What lessons can we learn from the wilderness?

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 message blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

Over our Nehemiah study, where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wall, getting 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, which motivated them finish the work triumphantly!

While this project is complete, there are some other very important learning points (like gatekeeping from our chapter 7 lesson and preparing to apply God’s word from our chapter 8 lesson) in the remainder of the chapters in Nehemiah. Let’s take a look at Nehemiah 9 as the people continue to reflect on the Word and what God has done.

Scene: (Nehemiah 9:1-5) This was a time of reading the law, confessing sins, worship and reflection as the Isrealites recall the time they were in Egypt and God’s protection, mercy and provision while wandering in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43).

In verses 6-15, the people of God lay out who God is and what all He had done:

How God is God alone and how He made heaven, stars, the earth and preserves ALL!

How God brought Abram from Ur, changed His name (to Abraham) and promised to give Abraham land, and well as multiply his seed for his faithfulness and righteousness.

God saw the affliction on the Israelites in Egypt and answered their cry.

The Israelites saw many signs and wonders while being delivered from Pharaoh and their oppressors. God parted the Red Sea for them to walk across and took care of their enemies with that same sea–right before their eyes!
God led them by day as a cloudy pillar and a pillar of by night so they knew where to go.
He gave them right judgements, true laws and good statutes and commandments
God provided food, water and gave the Israelites water and promised land possession.

This is WONDERFUL, right? Look at all the BLESSINGS poured our on God’s people!  As we pause here, can we name the times God saw is on our oppression, sickness, depression, joblessness, family situations–whatever it was—Think about how God and GOD alone delivered us from those situations! How He took care of the enemy for us! And even in the midst of the trial, the hard time, the grief, the pain, He provided us both spritual food (a Word to refresh, correct, redirect and encourages us), and natural food to strengthen our bodies. God is GREAT and greatly to be praised!

BUT….

We see a turn of events with verse 16.

Nehemiah’s people read the their ancestors “dealt proudly, ” “hardened their necks” and “hearkened not” to God’s commandments. Let’s stop here and talk about hard necks. That means stubborn and not “leadable”.

In those days, typically two oxen did the plowing and the plow master had an “ox-goad” to help steer the animal to where he wanted it to go. An ox-goad was a light pole with a spike on it, used to prick the animal on his neck to speed him up or to go in a straight line. If the oxen didn’t obey, he was labeled stiff or hard-necked–what we usually call “hard-headed”.

So after being in bondage, captivity and free again—looking at ALL those blessings, God is now dealing with a prideful, stiff-necked group of people who refused to obey. The nerve of them, we say? Not so fast, BCU Family!

Now before we judge the Israelites too harshly, let’s put ourselves in their place. Two paragraphs ago, we were rejoicing about how God blessed us through our turbulent, crying, stressful times. How quickly after God heard our cry did we walk in disobedience?

Did we deal with God in our pride–maybe refusing to give Him glory for something He did? Touting our denominational pride, rather than humbling thanking God for saving you and lovingly witnessing to others? Not asking God for any help–trying to do things on our own?

Did we not harken to his commandments regarding handling the situation at work or home His way? Did He command us to “hold our peace” (keep quiet), but instead we said what we wanted because it had to be said?

How stiff were our necks when it God reminded us that we are to love our neighbors (co-workers, cashier, strangers) as ourselves?  Did we heed the urge to help them or to say a kind word? Did our necks stiffen when we were prodded to stop and pray? Did we tell God, “but, I’ll be late!” “Just let me answer this call.”,  “I’ll read the Word later”.

These are just a few of the ways we mimic the Israelites–whether intentional or not. Once we recognize areas that we have not surrendered to God completely, that’s our opportunity to do just that—we DO NOT have to continue walking contrary to God’s Word–that’s why Jesus came! He took all of our sins and nailed them to the cross, making an open show of them triumphantly! (Colossians 2:14-15). And when we have the Holy Ghost down on the inside (see Acts 2:38), we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us yield who God wants us to be–more like Him! Amen? Amen!

God gives us time, space and opportunity to be transformed to His likeness–because He is merciful. In an upcoming podcast, we’ll take a look at how the people of God realized how far off they were, the magnitude of God’s mercy and the result of willful disobedience. I’m looking forward to that post and hope you are as well!

In the meantime, we’d love hear what YOU took away from what we talked about today, so please leave a comment in the designated 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

Granola, lessons & God?

Hey there BCU Family!

We’ve paused our Nehemiah study to bring you a #RandomYetIntentional moment sponsored by God. So…we’re doing something a little different this week. I actually recorded the moment on video and it is up on the BCU YouTube channel, so if you’d prefer, you can watch it here>> Granola lesson video.<<

If you’re listening on the podcast, not to worry, the audio file from that video is below (click on the avatar), and you’ll be able to get the message just the same! Scripture references are below as well, so you’ll be able to link back to God’s Word as you apply the lesson accordingly.


Diligence–Hebrews 11:6

Daily Bread– Luke 11:3

Thanksgiving in all things–Colossians 3:17

Chastening–Hebrews 12:6

Being “busy”–Luke 10:38-42

Seeking God’s face continually 1 Chronicles 16:11

Hiding the Word–Psalm 119:11

Seeking God early–Psalm 63:1

Being equipped for the day–Ephesians 6:10-18

Walking in the Spirit–Galatians 5:16

You know, BCU Family, it’s AMAZING how God takes something as “small” and temporal as granola to teach us a HUGE and ETERNAL lesson! With His help, let’s be intentional, diligent and purposeful in spending prime time with God. 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, 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

God’s lessons from 2015 (Part 1 of 2).

Happy 2016 everyone!!!

Surprise!!! We’re trying something a little different with audio this year! So below, you’ll see a link where you can listen and yes, you can still read as well!   Enjoy and PLEASE let me know what we can do differently and how you like it! Thanks and God bless you this year and ALWAYS! 

You all know how it is at the end of one year and going into the next one, there are lists compiled about all types of subject matter, and here at BlenCouragesU we are NO exception! 🙂 What I’d like to share with you are five (5) BIG lessons the Lord taught me in 2015. I’m trusting that these will bless you as well. I’ll get into the detail, but the topics are as follows:

  1. Promises, promises
  2. Appearances can be deceiving
  3. Happy Holidays?
  4. Think outside the circle
  5. Say what?

Let’s get started!

Promises, promises:

Many of us have a habit of saying, “Let me know what you need”, “I’ll help you however I can,” “I owe you a favor”, or “I’ll be there for you”. Did you follow through on what you said without being asked? Did the person “call you” on the favor? What was your attitude about following through on your favor? Did you do it with joy? Grumble? Was it inconvenient?

Awhile back, I tried to “redeem” a favor an individual promised me and was met with an very angry tirade. *insert puzzled look*. Granted, I could have given the person more notice–I was just in a spot and needed immediate help.

While the incident is all water under the bridge, there are a couple of takeaways here. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us not to be rash with our mouths, and our hearts are not to utter anything before God in Heaven and we are on Earth–to let your words be few. Solomon also goes on to say that when you do vow, make sure you pay it–it’s better to NOT to vow than to vow and not pay (5:2-5). It is that serious.With God’s help, when we say it, we should mean it and be prepared to follow through with it. And if something does come up, we communicate it as soon as possible and be sure to take care of the promise. What if God reneged on His promises to us because he was too busy or did not feel like it? Right. We’ll get better on this with God’s grace. Lord, who shall abide in your tabernacle, who shall dwell on your holy hill? …He that swears to his own hurt and does not change (Psalms 15:1 & 4b). In other words, it may be hurting you to get this done, but you are not backing down from your word.

The other situation is the angry outburst. Yes, yes, anger is an emotion God gave us–that does not absolve us from being angry responsibly. The Word reminds us to be angry, but not to sin (Ephesians 4:26). Usually the words and feelings get involved and things are said that are regretted later. Sticks and stones will break bones, but words heard do irreparable harm to someone’s heart, mind and spirit before the Lord heals them. Apologies are good and needful–they don’t always mend what could have been prevented if we had applied godly wisdom to our responses. Remember, the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God (James 1:20).  Think–no pray before you speak.

 

Appearances are deceiving: 

I Samuel 16:7 about men looking at the outside, but God looks on the heart is used to justify many things God clearly speaks against. The context I’m thinking of is more along the lines of spiritual discernment vs what you see in the flesh.

I recall a group of young people I saw regularly at church with their parents and such. Y’all know that some, (not all) young people only come to church because they HAVE to and it shows on their faces! Yikes!! (We were not allowed to look any other way but pleasant, otherwise it would be a long evening after church). Anyway, this child looked like they could eat you alive without any regret! For some reason, I spoke with a family member where the young person came up in conversation–turns out the child had some very serious personal situations they were sorting though at the time. So that face was a mask for hurt and brokenness.

My aha moment? We cannot allow gestures, attitudes and facial expressions to hinder us from witnessing and ministering to others. In fact, God told Jeremiah not to be afraid of their faces for God was with him (1:8). The enemy works like that so folks can stay bound and we remain neutralized. That is NOT how any of this works. We who are Holy-Spirit filled have the power of Jesus down on the inside who gives US power over the enemy to get past that fear. Moreover, we do not allow our perception of what is wrong with that person stop us from reaching out to them–our job is to ask the Lord what is wrong, pray for them and encourage/minister to them as we are led by the Spirit. The love we show sets us apart from others. Luke 10:30-37 tells how two prominent people [priest and Levite] passed by a hurting, half-dead man and how one “regular” person [Samaritan] stopped to help.  Which person are we?

I’m going to stop here for now…this way you’ll come back! Stay tuned for part 2 of our series.

God bless you and thanks for stopping by!

 

BCU