And who is my neighbor?

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! 


So in my internet travels, I came across a post where there was a discussion on how much in way of dollars in humanitarian aid was being sent to Ukraine. In the ensuring conversation, a professing Christian mentioned while they felt for the situation, Ukraine wasn’t our issue–and our focus should be on the United States. What really saddened me was the tone and the harsh, thoughtless word choices this person used to punctuate their opinion.

Initially, I was a bit offended by what I read. In my heart I was like, “really?” “Where is your compassion?” “You do know Jesus, right?” Then, the Lord reminded me I had said such things in my B.C.(before Christ) days, and thankfully, He had forgiven me, so I needed to forgive the offender and let it go! After Jesus helped me to remove the beam from my eye, (see Matthew 7:1-5), I was clear to see how to compose this post to His glory!

Getting back to the point of the post, I am reminded of the very familiar parable Jesus told in Luke 10:25-37, KJV:

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

When we think about the lawyer, he was in expert in knowing the law and quoted it correctly. Next, he wanted to know exactly who is neighbor was, so he knew who he was supposed to love as himself.

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

The priests served as the mediators between God and the people. They are the ones who took the people’s sacrifices and offered them up to God (Leviticus 4:202631Hebrews 8:4). The High Priest, in particular, represented the whole nation of Israel before God (Exodus 28:12Hebrews 5:1). When a priest sinned, he brought guilt not only upon himself, but also upon the whole people (Leviticus 4:3). The priests also interceded on behalf of the people before God (Leviticus 9:22-24Numbers 6:22-27). And they would inquire of God for the nation (Exodus 28:30). (http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2007/04-26b.htm)

This mediator, interceder and inquirer to God looked at a wounded man, and passed him by.

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

The Levites, members of the same tribe, but who were not descendants of Aaron, served as aides to the priests, doing things like helping to prepare the sacrifices. They took care of the temple, making repairs when needed, and served as musicians, singers, doorkeepers. (Numbers 1:50-53; 3:6-9; 4:1-33; I Chronicles 23). The Levites were also the teachers of Israel (Deuteronomy 24:8; 33:10; II Chronicles 35:3; Nehemiah 8:7) and the nation’s scribes (II Chronicles 34:13). The Levites were also the nation’s judges (Deuteronomy 17:8-9; 21:5; I Chronicles 23:4; II Chronicles 19:8; Ezekiel 44:15, 24). They were also the nation’s regulators. For instance, they were responsible for accurate weights and measures used in Israel (I Chronicles 23:29; Leviticus 19:35-36). (http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2007/04-26b.htm)

This aide to the priest, musician, singer, scribe, regulator and judge came and looked at the half-dead man and passed on the other side of the road.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Jesus using a Samaritan in the parable was very intentional, as it relates to love. After Assyria invaded Israel, the Northern Kingdom and resettled it with its own people, (see 2 Kings 17:24-41), some Jews intermarried with other people and the mixed race became known as the Samaritans. Full-blooded Jews considered themselves pure descendants of Abraham and despised the “half-breed” Samaritans and of course, the Samaritans hated the Jews.

While the priest and Levite may have passed the man as they strictly interpreted the law (the man was bleeding and may have been ceremonially considered unclean–see Leviticus 5:3), the “despised” Samaritan demonstrated the law of love. He cleaned the man’s wounds with oil and wine, bound them up, put the man on his own beast while he walked, brought him to an inn, nursed him for the night, instructed and paid the host to take care of him AND promised to repay the innkeeper for anything more he spent when he came back. There was no quibbling or discussion about not being from the same country, or race, or who needed more help–the Samaritan just helped! That is what love does, BCUFam!

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

BCU Fam, did you notice in the “a” part of the verse 37 where the lawyer said, “he that shewed mercy” rather than saying the “Samaritan”? That showed a lack of love, even though he stated that was the law. What is in our hearts comes out of our mouths! May the Lord help our words and heart mediations to be acceptable in His sight (Psalm 19:14).

I have read this parable more than one time, BCU Fam, and it really spoke to my spirit as a call to action for all of us to do what we can, as the Lord leads us to be a blessing to someone. How? We can start by intentionally and fervently praying for others. 2 Timothy 2-1:4 says, I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Then we need to be the answer to someone’s prayers. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth (I John 3:17-18).

The Lord knows we we cannot help everyone, but we all can help in some way. Rather than have respect of persons in our love, (James 2:8-10), let’s pray and ask God who we can love on and be a neighbor to. Amen? Amen!

BCU Fam, what are your thoughts on our topic? Please head to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!

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


Cold love….

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!


  • Matthew 24 reminds us that one of the signs of Jesus coming back is iniquity abounding and “love waxing cold.”
  • A quick look at the local, national and even international news confirms what the Bible says.
  • Acts of non-love are based in selfishness.
  • For love to “wax” cold means it has solidified with time.
  • Cold love does nothing but exacerbate tense situations.
  • While love doesn’t mean we allow people to take advantage of us, it does mean we treat people how God says.
  • As people of God, we should not allow the world to be our blueprint on how we love. (See I Corinthians 13).

KJV Scripture References:

Matthew 24:1-13.

1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.


A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (Galatians 5:9)

 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses (Matthew 18:34-35).

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matthew 22:39).


BCU Fam, I know it’s “popular” to love certain people “long distance” or out of a “long-handled spoon”, but that doesn’t line up with the Word of God. We have to be ever so careful that we don’t allow our hearts to become cold toward one another. I understand how it feels when we love someone and they do not treat us right in return. More importantly, God knows who has offended, hurt, and disrespected us–nothing gets past Him. While Jesus heals our broken hearts, He will deal with the offender accordingly. In the meantime, with His help, our job is to walk out Matthew 5:43-45:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

To sum it up, we are to love, bless (speak well of vs. post/talk about them in the wrong way), do good, and pray for those who use us. Is this a challenge? Yes! But at the same time, we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us! (Philippians 4:13). By doing so we will be called the children of our Father in Heaven. And that’s our goal, BCUFam! 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

Racism and love? (Part 1)

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!

 

BlenCouragesU · BCU Podcast | Racism and love? | Part 1 (Ep 216)

Podcast highlights:

  • As the Lord is preparing to return, we are in a time of unprecedented and open racism.
  • The dictionary defines racism as, “the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.”
  • Racism and injustice of any kind is NOT of God. Period.
  • As wrong as the perpetrators are, the people of God are STILL and ALWAYS called to reflect Christ in our reactions.

Scripture references:

Genesis 1:26-27

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Proverbs 22:2

The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.

Romans 12:3 

3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Matthew 5:43-48 

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Bonus scripture:

1 John 2:10-12 

10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

BCUFam, racism is NOT of God. It is straight from the enemy and is taught and practiced behavior that is steeped in pride (Romans 12:3) which is sin, period.  It is of the utmost importance that no matter WHO comes to ruffle your spiritual feathers, we STILL are called to love them. This does not mean we agree or condone behavior that is not of God, nor does not mean we cannot speak up, but it does mean that during and after the conversation, the post, the news, we love the everyone the way Christ loves us. Unconditionally. This kind of love can only come through allowing the Holy Ghost to work through us, prayer, fasting and a LOT of practice. This is practice time–and with the help of God, we will go on to perfection (maturity) as Matthew 5:48 says. Amen? Amen!

So BCU Fam, what do you think about this topic? How are you doing with loving those that do not love you?  Let’s talk about it in the comments section below!

If you have not already 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

And..we’re back! Love notes–finale!

Happy New Year BCU Fam!

We are back and GLAD about it! 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!

Last time we were together, we talked about the seven things love is. Let’s follow up that post with the EIGHT things love is/does not:

  1. Envy: 

“Envy” defined is a feeling of discontent or resentment because someone has something you desire or feel like you deserve–perhaps because you feel like you are more “holy”, fit, pretty, handsome, qualified—-that’s envy. That’s not love.

A prime biblical example of the sin of envy are Joseph’s brothers. Acts 7:9 says they were “moved with envy” to the point that they sold Joseph to Egypt. You can read the entire account it in Genesis 37. 

Furthermore, if we practice envy, we will  be disqualified from Heaven. Romans 1:28-32 reminds us:

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

2. Vaunt itself up

Vaunting means to self-promote; someone who exaggerates his own virtues–many times to the point of lying. The only things they do count and they have little to no interest, understanding or empathy for anyone but themselves. Sigh.  🙄

In contrast, the agape love God gives will always consider the other person’s feelings, thoughts, situations before speaking or acting.  And even if you have exceeded someone in a particular area, agape love will NEVER expose that person’s shortcomings to make themselves look good.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3). 

3. Puffed up.

These words are based on the Greek word phusio, which means to be haughty, snobbish, swollen, or to be inflated. In other words, love is not prideful. Agape love is never haughty or snobbish when dealing with people.

Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). 

4. Behave itself unseemly. 

This word means to act improperly, selfish or out of order. Love doesn’t get cold when it doesn’t get her way. Love never plots, plans schemes, pouts, punishes, withholds, uses bad language or entertains the wrong thoughts about someone.  Love stays in formation.

A friend loves at all times…. (Proverbs 17:17a). 

5. Seeks not her own.

This meaning behind this phrase depicts a person who is so bent on getting their way, they will twist facts, search for loopholes, and/or use any means necessary to “make” the situation work for themselves–including sue in court! This is low-key manipulation and should never be named in the Body of Christ.

 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others (Philippians 2:4). 

6. Is not easily provoked:

This means love does not readily anger or be irritated behind every little thing. Now, we will get angry about things, but reaction should have a little thought behind it, so the agape love comes through.

 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

At the same time, we also should not be the ones who behave unseemly or speak words incite an angry response out of others–rather than lash out in anger, we should seek to understand the other person.

Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (I Corinthians 14:20). 

7. Thinks no evil

I LOVE this one, BCU Family! This phrase means to reconcile, calculate or keep a record of something so you do not forget. I read somewhere that in one country village, the residents spend much of their time fighting one another. When you spend a lot of time warring, it can be hard to remember what you are angry about, so the natives  keep a tangible object visible in their home in order to remember what the other person did to offend them. We may not keep physical objects, but often keep a mental ledger in our minds–and we replay it often to keep the hurt alive.

 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). 

8. Rejoices not in iniquity

Agape love does not rejoice in things that are wrong,  sinful, unjust, or even in the guilt or vices of others. Rather, true love rejoices in things that are true.

[Love] rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth..(I Corinthians 13:6).

Bonus–Love never fails:

Agape love does not run out, decay, decline or diminish over time, run out on dry seasons, behavior or circumstances. Jesus is a perfect example of love never failing–and if we have Jesus on the inside, our love will stand the test of time. Amen? Amen!


BCU Fam, I don’t know about you, but this study reminded me I have SO much more to come up to in the love area! What about you? What are your thoughts here? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section below this post!

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

Love notes…

Hey there BCU Fam,

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! 


I was having a conversation with my bestie Kenya about life and some of the trials we have to endure as soldiers of Christ—especially our battles with PEOPLE! It’s actually the spirit of iniquity that works through people, but nonetheless, it can be challenging to maintain your salvation to the standard that God has called us to, right? (Ask me how I know!) Yet, if Jesus dwells down on the inside of us, it is a requirement to follow the pattern of Christ in all our interactions. And the pattern starts and ends with one word, BCU Fam.

Love.

Jesus said, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40). Love is not just a conditional, sometimey feeling–it is a sacrificial lifestyle that Jesus modeled by dying for our sins, as well as leaving us His Word as a blueprint for us to follow. I recently did a “love study” and in re-reading my notes, with the help of God, I know I need ensure my love-meter is in high gear on a consistent basis. Let’s take a look at what agape love is and/or does based on I Corinthians 13.

Love…..

1) Suffers long—The word longsuffering in the Bible is made up of two Greek words meaning “long” and “temper”; literally, “long-tempered.” A longsuffering person does not immediately retaliate in anger or punish, but is patient.

2)Is kindMeaning a kind love shows tenderness or goodness; doing good or being gracious. Our We operate without harshness or cruelty in word, thought or deed.

3) Rejoices in truth: The Greek word for truth is aletheia, which literally means to “un-hide” or “hiding nothing.” This means that truth is always there, always open and available for all to see, with nothing obscured. Love rejoices in what is right and good, rather than hiding things.

4) Bears all things: This comes from the Greek word, “stego” meaning to cover, as in a roof, or a covering that offers protection from the elements. In a commentary from W. E. Vine, he explained that a stego or covering either supports what is placed upon it, or covers what is placed underneath it.

For example, a love that bears all things would cover/protect an individual by prayerfully approaching/talking/counseling them in a private setting. And of course, following the Lord’s leading while prayerfully considering the person’s situation, circumstances and reply throughout and after the conversation. The opposite of covering and protecting would be to berate or belittle the person, expose the situation publicly, and/or to other people unnecessarily.

5) Believes all things:
The word believes is actually the word “pisteuei,” which is the Greek word meaning to put one’s faith or trust in something or someone.  Of course, we need to trust God first and above any and everyone and remember the arms of flesh (people) will ultimately fail. (See Jeremiah 17:5). Matthew 18 reminds us that offenses will come. James 3 reminds us that we will offend many. In other words, this flesh we reside in is bound to mess up sometime! In this life, there will be challenges and situations to contend with, but we with the help and hope of the Lord, we are believing for the best in a person. To this end, believing all things means we overlook and forgive offenses quickly.

6) Hopes all things

The Greek word for hopes the word “elpidzo”, which means to anticipate and expect  good things from someone. Even if things look bleak, we won’t be negative or critical, rather we will continue praying and encouraging the person until we see the change come. And many times, if the change does not happen in the person straightaway, our heart, attitude and mind toward the situation or person often changes. Either way,  the love of hope is fulfilled.

7) Endures all things:The word endures is the Greek word “hupomeno” a compound word meaning under and abide.  In challenging situations, it can be tempting to “gather up all your toys and go home”— aka run away! And sometimes we do—not physically, but sometimes mentally, emotionally and even spiritually, we retreat and give up. The thought here is that while the love is under a load, it will not take off or give up in defeat, but rather will stick and stay through thick and thin. 

WHEW, BCU Fam—I have to admit, looking at love through the lens of how Christ expects us to love is a spiritual gut check for me. Of course, there are situations where it may be best to end the relationship (i.e. abusiveness), but by and large, our love should contain all seven of these elements.

So what are your thoughts on the love notes presented here today? Are any of these love elements a struggle? Is it easy to love? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section below this post!

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!