Meditate on these things… 

Hey there BCU Fam!

BlenCouragesU is excited to bring you our first guest blog post, in the person of Kristie Ward! In addition to being an advocate of children, Kristie is a wife, mom and beautiful woman of God. Read and be blessed!

Spirituality

There are a growing number of Americans in search of spirituality and enlightenment. The search has extended beyond traditional American belief systems. People are fully embracing spiritual practices from all over the world in daily life. Yoga studios have opened up in almost every city and the practice of yoga and meditation is often a regular part of physical education classes beginning in elementary school. The trouble is, we have invited practices into our lives without a full understanding of what it involves and how it is practiced in its eastern origin. Traditional yoga directly contradicts with biblical spirituality.

As a Christian, being “spiritual” is having and walking in the Spirit of Christ on a daily basis. It’s not a temporary fix or a way to channel your positive energy. It’s not a means to have a glowing aura or a connection with the other side. Eastern religions teach that salvation is found within man but man is not a deity unto himself. Man is finite, fragile and he fails himself. The human condition is sin and only a just God was/is able to erase the sting of it.

But.. I’m not practicing Hinduism

Yoga itself is not a religion. It is a religious practice credited to Hinduism, meaning, ‘to yoke or be joined with the divine’. How does one become joined with divinity? Well, yoga teaches meditation and breathing techniques to calm the body and relax the mind, which can include chanting and incense. It sends the body into a different state of mind. This is a state of mind that does not honor God, but instead teaches people that they have divinity within themselves naturally and with that they can gain power and control.

In opposition, Christianity is a humbling faith. It teaches lowliness and an awareness inherent weakness; the affinity to sin. One true God teaches us the right way to go. One source of truth shows us right from wrong. It teaches us that there is only one true Spirit and that is God himself. He has given the bible as not only a love letter, but a guidebook for life and life eternal. We are all made to worship but who we worship defines whether we are alive or dead, quickened or still, powerful or weak. God has proven himself to be omnipotent through the simple act of faith, not through bodily exercise (1 Timothy 4:8) or vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).

The act of meditation is as simple as Phillippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. The world is a cloud of religions, confusion and seared consciences. Let’s be bible believers and Christians who walk in the Spirit. Be careful! Everything new and different isn’t always biblical and everything claiming to be spiritual doesn’t have THE SPIRIT OF GOD in it.

 

Kristie Ward is a Christian social worker, freelance writer for HelpGrowCT and Co-owner of Ward Advocacy, LLC.

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.

Table for….one

A perfect ending for a solo dinner
Hi everyone!

I mentioned in a previous post I’m reading a book called “The Young Lady in Waiting” (Kendall & Jones, 2008), that gives a biblical perspective and encouragement to those in God’s waiting room. A question was posed to a woman who was single after ten years out of college: “what helps you to be so satisfied as a single woman?” She responded, ” a full place setting”. What?!!

Evidently, this woman had real china, crystal and silverware she had
been saving for “him” while eating off paper plates. She said the Lord showed her she didn’t have to wait for the mate to bring beauty into her world, so she began eating off the china and drinking out of that fine crystal. A while later, she unknowingly sat in front of her future in-laws at church, met their son and eventually got married. While she now has someone to share the china with, her satisfaction didn’t come from the hubby– it was already there through Christ.

I thought that was a great story…it got me to thinking what keeps me satisfied. Of course, being saved and complete in Christ tops the chart. Additionally though, I think a better healthier perspective on this season keeps me. Although I am a card-carrying member of the “couch potato club”, I do like to travel when I can–locally as well as in the United States.

While traveling with someone is fun, I can’t be waiting around for “him” to take me! So I took a couple of trips last month for fun and enjoyed it! I even got some folks to take some pics of me to commemorate the occasion. I even (gulp)… dined in restaurants…..alone! Yes, it was a little weird for a minute, but I relaxed and enjoyed it. It helps develop your social skills, opens you up to meet new people, learn other things, witness for Christ and perhaps bless someone else. And, like the lady in the story, you could meet your mate!

So, I ask you, what keeps you satisfied as a single? And if you aren’t there yet (that’s ok— sometimes it’s a process) what could you start doing with God’s help to get there?

Kendall, Jackie & Jones, Debby. (2008). The Young Lady in Waiting: Developing the Heart of a Princess. ISBN 076842657X.

Love on the dot com?

Click here for love(?)

Hi there ladies!

I picked up a WONDERFUL book last week entitled  The Young Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones.  This is a practical, scripturally based book of encouragement for women of ANY age who are awaiting the Lord to bless them with a husband, if that is His will. I plan to highlight some of the teachable points I received in future posts, but overall the book urged women to stop sitting around and do what God has called them to do while waiting!   One thing the book emphasized was not to go looking for a mate. We know what the Solomon said, “he that finds a wife, finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22 a).  So where do Internet matchmaking sites fit in?

I have a friend who confesses Christ, (yes a friend–this is not me :-)) I’ll call Lola. Lola tired of wading in the shallow in the dating pool and made a splash by hooking up with a dating site. In exchange for an ex-amount of  monthly dollars, a detailed profile and some time, she met a men that matched her personality, lifestyle, etc., and they dated for a while. Lola pretty much felt he was “the one”. Eventually the “sunshine and lollypop part” of the relationship faded, as Lola realized he wasn’t the person she thought (and he probably felt the same way).

My questions: (And I am not condemning… just trying to get an understanding and create dialogue) are we really waiting to “be found” when we sign up or even peruse Internet dating sites? Or are they “the new way” to date?

Are we trusting God to provide a husband the old-fashioned way, (a chance meeting in the grocery store aisle) or do we need to “put ourselves out there” by using these sites? Should we be “paying” for the blessings of God by signing up to “hubbynow.com”?

What about the examples of Ruth (Ruth 2-4) and Rebekah (Genesis 24)? Yes, there was no Internet back then, but is there something to be said of how God blessed them with mates?

I have to say, as tech-nerdy as I am, I’m old-school on this subject. After a LONG time of God working on me, I believe that He will set up the divine meeting His way and in His time. It seemed that anytime I “placed” myself somewhere or went with the hopes of “him” being at the gathering, I was disappointed. The Lord finally got me to the mindset of going places to be a blessing to people, and not look for a blessing.  Easy all the time? No. But keeping my heart from unneeded heartache is worth it.

I would love to hear your thoughts….

~Blen