Overcoming people approval! Lessons from Nehemiah (Part 2)

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. Last time we were together, we looked at Nehemiah chapter 1 to get our background story and basics on Nehemiah. Let’s continue talking about how we can overcome people approval/disapproval starting on Nehemiah chapter 2.

v1)And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. (This was about a 4 month period from chapter 1 in the month of Chisleu and the month of Nisan).

v2Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,

v3And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

v4Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

BOOM! This was the king—his employer and Nehemiah said he was SORE afraid (emotion). Rather than letting his emotion overtake him, he prayed—this was his time to put God’s plan given to Nehemiah 4 months prior (end of chapter 1–we find out about it later) into action.

v5And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

v6And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

v7Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
v8And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Nehemiah calmly asked for time off and then asked for letters to let him pass through to Judah, a letter for timber to make beams for the gates, walls and the house where he would stay. God touched the king’s heart to give him what we wanted. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, and just like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wants (Proverbs 21:1). Let’s ask God to touch people’s hearts.

v9)Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

Nehemiah did not ask for captains of the army or horseman at all–it was extra. When we do whatever job God gives us as unto Him, and not unto men, because we serve Christ, He rewards us (Colossians 3:23). When we serve the Lord with gladness as Psalm 100 commands,  (yes, even on the job that is trying,  but that we should be thankful to have), He will bless us with extras. Ask me how I know? He has done it for me!

v10When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

While God gave Nehemiah the plan, the enemies came with it. The weapon would be formed—yet not prosper (Isaiah 54:17).  All things would work together for good, to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose— but all the individual things that are happening may not good. My cousin Tanyel once said that the ingredients that go into a cookie, raw oatmeal, eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda a stick of butter—individually are not good. I’m not about to sit down to a good bowl of flour! Yet that flour when added to other ingredients and baked, it makes up a delicious confection. Our fiery trials, temptations, rough patches and valleys are a challenge!! They try your faith!!!! But when we mix all those things up and “bake” them we’re a confection for Jesus!! We have to go through the baking process!!!!!

As we look again at verse 10, notice when these folk HEARD the news, they were grieved.
The Horonites and Ammonites were two of the people groups God had driven from the Promised Land for the Israelites. Sanballat (meaning bramble bush—enemy in secret) Tobiah, (meaning God is good) were regional governors serving under the king of Persia. Generations after Israel had first possessed the Promised Land, some of their old enemies were back, seeking to keep Jerusalem in ruins.

If you were around for our study of Ruth we talked about the Moabites—they were enemies from way back.

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:

Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.

Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee.

Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭23:3-6‬.

Additionally, Judges 3:12-30 says, the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Here are a couple of key verses:

13In alliance with the Ammonites and the Amalekites, he went and defeated Israel; and they took possession of the city of palms.

14So the Israelites served King Eglon of Moab eighteen years.

Why bring this up, you say? Because typically, you don’t have “new enemies.” Oh sure they may come in a different disguise, but under the surface, it’s the same enemy from out in the world. And it’s usually linked to all that’s in the world—the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.(1 John 2:16)

Back in the day did you liked the men/women? Lust of the flesh. Coveted/schemed after nice things in a lustful way? Lust of the eye. Like to show-off new things? Pride of life. Lying to save face? Pride of life. Still upset with Kee-Kee for belittling you in 1972? Pride of life. Know your old enemies and stay alert to fight them in the spirit!

These two men were “exceedingly grieved” [to cause great distress to (someone)]. Some other synonyms are: sadden, upset, distress, pain, hurt, wounded, soured, pained dissatisfied, unhappy, all because they HEARD a man came to see about the children of Israel. Not that the walls were broken down or the people were in danger. They were upset because they HEARD Nehemiah came to take care of things. What spirit is that? Pride of life. Pride says:

Why are you helping them?!
You are not good enough. Why are YOU here?

Why should ANYONE look after them?

I’m not helping them—neither should you.
I don’t want to see them prosper. I don’t want to see them better.

Whatever happened it’s good for them.
Who sent you?

Pride is what goes before destruction. Pride is what kicked the enemy and 1/3 of the angels out of heaven. The spirit of pride works through people in subtle and big ways. For example, awhile back, a mechanic asked me what type of gas I put in my car. I KNEW I was all about riding on the cheap, so I’m putting in 87. I MIGHT have put in 93 once or twice. This was a long time ago, so I don’t recall my exact answer, but it was something like sometimes 91, sometimes 87. Immediately the Lord said “pride of life”—you didn’t want to look “cheap” or bad in front of the guy. Did that make sense? Like how would that help? I cleared it up and repented afterwards, but see how fast that spirit works IF you let it? 2 Thessalonians 2:7 says the mystery of inquity does already work in who lets it. Sure, I had the power to resist the spirit, but I gave in and wasn’t trying or intending to. Just.that.fast. So imagine that spirit working through someone is willfully and a practicing sinner.

Folk will be grieved when the Lord gives YOU an idea and the mind to carry it through. Folk will be soured because you preach/teach the Word. People will be distressed because you have a talent to sing and use it to the glory of God. Someone will be pained because you are striving for perfection. Another will be dissatisfied because the Lord blessed you. It’s NOT the person—those adjectives…grieved, soured, sad, upset, dissatisfied have their roots in PRIDE. It is the spirit of PRIDE we have to pray against and guard our hearts against. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

We are SO busy snarling, growling, avoiding, talking about and looking at the person—or fighting them in the flesh, we FORGET as Holy Ghost filled believers, that we have the power of Jesus on the inside to fight that spirit in the spirit. When you fight in your flesh, you’ll get wounded in your spirit. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go to verse 11.

v11So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.

v12And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.

Nehemiah took a few men with him that he trusted, but he kept quiet about what God told Him. Some of our people addiction/fear is because we TALK TOO much to the WRONG people. Why are we telling people we know that won’t support the work we are called to do and get upset when they don’t embrace it?

In Luke 2 around verse 13, after the birth of Jesus, ANGELS came praising God saying glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men. The shepards were the ones who made it known ABROAD what was said, but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Did God lead you to share it on social media? When you don’t get likes or shares will it bother you? When someone questions you on the inbox, you get upset—talking about, they won’t let me be great! Isn’t greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves (Matthew 18)? Does the servant tell everyone I’m making moves? Watch out because I’m going to… With God’s grace, do what you are called to do without calling everybody.

BCU Family, did The Word of God bless you? Was there a bit of conviction that came along with it, too? I know it did for me, but that is what the Word of God is designed to do, right? Along with blessing us, it corrects and reproves us as well in order for us to be more like Christ. With God’s grace, let’s take what we learned today and start taking the necessary steps (prayer, fasting, accountability partner, etc.), to stop letting people stop us from doing the work God gave us. Amen? Amen.

Lord will, join us next time as we continue to study chapter 2–the enemy is lurking and God blesses Nehemiah to deal with it beautifully, so do not miss it! Thank you SO much for stopping by, Family! May God bless, keep and, make His face to shine upon you–and until we are together again, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

 

 

Series: #SpeechTherapy-it starts in the heart! (part 3)

Hey BCU family,

As usual, please enjoy the audio podcast (click on the icon below), the written transcript, or both! In either case, God bless you as you read, hear and apply the Word of God.

 

As we prepped and started heart surgery last time, we realized how lust and pride effects our hearts, speech and actions. Last time, we looked at the evil queen Jezebel, who had an innocent man killed in order to get her pouty husband, king Ahab a vineyard he just had to have! (I Kings 21).Let’s take a look what the Word says about lust and pride.

Do not love the world or anything in the world, if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, comes NOT from the Father, but from the world. The world and the lusts pass away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (I John 2:15-17).

This is a fixed fight, and God wants us to be victorious over our heart meditations and gives us the Word in which to do it. Our anchor scripture, Psalm 19:14 says, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O, Lord my strength and my redeemer. Let’s talk about the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, and our some of our seemingly innocent heart meditations may not be acceptable to God.

Lust of the flesh: all having to do with bodily desires.

Your body needs: Proper nourishment in order to function optimally. Where do we go wrong? Gluttony. The word of God reminds us NOT to be among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21). The thought here if it is hard to control your appetite, it likely hard to control other areas– rather they likely control you. God gives the Spirit-filled believer the ability to say “no” to anything in excess through exercising the fruit of the Spirit, particularly, self-control found in Galatians 5:22. We just need to make sure to practice self-control with God’s help.

Something else your body needs? Sleep or rest! We DEFINITELY need sleep in order to repair, rejuvenate–just to even function on all six cylinders.  Jesus told the disciples to come apart into the desert and rest awhile in Mark 6:31. Jesus Himself slept (Mark 4:38). Where we go wrong? Little to no activity other than sleeping. Yes, Jesus and the disciples rested, but they were tired from being BUSY from what they were called to do. The lazy and slothfulness we talked about from the lust of the eyes is closely related to this oversleeping lust of this  flesh here. Listen to what the Word says.

“Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty. Open your eyes and you will be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13) that speaks for itself.  Also, think about this, “the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). If we are playing/sleeping when we’re supposed to be harvesting, we lose out on the fruit of the harvest (souls saved, healed, delivered and set free), and make more work for the laborers. We want to be in the few as God directs. Rest, yes, just not in excess.

Another body need? some activity/to work. It’s all good—we thank GOD for those who work! But then there is the work-aholic. Always going into the office, always taking the overtime, always on call (even when you don’t have to be), folding, pacing, cleaning, checking—just can’t be still. If you are working or always doing some activity, you will not hear from God. Has the activity around social media replaced your prayer, Bible study, quiet time with God? Social media is a good thing—its the lack of self-control that’s the issue and needs to be surrendered to God.  Let’s switch gears and talk about the pride of life.

Pride of life: These desires have to do with the spirit.

So, the desire to taking care of yourself, eating right, exercising, taking care of your hair, skin, nice clothes, etc., good! Weigh that against an obsession with trying to look 20 at 75. What is it with all this anti aging and commercials for facelifts? Where are the “mothers” of the church, neighborhoods? The wise folks? All looking to get “booed” or “bae-ed” up? We want to represent God by looking and dressing nice—vanity has no place in our hearts. Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears (reverences) the Lord , she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30). Men (and everyone really),  2 Corinthians 4:16b says, but though the outward man perish, yet the inward man us renewed day by day. Let’s make sure we take care of the inside as well as we do the outside.

What about the desire to please your parents, guardians, grandparents—what child doesn’t want someone to be proud of them? What happens when you do not “outgrow” that desire and it turns into people pleasing at ANY cost? Here’s where lying, stealing, deceiving, (acting like we like something) among other things can come into play—just to be liked–and it is NEVER enough. We better stick with God’s approval. He told Jesus in Matthew 3:17 this is my Son in whom I am well pleased. That should be our heart’s desire!

Let’s talk thorough the desire to know more about something—Proverbs tells us to get knowledge over gold (8:10). When you know something and others do not, is you heart calling them “stupid?”

I recall a “discussion” with someone years ago and they said “everybody knows that”. First of all, home skillet was lying, because everyone would include everyone—like my 5 year old niece—what does she know about grown folks business? She was likely studying Elmo, so NO, not everybody knows what point you’re trying to prove.  Secondly, that prideful remark was a slick way of trying to make me feel less intelligent than that individual and everyone else in the world. I don’t recall how the Lord had me handle it, but with God’s grace, I try not to say that or anything like it to anyone. Innocent as it sounds, there is pride there.

What about us “good, saved” people? Our sins have been washed away, we’ve been baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost and we live Holy—no smoking, drinking, partying, etc. We are in the “right” church affiliation, so NO sermons, studies, devotionals, anything God reveals during prayer or reading time is for us, it’s a word for her. Him. Them. That prideful spirit hardens the heart, so that the Word doesn’t penetrate and stir us to repentance and changing what we do. It takes some dire circumstance to get our attention.

Years ago, I was talking to a friend very “innocently” about other persons—it wasn’t malicious or mean-spirited, just something God would rather I not do and likely had elements of pride. (well I would never, or why did she do….) I must have passed too many warning signs because someone got to telling my business to some friends of mine and I was HEATED. The Lord gently reminded me that I felt how those people felt. After that God blessed me to be a confidant to many people who wanted advice or a listening ear. We can discuss matters for better understanding, clarification and as a cautionary advice, but in the right spirit. Things like “if she were a better mother she would..” vs “it may be hard for her as a single parent….” “I don’t know what’s wrong with her…if I had raised her…” “ it sounds like Vaselina needs a more structure. We need to pray for her parents (or talk to them as the Lord leads) for them to help her follow directions. We want to crucify this part of our flesh DAILY!

We could go on and on about with different scenarios about heart conditions. I know the Lord spoke to me on some of these very things and with His grace I am more aware and alert as to when the enemy comes by. In fact, I took the kiddos out to eat and was on my way to pay the check. It was crowded as people were waiting to be seated, pay, etc. and the enemy said “you can walk right out of here without paying and no one would know.” I mean JUST like that. Thank God for the desire to pay—but it’s those thoughts you mediate on that you can give a voice  and permission to act on.

This week, start paying more attention to your thoughts/ what’s in your heart. Ask God to show you (even if it’s painful), what areas need more attention or a purge  and ask for His help in overcoming them and creating a clean heart Psalm 51:10. Also, step up your gatekeeping of the heart as directed in Proverbs 4:23. Finally, Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think on true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. This way, NO room is allocated for any of the pride and lusts we talked about.

Well, BCU family, this brings #SpeechTherapy part 3 to a close! I pray the Word blesses and challenges you to do things differently for the Lord. Thank you all for tuning in and please come back for #SpeechTherapy part 4! Until the next time we are together, #StayOnTheWall.

 

Love,

 

BCU

Series: #SpeechTherapy..it starts in the heart! (part 2)

 

Hey BCU family,

As usual, please enjoy the audio podcast (click on the icon below), the written transcript, or both! In either case, God bless you as you read, hear and apply the Word of God.

We prepped and started heart surgery last time, realizing we may harbor too many old and bad things in the heart/mind, and bad meditations get you in trouble! We saw that with the evil-thought/actioned Haman in Esther 3. We need to understand that many of the adverse thoughts the enemy brings are rooted in lust that is spoken of in I John 2:15-17, followed by some examples.

Do not love the world or anything in the world, if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, comes NOT from the Father, but from the world. The world and the lusts pass away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

  • lust of the eyes (Esau wanted Jacob’s stew and sold his birthright for it in Genesis 25:30-34).
  • lust of the flesh (many of us know all about David & Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:1-4).
  • and pride of life (besides Haman in Esther 3), King Herod who gave a speech, was lauded by the people, and the angel of the Lord smote him for not giving God the glory (Acts 12:21-23).

This is a fixed fight you know, and God wants us to be victorious over our heart meditations and gives us the Word in which to do it. Let’s go back to Romans 12:1  from a previous study. I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. Verse 2 says not to be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing (ongoing) of your mind, that you may test or prove what is that good and acceptable perfect will of God. When we offer up our bodies, that includes the heart and mind. Acceptable means welcomed, well-pleasing and favorable. And we cannot present our bodies properly if the mind/heart isn’t right. Let’s talk about the lust of the eye.

*Since eyes are the windows to the soul, this lust tied to the soul and emotions. For the most part, every lust comes from a desire that is good. There is NOTHING wrong with desiring something—God gives us the desires of our heart when we delight ourselves in Him (Psalm 37:4). We desire to work, have things, work in a ministry, to be married—those are GOOD things. Where we have to be mindful is how the enemy can pervert good desires in your heart with thoughts that are contrary to how God commands us to think speak or act.  When you start to covet, plot, scheme, start working overtime, missing church, saving your tithes and offering money, not paying your bills, all to get “things”, that’s where the lust comes in. Let’s look at 1 Kings 21:1-16.

The story is, Naboth had a vineyard that the king, Ahab wanted (or coveted) BADLY. Naboth refused and Ahab was so upset about it, he would not even eat. Queen Jezebel found out and devised a HEINOUS plot to lie on and have Naboth killed–and then told the king the vineyard was now his to have. Just.like.that. This couple did not care that an innocent man was killed, his family likely very devastated—it did not matter who they needed to step on to get what they wanted, so long as they got it.

Can this apply to us? Perhaps not to this extreme…but let’s think about it from a few angles. For my singles..wanting to get married because you “see” everyone else is in a relationship, so you go out of our way, or rather “out of God’s way” to make it happen. When you get Mr. or Ms. NotRightNow, things go great initially (that’s how the enemy does it), and then he lowers the BOOM and you have a crazoks on your hands!  Let’s ask God to keep us content with what we have, and bless us with “extra” as He sees fit.

I Timothy 6:6-8 says, but godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be content.

Or, think about the times you may have wanted something so badly you missed important date or responsibility just to get it. In my early saved days, I skipped paying a bill to get a pair of shoes. I cannot tell you where those shoes are, what they looked like or where they are today! I can tell you I had a hard time recouping that money to pay my bill. All because of wanting something someone else had/ wanting something SO bad. A covetous heart. A desire gone bad.

Okay, what about the lust of the eye/desire to “play.” The purpose is socializing; taking a break..maybe talking a bit at work, playing Candy crush or a binging on a movie marathon. We all like to relax the mind–and that is a good thing.

What happens when the scales start tipping to the lust of wanting more play than work? This is when chronic slothful/laziness creeps in. A Sunday off here, missing a study there, half-doing what you’ve been called to do, not tending house, not taking care of yourself, burying your talent, not calling a sister, sending a note of encouragement, or maybe witnessing—all because you don’t feel like it, not in the mood, need a break from the people, the chores, etc, or have gotten into the habit of a Lifetime Movie Marathon or the whatever your go-to play routine is. While we all need days to unplug, recharge and refresh, we are accountable for the time God gives us and we have way too much responsibility to practice slothfulness on the regular. With God’s grace, let’s ask for wisdom to know how to spend the time He gives us.

See then that you walk circumspectly not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).

What about the desire to be safe? Keeping/knowing our loved ones are safe? Our jobs are safe, the bridge is safe, etc. We teach at work that feeling safe is a basic need—NOTHING wrong with that desire–in the right place. Where things go too far is when the emotion FEAR comes in. Fear can come on the form of cowardice, worry, panic, having irrational thoughts, making emotional decisions. Let’s not forget the unprofitable servant in Matthew 25 —the one who buried the talent? During accounting time, verse 25 says, the servant told his master he was AFRAID and went to hid his talent in the earth. The master called the servant wicked and slothful–and proceeded to cast him into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

A bit back, a dear friend and sister in Christ got a message in between Sunday School and morning service that a family member had not been heard from since the night before—not answering phones, etc. Notice how the enemy timed this attempt right before service. What I loved was that the sister said something like “God knows where He is and I am not going to worry about it.” We prayed and it turned out he was fine, thank God!! Sister did not let fear take over. Now, I realize that there are scary situations out there—no doubt. We want to ask God to cover, keep and sustain our hearts from fear.

And we know that God has NOT given is a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

What about grief? That’s an innate desire when we lose a loved one or friend. The emotion connected to that is sadness. Perfectly normal. Now hear me good, grieving, sad days, crying spells are normal as we miss a person—birthdays, holidays, special times…

Where the enemy gets heart-busy is when the grief is extended to the point where one cannot function and stay in a state of depression for years at a time. We talked about that in Ruth 1 as Naomi vocalized her grief (after losing her husband and two sons) by telling the folks to call her Mara meaning bitter—because the Lord had dealt bitterly with her. While she went though the grieving process,at some point the Lord blessed her to start adjusting to the “new normal”, and she was used to bring Boaz and Ruth together. If Naomi had stayed grieving, she would not have been functional as to what God called her to do–and look at the result! Boaz and Ruth became great-grandparents to king David and mentioned in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1.

To every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Once again, let’s start paying more attention to your thoughts/ what’s in your heart. Ask God to show you (even if it’s painful), what areas need more attention or a purge. and ask for His help in overcoming them and creating a clean heart Psalm 51:10. Also, step up your gatekeeping of the heart as directed in Proverbs 4:23. Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think on true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy, think on THOSE things. I did not say not to talk to the Lord about what bothers you, we just want to take it there and LEAVE it there. Amen? Amen!

Join us next time as #SpeechTherapy continues with the lust of the flesh–you do not want to miss it! Thank you so much for stopping by/tuning in and until we meet again, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

 

*See http://www.themoorings.org for a nifty chart and examples of lust gone awry!

Series: #SpeechTherapy..it starts in the heart!

Hey BCU family,

As usual, please enjoy the audio podcast (click on the icon below), the written transcript, or both! In either case, God bless you as you read, hear and apply the Word of God.

As we begin, think about a crowded refrigerator—I don’t know about you, but cleaning out the fridge is my least favorite chore!  If you don’t stay on top of it, things start to accumulate! Things like the containers with the leftover ziti, or a half of rotisserie chicken, or the package of ground turkey–those are big, up front and easy to see. Then, there are some of the other things, like that half carton of pork fried rice, the small bowl of cooked carrots you intended to eat or the carton of flavored creamer that was not your favorite. And let’s not forget the old orange or dried up potato that rolled in the back, the spilled milk, the mystery packages that have cake from the last church function (somehow that fell between the 2nd shelf and veggie crisper), the soggy veggies in the Ziplock bag, the half sandwich you brought home from work or the orange juice from last month.

And of course, you go to shop for NEW groceries—more milk, yogurt, produce, eggs, bacon, etc. I mean it’s a big fridge and you can sort of shuffle some things around for now. Then it gets late and you JUST do not feel like fooling with it at the moment. Rather than cook, you all may decide to go out for dinner and that is okay—you’ll have leftovers because the restaurant serves HUGE portions. And they go in the fridge.

You may not feel like a big meal the next night so you have some cereal, the night after that you have Bible study, so you get something on the road.  Next thing you know a month goes by and when you go by the fridge–it has a slight stench. Someone is going to clean it out right?! It doesn’t smell THAT bad. Plus, you are working late all this week, so you have NO time to clean it out. Then after that late work week, you know you need to get in there, because the stench is getting worse and when you open the refrigerator door—BAZINGA! Since no one else sees how crowded the fridge is, or is complaining about the fridge, or you live alone, you have to muster up the courage and go in to clean it properly.

When you first start, you are hesitant! I mean it STINKS and just looking at the green/white “fur” on some of the items, like the rice, the withered up orange, the cake and half-sandwich is a bit gross—ugh! You have to clean out the container with the ziti and cooked carrots, never mind the sour milk and orange juice containers, the slimy pork fried rice and withered produce. EWWWWWWWWWW! It’s difficult, and takes some time and a lot of scrubbing, rearranging and tossing things, but once you get in and get it done, you look at the finished work and you’re like, this looks MUCH better and feels good to complete the task.

What’s the point of my long fridge story? At some point in our lives, we’ve all had a fridge that has been been neglected to a point where out of necessity, overcrowding or the stench –you were URGED you to tend to it. The first step #SpeechTherapy is evaluating what is in your heart, since the Bible says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).  Just like there are SO many things in that fridge, there are MANY things in the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful above ALL things and desperately wicked: who can know it? Additionally, Matthew 15:18-20(a) says, but those things which proceed OUT of the mouth comes from the HEART and they DEFILE a man, for out the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man.

These passages of Scripture are NEEDED reminders that our speech is a reflection of what is going on inside the heart. And THIS is the point of necessity—with God’s help we have to deal the overcrowding, the things hidden, covered, obvious—the stench of a heart that comes out in impatience, hurtful words, slaying someone (even with your words or a look), sexual immorality, taking things (maybe from work),  blasphemies (talking the Lord’s name in vain)—all these things defile (spot, stain or soil) or as my niece says “wrinkles up” your garment. We all (myself included) need to be spot and wrinkle free. Since God is giving us the time to do that, we want to get on it and stay on it. Time to clean “heart”.

It behooves us to pay close attention to what we feed and dwell on in our hearts. Of course, and I mention it every broadcast, we NEED the Holy Ghost down on the inside on order to even begin this task, hence the need for salvation through Acts 2:38—we HAVE to start with repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus and being filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost. As we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, we begin to understand why the Word warns us about the “accumulations”of the heart.

So, your mind and heart are linked together. The ancient Greeks believed that the heart, the most noticeable internal organ, was the seat of intelligence and memory, as well as emotion. As we truly think about our anchor Scripture, let the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be acceptable  in thy sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14), looking at the latter part of the verse, what idea are you mediating or thinking on? What’s occupying your seat of intelligence and memory? What do you dwell on day and night? Whatever that is comes out of your mouth and that can get defile you as Jesus mentioned in Matthew. Did anyone’s meditations cause trouble? Yes indeed!

One HUGE example is in Genesis 6:5 where God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. God destroyed EVERYONE except for EIGHT people: Noah, Mrs. Noah, their three sons Shem, Ham & Japheth and their wives. That’s serious business, Family–let us not have this testimony names among us!

In another example, in Esther 3, Haman got this BIG promotion—in fact all the king’s servants at the gate bowed and reverenced Haman at the king’s command, all the servants, except Mordecai, older cousin of Queen Esther. Notice in verses 3 & 4, the servants on a daily basis kept asking Haman why he didn’t bow. The Word did not mention that Haman even noticed Mordecai not bowing– until the servants brought it to Haman’s attention.

First off, this tells you where the thoughts/hearts of the servants were. “If we bow, why doesn’t he bow?” “If I listen to the music and it doesn’t bother me, why can’t you listen to it?” Someone bugged me at work years ago—and told me I could wear pants, like I was 19 and it was my first job ever. I know what I CAN do, I had no intention on doing it (that’s MY personal conviction). The person even got other people to notice and mention it to me in passing. “Do you know Blenda never wears pants?” “Why don’t you dress up for Halloween (as if) in pants and shock everybody?” What did my attire really have to do with anything? Would slacks help me answer the phones better? Why try and “slack-shame” me?  The fact was, with God’s grace, I wasn’t bowing to that pressure to be like the crowd and they didn’t like it. On the same wise, Mordecai did NOT give into the pressure—he KNEW who his God was and he was not about to bow to a mere mortal.

Next, the busybodies went to TATTLE on Mordecai to see if this behavior would stand, AND they got to telling about him being a Jew.  If we go the the 5th verse, Haman payed attention this time,  now noticing that Mordecai was not bowing or reverencing Him and the Word says Haman was FULL of wrath.

See how the thought was planted in the mind? Haman could have rejected the thought, but he entertained or mediated on it until he was FULL of wrath. The mediation of his heart continues because in verse 6, it says “and he THOUGHT scorn to just lay hands on Mordecai—no…that wasn’t good enough—since busybodies had told about his nationality,  and they likely would behave in the same manner (meaning dedicated to God) and not bowing, now Haman sought to destroy ALL the Jews.

Verse 7 says Haman even went so far as to  cast Pur or “cast lots”to carry out his plot…daily and monthly from month one to month 12—just to find a good day to carry out his plot.  Let’s stop here. Historically, in all likelihood, lots or goral originally referred to a bunch of small pebbles or similar objects used to make decisions by chance: they would be cast down on the ground or put in a vessel of some sort, from which one would be drawn at random. The casting of lots expresses the idea that one has passed beyond the realm of motive and reason–whatever matter must be surrendered to forces that are beyond one’s control and comprehension. Mediations of the heart.

Haman’s mediations went into a ESCALATION mode when went on to involve and DECEIVE king Ahasuerus (Aa-soo-Rare-Us) by telling him about ALL these people whose laws were different, they did not keep the king’s laws and they did not profit the king, they needed to be destroyed Haman would pay to get it done. Next thing you know, the king agrees (without asking for the whole story, he likely trusted Haman), letters are sent, for the day to be set for these people to be destroyed. All because of two busybodies planted a seed of contention planted in a heart with pride for soil, (Haman thought off himself more highly than he ought to have thought (Romans 12:3), and sprung up deceit and murder. Meditation of the heart. We’ll stop here for now.

This week check out Esther and pay close attention to Haman, his actions and his end! Also, let’s start to think about how Psalm 19:14 applies in our general lives, and ask God to help you clean out the things in your heart. Next time we’re together, we’ll plan to keep the #SpeechTherapy conversation going in the next post/podcast.

Thank you SO much tuning in, may God bless you and until the next time we’re together, #StayOnTheWall.

Love,

BCU