#RealTalk-When you have NO strength to complete your assignment..

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 podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

I trust our Nehemiah study has been a blessing and a call to action for you–it has been for me!  Last time, we started digging into Nehemiah chapter 4, and left off with where Sanballat and his posse were threatening the work on the wall, but Nehemiah set up a watch and prayed, so the work would go on.  Now, though, Nehemiah faces more challenges with his own work crew! Let’s dig right in!

v10And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.

What the Lord pointed out to me here was Judah saying “the strength of THE bearers of burdens”. Notice in chapter 3, Nehemiah took the time to NAME the individual builders, the priests, merchants, Tekoites, sons of so-and-so.  Here it says THE bearers of burdens--in other words, the strength of ALL the workers, the priests, merchants, Tekoites, sons of so-and-so was decayed.  Initially, everyone was willing to work even in the midst of the earlier threats. Now for some reason, the crew started to notice all the work ahead of them and things started to look impossible. Can you relate to that?

Anytime you are into an assignment, especially the middle and end, you start to get tired.
The result? You are NOW fearful, cowering, stressed, thinking this is too much of a trial, too much work, too dangerous, too difficult, you play the song over and over (notice how the enemy gave you the track free of charge) and you start think it, say it, act it and SPREAD it! So now ALL the workers are infected with this poison called fear!

It happens all the time! In the news, the police force, the Zika virus, the shortage of food, the contamination of chicken parts, the plastic we consume in a burger, the pesticides you get, is it organic or not? What is this President going to do? Will I lose my job? What if? Fear will have you DO NOTHING, GAIN NOTHING, and GET NOTHING! God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a power, love, power and a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7). GLORY to God!

Back to Nehemiah–on top of these threats, bluffs, ridicule and tiredness, here comes another attack!

v11And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.

They learned the enemy is planning a sneak attack to wipe them out–and THEN the wall will cease. Obviously the enemy was VERY threatened by what was going on, otherwise, he wouldn’t be plotting so hard. Did you catch that BCU Family?

v 12And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, from all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.

Now the Jews who neighbored by the wall project heard what the adversaries were planning, and told Nehemiah and the crew all about it. At first, I thought about them being lazy and not helping, BUT God had a purpose for them being in place to report back to Nehemiah. This teaches us that sometimes God has people on the wall to watch and warn.

Think about the assignments God has called you to. What have we abandoned because we felt weary? Fearful? It was too much work? Who threatened you? Ridiculed you? Told you so and so was out to stop you? Why did you let it stop you? While threats and ridicule is real and HURTS, it does not negate is from staying on the wall. God gave us the assignment and we must complete it with His help!

We may need to come down and get healed up, but the work should not cease. John 9:4 says: I must works the works of Him that sent me while it is day. The night comes when no man can work. Get your work done NOW while it is day and you are able. Once our night comes (death) we cease from working and we want to be sure we are caught up with the Lord in the rapture–or if we die ahead of that, we hear well done, thou good and faithful servant. We can’t walk off the job now, Family!!!  Now, let’s take a look at what Nehemiah did about the workers concerns.

v13Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

Notice how he took their concerns seriously and acted on them. He didn’t tell them, “oh just trust God and keep working!” He set up a WATCH. He organized them with weapons and then was able to speak encouraging words to their hearts.

v14And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

He reminded them of God’s word, as well as who they were fighting for. Notice how Nehemiah’s faith was backed up by works. Faith without works is DEAD (James 2:17).

Is what we have worth fighting for? Is what God gave us, put in our hearts to do, the task, the assignment, the talent, the gift, the marriage HE ordained, the relationship HE blessed you with, the family member, the friend, even the STRANGER you are witnessing to worth fighting/staying on the wall/staying on duty for?  YES!!!!!

v15And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.

Nehemiah’s crew kept working and the enemy stopped. Sanballat and his team KNEW they were defeated. The enemy KNOWS he is defeated and we do as well. It’s a fixed fight, BCU Fam! We are not to just lay down and give the enemy the victory claiming he stole it! We watch and pray (Nehemiah 4:9), we fight in the spirit RATHER than the flesh and we stay in our full armour (Ephesians 6:10-18).

We ALL get tired in the battle, myself included! In addition to the above Scriptures to encourages us, we can also wait on the Lord to renew our strength, so that we will mount of with wings of an eagle, run and not be weary, and walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).  Amen? Amen!

Well, BCU family we have to get ready to wrap things up, but Nehemiah has plenty more challenges for us to explore and apply to our lives in the remainder of chapter 4, so please stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, there are additional podcasts for you to enjoy–you are welcome to peruse the BlenCouragesU.com site 24-7!  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 iTunes.

Before you go, please comment below and tell us what are your favorite Scriptures to encourage you?

Until we are together again,  thank you for stopping by and may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you! #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

 

BCU

 

 

Series: Overcoming people approval with Nehemiah!

Hey there BCU Family!

As usual, you have two options for this post! Listen in by clicking the icon, read through the text or both! Whatever you choose, we pray God’s word blesses you!

So we are back with another study on one of my favorite books–Nehemiah! What I love about Nehemiah was his fortitude and steadfastness in doing the work of the Lord in the face of adversity. Before we dig in and talk about how we can overcome people approval/disapproval, we need to establish the groundwork.

Background: Jerusalem was destroyed and exiled to Babylon. After 70 years of being in captivity, the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland and began/completed rebuilding the Temple which can be read about in the book of Ezra. Nehemiah chapter 1 opens up where he inquires about what is going on back home.

v1) The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,

v2)That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

v3)And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

While the Temple was rebuilt, walls around the city were destroyed. In Biblical times, cities were surrounded by HUGE, thick walls. The walls represented strength, beauty and protection.  The children Israel  were in distress and shame as the downed walls left the city and people defenseless and vulnerable against , wild animals weather situations and more importantly any ol’enemy could come in.  Broken walls represented defeat and humiliation. Gates were needful to let allowable things in and “kick” bad things out.

So as we pause here, in a practical application sense, let us answer the question “what walls are broken down in our lives?’ No, not those unauthorized walls your flesh puts up because you “stay mad”, are hurting, upset and determined in your heart, this won’t happen anymore—I am blocking them OUT! That’s a dangerous place to be—let’s look at why.

  •  We learned over the last few weeks offenses will come (Matthew 18)—that’s a part of the believer’s—and really everyone’s lives, when you think about it. Believers are called to handle offenses differently than the world. We are to be angry and sin not: not letting the sun go down on our wrath (Ephesians 4:26), meaning we don’t hold onto the anger/hurt—we take it to the Lord and then to the person if needful, according to Matthew 18.
  • When we don’t follow God’s prescription, that primes the enemy for entry. Why? Going back to our #SpeechTherapy season 1 study, because our speech and actions start in the heart, whatever we dwell on is what will drive us, so we have to constantly inventory our minds, and evict any thought that is not of God.
  • Additionally, we talked about the lust of the eye, flesh and pride of life. We learned that desires are typically a good thing—we desire a home, car, safety—even to feel and show emotions, like happiness, grief, and anger. All VERY normal. Where the issue comes in, is when the enemy takes that desire, and turns it into a lust. Lust has a focus of pleasing oneself and can lead to fulfilling that perverted desire with NO thought to the detrimental consequences. So any ANGRY, HURT walls need to GO in the name of the Lord! Let us give those to Jesus and be healed!

About  the “walls” (figuratively, not literal) that may be broken down and need repair: what about the walls of our discernment? Wisdom? Knowledge? Understanding? Did we ask God about doing, saying, seeing, watching, ignoring, going forth, lawfulness, expediency? Proverbs 25:28 says he that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. We cannot let any ol’ person, place or thing in!!! The walls stop us from giving non-working, scheming Junebug money when God said no. The walls will stop you from letting people overstep their boundaries! The walls will stop you from being over-bothered in your spirit about that repeat offender! The walls will stop you from letting the enemy take your mind, heart and spirit over! Ask God to help you REPAIR YOUR WALL!

Getting back to Nehemiah, the condition of the walls and gates tore Nehemiah apart as we read in verse 4.

v4)And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
As we pause here, Nehemiah’s concern for the people brought him to tears. When is the last time we wept over someone in affliction and shame? Did we just shake our heads? Say “that’s what happens when..” or “I’m glad it’s not me!”For those of us who have the Holy Ghost down on the inside, we should be moved in some way over the people and some of the situations they face in this world, and moreover, we can recommend Jesus.

Next and still in verse 4, Nehemiah said he sat down and wept, mourned CERTAIN days. The emotional desire to weep, cry and mourn is fine. Notice he did not cry and mourn for months and years on end.  There comes a time when we NEED to go to the next step— fasted and prayed. Do we pray then react or react then pray? POUR OUT YOUR HEART to GOD. Psalms 62:8 says, in trust in the Lord at all times, ye people pour our your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us. Not Ba-boo, Bishop, Tink and dem—talk to the LORD about it. Proverbs 3:6 promises, if we acknowledge God in all of our ways, He will direct your paths.

In the following verses, we see how Nehemiah goes to God, rather than act out in the flesh. In verse 5, Nehemiah offers praise:
v5And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: 

He repents:
v6Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. 

v7We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

He calls God in to remembrance of His Word, which is why we need to know it:

v8Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

v9But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

And makes his request:

v10)Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
V11) O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

And as Nehemiah finishes up in verse 11, while we don’t learn the plan till the next chapter, God has laid on Nehemiah heart exactly what to do, so he prays for mercy the king to have mercy.

The function of a cupbearer was to taste (either for quality or for poison or for both), carry, and serve wine to his master. In a case like that of Nehemiah, a cupbearer for royalty was not just a personal servant but also a trusted confidant and advisor–a LOT of responsibility. Nehemiah did not let the trouble STOP him from going to work. Now in certain situations that may be called for, but NOT we cannot call out/sit down on every trial. Whatever we do, be it your regular job, homemaker, ministry of sorts, school, God expects us to continue our assignments. Too weak? That means we are relying on OUR strength rather than God’s. A good friend of mine says our strength is limited. God’s never is. We may get weary—but we can go to God and wait on Him to renew our strength, mount up with wings like an eagle that soars, they shall run and not be weary, walk and never faint (Isaiah 40). His strength is made perfect in a time of weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

WHEW!! The Lord made excellent points here, didn’t He? I pray that this study blesses and more importantly, CHALLENGES all of us to change and come up to where God wants us, Amen? Amen!

Thank you so much for tuning in, reading, sharing and encouraging us, as we encourage you! God bless you and until the next time we are together, #StayOnTheWall!

 

 

Love,

BCU

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

 

 

 

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.

A Fixed fight—David & Goliath

Hey family!

Happy July to you! Can you believe we are more than halfway through another year? I have heard the older you get, the faster time goes and I am certainly a witness to that! Anyway, I’d like to share a classic Bible story with you–David and Goliath. While many of us know and remember the story from Sunday School, I was recently reminded of the spiritual significance.

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I Samuel 17 tells how giant Goliath, champion of the Philistines taunted the Israelites twice daily for over a month–looking for someone to fight him. He was “kind” enough to make a deal with the Israelites: if they won, the Philistines would be their servants, but if he won the Israelites would be servants to the Philistines. I wonder if Goliath and his crew rested assured thinking, “yep, we got them right where we want them.”

Meanwhile, the word tells us the Israelites were dismayed and greatly afraid! These were the same people who experienced the blessings (and punishment) of God, but likely because Goliath was so big (almost ten feet) weighted with all that armor, and so confident, he frightened his opponents so NO one wanted to fight him. That is until David, a youthful shepard came by, heard Goliath, and was incensed that he would defy the army of the living God. David went to Goliath with no armour, rather with The Lord on his side, and a rock to Goliath’s forehead. As I was reading this story, a couple of things came to me.

Notice Goliath never touched the Israelites—he just spoke to them and they fell to pieces. In comparison, the adversary is a type of Goliath. He taunts, accuses, brings feelings of doubt, fear, worry —sometimes paralyzing us so we fall apart and we will not fight. We allow the enemy to stop us from doing what God called us to. We draw back when we notice the stern, unsmiling faces at church when we speak. We stop praising God freely because someone is looking at us. We stay out of the prayer line fearing the congregation will be wondering why we are up for prayer–again. We think,”what if God doesn’t…..” or “maybe people will laugh” or “what if I mess up?” The list can go on and on, but you get the picture. Proverbs 29:25 reminds us, the fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Whose side are we trusting on?

Also, while what we feel may be real, we have to recall what David said to Goliath: You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defied (1 Samuel 17:45). David had total confidence in God and the ability God gave Him. AND David didn’t have the Holy Ghost, but WE do. We’ve got THE power in the name of Jesus, we just have to use it!

Also, while we do not wrestle against flesh and blood (no stones needed) 😄, we do wrestle against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Those battles are fought and won with fasting, prayer, reading your Word, and knowing that our God is God! While things may not go the way we want them, God in His infinite wisdom has won every battle–the fight is fixed!

Bottom line: while there are some “Goliaths” in all our lives from time to time, those of us who are Holy Ghost filled have the privilege to know the same God on whom David relied, is the same one we can call on for help. Psalms 98:1 reminds us His [God’s] right hand and His holy arm has gotten Him the victory. Because He lives in You, you can rest in knowing God is working on your behalf to ensure you will be victorious, according to His will! Fight on!

Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly!

~Blen