Petty Christians?

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!

Podcast highlights:

    • A talk show host made a disparaging comment about a respected gospel group.
    • Social media was flooded with rebukes–some mean and personal in nature.
    • A call was made for “petty Christians” to join into the conversation.
    • Webster’s dictionary defines “petty” as having undue an concern about trivial matters, especially in a spiteful way.
    • Petty is another word for “busybody”, which is cautioned against in the Scriptures.
    • Pettiness is not a badge of honor, rather something to be reproached.

Scripture references

Luke 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters (1 Peter 4:15).

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business… (I Thessalonians 4:11).

Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm (Proverbs 3:30).

He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears (Proverbs 26:17).

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men (Romans 12:17-18).


What are your thoughts on the “petty movement” sweeping our Christian hearts and minds? The comment section is below–let’s continue the 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 Apple podcasts!

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

Love,

BCU

Speech Therapy | Forgiveness | Part 3 (final)

Hey BCU family!  As usual, you can enjoy the audio podcast (by clicking on the icon below) read the transcript notes or both! Either way, be encouraged by the Word of God and share this with a friend! God bless you!

 

 

So we talked offenders, offended and the PROPER format to take air a grievance. To the person directly >two or three witnesses>>and then the church. In that order and ONLY progress to the next level if the situation is not resolved from the previous step. We also learned that many have WRONGLY divided the Word about touching and agreeing and where two or three gathered. Jesus was speaking in terms of the proceedings of how the church would deal with the offender/offended and that as the church was carrying the resolution out according to God’s Word, whatever was binding or loosed on Earth was done in Heaven—and of course He was in the midst of these proceedings. NOW we get to Peter’s question.

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Notice he offered up a number “7” which does have significance of completeness or finality. Jesus countered with “seventy times seven”. In addition to the number 7, the number “70” signifies ‘perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance’ (Bullinger, 1921, p.235). Therefore, 490, being the product of 70 x 7, signifies spiritual perfection of perfect order and completeness.

The interesting thing about this verse is that Jesus is not saying that we should forgive 490 times or simply a lot of times for that matter–we need to forgive to the point of spiritual perfection! We are required to forgive to the point were we no longer meditate on the hurt or have any anger or animosity towards the person who sinned against us. If you still talk about it with passion like it happened yesterday? You have a feeling of dread, remorse, bitterness, anger, hatred, vengeance, snide comments, retreat, murmuring, complaining to others—you have NOT forgiven the party.

Lest we think we have the all clear in this area, it’s a good idea to really examine our hearts, ask God to check your heart and to be open to the Word of God on the subject. In the last season of #SpeechTherapy (season 1),  we mentioned just like there are many containers of forgotten, old, ignored and overlooked things in our refrigerators sometimes, there are MANY things in the heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful above ALL things and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Matthew 15:18-20(a) says, But those things which proceed OUT of the mouth comes from the HEART and they DEFILE a man, for out the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. How you deal with forgiving tells about your hear‭t and relationship with God. Let’s go a little further into our text. 

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
I liken this to an expense account of sorts. This servant likely had some buying/spending power. Obviously he misappropriated funds in this story and now the accounts were being reconciled.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Ten thousand talents was about 15 times an average person’s salary and would have taken 150,000 years to repay. The verse said the servant, wife, children and all that he had needed to be sold and payment made. That was no where NEAR enough to start the repayment process.

26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 Then the lord (or the king) of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

A couple of things here:

The servant could have NEVER repaid the king. Mercifully, the king heard the servants cry, he loosed (we just talked about that loosed on earth/loosed in heaven) and told him he was free. The King took the loss and kept the servant. No talking about it, bringing it back up, side eyes in the kingdom, he loosed or completely forgave him.

Just like us, it would take 150,000 lifetimes to repay God for all the debt I ran up in sin! Every thought, word, action, act of disobedience, sins of omission, commission—in my B.C. (before Christ) and A.C. (after Christ) life—there is NO way I could repay—never! So just like that king, our King took the loss…our sins, and bore them on the cross, so we could be free and have eternal life. That thought alone is enough to give God praise for and something we should keep in mind when dealing with others.

28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

Notice, this servant did not run into the friend, this guy goes to LOOK for his friend. On top of that he got physical by laying hands on– getting him by the throat AND demanded his money. The friend begged for mercy (just like the servant begged the king) and unlike the king, servant threw the fellow servant in JAIL!!

Let’s be clear, 100 pence was about 4 months salary, so this was no small amount of money, and he felt wronged. Let’s stop there. Feeling angry, hurt, betrayed, disappointed or let down is NOT WRONG. Apparently God gave us these emotions for various reasons—it’s how we react or control them that God is concerned with, as we strive to be more like Him AND be a witness to others. Offenses will come AND with various emotions with the offenses which aren’t always the most stable or reliable. So in these times, do we go with how we feel–we go with what the Word of God says. Ephesians 4:26 says to be angry and not sin…don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. In other words, we should not HOLD on to the offense for a long period of time because that’s how MANY things come out of our heart/mouths and actions or inaction that are NOT of God.

We won’t go to the the person
We will talk about them.
We will run away.
We won’t speak.
We will ignore.
We will murmur against the person.
We will tell others over and over how wronged we were.
We will sit down on God.
We will shut God out of speaking to us through prayer (which should be a two way conversation), the taught or preached word (I hope SHE heard that, or a exree-LOUD amen) and your Bible reading, Sometimes God has to “get you by the lapels” to let you know He’s talking to you! (God had been talking to me about a jive date I was about to go on—it took me TWO days to catch on), or allow a trial or series of situations that you finally have to come to Him and ask why. Lack of forgiveness hardens our heart to the point where we can’t hear God clearly. Sure, He may be blessing and keeping you—that’s His mercy and grace. While that mercy endures forever—it may not be extended to you forever—especially if we’ve been ignoring His voice.

Next, and obviously servant forgot he just was loosed from a HUGE debt. Do we forget what Christ did for us? And how He keeps doing it over and over? Even when we offend? Is our compassion limited, biased, divided? How many people have we her captive in our hearts, stopped speaking to, avoided, cursed in our minds because they trespassed us, when WE SIN! I didn’t say PRACTICE sinning, and maybe you didn’t did not against them, but we do sin. Yes, you do!
I John 1:8 says, “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We may not be PRACTICING sin, but many of the things we mediate on, say (even if it’s an oops, it was still wrong), do, or even NOT do (I’m not apologizing, I’m not going to help her (when God told you to), I’m not going to tell the clerk he gave me an extra $10 change..that was a blessing—NO that was a TEST!) Sin. Respect of persons anyone? My brother brought up how pop singers of certain ethinicies are “sent to heaven” (that’s a different teaching)  on Facebook by “Christians” while other ethnicities are not talked about at all. That’s wrong. We can go round and round, but the deal is we can accumulate a massive debt of sin while we are here by not forgiving the people who wronged us. It’s not easy and our old nature won’t want to, but we HAVE to. If we love people like Jesus wants us to, we have to forgive.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

The servant was a poor witness of the mercy extended to him. How many Christians behave this way in front of families, friends and strangers while professions Christ?

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

Isn’t it amazing that we are great defense lawyers for ourselves and great prosecutors for others?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So this servants lack of judgment, mercy, compassion and forgiveness got him a one-way ticket to life in torment until all was paid up. 150,000 years worth.

Which of the servant’s attitudes do we most have? Forgiven and forgotten? Is that situation worth going to be delivered to the tormentors? Is that church member (and that may just be who they are—a church member is SEPARATE from a Holy spirit-filled Body of Christ member) neutralizing your relationship with Christ and taking you off your assignment. Do you NOT recall YOU are the CALLED according to HIS purpose? If you slack on your post in The Body of Christ, you can negatively impact the rest of The Body. Or those watching you. Moreover, if we stay stuck in that place of unforgiving, verse 35 says:

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
People who have not forgiven are typically partial, bitter, wrathful, resentful, quarrelsome, (even in their minds) speak evil and have malice (see Ephesians 4:31). How does God allow any one practicing those characteristics to enter into the kingdom of Heaven? Do we consider eternity enough? Do we realize that we live this life to live again? Forever? Is what happens, albeit not nice, in this life worth torment, regret, and sorrow forever?

What if God was this unmerciful to us? Delivered us to the tormentor (enemy) for the 150,000 lifetimes worth? Yes He understands, but He doesn’t excuse. The Word is clear. When we don’t forgive, we are being disobedient and that’s a sin. Practicing sinners do not  make it into the Kingdom of Heaven. No situation is worth that.

So BCU family, with God’s help, let us ask the Lord to search our hearts to remove any traces or residue of unforgiveness toward anyone. Ask Him to check our motives or non-motives. Are we operating in our gifts and talents? Are we witnessing? How is our relationship/prayer life? How quick are we to rail on someone and forgive someone else. How many times do we say, “well you know I did not mean it”, or “I’m human” as a defense to offending, but we hold others captive because they “know better” or they should.

I pray this word blessed you and more that, brings you to a place in putting the Word in action–I know it did for ME! Whew!!! God bless you for tuning in, telling a friend, sharing commenting and subscribing–we at BlenCouragesU.com really appreciate you! Until the next time we’re together, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

Blen

 

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.

Seasoned saints: The importance of salt in your life–Part 2

Hey family!

I trust God blessed you all with a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was fantastic, filling and went by fast! 🙀

Last post, I started on a “salt series” that talked about salt production and how vital it is to our natural body and in the body of Christ on a spiritual level. This time around, lets see what the Word is on salt.

“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).

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One of the earliest mentions of salt is in Leviticus 2. That chapter outlines detailed instructions on how sacrifices had to be prepared to be given to the priests and then offered to God. In verses 4-6, you’ll see God was very specific about the flour, oil—and even if the grain sacrifice was made pan versus a frying pan. (Side note: note how you just couldn’t bring God a sacrifice any ol’ way. That’s important for us to think about when we bring Him our sacrifice of praise, worship, time, money..anything we have for Him). Looking at the verses 11-12, God specifies the “seasonings” on the offering–that there should be no leaven or honey, but:

“Every offering you shall season with salt. You shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt” (Leviticus 2:13).

Okay, Blen, so what does that mean? I am glad you asked! Salt was just not a food enhancer or monetary trade items like we learned last time, it was also used as a covenant symbol.

History mentions that people used salt as a sign of binding loyalty and a symbol of alliance. In fact, in Europe and parts of the Middle East, salt and bread are offered to guests as a sign of friendship (hence the phrase “we have salt between us”). Additionally, treaties and truces were formalized using salt. Each person would take a lick of salt (similar to shaking hands) to “seal the deal”.

Salt was also used to heal a rift between parties as well. If there was a disagreement between folks, you would invite the person into your home to share a dish of salt. Each of you would lick your finger, dip it in the salt and then eat the salt together. Peculiar as this may sound, when a promise was seasoned with salt, it was so serious, that people would rather die than break that promise! Let’s examine another Scripture on the Covenant of salt.

2 Chronicles 13 tells of a war between Israel (King Jeroboam) and Judah (King Abijah). Jeroboam had the bigger army and was pretty sure he could take Abijah down. King Abijah reminded Jeriboam of God’s promise.

“Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt? Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah”
(2 Chronicles 13:5,12,15 NKJV). Yessss–God ALWAYS keeps His word and Judah triumphed!!!!!!

Are you connecting the dots, Family? Isn’t it wonderful to see how God shows us how He keeps promises with something as simple, yet as powerful as salt? How about the promises we make? 🙊Are they “salt-worthy”? Solomon warns us think before we vow:

Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few
(Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV).

I cannot speak for you all, but if someone promises they will do something and they don’t follow through, I am so disappointed! Because the Lord has made me more mindful about keeping my word, He reminds me to say “with God’s help I will”…or, “if nothing changes, I plan to”, or “Lord will, I’ll…” Keeping that last verse in mind, it really helps us to rely on our perfect God to help us keep our word. Also, if we something does happen, it’s a good idea to circle back to the person quickly and fulfill your promise as soon as possible.

Bottom line: If you can’t season your promise with salt, it really best not to promise at all. I heard a cartoon character say, a broken promise cannot be easily put back together. How true.

I’ll leave you to meditate on this post, as we prepare for the next salt installment, that will talk more about why we need (more) salt in our natural and spiritual lives.

I pray you all were blessed by what you have read! Thanks and God bless you for stopping by!

Love,

Blen

Forgive-them-not?!!

Hey family,

Hope you all are well! I was thinking about forgiveness and decided to do a quick post.

My pastor, Bishop Larry Elliott often says “unforgiveness” is the number one sin among Christian people. That’s a little surprising, since our salvation was based in God loving us enough to forgive us–but Bishop raises a good point.

When someone wrongs us, as they often do, there’s no doubt that it hurts us–sometimes to the core, especially if it’s family, spouse, kids or close friend. And in many cases, we are JUSTIFIED to be upset with the offending parties. The thing is, though, we ARE NOT JUSTIFIED to have an unforgiving heart, mind and attitude toward them. “But, Blen, he left me high and dry with the baby and no money”, “she stole my man”, “they tricked me”, “teased me”, “broke my heart”, “violated my trust”, “said I wouldn’t be anything”, abused me”….I know, y’all, I get it and understand–they were wrong and you should be hot. Let’s take a look at this from God’s perspective.

Matthew 18:23-35 tells of the servant who owed BIG money to the king, didn’t have it, asked for mercy and his debt was forgiven. That same servant went to his friend and demanded the LITTLE money he was owed and cast the friend into prison. When the king heard, he cast the servant into prison, reminding him he should have given the same forgiveness he received. The Lord goes on to say that if we don’t forgive, we cannot be forgiven.

So by holding folks in the prison of our minds, we are really letting God know that we know better than Him and in essence really trying to supersede His wisdom. On top of that, WE don’t get forgiven. That can make us miss heaven! I know as much as can I mess up and am still growing in grace, I need forgiveness on a regular basis, don’t you? Is being upset with Lu-Lu about mistreating you in high school worth delaying your blessings, negating answers on your prayers, and risking your soul to eternal damnation? I’m checking the “no” box on that.

When someone does hurt you, know that the Lord sees and knows it, and will balance the scales in His time. In the meantime, take the situation to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to help you forgive the offending parties from your heart, remove any bitter root, and heal you from the hurt and pain that was inflicted on you. This goes for the people that dogged you out years ago, to the cashier that rolled her eyes at you today– whether they asked for forgiveness, apologized or not.

You’ll know you have forgiven the person from the heart when the matter crosses your mind, is brought up, or you see the person and you do not get angry or keep negatively referring to the situation like it happened 2 minutes ago. God’s peace will totally take over and you will feel wonderful and marvel in the spiritual growth as you obey God’s Word.

True forgiveness takes God’s grace and a willing heart that wants to please God, rather than satisfy the flesh. Easy to do? No. But it is necessary to receive the benefits of God’s love and forgiveness.

Bottom line: You can’t change the past, but you can stop living in it.

God’s blessings to you!

Love,

Blen