Meditate on these things… 

Hey there BCU Fam!

BlenCouragesU is excited to bring you our first guest blog post, in the person of Kristie Ward! In addition to being an advocate of children, Kristie is a wife, mom and beautiful woman of God. Read and be blessed!

Spirituality

There are a growing number of Americans in search of spirituality and enlightenment. The search has extended beyond traditional American belief systems. People are fully embracing spiritual practices from all over the world in daily life. Yoga studios have opened up in almost every city and the practice of yoga and meditation is often a regular part of physical education classes beginning in elementary school. The trouble is, we have invited practices into our lives without a full understanding of what it involves and how it is practiced in its eastern origin. Traditional yoga directly contradicts with biblical spirituality.

As a Christian, being “spiritual” is having and walking in the Spirit of Christ on a daily basis. It’s not a temporary fix or a way to channel your positive energy. It’s not a means to have a glowing aura or a connection with the other side. Eastern religions teach that salvation is found within man but man is not a deity unto himself. Man is finite, fragile and he fails himself. The human condition is sin and only a just God was/is able to erase the sting of it.

But.. I’m not practicing Hinduism

Yoga itself is not a religion. It is a religious practice credited to Hinduism, meaning, ‘to yoke or be joined with the divine’. How does one become joined with divinity? Well, yoga teaches meditation and breathing techniques to calm the body and relax the mind, which can include chanting and incense. It sends the body into a different state of mind. This is a state of mind that does not honor God, but instead teaches people that they have divinity within themselves naturally and with that they can gain power and control.

In opposition, Christianity is a humbling faith. It teaches lowliness and an awareness inherent weakness; the affinity to sin. One true God teaches us the right way to go. One source of truth shows us right from wrong. It teaches us that there is only one true Spirit and that is God himself. He has given the bible as not only a love letter, but a guidebook for life and life eternal. We are all made to worship but who we worship defines whether we are alive or dead, quickened or still, powerful or weak. God has proven himself to be omnipotent through the simple act of faith, not through bodily exercise (1 Timothy 4:8) or vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).

The act of meditation is as simple as Phillippians 4:8, “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. The world is a cloud of religions, confusion and seared consciences. Let’s be bible believers and Christians who walk in the Spirit. Be careful! Everything new and different isn’t always biblical and everything claiming to be spiritual doesn’t have THE SPIRIT OF GOD in it.

 

Kristie Ward is a Christian social worker, freelance writer for HelpGrowCT and Co-owner of Ward Advocacy, LLC.

Out and in: A prayer for a time such as this.

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

As usual, 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 the post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your the post.

We are less than 24 hours from 2017 (depending on when you’ve tuned in) and you all know that means countdowns, lessons, look-backs and promises. Now we here at BCU will partake in the some of those things (minus the promises) in an upcoming post/podcast, but for this post, I felt led to simply pray. Yes pray.

While we may not like to think about it, with all that is happening in the world, we can see that the coming of the Lord is imminent and we must be prepared to go back with Him, if He does not come for us in death first. The cares of this life, the people we have to deal with on the regular, job stress, family challenges, health crises, the change in administration, uncertainty about what’s next, who’s next, who’s got next–can distract us to a point where our stays focus off Jesus and what He has called us to do. We’re angry, miserable, tired, unmotivated, slipping into bad/ungodly habits and find it hard to hear God’s voice or even trust Him again. Dangerous. And exactly what the enemy wants.

With the help of the Lord and His leading, we’ll plan to tackle some of those areas in 2017 in some form or another–until then, let’s boldly go to the throne of grace where we can always go to obtain help in the time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Let us pray.

Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, we bow before you to say “thank You”. You are SO awesome, wonderful, amazing, gracious, merciful, faithful and ever so kind. We thank You for the new mercies we see renewed daily and for the benefits that you load us with–forgiving, healing, redeeming and satisfying our mouths with GOOD things, as Psalm 103 reminds us.

We will honestly tell you, Lord (You already know anyway), that for many of us, this year was a trying one. Some of us lost loved ones, friends, jobs, went through with spouses , family members and children, faced illnesses/treatments or had to caregive–all along with the other assignments and obligations You entrusted us with. It did get difficult from time to time–we cried, questioned, got angry, gave up for a bit, but because of YOUR better-than-life lovingkindness, Your grace, Your tender mercy, YOUR grace, YOUR faithfulness to Your flock, You blessed us–Your children to make it through and we say “thank You!”

We thank You for blessing us with the lessons from 2016 and pray that if You will and we enter into 2017, that You continue to bless with to APPLY what You have/are teaching us to our everyday lives. Please bless us to be on high alert for ministry opportunities to all we come in contact with, for we may just be the planter or waterer before YOU give the increase. Please help us to take our assignments in the Body seriously, diligently and to Your glory. Help us to be a blessing to those in and outside of the body of Christ. Bless us, Lord to hear and follow YOUR voice–and not to practice sinning in any fashion, as we endeavor to be that light set on a hill.

We pray for leaders everywhere–in government, first responders, leaders on our jobs, in the Body of Christ, in our homes–wherever they may be, please guide their thoughts and actions. Bless them to make wise decisions that glorify You, for it is written in Proverbs 21:1, that the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord and like the rivers of water, you turn it wherever YOU want. And if the decisions made are not favorable, we trust that You will take good care of us, because Luke 12:22-31 reminds us to take NO thought about what we need–if You supply for the birds and clothe the grass, You will supply for us, as we seek your kingdom.

Please bless our families, friends and yes, our enemies! Strengthen the single parents and caregivers. Remember those are are incarcerated, along with their families. Comfort the grieving. Speak to someone’s suicidal heart and help them to realize this life is worth living–that they need You, Jesus. We ask that You send healing to broken hearts, that You regulate minds, heal bodies, reconcile ordained relationships, break up toxic situations-ships, send provisions, protection, assurance, conviction, repentance and most of all SAVE souls according to Acts 2:38! Glory!!!

Thank you for blessing us to continue on the straight and narrow way, making our call and election sure, teaching us to number our days and helping us to be counted worthy to escape. We magnify You Lord and bless you for hearing our cry and answering our prayers according to Your perfect will.

To you, Lord, be the glory, honor and praise, in the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

YESSSS!!!! This is the way to start a year, month, day, hour, assignment, task, situation, or challenge. IN PRAYER! And we just don’t pray, we pray FERVENTLY and  in FAITH!!! Hallelujah!

We’re looking forward to the things God has in store for the days ahead and want to share that with you, so please pray and stay tuned! And if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so, it’s free and a good place to get 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 iTunes.

Well let’s go ahead and wrap up our last post of the year! May God bless and keep us all to #StayOnTheWall!

Happy 2017!🎊🙏🏽

 

Love,

 

BCU

It’s about time….

Hey there BCU Fam!

As usual, 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 the post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

 

A while back I was scrolling through the BCU Instagram feed and saw this quote from Christian comedian Broderick E. Rice: “Early birds get more than just the worm; they get everything the latecomers aren’t willing to sacrifice for.” He lowered the “BOOM”, y’all! 😳

As I pondered that, back in my 20’s, I might have chuckled and kept moving. Fast forward a couple of decades, and I totally agree with what he said. Occasional tardiness, or something that can’t be helped (church service starts at 7pm and you get off work at the same time, you got a flat tire, you were ministering at church, etc..) is one thing, it is the habitual lateness that is the quagmire for most of us. Not only is non-punctuality extremely discourteous, it is stressful (for the offender and the offended) and most of all, it shows lack of stewardship of the precious commodity of time that God entrusts us with. I Corinthians 4:2 says that stewards have to be found faithful–and that means in all areas of our lives. Many times, we just need to manage our time better, with God’s help.

In doing some quick research, I ran across a post about tardiness written by Brett and Kate McKay–a snippet of the high points are below. While the post was intended to help our male population be on time, I believe this information is just as important for the ladies! Let’s dig into the highlight reel courtesy of TheArtOfManliness.com, as well as the added biblical checkpoints.

1) Being punctual shows your humility. That bumper sticker maxim: “Always late, but worth the wait” shows that tardiness and an overestimation of one’s worth sometimes go hand in hand. People will be glad to see you when you arrive, but they would have been gladder still had you come on time.

Biblical checkpoint: Proverbs 29:23 says, a man’s pride will bring him low, but honor shall uphold the lowly in spirit. 

2) Being punctual shows your respect for others. Being late is a selfish act, for it puts your needs above another’s. You want an extra minute to do what you’d like, but in gaining that minute for yourself, you take a minute from another, which is why….

3) Being late is a form of stealing. That’s a tough truth, but it’s a truth nonetheless. When you make others wait for you, you rob minutes from them that they’ll never get back. Time they could have turned into money, or simply used for the things important to them. In coming to meet you at the agreed upon hour, they may have made sacrifices – woken up early, cut short their workout, told their kid they couldn’t read a story together – and your lateness negates those sacrifices. If you wouldn’t think of taking ten dollars from another man’s wallet, you shouldn’t think of stealing ten minutes from him either. Being punctual shows you value time yourself, and thus wouldn’t think of depriving others of this precious, but limited resource.

Biblical checkpoint: Thou shall not steal (Exodus 20:15).

4) Being late strains your relationships. When you’re late in meeting other people, it makes them feel under-valued, that whatever you couldn’t pull yourself away from was more important or that they didn’t mean enough to you to warrant allotting sufficient time to arrive on schedule. The guest who flies in to see you feels like a dope standing at the airport alone, your date feels awkward sitting at the restaurant by herself, and your child feels abandoned as she waits with her teacher for you to arrive, all the other children having already been picked up from school.

Biblical checkpoint: Let nothing be done though selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3). 

5)Being punctual strengthens and reveals your integrity. If you tell someone that you will meet them at a certain time, you have essentially made them a promise. And if you say you’ll be there at 8:00, and yet arrive at 8:15, you have essentially broken that promise. Being on time shows others that you are a man [woman] of your word.

Biblical checkpoint: Lord, who shall abide in your tabernacle? Who shall dwell in your holy hill? He that swears to his own hurt and changes not (Psalm 15:1, 4). In other words, even if it hurts you, keep your word. 

6) Being late takes a toll on your life. Always running behind simply hurts you in all areas of your life. It results in lost opportunities: missing a plane, missing a meeting, missing an important part of a lecture, missing a wedding. It creates stress and can lead to car accidents and traffic tickets. It results in embarrassment and forces you to come up with excuses for why you’re late, putting a strain on your honesty. Basically, it makes your life more complicated; for men [women] seeking to simplify their lives, cultivating punctuality is an essential part of that path.

Biblical checkpoint: In telling  a parable about what the kingdom of heaven is likened to,  Jesus said there were ten virgins (Matthew 25) who were supposed to be ready to meet the Bridegroom at a particular time. Five of the ladies were wise enough to take oil with them and the other five did not. When the bridegroom called, the five wise ladies were ready with their lamps trimmed, while the five foolish were caught out without oil and had to go buy it. By the time they got back, the door was shut to them-the bridegroom said he did NOT know them. We could really go deep here, but suffice it to say being late causes you to miss out on things that could be life-threatening. 

Whew, BCU family–I’m a bit convicted here! Ephesians 5:16-17 says we should walk circumspectly not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil! That being said, ALL the points spoke to my tardy heart!

Please leave a comment below and tell us which punctuality points resonated with you.  In the meantime, let’s ask The Lord to help us to manage the time He so graciously gives us! I may do a follow-up to this post–I’m excited about implementing habitual timeliness! 😊

As a reminder, there are additional podcasts for you to enjoy–you are welcome to peruse the BlenCouragesU.com site 24-7!  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 iTunes.

Until we are together again,  thank you for stopping by and may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you! #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

Motley post> How to: avoid consuming rotten fruit

Hey BCU Family!

As usual, 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!

 

About a year ago, I posted a chart I saw  on Linked in–outlining what we tend to say to ourselves (I’m not good at this) vs. what we should say (what am I missing?) So as I looked at the post again, while the “positive affirmations” still resonated with me, the Lord spoke to my heart and mentioned the many negative things we say to ourselves can and SHOULD be overridden with the The Word of God.

Paul reminds us that we are to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). That’s important because what we think translates into words and they effect our actions. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says death and life are in the power of the tongue and you will “eat the fruit of your words”. Every self-depreciating comment, negative affirmation or put-down is like eating rotten, deadly fruit. How many of us would knowingly eat harmful food? If you’ve ever had food poisoning or ANY gastrointestinal trouble after eating a particular food or at a place, you would totally avoid it! We need to incorporate God’s Word in our thought and word choices.

Instead of thinking this…

Think on THIS

I’m no good at this! I can do ALL thing through Christ that strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
They will never change! The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, and just like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wants. (Proverbs 21:1).
What did I do to deserve THIS situation? And we know that ALL things work together for good, to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Seems like they get away with doing wrong. Why do right? But you, brethern, be not weary in well-doing (I Thessalonians 3:13).
This situation will not get any better.. With God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
If only I had more… But godliness with contentment is great gain (I Timothy 6:6).
This is scary AND I’m lonely! Fear not, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am Your God who will strengthen, help and uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness (Isaiah 41:10). 
I do not feel special.. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows well (Psalm 139:14).
I will NEVER forgive. How often should you forgive? Seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).

If we don’t change the way we speak, the rotten fruit of our lips not only effects you to the point where you feel like you cannot do anything correctly, it either draws other “flies” to you (fellow bad fruit eaters–that’s another post) and/or can drive away the folks who prefer to speak life. Moreover, it is a like a slap in the face to God, who has made us and not we ourselves (Psalms 100:3).

Bottom line: If it you are reading this, it’s not too late to repent for thinking and speaking in the negative. We all say things on the left side of the list from time to time, myself included—the thing is not to continue practicing this behavior. How different would our lives be if we spoke life into ourselves, children, co-workers, et cetera? It’s best to ask God to help us line up our thoughts, words and actions with His Word and enjoy the good fruit of the spoken labor. Amen?! Amen!

Thank you so much for stopping by! If this was a blessing to you, please comment below and share it with someone–you’ll never know how the Lord may use you to encourage someone else! And if you have not done so, please like BlenCouragesU on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!  And PLEASE subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes. You’ve already done that? Then please tell someone you love AND your enemy–I’m trusting they will soon become your friend! 🙂

Until we are together again, may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you—-and #StayOnTheWall!

 

God bless you and thank you for reading!

Love,

 

BCU

Room A203: Part 2>> Interview with Lisa Öhberg from Personal-Planner.com!

Hey there BCU Family!

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a sponsored post, nor is there any affiliation with this wonderful company. All purchases were made with my own money and opinions expressed are my very own! 

So this week was the BlenCouragesU unofficial planner celebration week! Our recent posts included a review podcast, on my planner from Personal-Planner.com, AND I posted a video review on YouTube as well.  Last podcast, I sat down with Lisa Öhberg, marketing manager of this amazing planner company based in Sweden. Now we have part 2 of our chat!

Planner as pictured is $39.95. This includes your customization, a ruler, elastic enclosure, plastic pouch to keep things like receipts, 300 stickers, taxes and shipping to ANY destination in the WORLD! How nifty is that?! I know, right?!

As you peruse the pictures, pause to perhaps watch the review video and listen in on our interview,  (click on the BlenCouragesU icon below)  I am sure you’ll only want to use your telephone for making calls and posting pics on social media as you will REALLY want a planner! Should you decide to purchase a planner, notebook or wall calendar, you’ll get 15% off by using code 9-TEAM-BCU1 from September 14-23, 2016! Please let us know you got one in the comments below!

Thanks for tuning in! May God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you! Until we are together again #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

P.S. We LOVE interacting with you–please comment! And if you have not done so, please like BlenCouragesU on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!  And PLEASE subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio and iTunes. You’ve already done that? Thanks! Then tell someone you love AND your enemy–I’m trusting they will soon become your friend! 🙂