The most wonderful time of the year?

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!

As many of us prepare celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and The New Year with family, friends, serving others, or what have you, let’s ask the Lord to help us to watch as well as pray for all those we come in contact with.  Let me tell you why.

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. 😦

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 or maybe you do 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!

If you happen to be listening/reading and feeling out of sorts or know someone who is and would like to speak with us, you can reach out to us here: Blen@BlenCouragesU.com  or call 845-768-3349.

You can also get encouragement on the daily by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! You can also maintain your encouragement by listening in and subscribing to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes.

 

We love dialogue here! Before you go, please leave us an encouraging comment for someone who may need it.

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

 

God’s lessons from 2015 (Part 2 of 2).

Hey there BCU family!

What you will be reading is the”enhanced” transcript from the podcast, meaning,  you get a little more information in the written account than the audio file. 🙂  Enjoy either format and thanks for stopping by!

We are back with the second and final part of The five (5) BIG lessons the Lord taught me in 2015. Last time, we covered “Promises, promises” and “Appearances can be deceiving,” you can catch up here.  As a side note, I was tested on the the “promises” post.

I agreed to do a project for someone awhile back, and I followed up on it, but the person was a little slow in getting back to me, so I sort of dismissed it.  Of course, at the 11th hour they now want the project which will likely take me many hours to prepare. I started to fuss, but the Lord gently reminded me of what He said through the last post, so with His help, I will take care of it with a cheerful heart. See, I told ya’ll–when I post these things, I am talking to me first–I’ve got to be the first partaker of the fruit! (see 2 Timothy 2:6 for that reference).

So let’s see if we can get to the last three:
3. Happy Holidays?
4. Think outside the circle.
5. Say what?

Click the logo to start the podcast (audio file).

Happy Holidays?

I realize the official Christmas holiday season is over, but some situations occurred that will now have me looking at things in a more compassionate and through the eyes of Christ type way.

A friend of mine working on my computer remarked, “I’ll be glad when the holidays are over. This is a tough time for some people.” Later that same week, another good friend remarked, “the holidays are not happy for everybody.” In the both cases, my friends  had lost an immediate family member and understandably, the holidays brought some sadness. While I wanted say something to make it better, I was led to listen and quietly pray.

Lest you think that grief is unbiblical, take a look at Ruth 1:19-21. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law was making her way back home to Bethlehem after the death of her husband and sons. As the townspeople were asking after her, she said:

“Call me Mara, [meaning bitter] not Naomi, [pleasant] for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full and the Lord brought me home empty, so why call me Naomi seeing that the Lord testified against me and afflicted me.”

The woman was clearly grieving and said so! Notice the Word does not record anyone responding with familiar platitudes to quiet her down or ease her pain.

Proverbs 25:20 says “as he that takes away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that sings songs to a heavy heart.” Nitre was and still is a cleansing agent found in the lakes of Egypt–it is similar to what we know as baking soda. Nitre effervesced or bubbled when coming in contact with something acidic, like vinegar. So think about it–as these folks are mourning their loss, our well intentioned selves can say acidic things like “don’t cry, she would not want you to be sad”, “he’s not suffering anymore”,  “you’ll see her again,” ” she is in a better place”, “God needed her”, “He knows what He’s doing, it was best.” Now with the exception of “God needed her” (for what? God has plenty of resources and once we leave Earth, our work ceases), these sayings may well be true–was that what needed to be said at the time? Are those words really going to comfort someone? As a matter of fact, some of those remarks were said to a revered and  wonderful woman of God who lost her husband. She said, “I know all that, but I don’t want to hear that right now!”

For some reason, we want to hush and rush individuals through the grieving process, and even once the person is otherwise doing fine and gets sad, we want to shoo the sadness away. We are human and losing someone  in the flesh just HURTS and we will miss their presence, especially at certain times of the year.  Don’t get me wrong, it is hard to watch someone grieve–and it is 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? Yes! Ask God how. And know sometimes, just a listening ear, a quiet shoulder, or just your silent presence can speak volumes.

Think outside the circle

This moment came from a lunch with my one of my best friends, Billie. We were talking about the gifts God has given us and how difficult it can be to operate them among people who know you. Sound familiar? In Matthew 13,  Jesus had just finished powerfully teaching many great parables (the sower, wheat and tare, what the kingdom of heaven was like) to multitudes by the shore. The Word does not record the reaction to the Jesus’ teachings, but I’m thinking the crowds were blessed by it, based on what happens around verse 54. Jesus came home to teach in the synagogue and folk  who knew Him started questioning His wisdom, mighty works they had ALREADY seen Him perform and His family tree.

And they were offended in Him, but Jesus said unto them, “a prophet is not without honor [is honored everywhere] except in his own country and in his own house.” And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:57-58).

Notice, who questioned Jesus–it certainly was not the people outside His “circle”, rather the ones IN the circle. The ones who should be encouraging, believing, praying and standing with you can sometimes be the toughest crowd. I can remember speaking at a function and  looking out on the cold faces of the circle of folks I had known for years, versus the encouraging smiles of the ones who were newer to the circle.

I do not mind saying that did sting quite a bit and it would neutralize me if I let it. This is why  Proverbs 3:5  says we cannot lean to our own understanding (if I did lean on my own, I would have stopped publicly speaking right after that. Thank God for healing me). Rather we are to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). If you are Holy Ghost filled, we have the power of the resurrected Christ in us to change the atmosphere no matter how combative it may be. We also need to accept the fact  that in some cases, we may not be well received at all among certain people, and unless God steps in, it will not change. But with the grace of God, we will NOT let that change us or the way we use the gifts God has given us.  Let the account we give have to give God one day have Him respond, “well done, thou good and faithful servant…. enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21).

Say what?

This is more of an observation and gentle PSA. I am a little old school when it comes to sharing certain aspects of what I deem to be private, but it looks like I may be in the minority in comparison to the rest of the world.

With the onslaught of fake “reality” TV,  raunchy tell-all talk shows, dash cams, smart phones and social media, folk seem to think that it is allright to tell, post, video and snap pics of your every waking thought in exchange for 15-minute fame, free therapy, someone to co-sign your wrongness, spreading gossip, likes, sympathy, followers and to be the trending topic of the week whether intentional or not.

I recall a story where a day care provider posted something about not liking to be around lots of kids. YIKES!!! Of course, the post was seen and she lost her job.  Proverbs 29:11 says “a fool utters all his mind, but a wise man keeps it all in till afterwards.” Since we have seen the results of foolishness,  let’s look at wisdom in action.

Mary, mother of Jesus is a prime example. In Luke 2, angels had visited shepherds to tell them about the birth of Jesus and in turn, the shepherds went to see Joseph, Mary and Jesus to verify what the angels said. Once the shepherds saw Jesus for themselves, they “made it known abroad” what the angels said.  Even in all this excitement, the new mom “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (verses 17 & 19).  If the mother of our Savior, King and Redeemer could keep quiet about such an important visitation, how much more should we? We should use discretion on all of our communication, except when Jesus is the subject and good news!

Granted, there are times when we need to talk something out or share information (that is yours to share), and that is where God’s wisdom comes in to lead you to the right person(s),  the medium to use, or to go directly to Him. Proverbs 3:6 reminds us to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways and He will direct our paths. Amen? Amen!

Well family, that concludes our series! It was my pleasure to bring you His Word and I am excited for how the Lord will bless us to apply what He says.

May God continue to bless you richly. If this post has blessed you, please let us know by giving a thumbs-up, commenting and sharing with a friend. Thank you for reading/listening and until next post #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