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It’s a wrap! Nehemiah study finale

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

Over our Nehemiah study, where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wallgetting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. Nehemiah also walked us through how he led/governed (with the help of the Lord) the people, versus bossing/managing the people, which motivated them finish the work triumphantly!

As we moved into further chapters, gatekeep from our chapter 7 lesson,  preparing to apply God’s word from chapter 8  and why we should be mindful of a condition called “stiff neck” in Nehemiah 9 as the Israelites continue recalling what God has done, how far they were away from the Word of God and how they wanted to make a covenant to start obeying once again. Please take the time to read the chapters in their entirety in order to get the full understanding and context of what the Lord has revealed here.

Nehemiah 10 highlights:

So Nehemiah, the priests, chief of the people, porters, singers, and all the people separated themselves from others in the land now having knowledge and understanding. They also began cleaving to themselves as a people and swore to walk in God’s law, observing and doing all the commandments, judgements and statues of the Lord.

How does this apply to us?

 We should take a look at our surroundings and take note of who and what we are attached to. If the situations and the crowd we run with are not lining up with the Word of God, with His guidance, timing and help, we need to leave those things behind and cleave to God.

For you were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8). 

Nehemiah 11 highlights:

Here, the people were settling into their homes and assignments (singers, workers on the house, gatekeepers, etc.)

How does this apply to us?

What has God assigned you to? With the help of the Lord, are we carrying them out in excellence? Giving God our very best, or excusing away our duties because of work (which we usually show up for daily), home duties, or because of PEOPLE “not letting you be great?” That statement deserves another post, but suffice it to say that God is the one that’s great and it’s HIM that works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). So the only ones stopping God from being great in us, is us– allowing the foul spirit that works through people to stop us from carrying out our assignments. Matthew 25:14-30, tells the story and consequences of following (or not) through with what He’s entrusted us with. 

Nehemiah 12 highlights:

The wall is dedicated it is a celebrated with gladness, thanksgivings, singing, cymbals, psaltries, harps and sacrifices! On top of that, the rejoicing and great joy in Jerusalem was hear afar off!

How does this apply to us?

This is how it should be when we give God praise–much singing, rejoicing and thanksgiving!  We’re supposed to bless the Lord at all times, and HIS praises should  CONTINUALLY be in our mouths (Psalm 34:1). Whether it’s in a corporate worship setting, during your prayer time, Bible study, in the car, or even to yourself! In fact, Ephesians 5:19 and 20 says, “speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks ALWAYS for all things unto God and the Father in the name of out Lord Jesus Christ”. Let EVERYTHING that has breath praise ye the LORD! (Psalm 150:6). HALLELUJAH! 

Nehemiah 13 highlights:

The last chapter has some unusual endings. Nehemiah was away and came back to find that  Tobiah, (the enemy only goes away for a season), had befriended one of the priests, ended up in one of the chambers in the house of the Lord! Nehemiah was grieved and subsequently threw Tobiah out and commanded the people cleanse the chamber afterward.

Nehemiah also chastised the rulers and the people who had started selling on the very wall the Lord blessed them to build AND selling on the sabbath! The Israelites were also rebuked for marrying “strange people” or taking spouses who served more than one god along with the Hebrew people who believed in the ONE TRUE God. After straightening all that out, Nehemiah cleansed and purified everyone and asked God to remember him for the good he did with the people.

How does this apply to us?

 We can tell people what to do according to do according to the word of God, but we are not responsible for their action/inaction. God will take care of that. Luke 12:47 says that those who knew the Lord’s will, did not prepare himself and did not do it, will be beat with many stripes. Yes, God is love, but He also has to correct and punish as He is a good Father and keeps ALL of His word. With the help of God, let’s avoid the stripes by being obedient to His will and stay walking in the Spirit and NOT in the flesh (Galatians 5:16-25). Amen? Amen!

Well, BCU Fam, this concludes our study of Nehemiah!!!!! I pray that this extensive study was a blessing to you! If so, we’d love to hear about what you took away from any of the studies, please leave a comment in the designated section below.

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 iTunes!

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

Love,

BCU

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On the wall with Nehemiah: God’s MANIFOLD mercies!

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

Over our Nehemiah study, where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wallgetting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. Nehemiah also walked us through how he led/governed (with the help of the Lord) the people, versus bossing/managing the people, which motivated them finish the work triumphantly!

While this project is complete, there are some other very important learning points in the remaining chapters of Nehemiah! For example, gatekeeping from our chapter 7 lesson,  preparing to apply God’s word from our chapter 8 lesson) and why we should be mindful of a condition called “stiff neck” in chapter 9. Let’s  finish up Nehemiah 9 as the Israelites continue recalling what God has done and how they reacted.

So when we last left off, the hardened-necked people were not heeding God’s commandments, refused to obey and forgot what the Lord had done for them (verse 17).

BUT…

(Love these turning points)

The people said that God is ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and did not forsake them–even when they made a golden calf to worship taking the place of God (See Exodus 32).

YET..

While the Israelites turned their backs on God, and forgot what He did, God’s manifold (many and various) mercies continued in this way: (Nehemiah 9:18-25)

God did not leave them to rot in the wilderness
He never took away the cloud or pillar of fire
He never failed to instruct them
He did not withhold manna or water
He kept them in the wilderness for four decades
He made sure they lacked nothing
Their clothes stayed fresh and feet did not swell

AND ON TOP OF THAT…

God STILL gave the people kingdoms, nations and land..
Their children multiplied like stars of heaven—the Israelites were brought into the land, JUST like God promised.

They overtook cities, got houses filled with goods, water wells, vineyards, olive yards, fruit trees in abundance.

They ate, were filled, got fat and delighted in God’s goodness.

God’s manifold mercies in effect. 

NEVERTHELESS…

IN spite of all God had done, verse 26  says they were disobedient, rebellious, cast the law behind their backs and KILLED the prophets who warned them to come back to God.

BCU Fam, as we apply this part of the lesson to ourselves, as we recall the many things God did for us—the provision, protection, healing, comforting, saving us, and so on, how many times were we disobedient to what God said? Rebellious to the Word of God and cast it away in favor of doing what we felt was right or wanted to do? How many prophets (your pastor, that mother at church, friend, even a stranger) did we kill with a look, silence or even our words, when they warned us about going against what God said?

God’s manifold mercies in effect. 

Now, God will keep His Word no matter what we do or don’t. Know this—there is a penalty for disobedience. God allowed the Israelites, to be delivered into the hand of the enemy, due to their choice to stiffen their necks and disobey. When they cried out for relief, in God’s manifold mercies, He delivered them.

After the deliverance, (verses 27-29), the Israelites straightened up for awhile, BUT they got evil again and God LEFT them to the enemy to have dominion over them. Yet when they cried out, God delivered them– many times— according to His manifold mercies.
The Lord convicted the Israelites in wanting them to listen, but they did not. Hardened necks made a comeback, they wouldn’t listen or heed God, no matter who told them they were wrong, and time and time again, the people were still being delivered in the hands of the enemy because of their choice to sin..

NEVERTHELESS..

Verse 30 says God was still merciful—He did not consume or forsake them because He is a gracious and merciful God.

And while the Israelites got to keep what God gave them (verses 32-37),  they were servants in their OWN land,  had to pay “tribute” (excessive tax) to the kings, and those who ruled over the Israelites had dominion over their bodies and cattle, putting the Israelites in great distress. Verse 38 concludes where the Israelites FINALLY get what happened and now need to covenant to do what God says. My Lord!

BCU Fam, we are not unlike the Israelites at all. As God, in His manifold mercy continues to bless and warn us,  we often will continue doing what we like, not realizing or caring that there is a cumulative cost to actions that go against what God said. And to that end, here will be a pay day coming.

Sin always keeps it’s price hidden until it’s time to pay. And that payment can cost you in time, money, missed opportunities and even your life. Your eternal life! Rather than take God’s mercy for granted, let’s take advantage of the mercy God has extended to us TODAY and covenant with Him, His help to stop willfully and continually going against His Word. NOTHING on Earth should keep us from Heaven. Amen? Amen!

This concludes Nehemiah 9, BCU Fam! We’ll plan to wrap up the remaining chapters the next time we’re together.  In the meantime, as you reflect on God’s mercy, what you took away from this post, so please leave a comment in the designated section below.

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 iTunes!

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

Love,

BCU

Praise, blessings and stiff-necks?! Lessons from Nehemiah 9!

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

Over our Nehemiah study, where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wallgetting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. Nehemiah also walked us through how he led/governed (with the help of the Lord) the people, versus bossing/managing the people, which motivated them finish the work triumphantly!

While this project is complete, there are some other very important learning points (like gatekeeping from our chapter 7 lesson and preparing to apply God’s word from our chapter 8 lesson) in the remainder of the chapters in Nehemiah. Let’s take a look at Nehemiah 9 as the people continue to reflect on the Word and what God has done.

Scene: (Nehemiah 9:1-5) This was a time of reading the law, confessing sins, worship and reflection as the Isrealites recall the time they were in Egypt and God’s protection, mercy and provision while wandering in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43).

In verses 6-15, the people of God lay out who God is and what all He had done:

How God is God alone and how He made heaven, stars, the earth and preserves ALL!

How God brought Abram from Ur, changed His name (to Abraham) and promised to give Abraham land, and well as multiply his seed for his faithfulness and righteousness.

God saw the affliction on the Israelites in Egypt and answered their cry.

The Israelites saw many signs and wonders while being delivered from Pharaoh and their oppressors. God parted the Red Sea for them to walk across and took care of their enemies with that same sea–right before their eyes!
God led them by day as a cloudy pillar and a pillar of by night so they knew where to go.
He gave them right judgements, true laws and good statutes and commandments
God provided food, water and gave the Israelites water and promised land possession.

This is WONDERFUL, right? Look at all the BLESSINGS poured our on God’s people!  As we pause here, can we name the times God saw is on our oppression, sickness, depression, joblessness, family situations–whatever it was—Think about how God and GOD alone delivered us from those situations! How He took care of the enemy for us! And even in the midst of the trial, the hard time, the grief, the pain, He provided us both spititual  food (a Word to refresh, correct, redirect and encourages us), and natural food to strengthen our bodies. God is GREAT and greatly to be praised!

BUT….

We see a turn of events with verse 16.

Nehemiah’s people read the their ancestors “dealt proudly, ” “hardened their necks” and “hearkened not” to God’s commandments. Let’s stop here and talk about hard necks. That means stubborn and not “leadable”.

In those days, typically two oxen did the plowing and the plow master had an “ox-goad” to help steer the animal to where he wanted it to go. An ox-goad was a light pole with a spike on it, used to prick the animal on his neck to speed him up or to go in a straight line. If the oxen didn’t obey, he was labeled stiff or hard-necked–what we usually call “hard-headed”.

So after being in bondage, captivity and free again—looking at ALL those blessings, God is now dealing with a prideful, stiff-necked group of people who refused to obey. The nerve of them, we say? Not so fast, BCU Family!

Now before we judge the Israelites too harshly, let’s put ourselves in their place. Two paragraphs ago, we were rejoicing about how God blessed us through our turbulent, crying, stressful times. How quickly after God heard our cry did we walk in disobedience?

Did we deal with God in our pride–maybe refusing to give Him glory for something He did? Touting our denominational pride, rather than humbling thanking God for saving you and lovingly witnessing to others? Not asking God for any help–trying to do things on our own?

Did we not harken to his commandments regarding handling the situation at work or home His way? Did He command us to “hold our peace” (keep quiet), but instead we said what we wanted because it had to be said?

How stiff were our necks when it God reminded us that we are to love our neighbors (co-workers, cashier, strangers) as ourselves?  Did we heed the urge to help them or to say a kind word? Did our necks stiffen when we were prodded to stop and pray? Did we tell God, “but, I’ll be late!” “Just let me answer this call.”,  “I’ll read the Word later”.

These are just a few of the ways we mimic the Israelites–whether intentional or not. Once we recognize areas that we have not surrendered to God completely, that’s our opportunity to do just that—we DO NOT have to continue walking contrary to God’s Word–that’s why Jesus came! He took all of our sins and nailed them to the cross, making an open show of them triumphantly! (Colossians 2:14-15). And when we have the Holy Ghost down on the inside (see Acts 2:38), we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us yield who God wants us to be–more like Him! Amen? Amen!

God gives us time, space and opportunity to be transformed to His likeness–because He is merciful. In an upcoming podcast, we’ll take a look at how the people of God realized how far off they were, the magnitude of God’s mercy and the result of willful disobedience. I’m looking forward to that post and hope you are as well!

In the meantime, we’d love hear what YOU took away from what we talked about today, so please leave a comment in the designated section below.

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 iTunes!

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

Love,

BCU

Granola, lessons & God?

Hey there BCU Family!

We’ve paused our Nehemiah study to bring you a #RandomYetIntentional moment sponsored by God. So…we’re doing something a little different this week. I actually recorded the moment on video and it is up on the BCU YouTube channel, so if you’d prefer, you can watch it here>> Granola lesson video.<<

If you’re listening on the podcast, not to worry, the audio file from that video is below (click on the avatar), and you’ll be able to get the message just the same! Scripture references are below as well, so you’ll be able to link back to God’s Word as you apply the lesson accordingly.


Diligence–Hebrews 11:6

Daily Bread– Luke 11:3

Thanksgiving in all things–Colossians 3:17

Chastening–Hebrews 12:6

Being “busy”–Luke 10:38-42

Seeking God’s face continually 1 Chronicles 16:11

Hiding the Word–Psalm 119:11

Seeking God early–Psalm 63:1

Being equipped for the day–Ephesians 6:10-18

Walking in the Spirit–Galatians 5:16

You know, BCU Family, it’s AMAZING how God takes something as “small” and temporal as granola to teach us a HUGE and ETERNAL lesson! With His help, let’s be intentional, diligent and purposeful in spending prime time with God. Amen? Amen!

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 iTunes!

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

 

Love,

BCU

Starting the application process..

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

Over our Nehemiah study, where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wallgetting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. Nehemiah also walked us through how he led/governed (with the help of the Lord) the people, versus bossing/managing the people, which motivated them finish the work triumphantly!

While this project is complete, there are some other very important learning points (like gatekeeping from our chapter 7 lesson) in the remainder of the chapters in Nehemiah. Let’s take a look at Nehemiah 8:1-12 and explore how we want to prepare, take in and apply God’s Word.

Scene: After the wall was up,  the enemies were out of sight and now the people were gathered together at the water gate to hear the Word of God. If you recall in our Nehemiah 3 study, we talked about how the water gate represented the Word of God and how it’s reflected in our lives. We should continue to wash ourselves in the Word to stay clean.  Psalm 119:9 backs this up by asking the question “How do we cleanse our way? by taking heed to thy word.”

v2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men, women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.

v3 Then he read from it, in front of the open square which was in front of the Water Gate, from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and women, those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.

Application point 1: There were no comfy chairs, air conditioning, kids church, lounge area or anything to make hearing the Word more comfortable, yet they listened with understanding and were attentive (there is NOTHING wrong with any of these things, mind you). The point is, since we have these things, are they helping us pay attention to the Word?

If we had to recall the entire message we hear on Sunday, would we be able to? What about what we just read? What Word did you read three days ago? How many times were you distracted from the Word? A hunger pang, wondering about dinner, the ironing you forgot, the call you need to make, how tired you are, the look you just got? A phone call? Typically when we get distracted God is speaking directly to us and we miss what He said. It’s like God gives the answers to the test, but we were so consumed with the test environment (we have the terrible too’s–too hot, too cold, too tired, too long) we miss the answers to the test. 

v6 Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; and they knelt down and worshiped the Lord with their faces toward the ground.

v7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the Law and people remained in their places.

v8 So they read from the Book of the Law of God, translating and explaining it so that the people understood the reading.

This is why we need called and anointed, word-steeped preachers, teachers, exhorters, and bold saints—who  rightly divide the Word of truth. There are SO many using the Word to profit themselves, so we should BE the laborers God is calling us to be AND hold one another up in prayer as we co-labor for souls we interact with, so we know to explain the Word of God to them, as they come to repentance and strive to live holy.

v9 Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law.

Application point 2: The people realized how far they were from applying the Word. When God convicts us, do we shrug and say, “well, Lord, I hear you, but…”,  “I just can’t do it because she…” “The Lord knows we’re dust…”  Yes, our frame is dust, not our souls. They live on forever. And what/how we decide to apply the Word can effect our lives here and after we leave here.

We may not weep after every sermon, but our hearts should ache with the desire to WANT to do better, to strive for perfection, to please God in ALL our ways, rather than excusing our actions because it’s easier to stay in the flesh. It takes EFFORT to walk in the Spirit, to NOT tell someone else, to NOT give into the anger, bitterness, wrath, unforgiveness—that’s what God wants us to do, as we strive for perfection.

Also, the reason the leaders were trying to tell the people not to mourn was this was a celebration–the festival of booths/Tabernacles. This symbolized the time they were in Egypt and wondered in the wilderness, reflecting on God’s provision, mercy and protection (see Leviticus 23:43).

v10) Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

So even if you’ve messed up, repent, wash your face, dry your tears, eat, drink, bless someone else and allow the joy of the Lord to stregthen you. Obviously, these people did not have the Holy Ghost as we know it, but God allowed them to have joy, cause He’s consistent like that.

Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control–Galatians 5:22-23), and it’s an inside job. Whatever spirit is planted on the inside, the fruit of that comes out. So carnal plants yield carnal fruit and when the Spirit is planted on the inside, good fruit comes out. Unless we poison it with the weed killer–“Round-up” (aka un-Christlike behavior the the enemy brings by). When the Spirit is on the inside and activated, regardless of what’s going on outside the joy remains on the inside and comes out.

v11) So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.

v12) And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.

What about you, BCU Family? Once the Lord calls us out on something, after repenting, so we allow ourselves to walk in the forgiveness and rejoice because we are being chastened  by our good Father, so we can live, or do we “mourn” (Hebrews 12:5-12).  It’s needful to hear the Word of God–Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, and even more critical that we DO what the Word of God says ( James 1:25). Our [eternal] lives depend on it.

We’ll take a look at how Nehemiah and his people reacted in hearing the Law (Word of God) in an upcoming podcast, as we continue to spotlight scriptures to close out our Nehemiah study.  In the meantime, we’d love hear what YOU took away from what we talked about today, so please leave a comment in the designated section below!

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 iTunes!

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

Love,

BCU