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!

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Seasoned saints–The importance of salt in your life

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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Hey family,

The Lord blessed me teach on salt at church and I thought I’d share (in a condensed version) what He gave me with all of you in a blog series. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus compared His disciples to salt. Why salt? Let’s start by taking a look at salt history of salt and why we need it in our natural bodies and in The Body of Christ.

Salt comes from the ocean, and the salt water is usually channeled into smaller, shallow pools of water. The wind and sun evaporate the water and as the salt crystallizes, it is, in some cases, hand-harvested by sauniers. This labor-intensive process can sometimes take up to five years to complete!

Salt comes from the Latin world salarium, which means payment in salt and where our word “salary” comes from. History tells us salt was a precious, expensive, highly valued item of trade and sometime used for monetary exchange. In fact, some sources say Roman soldiers were even paid in salt! When salt was your payment, you were living LARGE! 😃 Now that you have some background, let’s take a look at why we need salt.

Salt gets a bad rap in part, because our diets have changed to include more processed, fatty and preserved food that has lots of table salt. Table salt isn’t bad-bad, just not as good as natural sea salt is. Pure sea salt has minerals like sulphate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, bromide, borate, strontium, and fluoride–the body needs these to function. While table salt originally comes from sea salt, in its processing, those minerals are stripped away and iodine added in. (Side note–I suggest getting the sea salt and eat more fish and veggies for iodine). 😉

Pure salt is needed in your body because it:

Prevents muscle cramps
Provides essential nutrients
Enhances nutrient absorption

Regulates
–Blood pressure (in conjunction with water)
–Blood sugar
–Sleep

So salt regulates your body, helps you function and keeps a lot of the “bad” out. This is just a fraction of what this needed nutrient does. Now look at the spiritual need for salt.

Salt regulates the body of Christ by keeping the bad out:

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like, which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).

It also keeps us functioning by keeping the good in like peace, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, temperance, faith and meekness (Galatians 5:22). With the salt Jesus gives you on the inside, it shows up on the outside!

As a needed spiritual nutrient, Jesus commanded that we “have salt in yourselves and peace with one another” (Mark 9:50). In our next installment, we’ll take a look at what that means and why salt is vital in friendships and covenants. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading and be blessed!

Blen

http://www.himalayancrystalsalt.com/salt-history.html