The last word…

Hey ūüĎčūüŹĺ 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!

As we bring our 2016 Loopback lessons series to a close, this question came up:

“If you knew the words you are speaking to ¬†your loved one, friend, family, neighbor, enemy or even a stranger, would be the last words¬†they heard or the last ones you spoke to them–would you really continue saying what you are saying? Or would your words be different?

Years ago, I worked at a bank and landed¬†(well, God placed me) in a department where the majority of employees were Holy-Ghost filled and/or grew up in church. As young saints, we loved going to one another’s services, gospel concerts, and sharing the latest teachings, revelations, heartaches and triumphs.

Eventually, the bank was bought out and jobs were lost, but I kept in touch close touch with a fellow named Henry. ¬†Henry was funny, goofy and could work a nerve, but the Lord also used him show and tell me a few things. We went from the era of paying our bills downtown (we called paying a smaller part of the phone bill “hush money” LOL), to paying them online, Jheri curls to clean bald, renting apartments to owning homes, buses to paying car notes, from records to cassette tapes, to CD’s to downloading music. Wow– a lot took place over the last two decades.

Sometimes, Henry and I would talk several times daily, other times, weekly or a few times a month. (Although Henry would text me and was very ACTIVE on social media. He would be sure to¬†comment about my latest Facebook post, picture or outing attended–and oftentimes with a smart mouth at that)! ¬†When we did connect via the phone, it was as if there had not been any lapse at all.

I spoke to Henry sometime in October of last year. I don’t recall the exact conversation at all. ¬†What I do remember? It was the last time we spoke on the telephone. Henry unexpectedly ¬†passed away the very next month. BCU Fam, I did not see that coming. At.All. *Insert heavy sigh.*¬†While my heart grieves at the loss of my friend, I give God praise for the almost 25-year friendship and that the last words we exchanged were not harsh, unloving or something regretful.

We often treat our communication very nonchalantly. When we ask “how are you?”, do we really want to know? ¬†Or is it another way of saying “hi.” Do we look for a opportunity to connect with someone, say at the cleaners or the market, or is our aim to get in and get out? You may be thinking, “well, Blen it is a stranger. Who cares?”

A few¬†years ago, I was a frazzled customer trying to make my way out of the checkout line in a hurry. I must have left a bag in the store or something, because I recall rushing back in only to be greeted¬†by a very pleasant-looking woman who asked how I was doing. I probably said, “fine” with a smile, but my heart was saying, “I really need to get out of here” as I kept moving. She actually stopped me, gave me the biggest hug, and then told me “now, you can go”. I was shocked by her act, but it warmed my heart and caused me to slow down. And to my knowledge, I haven’t seen her again. I can’t recall what I ate last for lunch last Tuesday, but I remember how much that “how are you doing?” blesses me even now. See what I mean?

Closer to home, is dinner with family and friends a time to look one another in the face and converse, or do we immediately pull phones out while we update one another on the Twitter news?  I recall being out to dinner with my family and catching a glance of another family of four or five who was waiting to be served. Everyone at the table, including the parents, were hunched over their phones. I think that was the loudest silence I have heard. How differently would the conversation had gone if they knew it was the last time they would all be together? What if the Lord had taken one of them from the group that night? How much regret would there have been?

Or, think about this true story: a son and mom get into an quarrel about a poor decision the son makes. Tempers flare, words are exchanged, doors slam and silence engulfs the house for days. Later that week, the son (who is in his 20’s) falls gravely ill and going in and out of consciousness at the hospital. ¬†As the young man finally comes to, he looks up at his mom and immediately asks “are you still mad at me?” Can you imagine that?! Think about how mom would have felt if that heated exchange would have been their last conversation. Thankfully, the Lord spared and healed the son–and taught the family a valuable lesson.

BCU Fam, please don’t start walking in fear about who may be departing from this life next–that’s not the intended point behind this post. Rather, as you interact with spouses, significant others, children, family members, friends, enemies or strangers, ask the Lord to give you the words to speak that will be a blessing to the hearer. ¬†Colossians 4:6 says, to let our speech be always with grace and seasoned with salt that we know how to answer every one. Even if we disagree or have to confront (in a godly way), or correct someone, we can still speak “seasoned” and¬†all the while glorifying God.

James 4:14¬†says we don’t know what shall happen tomorrow–our life is like a vapor. When you think about fog or a cloud of steam, it’s visible one moment and disappears the next. Vapor does make an impact while it is around, so with the help of the Lord, let’s say and do things that “add value” to whoever ¬†we’re speaking with. Amen? Amen.

BCU family, there is no doubt I miss my buddy Henry–my life will never be the same without him. And, if I had known our conversation would have been our last, it would have been a LOT different–with a heaping helping of love. But through his death, the Lord is still good in reminding us to be mindful of ALL our interactions. No one that we speak with comes into our paths by accident–God intended for those conversation to take place.¬†Will you allow the Lord to speak through you? That leads us to our question of the week!

With the help of the Lord, how do you plan to have meaningful conversations with the people you come in contact with?  Please comment 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 you, keep you and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

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In loving memory of Henry G. Nelson

2016 Loopback: In GOD we trust

Hi 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 your study!

For the month of January, we’re taking a walk through some of the lessons God taught over 2016. Last week, we covered how our words can hurt or heal (you catch that post here).¬†This week, we’re focusing on who we need to really trust.

The change in administration has brought/is bringing out the thoughts in many hearts and they range from the staunchest supporter to the psychic doomsayer. And depending on if you are for or against the President, you’re either counting on His promises or……you’re very concerned about those promises. In any case, God has news for you. Yes, He does.

First off, we have to recognize that while it may not SEEM so, God IS in control of everything. He already knew and allowed who HE wanted to get into the chair for whatever purpose HE has. For promotion comes neither from the east, west or south, but God is the judge, He puts down one and sets up another (Psalm 75:6-7).

We’d do better to ask God to show us the lesson¬†behind His decision, so we can learn and apply it to our lives, but that’s another post.

Secondly, we while we may not like, understand or agree with the WAY God is doing things, Isaiah 55:8-9 says, for My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.  

Because our ways and thoughts are so limited and finite, against God’s infinite knowledge there will NEVER be any wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord (Proverbs 21:30). In other words, we will never know better than God (I don’t know why we think we do–didn’t we learn from Adam and Eve)? Therefore, we cannot advise Him. He advises us.

Next, keep in mind, that any promise made and carried out, if we support it or not, will never surprise or be outside of what God ALLOWS to happen. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, and just like the rivers of water, He [God] turns it wherever He wants (Proverbs 21:1). God is in charge of all decisions because they accomplish His perfect will. In fact,¬†Psalms 18:30 says, as for God, His way is PERFECT, the Word of the Lord is tried [proven]. He is a buckler to all those that trust.in. Him.¬†Regardless of what your take is on the President and his proposed actions, policies or decisions, our trust should be inGod and Him alone. Let’s see what the Word of God says.

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not to your OWN understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,  but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen, but we are risen and stand upright (Psalm 20:7-8).

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man (Psalm 118:8).

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe (Proverbs 29:25).

Put not your trust in princes, nor in a son of a man, in whom there is no help (Psalm 146:3).

What time I am afraid, I will trust in You [Lord] (Psalm 56:3).

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows (Luke 12:6-7).

And finally..that supplications, [specific requests] prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings and for all those that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (I Timothy 2:1-2).

BCU Fam, I could go on and one about the many words of warning and comforting promises of the Word of God–there simply is not enough time or space in this post! As this administration unpacks and you find that there are declarations that were kept and broken, just go back to the Word of God and rest assured on what He tells you.

God always keeps His promises. We have His Word on it.

I have to admit, it can be a challenge to trust God when we don’t know or understand why He allows things to unfold they way they do. On occasion, He may clue you in on a part of His reasoning, but most times, He is trying to teach us to trust in the God of all flesh, who knows exactly what He’s doing. With God’s grace, let’s do just that. Amen? Amen!

We have to stop here–but no fear, there are other podcasts for you to enjoy on the ¬†BlenCouragesU.com site that are available 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.

Before you go, we’d LOVE to dialogue with you! We’ll make it easy to comment by asking you to please answer this question:

Which promise from the Word of God is most encouraging to you?

As always, thank you for stopping by and may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you! #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

 

BCU

2016 Loopback | Our words: Do they hurt or heal?

Hey ūüĎčūüŹĺ 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 your the post.

For the month of January, we’re taking a walk through some of the lessons God taught over 2016. Last week, consistency in the treatment of others our topic (you can click here to catch that podcast/post). This week, we’re focusing on “speech patterns¬†or how we use our words. I would like to start with a story.

As a youngster, “Meche*” was blessed with scholastic ability beyond her peers and to the marvel and delight of many adults–well most of them. There was this one leader whom ¬†Meche was assigned to, that had an issue with this child. This leader openly criticized Meche about the silliest things, creating feeling of inadequacy, fear of making errors, speaking up, worry and low-esteem. ¬†Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, Leader ended up breaking her little spirit.

Of course, Meche moved on from the leader and seemed okay, but in the back of her mind, she always felt inadequate, ugly and invisible, so in her mind, she needed to overcompensate by becoming a people-pleaser, no matter what the cost, including time, money, illicit activity, giving gifts, etc. To that end, Meche attracted the wrong type of people into her life for decades. After having her heart ache one too many times, Meche, (who had repented and gotten baptized in Jesus name awhile back), decided it was time to give her heart to Jesus–and was filled with the Holy Ghost shortly thereafter and has been walking with Jesus ever since.

The story ended well, thank God! And yes, there were likely other factors that contributed to Meche’s issues over her lifetime. The fact remains that a¬†person chose to deliberately and repeatedly verbally mistreat a child—and that choice negatively effected that child well into adulthood. We certainly praise God Meche got the healing and deliverance she needed in order to function properly–my question: Did that have to happen in the first place?

How do we speak to our “not so favorite” family members? What tone do we give the “ex”? Do we stop speaking for days or weeks to our spouses/loved ones when we do not agree?¬†Do we label our kids with horrible names? How are we talking about the neighbor’s children? Do we retaliate intentionally and willfully? Verbally, pscyhologically or physically? ¬†Or do we rebel or say things in our hearts? Under our breath?

We did a series a #SpeechTherapy series last year and part of what we learned is that our the need to cut someone with our words is really steeped in a spirit of pride. I John 2:16 says that all that’s in the world is the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life, and that DOES not come from God, so it comes from the enemy. Experience tells us that NOTHING good comes from Satan. Pride will tell you ¬†to “lay your Holy Ghost on the shelf” (really?) while you let her¬†have a piece of your mind”. Or that you are justified in speaking sharply to her because of what they did to you. Or “don’t be a punk, cuss them out, so they learn their lesson.”

We all get irritated, angry annoyed, disappointed, frazzled and offended. These things are a part of life and the emotions that accompany are real! ¬†Where the power of the Holy-Ghost comes in, ¬†we control what we say and HOW we say it, versus letting our emotions control us to a point where we end up breaking someone’s spirit.¬†¬† Proverbs 12:18 says there are some that speak like the piercings of a sword but the tongue of the wise is health. In thinking back to last week’s lesson and how you’d like to be treated, which speech would you like? Swords or health? ¬†Right, health it is. I’d like it, so I have to speak it.

BCU Fam this is TOUGH one today!!! Let’s ask the Lord to bless us to remain prayerful and in the Spirit when we have to converse with someone who was offended us in some way. Even if we have to be direct or explain a wrong, we can still speak so that God is glorified.¬†Colossians 4:6 reminds us that our speech should always be with grace and seasoned with salt, that we may know how to answer everyone.¬†Have you tasted ¬†“graceless” unseasoned food? Was it palatable? Flavorful? Easy to go down? Most likely it was bland, tasteless and after a bite or two, you didn’t want it. See the correlation? It’s a challenge, but not impossible. Luke 1:37 says,¬†with God nothing shall be impossible! and we can do ALL things through Christ that strengthens us! (Philippians 4:13). So now, with God’s help, let’s stock up the mind/heart with a healthy abundance of grace and salt. 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! 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 you, keep you and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

 

 

*Name has been changed and details omitted. Story retold with permission.

2016 Loopback: Applying “The Golden Rule.”

Hey ūüĎčūüŹĺ 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 your the post.



HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

We praise God for the blessing of new mercies that are renewed daily and how those days brought us to 2017! ¬†We pray God’s blessings for you now and in the days to come for a blessed and spiritually-enriched 2017.

So in our last post, I promised we’d do a reflection/count down type post and I’d like to make good on my word. As we go from December to January, we tend to think everything from the previous year “goes away”. It doesn’t. Whatever we went through, challenge or triumph, there are LESSONS God taught, and in the spirit of being a doer of the word (James 1), we need to recall those lessons in order to sustain us in the battles and walk us to victory. So this month, we’ll focus on a lesson learned in 2016, so we can apply it going forward. Let’s start with what the world calls “The Golden Rule”. I’ll call it what it is–the Word of God and it comes from Luke 6:31.

¬†“And as you would want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”¬†

That’s easy to read and to do when we are being treated properly, but does that verse get trampled when we are not being treated well?

Case in point: With the help of God, whenever I have to contact a customer service rep, or it’s my turn to be waited on at the store, typically, I greet the person with a smile, how are you, et cetera. I understand it’s not easy dealing with the public all day, rude customers, shortages in inventory, people calling out–those things can effect your day, so I like to be the customer that brings some pleasantness, you know? And I thank God for that attitude—-that’s all Him. The thing is, ¬†I EXPECT pleasantness back. Most of the time, I get wonderful pleasantness in return, ¬†BUT there are many times that I do not.

The dry “hi”. The face like “why are you talking to me?” The non-responsive associate. The “yep”. My things being put in the bag haphazardly. Talking to their neighbor while cashing me out. Over talking me. Not answering my questions. Answering with an “I don’t know” (and won’t look unless you ask). ¬†The putting down of a pen or change on the counter instead of in my hand! The list goes on!

The thoughts that run through my head as I seethe go something like this: “After the hard-earned money I’m plunking down?” “SERIOUSLY?!” “I don’t know who she THINKS she’s talking to in that tone!” “Why is he not answering?” “Did I NOT just greet YOU nicely?” I should put it back.” “I need to get the manager.” “What is your issue?” ¬†And then, I want to respond in the same sharp tone, give a look that says, “I’m NOT the one”, Ask, “am I bothering you?” or loudly plop the pen back down on the counter in retaliation. How many of you have played something like ¬†this scenario in your mind? How many have done it? Yep, me, too.

While we may be justified in feeling wronged for being mistreated, what does Luke 6:31 say again? And as you would want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.¬†In other words, our behavior must stay consistent with the Word of God that tells us to treat folks like WE would want, rather than how THEY treated us. I know this can be a tough one for the flesh, yet we need to be obedient to the Word of God. Why, you say? There are a lot of answers to that why, but let’s take a look at three reasons:

It’s taken care of: Mind you, any ill-treatment is WRONG…we know that, and more importantly God knows it. There is nothing that surprises Him, escapes His knowledge or memory. Because He is a righteous judge, He knows when, where and in what way to balance the scales. ¬†Romans 12:19 says to avenge not ourselves, vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. He’ll handle it. We’ve got His word on it.

Mercy and compassion: Our flesh may long to see someone “get it”, but we have to remember the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18. We talked forgiveness in previous posts, but the parable, Jesus tells us about a servant who owed his leader ten thousand talents. The servant could have never paid the money back, but asked for mercy and the debt was forgiven! That same servant turned around and found one of his friends that owed him 100 pence and demanded to be paid. The friend asked for mercy and rather than granting it, servant threw the friend PRISON until the debt was paid! There is a LOT wrong here, but see how he took matters into his own hands? He could not WAIT for his friend to “get it!”.

Well, word got back to the servant’s lord about what happened and servant was called out on his lack of pity and compassion —and then he was delivered to the tormentors till the debt was paid. Remember, though, that debt was IMPOSSIBLE to pay back. Jesus ends the parable with these words: So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you do not forgive not from your heart, everyone his brother their tresspasses (Matthew 18:35). In other words, we do COUNTLESS things to offend God yet He has compassion, mercy and forgiveness on us. Imagine if He punished us the moment and every time we messed up? Man, I’d be delivered to the tormentors just like that servant! So looking at it that way, we need to exercise compassion, mercy and forgiveness as well. If we ask Him to help us, He will.

Confront as directed: In the event an incident needs to be escalated, or the Lord is leading you to confront the issue, it can be done in a way that gets the situation resolved, God is glorified and you don’t lose your cool or your witness. Nehemiah had to confront leaders who were wrongly taking advantage of their brethren. After calming down and thinking it over, Nehemiah rebuked the leaders, called them to a meeting and explained why the leaders were acting irresponsibly. Nehemiah 5:8 says..and they held their peace and found nothing to answer.¬† In fact, the leaders gave back what they took and praised God afterward! (More about Nehemiah 5 in an upcoming podcast). The thing is, Nehemiah handled the situation the way God wanted Him to and he was successful! If we do things God’s way, we will always be victorious! His ways are perfect! (Psalms 18:30).

BCU family, that was a tough one..I “wrassle” with getting in my feelings more often than I would like to! When we think about it, that need to want to “clapback” is a form of pride–the pride of life to be exact–and that deadly pride comes from the world, rather than ¬†Father ¬†(1 John 2:16).

The world and our flesh tells that we need to retaliate in tongue and deed so that person knows not to mess with us or will think twice about how they treat people. In essence it likely embarrasses the person, may enrage them to negatively respond to you, you retaliate again, so now,  it becomes a duel!

That exchange ¬†may provide entertainment for the onlookers and temporary satisfaction for the flesh, but as that adrenaline wears off, you will have ruined your witness for Christ. And will have to reap the consequences of deliberately walking outside the Word of God. Is it worth it? Nay, I say. With the help of the Lord, let’s ask God to bless us to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath. because the wrath of man does NOT work the righteousness. of God. (James 1:19-20).¬†Amen? Amen!


Our question of the week is:

What area(s) of your life will you apply Luke 6:31 to? Please leave a comment 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! 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 you, keep you and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU