Do you act like a Christian?

 

Hey there Family,

Recently, my mom was telling me about someone who was trying to erroneously “get her way” by telling my mom she was not acting like a Christian. Mom quipped, “I’m not supposed to ACT like a Christian, I’m supposed to BE one!” We laughed, but she makes a good point.

Let’s define the meaning of a Christian from the Word of God. People were called Christians or followers of Christ in Antioch after Saul and other assembled together for a year and taught many people (Acts 11:26). Besides the necessity of water baptism in Jesus name and the gift of the Holy Ghost for salvation (Acts 2:38-39), and other important areas, the disciples also lived what Christ taught them–among other things, having a prayer life, using gifts/talents to God’s glory, and how to love and treat others. Notice they LIVED what Christ taught them, rather than ACTING what Christ taught them.

When you act like something or someone, it’s a role. You are the character for a certain amount of time, in certain circumstances, at a convenient time or place, when people are watching or listening. When we act like a Christian, we do things out of fear of the lack of/reaction we will receive. Thus, we risk being an enabler (like always giving money to that able-bodied, non-motivated to work relative or worse—-boy/girlfriend), or you interfere with the law of sowing and reaping. So if Junie keeps getting speeding tickets and you pay them, when will he learn to drive carefully? He needs to learn there is a consequence to bad behavior. HE pays the tickets.

Conversely, when you are/being something, it’s part of who you naturally. So in the case of Jesus living down on the inside via the Holy Ghost, He shows up on the outside consistently. Sure, we will have our days where we are not perfect, but in our desire to please Christ and live more like Him, we will not practice willful sin.

Moreover, while Jesus taught us how to love and treat others, this does not give the general population carte blanche to get whatever-they-want-when-they-want-no-matter-what-and-you-better-like-it-because-that-is-what-Jesus-would-have-you-to do. Seriously? Not so, Family!

In Matthew 4:1-11, the enemy temped Jesus three times, did our Awesome God do what the devil told Him? NO. Jesus did not answer the Pharisees regarding the authority He had, because they demanded it of Him (Matthew 21:23-27). Need an “earthly” example?  What about Simon who offered the apostles money in exchange for the being able to lay hands on people for them to be filled with the Holy Ghost? (Acts 8:12-21). Rather than give in to Simon, Peter rebuked him so sharply that Simon requested prayer for protection! (verses 22-24). See what I mean now?

Bottom line: With the help of the Lord, we cannot allow any and everyone to take advantage of our Christ-like nature to “keep the peace” or be “humble”. Now when the Lord tells you to do something, you of course follow His command. But be sure it’s the Lord talking and not guilt or fear–this is where prayer and being in tune with God’s voice will come in—remember HE wants us to make the right choices. This is where we start to BE more like Him.

Thanks for reading and God bless you MUCHO!

BCU

Spiritual PSA: What is in you comes out of you, any act has a limited shelf life,  will eventually who you are will surface. It is better to get Jesus down on the inside and let His spirit direct your paths.

Think it not strange…

Hey Family,

Yes, yes, yes, I know it’s been a LONG time since I stopped by. Reasons: partially time management, brain exhaustion, wanting to veg and fiery trials. Lots of trials.

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 hearts 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 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.  Paul has an answer for that, though–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, but is a huge part of the trial process and the getting and maintaining your praise and the victory during your test.

My life lesson: 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 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 till you pass. Just like any test or challenge we take in our natural lives, we know it may be difficult, but we endure to the end for the reward/satisfaction of accomplishment. Yes…it’s the same thing spiritually as well. 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.

Trial are HARD!!!! NO one likes to suffer, myself included, but 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, Family…whatever God is teaching or blessing you with… is worth the wait.

God bless you and thank you for reading!

BlenCouragesU

Think it not strange...
Think it not strange…

It’s time to do better…

Hey family!

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed today 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 with the precious commodity that God entrusts us with. Many times, we just need to manage our time better.

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–I know ALL the points resonated with me. After reading this, let’s ask The Lord to help us to manage the time He so graciously gives us!

God bless you and thanks for reading! I may do a follow-up to this post–I’m excited about implementing habitual timeliness! 😊

BCU

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Content from: http://www.artofmanliness.com

Treasure hunt…

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Hey family!

For the second time in as many years, the local and national news (http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/24059298/2013/11/25/black-friday-shoppers-already-camped-out) have highlighted “Black Friday” shoppers who are already camped out in parking lots awaiting for all the bargains merchants are offering. While I am certainly NOT against sales, saving money, purchasing things you need or even desire, I wonder a couple of things.

First, what message does this send our families and children? Thanksgiving is traditionally a special day set aside (and in addition to all the other 364 days we give thanks) for families to come together, share a meal and count the blessings God gives us. While I suppose that can be done in a pop-up tent in a parking lot, is the specialness of that time dismissed by rushing the security guard who opens the door? Trampling the lady who steps in front of you? Pouting and cussing the clerk if they sell out of the $200 56 inch flat screen television before you get one? Are we giving God thanks while loading the cart? Are we going into debt trying to lay up our treasures on earth?

Second and more importantly, how does God feel about this? Again, while there is no sin in getting a bargain (we need to be good stewards), are we putting material gain over family time? In 5 years, Lord will, is getting the Wii more important than sitting around the table and recanting stories from when Junebug and Haskell were little? Is there any value left in building relationships, friendships or just enjoying company of other people? What about just thanking God for life, health, strength, food and whatever He gives us richly to enjoy? When I was a child, my siblings were just content to stuff ourselves and take a nap!

Bottom line: Yes, I realize this is America and we can choose to celebrate holidays anyway we choose. If we think about it, every holiday that comes around is focused on the deal of the day, rather than God or even a family aspect, which God created. And if we are not careful, we can get sucked in to believing that happiness is just a purchase away.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

What we value the most in our hearts comes out of our mouths and actions. As the coming of Christ comes closer, my prayer is that The Lord will be reflected in our speech and actions over the upcoming holidays and all year round!

God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving and always!

Love,

Blen

Pic courtesy of: http://www.monroecommunitychurch.org/blog/uploaded_images/title-and-sermon-755879.jpg

Seasoned saints–The importance of salt in your life–Part 3

Happy New Year Family!!!🎊

I trust your holidays were blessed and you are enjoying the gift of a new year. A couple of posts back, I started a “salt series”. This entry will round off that series by exploring why we need (more) salt in our lives. While, I am not into resolutions, I think this may be a good area for all saved folks to gain more knowledge and strength in, myself included. Let’s dig in!

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

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

20130110-222427.jpgSea salt contains nutirents that are needful for the body like sulphate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, bromide, borate, strontium, and fluoride. In addition, sodium regulates the passage of nutrients into the cells. Without it, nutrients cannot enter your cells and you will have malnutrition and exhaustion, no matter how good your diet. Some other salt functions are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bottom line: Salt is a necessary nutrient needed in our natural and spiritual lives. Adequate salt intake comes from prayer, fasting, regular bible study and attending church. Also, just like when we season our food, we want to use the correct amount of salt in our speech and actions. Too little salt is not effective—too much salt and is not palatable. Rather than trying to keep impossible resolutions this year, let us covenant with the Lord that with His help, we will always use/the right amount of salt in ALL our interactions. Amen? Amen!

God’s best blessings to you!

Blen

Pic courtesy of: http://www.thekitchn.com/come-along-on-a-159478