Your fruit is showing…

Hey there BCU Family!

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 spent some time with a wonderful individual who is on fire for the Lord, full of love, faith…and complaints. No, not venting or looking for an understanding–just a myriad complaints about people, places and things, past, present and future. How does such a fiery vessel have such a consistently negative attitude? It’s all about the tree and its fruit.

As a quick disclaimer, I do not bring this subject up in a spirit of condemnation or superiority, (trust me, God has PLENTY of things He is working on with me), rather, as I pondered the conversation, the Lord brought the behavior to my attention as a warning to me first,  and to the Body of Christ as a whole. Let’s examine why.

As saints, we are called to observe and discern. In fact, Matthew 7:16 tells us we will know people by their fruits. While people can tell us/we can be told who someone is, the words and actions (fruit) tell US who they are.

That same verse goes on to ask “do men get grapes from thorns or figs from thistles?” In other words, if you say you are a grape vine or a fig tree, your fruit will be just that, sweet, fragrant, plentiful and in abundance, rather than producing thorns or thistles. Thorns and thistles are long, recurved, prickly plants that upon contact, often inflict serious and recurring wounds. Get the point?

Side note: grapes are the most mentioned fruit in the Bible and are valued because of the ways they can be used, such as for wine, raisins and vinegar. Not only are figs mentioned because of their nutritional and economic value, figs often symbolized safety and doing well.

 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon (I Kings 4:25). 

Now, getting back to Matthew 7, verses 17 and 18 tell us that good trees bring good fruit and corrupt trees bring evil fruit. Also, you cannot get evil fruit from a good tree and/or vice versa. So here, God is telling us there are two types of trees–good or evil. Let’s read these verses to get a better understanding.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

A careful read tells us 1) Bad fruit producers are cut down and thrown into the fire (Hell) and, 2) we can produce bad fruit, work for the Lord, BUT we will STILL miss Heaven! These are sobering thoughts, BCU Fam. Our merciful God is willing to help us in this area—if we let Him. So how do we know what type of fruit we are producing and if it pleases God? Anything that comes from the flesh will NEVER please God and ONLY produce evil fruit. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us all about it:

 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

In sharp contrast, when we yield to the Spirit of God, we allow the fruit of the Spirit to produce good things like: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). I love that there is no law against good fruit production! Can you imagine how much better things would be if we all produced all this fruit regularly?

This is a LOT to take in, right? The bottom line is for those of us who have the Holy Ghost, when we were filled, we became good trees with the “good fruit” that we see in the aforementioned paragraph. With God’s help, we have to maintain our tree and ensure we are consistently producing good fruit by walking and living in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25). Every so often we may have a thorn or thistle, but we should immediately apply spiritual “Round-Up” (prayer and fasting), to kill off those deadly and unproductive prickle bushes. Amen? Amen.

How about you? How has your fruit production been? What would a surprise inspection yield? I am so curious to hear your heart on this topic! Please head over to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!


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

Salt: A necessary nutrient

Hey there BCU Family!

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! 

A couple of weeks ago, I started on a “salt series” that talked about salt production and how vital it is to our natural body and in the body of Christ on a spiritual level. Last post, we learned that salt was just not a food enhancer or monetary trade item, it was also used as a covenant symbol.

This final post will review/ round off that series by exploring why we need (more) salt in our lives.  Let’s dig in by reviewing our anchor Scripture, (which we will refer to later).

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13 NKJV).

Salt gets a bad rap because of its link to high blood pressure, fluid retention, etc. While anything in excess can be harmful, iodized salt is not the best for the body. Common “table” salt is void of vital nutrients except iodine, which is added back after processing.

Sea salt contains nutrients that are needful for the body like sulphate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, bromide, borate, strontium, and fluoride. In addition, sodium regulates the passage of nutrients into the cells. Without it, nutrients cannot enter your cells and you will have malnutrition and exhaustion, no matter how good your diet. Some other salt functions are:

Muscle cramps prevention
Regulator of:
–blood pressure
–blood sugar
–sleep
Eliminates dry coughs (just a bit on your tongue)
Soothes a sore throat (warm water & salt gargle)
Draws out infections

And that’s just the a small fraction of what salt does! Just as its needed in your body, it’s needed in the “Body Of Christ” as well.

Consistent salt regulates the “Body” by keeping “infections” out such as: idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and things like this. Willful engagement of these behaviors will prohibit us from entering into the kingdom of God, according to Galatians 5:20-21. Having salt on the regular will keeps us functioning and keep the “good” in. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22, 23 NLT).

Additionally, salt was also used as a food preserver. History teaches us that salt was used to keep fresh fish from spoiling (there were no freezers in biblical times). In relation to the above paragraph, spiritual salt “preserves” us from practicing sin.

We also need salt for our conversations with family, friends, co-workers and the not-so-nice store clerk. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every one: (Colossians 4:6 NKJV). Another example comes from Proverbs 15:1–“a soft answer turns away wrath, but grievious words stir up anger.” Salt helps temper your responses.

Few things are as bad as a flavorless, or what I call a peppered Christian—acting bitter and nasty due to hurt, cares of the world, practicing sin or bad habits. In fact, let’s go back to the verse that started the series–Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

In the Bible days, when harvesting the salt, if any of it was contaminated with dirt or marsh, it was put on the dirt roads to keep the dust down, hence the reference to being trampled underfoot by men. A contaminated Christian NOT the testimony we want. We have to stay seasoned in order to draw the world AND love folks. Jesus said,“have salt in yourselves and peace with one another” (Mark 9:50). If there is no salt in you, you will not have peace with others. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Bottom line: Salt is a necessary nutrient needed in our natural and spiritual lives. Adequate salt intake comes from prayer, fasting, regular bible study and attending church. Also, just like when we season our food, we want to use the correct amount of salt in our speech and actions. Too little salt is not effective—too much salt and is not palatable. Let us purpose in our hearts to ask God to help us to always use/the right amount of salt in ALL our interactions. Amen? Amen!


So what are your thoughts on our topic-du-jour? Did you know that salt is a necessary nutrient both naturally and spiritually? Do you get enough salt?  Please head to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!

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 too 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

Making “salted promises.”

Hey there BCU Family!

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 post, I started on a “salt series” that talked about salt production and how vital it is to our natural body and in the body of Christ on a spiritual level. This time around, lets see what the Word is on salt. Here is our anchor scripture.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Matthew 5:13). 

Let’s see why we need to keep salt in us.

One of the earliest mentions of salt is in Leviticus 2. That chapter outlines detailed instructions on how sacrifices had to be prepared to be given to the priests and then offered to God. In verses 4-6, you’ll see God was very specific about the flour, oil—and even if the grain sacrifice was made pan versus a frying pan. (Side note: note how you just couldn’t bring God a sacrifice any old way. That’s important for us to think about when we bring Him our sacrifice of praise, worship, time, money..anything we have for Him, we should give Him our best). Looking at the verses 11-12, God specifies the “seasonings” on the offering–that there should be no leaven or honey, but:

Every offering you shall season with salt. You shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt” (Leviticus 2:13).

Okay, Blen, so what does that mean? I am glad you asked! Salt was just not a food enhancer or monetary trade items like we learned last time, it was also used as a covenant symbol.

History mentions that people used salt as a sign of binding loyalty and a symbol of alliance. In fact, in Europe and parts of the Middle East, salt and bread are offered to guests as a sign of friendship (hence the phrase “we have salt between us”). Additionally, treaties and truces were formalized using salt. Each person would take a lick of salt (similar to shaking hands) to “seal the deal”.

Salt was also used to heal a rift between parties as well. If there was a disagreement between folks, you would invite the person into your home to share a dish of salt. Each of you would lick your finger, dip it in the salt and then eat the salt together. Peculiar as this may sound, when a promise was seasoned with salt, it was so serious, that people would rather die than break that promise! Let’s examine another Scripture on the Covenant of salt.

2 Chronicles 13 tells of a war between Israel (King Jeroboam) and Judah (King Abijah). Jeroboam had the bigger army and was pretty sure he could take Abijah down. King Abijah reminded Jeriboam of God’s promise.

“Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt? Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah”
(2 Chronicles 13:5,12,15 NKJV). Yessss–God ALWAYS keeps His word and Judah triumphed!!!!!!

Are you connecting the dots, Family? Isn’t it wonderful to see how God shows us how He keeps promises with something as simple, yet as powerful as salt? How about the promises we make? 🙊Are they “salt-worthy”? Solomon warns us think before we vow:

Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few
(Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV).

I cannot speak for you all, but if someone promises they will do something and they don’t follow through, I am so disappointed! Because the Lord has made me more mindful about keeping my word, He reminds me to say “with God’s help I will”…or, “if nothing changes, I plan to”, or “Lord will, I’ll…” Keeping that last verse in mind, it really helps us to rely on our perfect God to help us keep our word. Also, if we something does happen, it’s a good idea to circle back to the person quickly and fulfill your promise as soon as possible.

Bottom line: If you can’t season your promise with salt, it really best not to promise at all. I heard a cartoon character say, a broken promise cannot be easily put back together. That’s heavy, right? So keeping that in mind, we should pray before we promise. Amen? Amen.


So what are your thoughts on our topic-du-jour? Did you know about the salt covenant? Do you think about your promises carefully before making them? Please head to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!

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

 

Can I truly live free from worry?

Hey there BCU Family!

Typically, you have the option of listening to our podcast, reading the notes or both. For this post, because of the informal format, please tune into the podcast recording and refer to the written post for the highlights. We pray the post blesses and encourages you. If so, please thumbs up AND leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

Podcast highlights:

  • There are legitimate concerns that come up in all our lives from time to time, or even more often.
  • Dwelling on these concerns can get us to a state of consistent fret or worry.
  •  Merriam Webster defines worry as “to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat”, and then “to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort” and “to afflict with mental distress or agitation = make anxious”. Yikes.
  • God knows that about us, so He’s given us His Word on what to do when we feel worried.
  • When we disobey what God says about not worrying, in essence we are calling Him a liar.
  • God wants us to trust that He knows everything going on with us and will take care of whatever we need in His way and timing.

Scripture references:

Matthew 6:25-34

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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.

Philippians 4:6-9

6 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.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.


BCU Fam, let me stress that there are things we will be concerned about. The diagnosis, prognosis, the marriage, the family, relationships, the job, finance–just the state of affairs happening in life—any of that enough for anyone to sit up day and night to worry about. For those of us who know the Lord in His fullness, we have His promise that He will take care of us. We can rest on His word. Amen? Amen!

So what are your thoughts on our topic-du-jour? What is your worry level?  What do you worry about the most? Knowing what the word of God says, what will you do differently? Please head to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!

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

 

When the storm comes: peace or panic?

Hey there BCU Family!

Typically, you have the option of listening to our podcast, reading the notes or both. For this post, because of the informal format, please tune into the podcast recording and refer to the written post for the highlights. We pray the post blesses and encourages you. If so, please thumbs up AND leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

Podcast highlights:

  • No matter where we live in the world, at some point we will experience a storm (i.e. rain, snow, wind..)
  • Depending on the type of storm and our preparedness or attitude about it–they can produce a feeling of peace or rest. OR they can invoke waves of emotions such as anxiety, worry, fear or nervousness.
  • Similarly, at some point/points in our lives, we will experience a/storm/s. And we either rest in the peace of God, or be tormented in our minds with anxiety.
  • Even in the stormiest and scariest storms in our lives, Jesus is with us and wants us to have His peace.

Scripture references:

Mark 4:35-41

35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.

36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

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.

40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.       (1 Peter 5:10).

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5 b).



So what are your thoughts on our topic-du-jour? What is your go-to behavior when the storm clouds rise and the ship is full of water? Do you immediately go to fretting? Or take the storm to our mighty God? A bit of both? Please head to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!

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