, we won’t be negative or critical, rather we will continue praying and encouraging the person until we see the change come. And many times, if the change does not happen in the person straightaway, our heart, attitude and mind toward the situation or person often changes. Either way,  the love of hope is fulfilled.

7) Endures all things:The word endures is the Greek word “hupomeno” a compound word meaning under and abide.  In challenging situations, it can be tempting to “gather up all your toys and go home”— aka run away! And sometimes we do—not physically, but sometimes mentally, emotionally and even spiritually, we retreat and give up. The thought here is that while the love is under a load, it will not take off or give up in defeat, but rather will stick and stay through thick and thin. 

WHEW, BCU Fam—I have to admit, looking at love through the lens of how Christ expects us to love is a spiritual gut check for me. Of course, there are situations where it may be best to end the relationship (i.e. abusiveness), but by and large, our love should contain all seven of these elements.

So what are your thoughts on the love notes presented here today? Are any of these love elements a struggle? Is it easy to love? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section below this post!

In the meantime, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and Apple podcasts!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

 

The importance of rest…

Hey there BCU Fam,

You have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study! 

Generally speaking, we are a “busy” society–especially women. Many ladies work (in and/or outside of the home), are married, have children, care for aging parents, are on a committee, in ministry of some sort (choir, ushering, teaching, etc.), and in some cases, all of the above, right?  Furthermore, one or more of these plates we are spinning can get a little heavier as we add housework, homework, school plays, practices, games, spouse time, family time, self care,  appointments, bake sales and week-long anniversary services. All of these things can cause pressure and stress at any given time, making the already heavy load we carry about 40 pounds heavier and leaves little to no time seemingly to get some down time or rest properly. In fact, I did not get into bed until after 11p.m. last night and was up this morning about 5:30 a.m. Can you tell I speak from place of experience?

In the list of all we need to do, intentional rest needs to be at the top of that list.  God has designed us to need rest. What exactly is rest, though? The dictionary defines rest as:

 Ceasing work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.

An instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.

An interval of silence of a specified duration.

Additionally, AustinPrecept.com has an even more wonderful detailed definition:

Rest is freedom from work, toil, strain or activity. Rest is the cessation of motion or action of any kind, and applicable to any body or being, as rest from labor, rest from mental exertion or rest of body or mind. A body is at rest, when it ceases to move. The mind is at rest, when it ceases to be disturbed or agitated. The sea is never at rest! (And many believers live their lives more like the sea than their Savior!)

I am a firm believer that many of us do not rest in the body or mind properly. We have so many things to do and “not enough hours in the day” (not true–God made the hours we need–we have to manage the things we PACK those hours with) that we get anxious, frustrated, nervous, upset, angry, depressed, or any combination thereof when we do not get everything on the list done. Then we lie in bed mentally replaying the list and berating ourselves as we attempt to get the schedule right in our minds for the next day. The stress of trying to get it all done keeps us awake, has us taking sleep aids and medication to try and rest for short periods and using artificial stimulents to stay awake. We have to break this cycle, BCUFam! I know it seems impossible, but with God ALL things are possible!

Rest comes through prayer —Above all things, we need to go to Jesus in prayer. As much as possible, this NEEDS to happen at the START of your day. Our time with Jesus need not be two hours if that’s not possible, but quality, quiet time in prayer and reading the Word will help to frame your day for success.  David said, “O God, thou are my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirstest for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” (Psalm 63:1). The more we thirst for God, the more want and need to get into his presence. Also, Proverbs 16:19 says commit your works to the Lord and He will establish your thoughts. If we are asking God to help our thought process, He will regulate our minds for the day, which brings us to the next point.

Rest comes through going God’s way––meaning as we go about our day, we should be asking God what need to do. Sure we know we need to go to work, drop off the kids, do housework, run errands, et cetera, but Proverbs 3:6 says, in ALL YOUR ways acknowledge Him (The Lord), and He shall direct your paths. Maybe the path we take to get to work or the direction God wants us to go is different from what we normally do and for His purpose and glory.

A few months ago, I really wanted to go to a particular restaurant for dinner, but the Lord put it my mind to go to a different eatery. Thankfully, in being obedient and following the Lord’s directed path, I ran into a dear sister whom I haven’t seen in years! It was wonderful to fellowship and actually pray with her on a few things she was waiting on the Lord for. In another instance in following God’s instructions for the day, I bumped one of my elderly friends who had been on my mind, but had lost contact with. What does this have to do with resting you ask? When following God’s will, some things on our to-do list just WILL NOT GET DONE, and we need to rest in that. While it would have been “easier” to go where I wanted to, in doing what God said, His plans became mine—and I was rested in my heart and mind that I was in His perfect will for the day.

Speaking of heart and mind, it is tantamount to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health to ensure we are adequately rested here. Let’s go to the Word about that.

Rest comes through letting burdens go–Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Feeling like things are crashing down on you? Jesus said, come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).   

The heaviness comes in because many times, we are handling the cares of this life ourselves. We sometimes say “Lord, help me”, and we do not wait or listen for or to His directions. We run from task to appointment carrying frazzled, frustrated and agitated mind–and that’s heavy! BCU Fam, we will likely always have things to take care of and the weight of responsibility can get to us. What we need to do is take Jesus up on His offer and come to Him about whatever is weighing us down. Allow Him to exchange our heavy load for His light load. Now, God may absolve not us from the responsibility altogether, but if we learn of Him, He will show is how to deal with the situation His light and easy way. Amen? Amen!

Rest comes through “care-casting”. Casting all your care upon Him [Jesus] for He cares for you (I Peter 5:7). The cares of this life— work, family, bills, conflicts, situations, what will I have, why does she have more? When is it my turn? Those things we care so deeply about that we cannot do anything about? We need to cast them on Jesus. As we begin to trust the Lord with our cares, He will direct us in the path of what, if anything, we need to do about the concerns. 

Rest comes through getting your mind right. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:6-8). After we pray, with fervency and thanksgiving, we have to mediate on what God recommends, rather than the situation. By the time we ruminate on the list of eight things to think of in Philippians 4:8, we will be so busy praising God, that the anxiety-inducing situation you handed over to God will make the victory list as well!  

BCU Fam, I could go on and on about the importance of rest—-our bodies and minds need to rest on the regular in order to hear God and to function optimally. Why needlessly continue to be restless in your heart and mind when our good Father wants to take care of us? Let’s practice resting starting today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest is freedom from anxiety or disturbance.
To rest is to dispose oneself at ease in order to relieve or avoid fatigue (cp spiritual “burnout”)
In poetry, a rest describes a short pause of the voice in reading (Can we not apply this truth to our lives?)
In spiritual terms rest means primarily to cease from one’s works with the idea of release from anxiety, worry and insecurity. This rest is offered to all and is freely available by grace through personal faith in Jesus Christ (Mt 11:28, 29, 30). Only in Christ is our soul fully and truly at rest. In this context rest means to be done with self-effort as far as salvation is concerned. It means the end of trying to please God by our feeble, fleshly works. In short, God’s unmerited perfect rest is a rest in free grace which can only be entered into or appropriated by faith.
John MacArthur adds that…
Rest also means freedom from whatever worries or disturbs you. Some people cannot rest mentally and emotionally because they are so easily annoyed. Every little nuisance upsets them and they always feel hassled. Rest does not mean freedom from all nuisances and hassles; it means freedom from being so easily bothered by them (Ed: It means freedom in the face of whatever would disturb your rest!). Rest means to be inwardly quiet, composed, peaceful. To enter God’s restmeans to be at peace with God (Ro 5:1-note), to possess the perfect peace He gives (Is 26:3). It means to be free from guilt and even unnecessary feelings of guilt. It means freedom from worry about sin, because sin is forgiven. God’s rest is the end of legalistic works and the experience of peace in the total forgiveness of God.
Rest can mean to lie down, be settled, fixed, secure. There is no more shifting about in frustration from one thing to another, no more running in circles. In God’s rest we are forever established in Christ. We are freed from running from philosophy to philosophy, from religion to religion, from life-style to life-style (Jn 8:36). We are freed from being tossed about by every doctrinal wind, every idea or fad, that blows our way. In Christ, we are established, rooted, grounded, unmoveable (Col 2:7-note). That is the Christian’s rest.
Rest involves remaining confident, keeping trust. In other words, to rest in something or someone means to maintain our confidence in it or him. To enter God’s rest, therefore, means to enjoy the perfect, unshakeable confidence of salvation in our Lord. We have no more reason to fear. We have absolute trust and confidence in God’s power and care.
Rest also means to lean on (Ed: Play Leaning on the Everlasting Arms). To enter into God’s rest means that for the remainder of our lives and for all eternity we can lean on God. We can be sure that He will never fail to support us. In the new relationship with God, we can depend on Him for everything and in everything-for support, for health, for strength, for all we need. It is a relationship in which we are confident and secure that we have committed our life to God and that He holds it in perfect, eternal love. It is a relationship that involves being settled and fixed. No more floating around. We know whom we have believed and we stand in Him. (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press)
Know Christ and you will know rest.

No Christ and there will be no rest!

… In this life or the one to come!
Relation of rest to refreshment: Rest was built into the natural rhythms of life by the Creator, Who Himself rested on the seventh day of creation (Ge 2:1, 2, 3). The rest of God includes the crucial element of refreshment. Exodus 31:17 tells us that God not only rested on the seventh day but also “was refreshed” (Hebrew = napas = renewal of energy of mind and body, Lxx = katapauo = to put to an end, give rest to) (Cp “refresh” in Ex 23:12, Pr 25:13, Ro 15:30, 31, 32-note, [Do others find refreshing rest in your company beloved? cp 1Co 16:17, 18, 2Co 7:13, 2Ti 1:16-note, Philemon 7, 20] Acts 3:19, 20 [Where {Who} does true refreshment come from? What must we do to enter the times of refreshing?], Je 31:25NIV, Pr 3:7, 8 [fear of the LORD causes us to turn from evil and brings refreshment to our bones! Beloved, if you are reading this and sensing a deep “inner gnawing”, perhaps God is calling you to an attitude of reverential fear which might prompt you to turn away from evil and experience His refreshing!] 1Sa 16:14, 23 = “evil spirit”, ponder the power of God glorifying, Christ exalting, Word centered spiritual music to refresh! Does your time in worship yield such “times of refreshing”? Why not?)

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10).

Mark 6:30-32 King James Version (KJV)

30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.

Hebrews 4
4 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Proverbs 3:24 King James Version (KJV)

24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Psalm 4:8
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety

Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Mark 4:37-39 King James Version (KJV)

37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Matthew 11
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

 

Resting is biblical and essential to our health and well-being.

On the seventh day, God rested…

Come apart and rest.

Yes, you’re likely saying, well I’m not Jesus. I agree–that position is filled.

You don’t understand my schedule.

If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.

No one is here to help.

I completely understand what you are saying. And what’s even better is that God does, too and WANTS to help you. Yes, He does.

 

Honest look:

 

If you say yes to one thing, you say no to something else. Let’s just face it, some of our busyness is self-inflicted.  I cannot tell you the number of invitations I agreed to out of guilt, obligation or concern go what the requester would think if I didn’t or not wanting to go thought the verbal gymnastics of explaining my “no”.

As believers of God, we are admonished to not be too hasty to utter anything hasty out of our mouths. (Ecclesiates 5: ). Unless God gives you an answer right away, it’s very okay to tell you need to get back to them before committing. This gives you time to pray and weight your “yes” against other commitments you may have.

 

Let your yay be yay and your nay be nay. Once you say yes or no to something, with the help of the Lord, and outside an emergecy,  stick to what you said you’d do, even if you’re not feeling it. Psalm 15 Unrest comes when we flip-flop between the two answers or lament about saying yes and spend hours trying to think of a way to get out of the commitment.

When your mind is settled about what you are committed to doing, it rests and helps your body to rest.

 

Let go of what’s unnecessary.

Do we need to be on the school bake sale committee? How important is that paper drive? How many XXX meetings have you attended, only to be scrolling through your phone or making grocery lists under the guise of taking notes? After inventorying excess rest-snatchers, do what you can to serve out your time, find a replacement (if needed), and give your notice with a brief explanation:

 

Enlist help:

Within: Get the family to pitch in. If you ask Jr. to vaccum, he may miss a few spots, yes–the job got done. Gently coach him on it after you thank him. Kids can help tidy up rooms, separate and  folk clothes and

 

If you can get someone to clean, take care of Mom and Dad for a few hours a week,  use a grocery service and get the kids

 

 

 

 

Generally speaking, we are a “busy” society–especially women. Many ladies work (in and/or outside of the home), are married, have children, care for aging parents, are on a committee, in ministry of some sort (choir, ushering, teaching, etc.), and in some cases, all of the above, right?  Furthermore, one or more of these plates we are spinning can get a little heavier as we add housework, homework, school plays, practices, games, spouse time, family time, self care,  appointments, bake sales and week-long anniversary services. All of these things can cause pressure and stress at any given time, making the already heavy load we carry about 40 pounds heavier and leaves little to no time seemingly to get some down time or rest properly. In fact, I did not get into bed until after 11p.m. last night and was up this morning about 5:30 a.m. Can you tell I speak from place of experience?

In the list of all we need to do, intentional rest needs to be at the top of that list.  God has designed us to need rest. What exactly is rest, though? The dictionary defines rest as:

 Ceasing work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.

An instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.

An interval of silence of a specified duration.

Additionally, AustinPrecept.com has an even more wonderful detailed definition:

Rest is freedom from work, toil, strain or activity. Rest is the cessation of motion or action of any kind, and applicable to any body or being, as rest from labor, rest from mental exertion or rest of body or mind. A body is at rest, when it ceases to move. The mind is at rest, when it ceases to be disturbed or agitated. The sea is never at rest! (And many believers live their lives more like the sea than their Savior!)

I am a firm believer that many of us do not rest in the body or mind properly. We have so many things to do and “not enough hours in the day” (not true–God made the hours we need–we have to manage the things we PACK those hours with) that we get anxious, frustrated, nervous, upset, angry, depressed, or any combination thereof when we do not get everything on the list done. Then we lie in bed mentally replaying the list and berating ourselves as we attempt to get the schedule right in our minds for the next day. The stress of trying to get it all done keeps us awake, has us taking sleep aids and medication to try and rest for short periods and using artificial stimulents to stay awake. We have to break this cycle, BCUFam! I know it seems impossible, but with God ALL things are possible!

PRAY–Above all things, we need to go to Jesus in prayer. As much as possible, this NEEDS to happen at the START of your day. Our time with Jesus need not be two hours if that’s not possible, but quality, quiet time in prayer and reading the Word will help to frame your day for success.  David said, “O God, thou are my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirstest for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” (Psalm 63:1). The more we thirst for God, the more want and need to get into his presence. Also, Proverbs 16:19 says commit your works to the Lord and He will establish your thoughts. If we are asking God to help our thought process, He will regulate our minds for the day, which brings us to the next point.

VAYA CON DIOS (Go with God)–meaning as we go about our day, we should be asking God what need to do. Sure we know we need to go to work, drop off the kids, do housework, run errands, et cetera, but Proverbs 3:6 says, in ALL YOUR ways acknowledge Him (The Lord), and He shall direct your paths. Maybe the path we take to get to work or the direction God wants us to go is different from what we normally do and for His purpose and glory.

A few months ago, I really wanted to go to a particular restaurant for dinner, but the Lord put it my mind to go to a different eatery. Thankfully, in being obedient and following the Lord’s directed path, I ran into a dear sister whom I haven’t seen in years! It was wonderful to fellowship and actually pray with her on a few things she was waiting on the Lord for. In another instance in following God’s instructions for the day, I bumped one of my elderly friends who had been on my mind, but had lost contact with. What does this have to do with resting you ask? When following God’s will, some things on our to-do list just WILL NOT GET DONE, and we need to rest in that. While it would have been “easier” to go where I wanted to, in doing what God said, His plans became mine—and I was rested in my heart and mind that I was in His perfect will for the day.

Speaking of heart and mind  it is tantamount to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health to ensure we are adequately rested here. Let’s go to the Word about that.

Jesus said, come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). Now this is an invitation we want to take Jesus up! He wants to take on our heavy loads while He gives us the light load–the thing is we have to go to Jesus and leave every burden there. Why needlessly continue to be restless in your heart and mind when our good Father wants to take care of us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creation & science: The benefits of crying

Hey there BCU Fam,

You have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study! 

For those of you who know me, I can get really emotional (a.k.a cry) over some of the smallest things–an unexpected note, a heart-felt word of encouragement, someone going through something, or just in response to God’s goodness and mercy–especially during/after prayer, praise and worship. I was talking to my amazing sister and friend Nekesha after a wonderful service at church where God really moved on my heart through tears almost throughout the entire service!  Nekesha mentioned she had done some research on crying and how cathartic it is for us. So, I thought it’d be interesting to see why God made our eyes to cry like they do.

According to an article in Medical News Today.com we have three types of tears:

Basal tears are omnipresent in our eyes. These constant tears are what keep our eyes from drying out completely. The human body produces an average of 5 to 10 ounces of basal tears each day. They drain through the nasal cavity, which is the reason so many of us develop runny noses after a good cry.

The second type is reflex tears, which serve to protect the human eye from harsh irritants such as smoke, onions or even a very strong, dusty wind. To accomplish this feat, the sensory nerves in your cornea communicate this irritation to your brain stem, which in turn sends hormones to the glands in the eyelids. These hormones cause the eyes to produce tears, effectively ridding them of the irritating substance.

The third type of tears is emotional tears. It all starts in the cerebrum where a strong emotion such as stress, pleasure, anger,  gratefulness, sadness and suffering or physical pain is registered. The endocrine system is then triggered to release hormones to the ocular area, which then causes tears to form.

Emotional crying is mostly attributed to babies/children, women, and “weak people”(whatever that means), but because God is so amazing, He MADE us the ability to cry for specific reasons. To start, crying can help you regulate your emotions, reduce your distress and rally support from others. In addition, research says that crying:

Helps to relieve pain

Research has foundTrusted Source that in addition to being self-soothing, shedding emotional tears releases oxytocin and endorphins.

These chemicals make people feel good and may also ease both physical and emotional pain. In this way, crying can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being.

Enhances mood

Crying may help lift people’s spirits and make them feel better. As well as relieving pain, oxytocin and endorphins can help improve mood. This is why they are often known as “feel good” chemicals.

Releases toxins and relieves stress

When humans cry in response to stress, their tears contain a number of stress hormones and other chemicals.

Researchers believe that crying could reduce the levels of these chemicals in the body, which could, in turn, reduce stress. More research is needed into this area, however, to confirm this.

Aids sleep

A small study in 2015 found that crying can help babies sleep better. Whether crying has the same sleep-enhancing effect on adults is yet to be researched.

However, it follows that the calming, mood-enhancing, and pain-relieving effects of crying above may help a person fall asleep more easily.

 Fights bacteria

Crying helps to kill bacteria and keep the eyes clean as tears contain a fluid called lysozyme.

A 2011 studyTrusted Source found that lysozyme had such powerful antimicrobial properties that it could even help to reduce risks presented by bioterror agents, such as anthrax.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319631.php#benefits-of-crying

So, in looking at this list, BCUFam, I’m thinking if I continuously suppress my urge to cry, then I add to my body’s stress levels which in turn harbors sickness, pain, multiplies toxins, and hosts bacteria in my cells–that can’t be good for our bodies and minds at all! Even our Lord and Savior Jesus wept! (See John 11:1-45 and Luke 19:41-44). Let’s see what else the Bible says about crying.

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me (Psalm 56:8-9). This poetic language reminds us that God does not forget our tears at all and will save us from our enemy! What a blessed assurance!

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles (Psalm 37:17).  Here we are assured that God hears our cry and will deliver us. Hallelujah!

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). Sometimes, we cry outwardly and inwardly (groan). Often, we do not understand why, but the Spirit does and advocates on our behalf. Praise our God!

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful (Revelation 21:4-5). Can you imagine God actually wiping away our tears? Ohh— this is something to look forward to, BCUFam! 

The wrap up? As the book of Revelation promises, there will be a day where there will be no more tears. Until then, God in His infinite wisdom, made our tears to be like an internal pressure valve to release the tension and cares of this life, so that we can continue to run on and live for Him. So, ignore the stigma and negative connotations that the world has assigned to crying, let the tears flow and the healing begin! Amen?! Amen!

What are thoughts on our topic du jour, BCUFam? Does crying come easily for you? Is it a struggle? What do you think about the science behind the tears? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section below!

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Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU