4 types of love every Christian should know.

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 informal format, please tune into the podcast recording and refer to the written post for the highlights. 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:

    • We use the term “love” very generally, but the definitions are very specific.
    • There are more types of love to define, but our focus is on the four below.
    • Regardless of the love type or (lack of) love reciprocity, God expects us to exhibit love in all interactions.
    • Loving the hard-to-love can be a challenge, but God is able if we are willing.

BCU Love types 4

When we lay this out, BCU Fam, we see what our responsibility is in terms of loving people the way God requires—especially the unconditional, forgiving agape love that is threaded through all these love types, AND a requirement in this walk with Christ. I have to say the flesh would have us to stifle our love and save it for those who deserve it or show us love, but Matthew 5:43-48 reminds us that there is no reward in that behavior, rather we are to love our enemies. And that show-love struggle can be REAL, but not impossible—with the help and total surrender to the word and will of God. Amen? Amen!

So what are your thoughts on our topic-du-jour? How can we ensure that we show love in all of our interactions? Please head to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!

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 , and Instagram! 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

Bosses versus leaders

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 post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

We’re back with our Nehemiah series where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wallgetting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. We’re now switching gears to take a look at how Nehemiah carried himself as a servant-leader. Let’s dig in!

Nehemiah‬ ‭5:14-19‬

 v14Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.

Nehemiah was appointed official governor or leader of the people for 12 years. First, take note the wall wasn’t finished, yet the people didn’t wait to appoint him. Sometimes, the Lord will move you up based on your faithfulness over someone that is more qualified. When we serve, we do so not with eye service, as menpleasers, but in sincerity of heart, as to the Lord and not unto men. Knowing that the Lord will reward us, for we serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).

In another servant-leader move, Nehemiah made it a point to say that for the time he was in charge, he and his family did not eat up the food allowance they were entitled to. Just because you can does not mean you should. I Corinthians 10:23-24 reminds us that all things all lawful for me, but not expedient, all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify and that no one should seek his own, but every man’s wealth. 
v15 But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

BUT The former governors (bosses/managers) charged the people and ON TOP of that took from  bread, wine AND MONEY–about 40 shekels worth!  (This equates to around $15,000 in U.S. money–most people earned 30 shekels in 4 months). This was nothing more than unlawful extortion. Can you see why Nehemiah got upset with the rulers who were charging the people all that interest for food earlier in chapter 5?  But wait, there’s more!

Proverbs 29:2 says, “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” So imagine what must have been happening when Nehemiah mentioned the former governor’s servants ruling (bossing/managing) over the people. That’s like the governor’s aides from your state or country coming down to tell you what to do, how do do it, how to live, when and where you can go, etc., that’s neither lawful nor expedient–-that’s what a manager or boss does. 

However, Nehemiah tells us he did not such things, because of the fear of the God. Very wise leader, that Nehemiah! Proverbs 9:10 says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.  If more “rulers” had a fear [reverence, concern for what God thought, realizing they have to answer to Him], there would be less wickedness and mourning in the land.
v16 Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.

Nehemiah, the GOVERNOR, continued to be a servant-leadership example as  he CONTINUED (not stalled through, assigned, delegated, chilled, loafed, goofed off) IN THE WORK of the wall. Despite Sanballat and the posse, the people’s fear,  their unlawful practices, the obstacles, HE KEPT on! He did not buy any land—he and his servants were focused on the work that was assigned along with everyone else. 
v17 Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.
v18 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

For mealtime, notice there wert no separate table for the leaders, no VIP section for an extra 40 shekels, no or pomp or circumstance. Nehemiah, like Jesus ate with everyone else–that’s what leaders do. Also, God took care of Nehemiah—his 150 member cabinet workers and people from other nations were fed well on the daily and elected not to tax the people any more than they were already responsible for. Nehemiah cared enough about the people who trusted him to lead them to not fleece them. To him that knows to do good and does not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).

And Nehemiah closes with the simple request to the Lord: 

v19 Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
BCU family, the Lord broke down those last few verses so we could understand how a leader (in any capacity–work, church, home) should conduct themselves with the grace of God. An easy, yet powerful way to remember what we read in one scripture:

But he that is the greatest among you shall be your servant (Matthew 23:11). 

Well BCU Family, this completes our study of Nehemiah chapter 5! Looking forward to going into chapter 6. In the meantime, we’d love to dialogue with you so, please post your thoughts in the comment 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

 

 

 

 

 

The GREAT assembly.

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 post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

We’re back with our Nehemiah series  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 and last time we were together, we started chapter 5, where we talked about the enemy within. That’s where we pick up this time, so let’s dig in!

Scene: Nehemiah was informed that the nobles and rulers were unfairly charging their brethren for food, which obviously  was effecting the families,  morale and well-being of the workers. Moreover, this was a public sin and was caustic to the work of the Lord. Nehemiah was a leader who was able to discern and work through issues, so it was apropos to get everyone together.  

v6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

Part of the reason Nehemiah was angry was because the Israelites were forbidden from charging “usury,” or interest, on loans to one another (see Deuteronomy 23:19). Having to pay back the loan interest would only put them further into debt and was not beneficial for either party.  This law served as a reminder to the Jews that helping those in need is something that should be done without expecting anything in return. In essence both the law and the people were being broken.

v7 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.

We talked about confrontation last time and we also talked about it in our forgiveness series. Confrontation is biblical and needs to be done the way GOD instructs us to do, according to Matthew 18. In this situation, Nehemiah had to address a group of leaders who were fleecing the people, so this had to be done publicly. A similar situation happened in the book of Joshua.

Joshua (chapter 7) was losing this battle and the Lord told him there was an “accursed” thing in the midst and Joshua could not stand before his enemies (or get the victory) until this was dealt with–the accursed thing was taken away (v 13).  It turned out there was sin in the camp, as someone named Achan had stolen some spoils from a battle in Ai–he was NOT supposed to have done that! Because of Achan’s foolish decision was effecting everyone, Joshua sought him out and confronted him in front of everyone (verses 21-23). 

v8 And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

He reminded ALL the people that their own folks (and maybe many of them) had been sold to their enemies and finally bought back with their own ability or money, and here they are doing the same thing. The truth was so evident, the people could not even answer. back. Whenever we confront someone, we want to be sure our facts are based in evidence versus emotion.

v9 Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?

Nehemiah is asking:

We we NOT JUST  released from Babylon (the enemy) and you charging this usury–is that GOOD?

Don’t you fear God at all?

What type of examples are we to our enemies about the God we serve?

God is asking:
That meme you posted or status you liked..did I get any glory out of that?

The way you cut your eyes or “cussed” someone out…was that a good example to the unsaved?

Do you want your enemies to make fun of you/mock God? (in the sense that we are no different than them)?

Do we care how our actions will look to those who do not know Christ?

v10 I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury.

 If you want to charge—yes, I am charging, too! We’re in business supporting one another–that’s fine. Just stop all this excessive interest.

v11 Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive yards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.

Be merciful and given them their stuff back–this was the proper thing to do. 

v12Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.

Your word was your bond. Once you promised to do something, you did it. Psalm 15 reminds us in a form of a question and then answer. Lord, who shall abide in Your tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Your holy hill… He that swears to his own hurt and does not change (Psalm 15:1,4).

v13 Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise.

Shaking your lap was like shaking out the outer parts of a garment, something like you shaking crumbs off your clothes, but this was MUCH more serious. It represented that if you failed to keep your words, just like those crumbs are scattered asunder, God would scatter YOU asunder. It was better to keep your promise. 

Also, notice that these folks readily received the Word–they had a teachable spirit. There was no arguing or justification, they were wrong, were called on it,  agreed to that fact, terms and conditions of restoration. And on TOP of that, rather than sulk, they praised God after the correction. That’s an example we should all learn to follow, especially when we know the rebuke comes from a place of love. And even if it doesn’t, we can still give God praise. 

This also speaks highly of Nehemiah’s leadership.  He had to rebuke the people, yes but did it in a way that was effective and impactful. Obviously, he had a relationship with God so he knew how to pray to know what to say, when to say it, and how to express it so God got the glory out of it. Whether you are correcting someone or being corrected whenever we go to God and ask for/follow His directions, things always come out perfectly. Amen? Amen!

Next time, we’ll finish up chapter 5–where we discover more about Nehemiah’s character and how we can apply those characteristics to our lives. In the meantime, we’d love to dialogue with you so, please post your thoughts in the comment 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

An enemy among us..

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 post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

 

We’re back with our Nehemiah series  where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval , the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wall and getting back to work on the wall. WHEW!!! Let’s dig into chapter 5!

Scene: Nehemiah and his crew survived the attacks of Sanballat, Tobiah and their posse only to be confronted with another deadly enemy that worked right among them.

Nehemiah 5

v1)And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.

So the poor among the people and their wives came to Nehemiah because some “predatory lending” practices were taking place.

v2)For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.

Situation 1: This is a BIG family—there are a LOT of us here. We have borrowed for corn to just to eat/survive.

v3)Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.

Situation 2: Others had to take out a mortgage to get corn to eat because of the famine.

v4)There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.

Situation 3: Still others borrowed again the king’s tax to eat!

v5)Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.”

Observation: Now this isn’t some outside force who came in—this was happening among like people! We’re all “family” here (related by blood and by being in captivity together as well), and family has brought our sons and daughters into bondage (or we sold them), because we need food. And NOW there is no way for us to get them out because we used out land as collateral–that’s been sold for food!  

v6)And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

So Nehemiah was was angry. Yes, we get angry. He didn’t go Hulk on them or start cursing them in the name of the Lord. He got angry and SINNED not and he didn’t let days, months and years go by while he stewed about it. The sun did not go down on his wrath (Ephesians 4:26).

On TOP of that, he listened. He heard. He empathized. He didn’t dismiss their problem, so the wall project could continue, he decided to deal with the matter straight on.

v7)Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.

Before the assembly, let’s talk about the confrontation.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, there is a time to keep silent and a time to speak. Nehemiah after thinking it over, he needed to openly rebuke the leaders who were extorting money from their brethren. Not just rebuke them, but tell them why that they were doing was wrong and how it hurt the people—financially, yes and more so the hearts of the people, as there were FAMILY.

There needed to be a confrontation. How do people typically deal with having to confront someone? Fight or flight. We either come out swinging, saying the wrong things, hurting someone’s feelings, feeling guilty, ashamed and regretful for the words and actions, OR.. We stuff it inside. We smile, so we’ll “be a good Christian”, take one for the team, keep peace. We shop, eat, silent treatment it, we talk about them in our minds and NOTHING gets resolved. 

Confrontation is scriptural–it does not have to be scary! It just has to be done the way God instructs you to do so. There is a template in Matthew 18:15-17 on how it should be done (1 on 1 then, before 2 or three, and then in front of the church), vs spouting off on social media or just not dealing with anyone at all.

Where we need to be prayerful is in our approach. Here are two examples:

Direct: Paul opposed Peter face to face in Galatians 2 starting at verse 11.  Peter stopped taking his meals with the Gentiles believers (in order to not “offend” the Jewish men) and others started following suit after Peter. Because this was creating division, Paul nipped this situation in the bud.

Story: 2 Samuel 12:1-7. David & Nathan. Nathan started off with a story about a rich man who had everything and a poor man who had one ewe lamb that he and his children loved. Rich man has a visitor, and rather than taking one of his own lambs to serve for dinner, he took the poor man’s lamb! David was livid, spouting harsh words and issuing punishment until Nathan told him—you are that man. (v 7)

Getting back to Nehemiah, this thing with the nobles and rulers was a public sin and was caustic to the work of the Lord. Nehemiah was a leader who was able to discern and work through issues, so it was apropos to get everyone together. We’ll plan to get more into an example of “public” confrontation and what happens at Nehemiah’s assembly next time we are together!

I know this was getting good to you, right?!  Please let us know your takeaways from this post in the comments section below. We’ll be waiting for you!

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!

#SpeechTherapy| Healing through forgiveness|Part 4| with Jewel Taylor!

Hey there BCU Family!

We are in our final installment of our Healing Through Forgiveness with the amazing Jewel Taylor! A few weeks back, Jewel joined us on our weekly Bible study live on Periscope (Thursdays @ 8:05pm EST on channel BlenCouragesU), to talk us through how to heal through forgiving. Last time we were together we started talking about how Joseph, from the book of Genesis REALLY had to forgive and heal with all his family and others put him through.

Jewel and fam
Jewel hanging with her kids!

This time, Jewel finishes up Joseph’s story and  highlights the tragic events in Joseph’s life and how he remained faithful and forgave through everything!  The study notes are below, so feel free to print and make any other notations you’d like! Finally, if you need the notes in a nifty PDF format, just email us (Blen@Blencouragesu.com), and we can make it happen! Click on the icon below and be blessed!

 


#forgiveness: FROM JONAH TO JOSEPH

Why is Joseph’s story an integral part of forgiveness? Joseph is one of the best examples, besides Christ, of forgiveness. The pain he endured at the hands of his blood family became the launching pad of blessing for nations.

Jonah still had issues with the extent of God’s grace and forgiveness in his story, therefore we do not have final resolution for forgiveness from Jonah’s heart in the Bible. However, once we have gone through the steps of forgiveness, our end goal is to become like Joseph. Enduring, forgiving, wise and generous despite our past, hurts and experiences. Life is cyclical and we will experience hurt more than one time and in different and varying forms. Our job is to remember what Joseph went through and use him as encouragement that no matter what we face, we can endure, forgive and move forward triumphantly.

Joseph was born to the favorite wife of the patriarch Israel as the 11th of his sons. Though Joseph was one of the youngest, he was favored in his father’s view so much, that it drove his older brothers to deadly jealousy. Joseph was also favored by God (Gen. 37:6-8) and when he told his family what the Lord had showed him, the hatred from his brothers reached its boiling point.

After being used several times by his father to spy on his brothers’ behavior, his brothers conspired to kill him (Gen. 37:18). They ended up sparing his life and selling him into slavery to a passing merchants who ended up selling him into the house of the captain of the guard of Egypt (Gen. 37:28-36). From there Joseph:

 Excelled (Gen. 39:1-6)
 Was wrongfully accused/framed (Gen. 39:7-20)
 Served diligently in prison (Gen. 39:21-23)
 Blessed others while in prison (Gen. 40:1-22)
 Had his good deeds forgotten (Gen. 40:23)
 Blessed Pharaoh (41:1-39)
 Is blessed and set on high by Pharaoh (Gen. 41:40-46)
 Blessed the nation of Egypt (Gen. 41:47-49)
 Received increase (Gen. 41:48-57)
 Proved his brothers love (Gen. 42-44)
 Blessed his family and ultimately the nation of Israel (Gen. 45-47)

Joseph did not allow his negative experiences/past to stop him from working to his full potential in God. Joseph never withheld his gifts because of the trauma nor did he give with respect of person. He used his gifts for those in prison as well as the palace.

This is the will of God. That we heal by forgiving those in our lives who have offended us or hurt us. We must forgive each and every person diligently from our hearts as prescribed in Matt. 18:35. Though all manner of ill-will was shown to Joseph, there is no mention of his retaliation or his unwillingness to serve in whatever capacity he was afforded. Joseph understood that what had happened to him was for God’s purpose.

If we knew everything God had set aside for us to do ahead of time, we probably wouldn’t take one step in the journey. God has fashioned each and every one of us through our various experiences to get our hearts and minds to the point he deems necessary to execute his will. Therefore we must live our lives forgiving, healing and ready to forgive again, knowing that the trials that we face build our character and impact a greater story.


And there you have it, BCU Family! Jewel shared with us that her husband, Richard preached a sermon “It hurt, but it worked”, meaning that ALL the things that God allows to happen in our lives is really to serve God’s purpose. With His grace, we need to go through it, learn from it and to apply those lessons in our lives.

I trust this series was a blessing to and challenges all of us (myself included) to be a doer of the Word ( James 1:22) in forgiveness and in ALL areas of our lives with the help of the Lord.

Thank you SO much for tuning in, liking, subscribing, commenting, sharing and encouraging us to continue to encourage you. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest posts, classes and whatever the Lord inspires us to do! In the meantime, may God bless and keep you! #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU