Be on high alert: Holiday blues

Hey Family,

As many of us prepare celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s with family, friends, serving others, or what have you, I’d like us to keep ourselves, those around us and especially those we do not know in prayer.

I recall a few years back on a Friday night, I was at a  Christmas dinner party with some friends, where we ALL laughed and talked for hours–it was one of the best times I had ever had!  Fast forward to the following Monday and we learned one of the guests had committed suicide. I was SHOCKED..and as I recounted the time we had together, I did not detect this engaging person intended to carry out their own demise. It still breaks my heart to think about it. 😦

*Sigh* "The holidays are here again"...
*Sigh* “The holidays are here again”…

While there is not a set time, the enemy, adversary or plainly, the devil seems to come around hard during November, December and January, working on the minds of people to convince them there is no hope, you’ll never get a job, your family does not love you, you have no friends, things will not get better, that relationship will not work, nothing goes right, the pain is too great, things will only get worse..et cetera. And the ultimate–if you end it all, you will finally be at peace. That is NOT so–your soul has an eternity to live with that decision, and it WILL be one you regret.

God is the giver of life and whether we saved or not, as depressing, sick, tough, painful, ugly, unbearable, tiring, impossible, messy, hurtful or what ever is happening  (and yes, I DO understand.. we have ALL been here some time or another), God does not give us permission to end our lives–that’s HIS job. Rather God directs us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). The Word also reminds us that Jesus wants all who labor, are burdened and are heavy laden to come to Him for rest! He wants to exchange burdens with us because His burden is light. (Matthew 28:11-30).  Is that easy to do? No! Think about the alternative, though–as we carry burdens, they get heavier, we get weaker, sicker, less motivated, depressed and then the suicidal/self-destructive thoughts  and actions come. It is true we will have troubles in this life,  but God really wants us to come to and depend on Him to help us with every situation we have.

Bottom line: Sometimes, behind the smiles and jokes, there is a person who is hurting and does not know how or to whom they should reach out. Pride, fear of ridicule, stigma, losing social status, gossip, being bullied more (all coming from the enemy), can rob a person from this earth prematurely leaving the family and friends reeling from the shock and praying for God to heal their shattered hearts.

My Holy-Ghost filled readers, please… ask God to sensitize your heart, spiritual eyes, and give you what to say to those around you. Be on the lookout for people who are laughing, but there is pain in their eyes. Make it a point to call or SEE someone (NO texting or email unless it’s to set up a meeting). Only use Skype or FaceTime if needed..just make a personal connection. Pay attention to folks at the market, pray silently (or with them if they would like) for the representatives you speak with on the telephone.  As you are getting your hair cut or styled or shopping about, ask the Lord to bless, heal, deliver and save anyone who comes in the shop.  As you think about it,  pray for those who may be depressed over losing a loved one, relationship, job, hurting, and over life in general. Ask God how to help–maybe you can cook a meal, give a gift card, buy them a coffee, or just listen –be a friend. Your act of kindness can turn things around. Also, ask God to help YOU (yes, believers feel sad sometimes), to take all your heavy burdens to Him. Confide in a trusted friend or prayer partner as needful.

If you do not know Christ, and are feeling blue or know someone who is, know that we are praying for you. Take every situation to God in prayer right now–you do not have to be fancy about it, just talk to Him.  Ask Him to send you a sensitive, Holy-Ghost filled counselor who will give you biblical and practical advice. God is STILL in the saving, fixing and healing business. He has done it for me and wants to do it for you and others as well..you have His word on it! He promises.

You can reach out to me at:  Blencouragesu at gmail dot com. (just type it out like you would any other email address).

God bless you for reading and taking action!

 

Love,

 

Blen

 

 

 

Visual: What are you thinking?

Hey Family!

Take a look at the chart below. I saw it on Linked in—I’m not sure who the original author is (if anyone knows, please let me know), but this SPOKE to me!

The Word of God reminds us that we are to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). That’s important because what we think translates into words and they effect our actions.  In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says death and life are in the power of the tongue and you will “eat the fruit of your words”. Every self-depreciating comment, negative affirmation or put-down is like eating rotten, deadly fruit. How many of us would knowingly eat harmful food? If you’ve ever had food poisoning or ANY gastrointestinal trouble after eating a particular food or at a place, you would totally avoid it! We need to incorporate this in our thought and word choices.

Additionally, the result of the rotten fruit not only effects you to the point where you feel like you cannot do anything correctly, it either draws other “flies” to you (fellow bad fruit eaters–that’s another post) and/or can drive away the folks who prefer to speak life. Moreover, it is a like a slap in the face to God, who has made us and not we ourselves (Psalms 100:3).

Bottom line: If it you are reading this, it’s not too late to repent for thinking and speaking in the negative. We all say things on the left side of the list from time to time, myself included—the thing is not to continue practicing this behavior. How different would our lives be if we spoke life into ourselves, children, co-workers, et cetera? In fact, after praying, the Lord blessed me to tell a couple of folks with God’s help, they would be a blessing to all they came in contact with. Do you know they came back with a victory report?! Thank you, Jesus!!! So it’s best to ask God to help us line up our thoughts, words and actions with His Word and enjoy the fruit of the spoken labor. Amen?! Amen!

God bless you and thank you for reading!

Blen

What are you thinking?
What are you thinking?

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.

Stewardship

One of the wonderful things about the Word of God is the timeless relevance and application. [Re]read and reap! God bless you!

BCU

Hey Family,

A while back, the Lord blessed me with a thought about stewardship and what our responsibility is, so I thought I’d share a condensed version. Let’s start of with some background. So what is a steward?

In the Old Testament a steward is a man who is ‘over a house’ (Genesis 43:19; 44:4;).

Similarly, in the New Testament, a steward is a person who’s been entrusted to care or honor something. This could apply to Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard:

“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first’ (Matthew 20:8).

Steward also means a manager. This would likely be more around the parables of the Talents and the Unjust Steward.

After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them…

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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…