Think it not strange…

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 podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

You know, as a child, young adult, saved older young adult :-), you have a certain “expectation” of how things will go in your life. While our awesome God does bless us to have our heart’s desires according to His will, He also brings us trials that can throw you for a LOOP. Sickness, job changes, loss of loved ones, relational changes, financial challenges, taking care of loved ones—the list goes on. At some point,  we may experience one or more of these areas and cry out to God wondering why He has “forsaken us”.

I Peter 4:12-13 reminds us not to think it strange when the fiery trial comes to prove/test or try you, rather to rejoice in that we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings and when His glory is revealed, we will be glad and with EXCEEDING joy.

Now, I will be FIRST to admit that when these “fires” come (and I have had many over the last few months), I do not exactly embrace them! In one instance, I distinctly recall crying, snotting, calling on the Lord, and telling anyone who would listen what I was going through—hopeful someone would have a way to “remove the bitter cup” from me. At one point, Jesus FINALLY got my attention and let me know I had to rely on HIM and that He anointed me for the task.  My job was to pour out my heart before Him and trust that He knew what He was doing. Additionally, The Lord let me know that trusting means not stressing internally either.

We sometimes hide our stress behind big smiles and  a hearty “Praise The Lord”, when inwardly our minds are going over the situation constantly and to a point where you can be consumed and in extreme cases, stress symptoms can manifest themselves physically. Rather than thinking about the trial and how difficult it is, the Word of God has an answer for us. “Whatever is true, just, honest, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy–those are the things we think [or meditate] on (Philippians 4:8).  Not one Scripture commands us to worry or stress, so obviously, that comes from the enemy and needs immediate rebuking. It is not easy, yet, bringing your thoughts under subjection is a huge part of the trial process–it really helps you with  getting and maintaining your praise and the victory during your test.

My life lesson here? God knows and sees all. Yes, I know you know that, but think of it this way– because God knew us before we were born and has our lives in His control, He is very aware of what is happening to us. He does care and if the fire was not needful, He would not allow us to go through it. The proving or tests are a reminder to continue praising, praying, fasting and trusting God from day one of the trial until you pass the test. Just like any test or challenge we take in our natural lives (for school, work, etc.), we know it may be difficult, but we endure to the end for the reward/satisfaction of accomplishment. It’s the same thing spiritually as well–we endure for to the end for the reward that God has for us–whatever that my be.  You don’t have to take my word for it–take The Word of God! Ruth and Naomi are EXCELLENT examples of holding on in the difficult times and receiving a blessing in the end.

Listen, trials are HARD!!!! NO one likes to suffer, myself included– it is part of life and especially for those who walk with Christ. So while there is no way to avoid challenges, with the help and grace of our God, continue praying, standing on God’s word and wait it out till the end.

They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings as eagles

They shall run and not be weary

They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31).

Hold on, BCU Family…whatever God is teaching or blessing you with… is worth the wait.

How are you hanging in through what you’re going through? What are your go-to scriptures? Please head down to the comments section to share your thoughts so we can continue our conversation!

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, Instagram, and  YouTube! 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

A Christmas message: Who is Jesus to YOU?

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

So, the youth at our church always do a marvelous job in their skits and plays around the birth of Christ.  I thought I’d re-share a written excerpt from the “sermon” scene from one of plays the young people wrote. The sermon was performed by a friend of mine, Matthew Vialva years ago. Take a look/listen!

“You see church, some folk saw Jesus, just as a prophet or teacher, Abba, Rabbi, and a good preacher. But for those that really know His Holy pages, we know:
To the geologist He is the Rock of Ages.
To the Doctor, He is the Great Physician
To the Carpenter, He is the Master Builder.
And any foundation, needs a Chief Cornerstone.
A Lawyer, you never need one, cause we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous—HALLELUJAH!
To the Astronomer, He is the Bright and Morning Star,
To the Botanist, He is the Lily of the Valley….
If you’re wandering today, The Good Shepard will find you and never again shall you want.

Christmas isn’t about gifts. If we want, we ask Jesus because the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, including the North Pole!

Santa Claus is not the boss, Rudolph had a shiny nose, but when you have Jesus, your WHOLE body glows!

St. Nick is not the pick, Kris Kringle can a ding dingle, but when the trump sounds, Santa Claus ain’t comin’ to town.

It’s JESUS, JESUS, JESUS.

Now… let the Christmas Spirit, who is King Jesus reign in your life!”

BCU family, even after all these years, these words still resonate in my spirit–especially the end where Jesus was repeated! There’s something about the name “Jesus” that stirs you UP on the inside! GLORY!!!!! What what your favorite part? Please head to the comment section below and let’s continue our conversation!

As a reminder, 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, and now YouTube! 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!

God bless you this Christmas and always!

Love,

BCU

Why isn’t she HELPING me serve?

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 conversational story, please tune into the podcast recording and refer to the written post for the highlights and corresponding Scriptures. We pray the post blesses and encourages you.  If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

Podcast highlights:

      • Based on our Periscope* on Stewardship/procrastination study from Luke 10:38-41–the familiar story of wise, attentive Mary and “careful”, troubled Martha.

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

  • Careful and troubled mean anxious, distracted,  drawn away from what’s important, AND busy with who all is doing what, aka “busybody”.
  • I Peter 4:15 tells us NOT to be a thief, murderer, evildoer or BUSYBODY in other folks’ matters.
  • Noticing something is different from focusing on it.

Whew! This was a sobering, but needful lesson, BCUFam! What are your thoughts on busybody-ness? Share with me–how hard is it to stay focused on what God has called you to do–especially when/if we feel like they are not “helping you serve” Is it a  struggle?  There’s a comment section here on the BCU site, just ripe for us to continue our conversation!

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 Instagram, and  YouTube! 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

*Join us on Periscope every Thursday night at 8:05pmEST on channel BlenCouragesU.

BCU Resource: complimentary stewardship/time management document

Hey there BCU Fam!

As many of you know, we are currently studying time management in our live Periscope study held on Thursday nights at 8:05pm on Periscope/BlenCouragesU. On this Thursday, (December 14, 2017), we’re planning* to talk practically about managing our time better with the “Eisenhower” quads, updated with Scripture and a little BCU flavor! 🙂 You are MORE than welcome to join us!

Feel free to download the .PDF file>> BCU Quad Matrix Dec 2017 <<ahead of our class, so you can print and fill it on as we go, or you can take notes and fill it in later. If you miss the class, check the BCU Facebook page for the replay, or it may be posted here, as well.

If you need a different version of the Quad (i.e. Excel or Numbers document), just email Blen@BlenCouragesU.com with BCU Quad in the subject line and your information,  or, let me know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and we’ll get you hooked up!

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

 

Love,

BCU

 

*The subject of the Periscope is subject to change, per the Lord’s kairos will. 🙂

 

 

P.S. Here is the filled in Quad>> BCU Quad Complete 2017<<

 

Was that blessing REALLY God’s favor? Or was it stolen?

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

Most of us are taught about stealing being wrong and in many cases, stealing can lead to time in the pokey and a record that follows you for the rest of your life. While many of us would never dream of slipping a lip gloss into a purse, pilfering a candy bar even or taking a vehicle, there are a number of us do steal from others. On the regular. From small businesses.

As a former, semi-current and potential small business owner myself, it’s a blessing to get a vision from the Lord, put your plan together, get your logo/branding, gather your capital, do your advertising and get real live customers! That joy can be quickly overshadowed by the amount of people who know you and want deeply discounted and/or free services. Check out these comments:

(After consuming all the product) “I didn’t like it. Can I get ALL my money back?” (But, you ate it. And served it to your guests).

“Why take my stuff to a tailor when YOU can do it for free?” (insert blank stare).

“I’m MAD! You didn’t update one line of my information (an insignificant line on a stack of promotional materials you got for FREE, mind you).

“I just paid my rent, so I can’t pay for for your services” (this was said AFTER the service was completed). I’ll get you next month. (It’s been a year).

(Person comes to pick up hand-made, specialty, consumable, personalized item) “I can’t pay you until Friday”. (Shaking my head).

Oh, it gets better!

“I am going through a season of financial difficulty, but when God blesses me, I will bless you. (When did this season start? before or after your order?)

“I had to pay a bill. Can I pay you later?” (No words).

“I see those ads you do. How much are they?” (names low price). “Oh.” (So were you disappointed because it wasn’t free?)

Can I get the 20-year friend discount? (The what?)

“If you do this work for free, I will promote you!” (So…you have a connection with Nike or some major sponsor or you gonna tell Mama and dem to come get free goods?)

and my favorite, “I need this (complicated and time consuming) project done TODAY! I know you are home and can get it done.” (As if I have nothing else to do but take your last minute and FREE order).

When we go to a salon, do we bring our own products to save a few dollars? Bring eggs and bacon to the diner to reduce your bill? Do we rush the customer service desk at Target, Wal-Mart, Kroger’s, Stop & Shop or any other big box store expecting or demanding FREE merchandise? So WHY is it okay for us to do the same to small business owners, especially if the owners are our friends and family?

I love a bargain like the next person, BCU Family and as a practicing good steward, I want to get the most for the money I spend. That doesn’t include manipulating, guilting, presuming or stealing (ordering a personalized item or getting a service knowing full well you have no intention of paying for it) goods and services. We see an example of this in the Bible.  Consider King David who wanted to buy a threshing floor from Araunah, in 2 Samuel 24:21-24.

v 21) ‘Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

v 22)And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

v 23)Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

v 24)Then the king [David] said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 

David, being a king, could have manipulated, shamed, demanded  or extorted the land for under the fair market value. He could have said, “you better bless me with that land”.  Or, “God will bless you if you bless me and called it “favor”.  Rather, he offered to and PAID the fair price for it.

When we play “let’s make a deal”  with our business friends, we are EXTORTIONERS who ROB them from being able to provide for their families. When we refuse to pay for services, we STEAL the time, talent and materials God gave them that could have been used for a paying client. We DESTROY the trust they had in the agreement made to pay for services at the the time they are rendered. We KILL their ability to expand their business (if everything is free, how are they going to maintain business or get any bigger?) We DEFRAUD the business owner of customers by bad-mouthing them because no discount given equates to shoddy work. We BURGLARIZE the owner of esteem because of constant pressure and manipulation to get the work done for discounted or free.

BCU Fam, if stealing, manipulation or extortion is part of our lifestyles, unless we repent and cease from it, we will not make it into the kingdom of Heaven. I Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

And if we are filled with the Holy Spirit on the inside, verse 11 reminds us that we USED to do those things, but now we are sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Paul was reminding us, the church, that means as born-again believers we should not continue to practice these sins.

Now, I admit that I used to be the one who was disappointed if I didn’t always get a discount–I thank God for showing me that mindset was not the way to do business or represent Him properly. If you have been the person who has been extorting people, now is a good time to stop with God’s help. Ask Him to help you see the value in the special talent He has blessed them to have. If your funds are tight, then ask God to help you find the money you need, or bless you to get with another service provider that you can afford.

If you are a leader in any capacity,  the business owner and you are friends/family, or you have a strong personality, remember that owners may be intimidated (that’s another post), and think you expect a discount or freebie. Like David, insist on paying them full price, and do that with a cheerful heart–it’s a blessing to be able to to a blessing to someone else and in turn, God will BLESS you. Let’s allow Luke 6:31 to guide fairness in dealing with people: “And just as you would want mean to do to you, you also do to them likewise”.  Amen? Amen!

This is a tough, yes needful talk, BCU Fam. Which side of the fence are you on, discount-demander or berated business owner? What have your experiences been like? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section!

As a reminder, 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, and now YouTube! 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