Happy Holidays?

Hey there BCU Fam!

For this post, because of the informal format, please tune into the podcast recording (click here or on the BCU avatar below) 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:

  • As of this post, we are in the beginning of December, and the holiday season is in full swing.
  • For many of us, this is a time to gather and celebrate with one another, especially family.
  • For others, this time of year is difficult as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.
  • Through a conversation, the Lord taught me a lesson on having compassion and understanding for those who are heavy-hearted right now.

Scripture references

Ruth 1:19-21

19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

21 I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Proverbs 25:20

As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.

Proverbs 12:25

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Job 2:11-13

11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

Isaiah 50:4

The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.


He said, “the holidays are not happy for everybody.” I really wanted to say something to make it better.


BCUFam, we are human, and the death of our loved ones HURTS! And it’s natural to miss their physical presence, especially at certain times of the year.

Now, it is hard to watch someone grieve––and it is also natural and CORRECT to want to comfort the person. God knows what you should say (if anything), and will lead you accordingly if you ask. Proverbs 25:11 says, “a word spoken fitly is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” When you think of what a stunning vision that is, how awesome would it be to speak that way? Ask God how. And know that sometimes, just a listening ear, a quiet shoulder, or just your silent presence can speak volumes. Amen? Amen!

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. Also, if you so inclined, join us Thursday nights––we are LIVE on YouTube 8:05EST/7:05CST. You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio Google Podcasts, 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

She left me better….

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:

  • Last week, a dear friend of mine, Mother Brenda Lee Elliott passed away.
  • While my heart is sad, I am grateful for the blessings she deposited into me.
  • Our relationships are important and should be treated as a blessing.
  • All of our conversations should leave people better than we found them.

Mother Brenda Lee Elliott | January 1954-February 2022

While my heart grieves at the loss of Mother Elliott, I give God praise for the almost 25-year friendship we shared. Every time we talked, including our last conversation, she loved on me and encouraged my heart. She left me better than when she found me. We never know if the last time we speak to someone may be the last time.

BCU Fam, please don’t start walking in fear about who may be departing from this life next–that’s not the intended point behind this post. Rather, as you interact with spouses, significant others, children, family members, friends, enemies or strangers, ask the Lord to give you the words to speak that will be a blessing to the hearer.  Colossians 4:6 says, to let our speech be always with grace and seasoned with salt that we know how to answer every one. Even if we disagree or have to confront (in a godly way), or correct someone, we can still speak “seasoned” and all the while glorifying God.

James 4:14 says we don’t know what shall happen tomorrow–our life is like a vapor. When you think about fog or a cloud of steam, it’s visible one moment and disappears the next. Vapor does make an impact while it is around, so with the help of the Lord, let’s say and do things that “add value” to whoever  we’re speaking with. We want to leave people better than you found them. Amen? Amen.

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. Also, if you so inclined, join us Thursday nights–we are LIVE on YouTube 8:05EST/7:05CST. 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

From sadness to celebration

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

For this post, you have the option of listening to our podcast, reading the notes or both. 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:

  • The holiday season is a time of family, friends, food and fun.
  • For many of us while we enjoy all of the above, we especially miss our the loved ones who have passed away around this time of year.
  • Bouts of sadness are normal. It is human to miss the physical presence of a person.
  • My very dear friend and sister in Christ, Jewel Taylor, shared her feelings about losing her beloved mom—and then decided to do something tangible to honor her, moving her sadness to a celebration.

Today my mom would have been 58. I miss her more than I ever have over these 23 years. When you grow up without a parent, you spend a lot of time in your imagination. I imagined what it would be like graduating with her there or getting married…

But for the past few years, especially since I had [my daughter] Rae, I imagine how she would have reacted to each of her grandchildren. That has been the hardest.

Baby Jewel and her beautiful Mom, Veda Lynn Steward.


I haven’t mourned her in a long time. But today, I’ve decided to allow myself to do so. However, in the spirit of WWVD Day (What Would Veda Do? – thanks for the idea Tarah), and despite being a bit achy, I will pick one of her favorite things to do.

We loved movies. We’d watch them all day if we could. And popcorn. And potato chips lol. I imagine that we would have all piled in the bed with my kids (after shopping for them, of course) and watched movies together. So that’s what we’ll do tonight. Pile in the bed with popcorn and potato chips (I’m really going to need a dustbuster) and watch movies until we pass out. I predict that:

part0 4
Richie, Ryan and Rae

-[My oldest son], Richie III will wiggle & talk through the entire movie.
– [My middle child and only daughter], Raelyn will fall asleep first.
-[My baby], Ryan will be chunky and cute.

And I’ll imagine that my mom would have been smiling from ear to ear, while wrestling my hand to get into the popcorn bowl.

Rest in Power Mommy.
Jewel

In loving memory of Veda Lynn Steward 11/23/1960 – 08/13/1995


BCU Family, in thinking about this post, Psalm 30:11-12 comes to mind. “Thou [God] has turned for me my mourning into dancing, Thou has put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness”. To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. See how talking to the Lord can bless your heart in a matter of moments? He is SO wonderful!

What are your thoughts on Jewel’s idea to honor her mom? What do you do to honor those who have passed away? Please head down to the comments section to share your thoughts so we can continue our conversation!

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

Series: Lessons from the book of Ruth (1:15-22).

Welcome back BCU family!

Please click on the icon for the podcast, if you’re on the go, otherwise take a few moments to read written account–I am sure you will find it a blessing!

So, as we continue from our last Life Lessons from Ruth (part 1) Orpah left Naomi to go back to her parents house leaving Naomi to fend for herself. On the other side, Ruth’s love was in action as she took on Naomi as family, and even starting serving God!

What an awesome testimony of conversion, as even in a strange land where idols were worshipped (notice Orpah went back to her gods). The Word doesn’t say what Naomi did or said–obviously she impacted Ruth through her love and dedication to God. Are we aware of who is watching how we interact with people? Are we impactful for Christ? Could we be living and loving for Him differently, more consistently?

Something else I noticed in Ruth’s insistence on staying with Naomi was the promise made in verse 17:

Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. The Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts you and I.

WHEW! That is a SERIOUS vow–from woman who was willing to travel from her homeland to a strange land with her mother- in-law. How deep did the love roots go in that relationship? How willing are we to give up the familiar and love and trust God for where He wants to take us?

Let’s look at the thought behind the vow.  In that time especially people relied on your word and the integrity of you keeping it. A good name is rather to be chosen above riches (Proverbs 22:1a). We also talked about vows and promises in a post entitled,  “Five lessons the Lord taught me in 2015 (Part 1).” In short, when you promise something, you need to mean it and follow through with it, with the help of the Lord. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances happen, but we still are accountable for what we said and need to do what we said.

Now the ladies are back in the city who is all abuzz with Naomi’s arrival. Naomi, obviously still grieving, instructs to people to call her Mara (meaning bitter) rather than Naomi (pleasant), because the Almighty had dealt bitterly, left her empty, testified against her and afflicted her (verses 20-21). This is proof that grief is biblical, Family! This woman was HURTING! While Naomi did not curse God, she was direct in how she felt about losing her family. This coupled with the fact she likely felt she was destined to be poverty-stricken among these people who once knew her as a secure, married woman probably exacerbated the mourning. We covered the topic of dealing with people who are “mourning aloud” in the post, “Five lessons the Lord taught me in 2015 (Part 2).” Bottom line: Be directed by the Lord as to what to say.  Or if you should say. Our chapter ends with the ladies landing in Bethlehem, right at the beginning of the barley harvest—a good time to get some work. We’ll look at that next time.

So our take-aways:

  • Obedience is better than sacrifice (I Samuel 5:22).
  • Love is an action item–even more so when it’s not easy (I Corinthians 13).
  • Love provides for others (Ruth 1).
  • Honor your vows (Ecclesiastes 5).
  • Pray for what to say (Isaiah 50:4).

I pray this blesses and challenges you to do continue or start to do better in God–I know I saw myself in much of what is written here, so now that God has showed us better, with His help, we’ll do better. Amen?! Amen!

Lord will, when we come back, we’ll look at Ruth chapter 2 and “glean” some of the awesome lessons God has for us! Thank you and may God bless you so much for stopping by and until the next time we’re together #StayOnTheWall.

 

Love,

 

BCU