Your fruit is showing…

Hey there BCU Family!

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 spent some time with a wonderful individual who is on fire for the Lord, full of love, faith…and complaints. No, not venting or looking for an understanding–just a myriad complaints about people, places and things, past, present and future. How does such a fiery vessel have such a consistently negative attitude? It’s all about the tree and its fruit.

As a quick disclaimer, I do not bring this subject up in a spirit of condemnation or superiority, (trust me, God has PLENTY of things He is working on with me), rather, as I pondered the conversation, the Lord brought the behavior to my attention as a warning to me first,  and to the Body of Christ as a whole. Let’s examine why.

As saints, we are called to observe and discern. In fact, Matthew 7:16 tells us we will know people by their fruits. While people can tell us/we can be told who someone is, the words and actions (fruit) tell US who they are.

That same verse goes on to ask “do men get grapes from thorns or figs from thistles?” In other words, if you say you are a grape vine or a fig tree, your fruit will be just that, sweet, fragrant, plentiful and in abundance, rather than producing thorns or thistles. Thorns and thistles are long, recurved, prickly plants that upon contact, often inflict serious and recurring wounds. Get the point?

Side note: grapes are the most mentioned fruit in the Bible and are valued because of the ways they can be used, such as for wine, raisins and vinegar. Not only are figs mentioned because of their nutritional and economic value, figs often symbolized safety and doing well.

 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon (I Kings 4:25). 

Now, getting back to Matthew 7, verses 17 and 18 tell us that good trees bring good fruit and corrupt trees bring evil fruit. Also, you cannot get evil fruit from a good tree and/or vice versa. So here, God is telling us there are two types of trees–good or evil. Let’s read these verses to get a better understanding.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

A careful read tells us 1) Bad fruit producers are cut down and thrown into the fire (Hell) and, 2) we can produce bad fruit, work for the Lord, BUT we will STILL miss Heaven! These are sobering thoughts, BCU Fam. Our merciful God is willing to help us in this area—if we let Him. So how do we know what type of fruit we are producing and if it pleases God? Anything that comes from the flesh will NEVER please God and ONLY produce evil fruit. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us all about it:

 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

In sharp contrast, when we yield to the Spirit of God, we allow the fruit of the Spirit to produce good things like: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). I love that there is no law against good fruit production! Can you imagine how much better things would be if we all produced all this fruit regularly?

This is a LOT to take in, right? The bottom line is for those of us who have the Holy Ghost, when we were filled, we became good trees with the “good fruit” that we see in the aforementioned paragraph. With God’s help, we have to maintain our tree and ensure we are consistently producing good fruit by walking and living in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25). Every so often we may have a thorn or thistle, but we should immediately apply spiritual “Round-Up” (prayer and fasting), to kill off those deadly and unproductive prickle bushes. Amen? Amen.

How about you? How has your fruit production been? What would a surprise inspection yield? I am so curious to hear your heart on this topic! Please head over 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

“Ono”… “I am doing a great work!

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. Nehemiah also walked us through how he led/governed (with the help of the Lord) the people, versus bossing/managing the people, as the former and very corrupt leadership had done in the past. Because of Nehemiah’s outstanding leadership, everyone was blessed! Now Nehemiah faces another tough battle with his arch enemies, Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem. Let’s dig in!

Nehemiah 6.

v1)“Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)

v2) Sanballat and Geshem sent a messenger saying, lets meet up in the village in the in plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.

So the wall is almost finished and the Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem have cooked up a scheme to try and get Nehemiah to stop. Two of the ringleaders requested Nehemiah’s presence in the one of the villages in the plain of Ono, under the pretense of a “meet-up.” Because Nehemiah had a relationship and prayer life with God, he was able to discern this enemy wanted to get him alone to harm him.

As people of God, we will have enemies. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds to be sober and vigilant because our adversary, the devil is as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. That tells us we should know who they are and realize with disernenment when they (or rather that evil spirit working though the person) are trying to trick us. Many times, we call foul when we get yoked up by a spirit working through someone, and I don’t deny it’s foul. Do we have enough of a prayer life and applied wisdom, (James 1 says it’s free for the asking) to avoid getting okie-doked in the first place?

Joshua 9 tells the story of this mighty warrior. Joshua was going around defeating people left and right—the Hittites, Amorites, Cannanites, Perizzities, Hivites, Jebisute, left and right, out of sight!  :-)And the Gibeonites  (who lived less than 100 kilometers from Joshua), were likely the next group to feel the wrath of Joshua.

The Gibeonites got crafty and and got some old sacks, old wins skins, and dry and moldy bread, and came riding in on these donkeys into Joshua’s camp (v6) saying they were ambassadors from a far country and  asked Joshua and his team to make a promise not to hurt them.

Now, Joshua’s men were suspicious and said so, but the Gibeonites countered saying , we are your servants. Joshua asked for more identification and information as well, but the fake plenipotentiaries never named the country–just  said they came in the name of the Lord, spoke of Joshua’s fame and asked again for Joshua to promise not to hurt them. ON TOP of that, the Gibonites made it a point to show Joshua and his team their old food, tattered clothes and worn out shoes to convince the crew that the Gibonites were really from a far place (There is SO much wrong here, but, alas, that’s another post).

Because Joshua did not seek counsel at the mouth of the Lord (v12), he and the team took  the bait and ended up protecting a group of people that were enemies, disguised as friends/admirers. Eventually Joshua found out and was plenty angry about being beguiled, but because Joshua gave his word, he could not hurt them. 

We have two very powerful men of God here. Joshua was a mighty man a valor, took the place of Moses, fought battles and won–yet did not ask God what to do. Nehemiah, a cupbearer, turned wall-builder/governor, had enough of a prayer life and relationship with God to see this trick coming and by-passed it. In fact, he cut off any possibility of a meeting in the next verse (Nehemiah 6).

v3)And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?

Very simply put, I am busy for God and the work should not stop. What great work has God called you to that requires your full attention? What talent, task or gift are have you come off the wall to do something else? Did you get distracted by something shiny, less involved or “more fun?” Did you get tricked into coming off the wall? In any case, BCU Family, it’s NOT TOO late to get back on the wall! Yes, God can still use you! Just repent and come  back! Glorayyyyy!!!!

Now that’s were back on the wall, know that the enemy will come back with you. When we recognize the enemy, this time, rather than reasoning with him or explaining your position, close the conversation like Nehemiah did  and continue working. Notice what happens next.

v4 “Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.”

Now while Team Sanballat kept coming for Nehemiah, take note that Nehemiah stayed persistent and consistent–using the same answer he gave in verse 3–nothing more, nothing less.  They back off, but only for a season, as we’ll see in an upcoming post/podcast.

Application: Why do we continue to go into the desolate plains named Ono with people, places and things which have clearly do not have or want God’s best for you?  Matthew 7:16 says, “you will know them by their fruits”. While God gives us free will to make choices, He is not interested in us being tricked by, making treaties with or devoured by the enemy. Let’s  seek counsel at the mouth of the Lord and ask for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and instruction on how to plainly  identify  the”rotten” fruit and stay out of the plain of Ono. Amen? Amen!

Well, BCU Family, there is SO much more coming in Nehemiah 6, so stay tuned for our next post/podcast. In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so, please post them 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

Motley post> How to: avoid consuming rotten fruit

Hey 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!

 

About a year ago, I posted a chart I saw  on Linked in–outlining what we tend to say to ourselves (I’m not good at this) vs. what we should say (what am I missing?) So as I looked at the post again, while the “positive affirmations” still resonated with me, the Lord spoke to my heart and mentioned the many negative things we say to ourselves can and SHOULD be overridden with the The Word of God.

Paul 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 God’s Word in our thought and word choices.

Instead of thinking this…

Think on THIS

I’m no good at this! I can do ALL thing through Christ that strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
They will never change! The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, and just like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wants. (Proverbs 21:1).
What did I do to deserve THIS situation? And we know that ALL things work together for good, to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Seems like they get away with doing wrong. Why do right? But you, brethern, be not weary in well-doing (I Thessalonians 3:13).
This situation will not get any better.. With God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
If only I had more… But godliness with contentment is great gain (I Timothy 6:6).
This is scary AND I’m lonely! Fear not, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am Your God who will strengthen, help and uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness (Isaiah 41:10). 
I do not feel special.. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows well (Psalm 139:14).
I will NEVER forgive. How often should you forgive? Seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).

If we don’t change the way we speak, the rotten fruit of our lips 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? It’s best to ask God to help us line up our thoughts, words and actions with His Word and enjoy the good fruit of the spoken labor. Amen?! Amen!

Thank you so much for stopping by! If this was a blessing to you, please comment below and share it with someone–you’ll never know how the Lord may use you to encourage someone else! And if you have not done so, please like BlenCouragesU on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!  And PLEASE subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes. You’ve already done that? Then please tell someone you love AND your enemy–I’m trusting they will soon become your friend! 🙂

Until we are together again, may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you—-and #StayOnTheWall!

 

God bless you and thank you for reading!

Love,

 

BCU

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?

Smoothie love (infographic)

Hey Family!

Awhile back, I spoke about the love I have for smoothies, specifically green smoothies. I have one or two almost daily packed with spinach or kale, a banana, almond milk, and super foods like cacao, coconut oil, chia, flax and hemp seeds.

I usually supplement my healthy-ish meals (hey, sometimes you need a little cake!) with my smoothie and other times, I take it with me as I run errands or in between church services. It fills for a bit and keep me out of fast food land. This infographic, courtesy of superskinnyme.com, gives you a great idea on different types of smoothies and their effect on your body. Take a look and let me know if you have questions!

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