When getting disciplined feels unfair.

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 AND leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

If discipline was a part of your childhood, what were your thoughts after that lecture, being yelled at, the tears after that sore bottom, or being  grounded? I can recall commiserating with my brothers and the neighborhood kids/school mates about how “unfair” my consequences were. I walked in on a similar conversation between Jaz (8) and Peanut (7), and as I reflected on our talk about WHY they were being corrected, this podcast was born soon after! 🙂

Podcast highlights:

  • Correction is a part of the walk with Christ.
  • Proper chastening is needed to help us become more Christ-like.
  • The lesson learned and consistent application far outweighs the “pain” of the discipline.

Scripture references

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him (Proverbs 22:15).

Hebrews 12:5-13

5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6For whom the Lord loveth he chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.

7If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?

8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.

11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

12Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

13And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Listen, BCU Fam, I am NOT a fan of being on the receiving end of correction, so with God’s grace I do what I can to stay OUT of trouble by following what God says, rather than willfully doing things my way, intentionally ignoring His voice, or repeating the same lesson over and over. When the discipline does come though, I thank God for it, because while it doesn’t feel good, it’s for MY good–being more Christ-like and making it to the Kingdom of Heaven! Besides, once we make it in, we will not remember a THING about what we went through to get there–we’ll just be glad TO be there, amen? Amen!

What are your thoughts about getting disciplined, BCUFam? 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 iTunes!

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

Love,

BCU

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 wall, getting 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

What lessons can we learn from the wilderness?

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 wall, getting 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 spritual 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

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 wall, getting 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

Learn from the burn….

Hey family!

Don't keep getting burned...
I was flying down the highway at 65 m.p.h (well maybe closer to 70-ish), on my way to my family’s dinner. I sped along, it seemed like the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out a posted sign that said “Speed limit 55”. I apologized to God and tried to follow the laws of the land.

As I attempted to slow my roll, the other vehicles whizzed on by me without any regard to the sign. The thought came to me that everyone else was going over the limit and not getting caught…why should I obey? Then there was the “keeping up with the flow of traffic” reasoning. And when discussing this with a friend, in the spirit of justification, she said “well, the police would have to pull everyone over–they were all breaking the law.” Ummm yes, that will go over well with the officer–NOT!

Slow your roll...
Looking at this on a natural level, there are a couple of lessons in this. First, as people of God, unless the laws are in direct conflict with God’s word, we are required to obey earthly ordinances since God has established law and order through people as Romans chapter 12 tells us. Thus our civil laws ARE God’s law. So when we break the law by exceeding the speed limit, we are breaking God’s law.

The other thing is, speed limits are posted for protection. Obviously, there has been some thought, research and sadly, in some cases, accidents that went into the decision for the limits. Who are we to decide the law is not for us and override it? Sometimes we get stopped by an officer who has mercy and lets us go with a warning. Sure, we’re careful for a few weeks, slow down when we see someone who is pulled over, but then we slip back into the heavy-foot habit. And once we see the lights flash in the rearview mirror and get a COSTLY ticket–we get upset with the officer who stops us?

Spiritually speaking, God has established certain codes of behavior for us to follow because as the ultimate “law maker”, He knows the repercussions of us going over the limits He provides. How many times have we been warned in prayer, through God’s word, a sermon or talking with someone who has experience in the area we speed in? Have there not been times when we’ve seen people “pulled over”– entangled in situations that were caused from not heeding the God’s word? We slow down, but then as we see others disregarding the Word and moving to their destinations quickly, we think, well, maybe I should go that way–nothing happened to them. Psalm 37:1-2 tells us different. “Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.”

Use your "66"
The truth of the matter is, as tempting as it is to go outside of God’s will to get what we want, it will only get us a costly “ticket” later on. I think back to the times I got into God’s permissive (rather than His divine) will, and NOTHING good came out of it , except, of course the lessons I learned from the chastening. (“Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11). While the lessons learned are invaluable, I don’t want to always “learn from the burn”–I’d rather heed the posted signs and warnings aka God’s Word through whom/however He brings it.

Bottom line, with the grace of God, let’s do our best to stay within the boundaries God has given us. Following what God has given us in the “66” (His Word) will bless and protect us, honor God, help us to be that light on the hill and keep us from the “burn” both here and eternally.

God bless you!

Blen

Photos courtesy of:

http://tell.fll.purdue.edu/JapanProj/FLClipart/Medical.html

http://www.laserveil.com/police/radar/

http://www.therockchurchranch.com/