“He did what?! “Well, what where YOU wearing?”

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.

WARNING: This subject matter of sexual assault is a highly sensitive, yet needful to discuss topic. The angle presented here is just one of several ways we can and should open up dialogue and work toward solving the problem with God’s help for without Him, we can do NOTHING. If you have been the victim of any inappropriate behavior, we are praying for you. Please reach out to us at Blen@BlenCouragesU.com if you’d like further counseling and prayer. We pray the post blesses you. If so, please leave a comment! Thank you and may God bless you.

I usually refrain from commenting on most current events–mostly to keep a guard over my mouth as Psalm 141:3 says. In light of the recent and alleged sexual misconduct cases with so many high-profile men, it brings a few thoughts to mind.

Tina*, a quiet, but smart third-grader was heading back to class from the bathroom when she sees Danny, a very tall and popular 4th or 5th grader coming toward her.  As they met up in the hallway, Tina greeted him with a smile and cheery hello. Danny responded by blocking Tina’s access to get by and shoving her into a nearby open custodial closet where his hands were in places they should never have been. Tina, confused and scared, confided in an older student who replied, “well, what were you doing down there anyway?” Shamed, Tina didn’t ever report the incident. It still lingers in her mind.

Lala* started developing early–around age 10-11. Paulie, a scary, bully-type guy, would discreetly touch her in passing in the hallway remarking about how well she was growing.  Lala’s mom talked about how certain women were predators and liked to take people’s men away. They wore clothing that was revealing and that asked for trouble. Lala didn’t know what to do, so she did nothing. Thankfully Paulie moved away the next school year. She was always confused about how to deal properly with men.

Young Mona* landed a great job with awesome pay, benefits and a wonderful working environment. Mona came back from lunch one day and before she sat down to settle in, started to check her voice messages. As she stood listening to the messages and went to have a seat, she jumped up and turned around, only to see Mark, an executive sitting in her chair, smirking. In telling her story, it wasn’t the first time Mark had harassed someone–it even went to HR, but no one believed the women. Surprised?

*Loo went out on a dinner-date with an “official”. Since the date was going well, Official wanted to extend the time together with a trip to the movies, to which Loo thought was great. Partially through the movie, Loo thought Official accidentally brushed up against her–until it happened repeatedly. Loo addressed it, to which Official replied, “I’ll try and stop, but I can’t promise anything.” Sigh.

BCU Family, I tell these true stories (with permission, and *name changes of course), to illustrate a point.

From where I sit, most boys have this God-given aggressive nature and natural leadership capability which is GREAT! The thing is, they may not be taught HOW and WHEN to be aggressive. Yes, go hard when you are playing a sport or learning a task–those qualities help make men the amazing leaders God called them to be. At the same time, it’s important for men to be taught exercise self-control, proper restraint, respect and an understanding of the word “no”. And if the “no” boundaries are crossed, consequences must be swift and memorable,  versus a “boys will be boys” mindset (which is completely unscriptural–God holds anyone who does wrong accountable. Period.)

Yes, there are women who are beautiful, mesmerizing, enticing, tempting and may even go after you. Solomon warns against that in Proverbs 6  (note, the book of Proverbs is for everyday living for everyone, not ONLY those who know the Lord).

Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? (Proverbs 6:25,27-28). 

As these stories unfold in the news,  we are witnessing that lust and lack of self-restraint will eventually “burn” the aggressor, either in this life, and, if repentance and salvation is not chosen, that burn will be for eternity in the life to come.  While women DO have a responsibility to be chaste, and in many (not all) cases, are taught properly, who exactly is teaching the men to control themselves?

Who is warning the men of the dangers of lust, that when it’s finished, it brings sin and death? (James 1:15).

Why is it that a women brings up inappropriate behavior, her past is questioned?

Why ask about her choice of clothing? Is it really okay to grope or assault someone just because they are wearing a skirt? Pants?  Or because she’s “well-developed?” She’s the last person leaving the room and man sees this as his opportunity?  Are those the signals she’s “asking for it?”

Why do we say, “what was she doing in the public break room getting coffee when the man walked in? Didn’t you know his reputation?  Sense something? Why  didn’t you run?”

Why is it women don’t report assault right away?

Why are women made to feel ashamed and at fault?

Why do women keep silent?

These are questions that need answers, problems that need solutions and teaching that needs students, BCU Fam. These conversations and reinforcement need to be had at home, on the playgrounds, in the barbershops, in social media and yes, in our churches. Especially in our churches.

I John 2:16 reminds us that all lust will be ever present in the world.

That doesn’t mean we have to obey it.

Bottom line: Lust is not a skin problem, rather a sin problem that Jesus is equipped to handle.  We need only to  trade our fleshly desires for His precious Holy Spirit and His way of living our lives, which would be perfect, including tests and trials yet absent of the desire to practice the very sins that result in hurting others and damaging their lives, as well as the private/public shame, humiliation and punishment that both the victim and predator live with.

Why aren’t we talking about this?

From what I read, 1 in 4 women have been the victim of assault/inappropriate behavior. That’s a large population of people who may be walking around broken on the inside.

Why aren’t we talking about this?

What are your thoughts around this sensitive topic? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments 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 Apple podcasts!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

Series: #SpeechTherapy.. the words of my mouth (part 4)

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.

Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer (Psalms 19:14).

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about #SpeechTherapy and how it starts in the heart. We looked at the wicked hearts of Haman (Esther 3), and royal couple, Jezebel and Ahab (I Kings 21). Also we looked at some of the effects of the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Now that we have our and/or are working on keeping our hearts and minds clear, we want to look at HOW we communicate and the severity of not communicating God’s way.

A few years back, I saw a little bit of a movie called “1000 words” on TV. Eddie Murphy was in it and I believe the premise was he talked so badly and so much, that someone his character  made a deal with had this tree pop up that had a thousand leaves on it. So every time Eddie Muphry’s character spoke a word, a leaf fell off. Once all the leaves fell off, it was time for the character to die, so he got real careful about the words he was speaking —only doing so when needed. (I didn’t see the end so I don’t know what happened).

While this was a fictional movie, there is biblical proof because we also have a responsibility over the words we speak:

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37. 

So, we have to give an account for every IDLE word we speak! The Greek phrase is idle word is “rema argos”, meaning “careless, inactive or unprofitable words.”

How many careless or non-profitable words do we speak daily? I don’t know about you, but now that we know this, it’s time to make sure the words we sow yield a profit. This is not to say we DO NOT speak up against sin, injustices, questioning something that bothers you, get angry, upset, talking a struggle over with a godly friend—if you are discussing it with a pure heart and intentions, the nothing unwholesome will come out of your mouth. When we get bashing, name calling, gossipy, messy, those things that come out of an unclean heart, that’s where the trouble is.

What are some of things that happen when out speech is undisciplined? Loquaciousness— a fancy word for talking too much.

A. Thoughtless talk

A fool utters all his mind, but a wise man keeps it in until afterward/holds them back (Proverbs 29:11). It’s unwise to just tell people how you feel, give them a piece of your mind, tell them off, I just had to get it off my chest—etc. There will be times where we need to speak up, we just need God’s wisdom and follow His direction for the proper timing.

At had a incident on a job where an individual  seemed like they were playing “stump the chump” with me. In other words, when I gave a directive to the co-workers we were they “overrode” it. In FRONT of everybody.

Now you know, I was as hot as a firecracker on the 4th of July! I’m SOOOO grateful the we took a break shortly afterward and I went straight to the loo and head throne of grace—I needed God to help me with that. That’s a trigger for me—correcting is one thing, but I have an issue if you’re trying to embarrass me by challenging what I’m saying in a certain authoritative tone and manner. No ma’am, no sir.

So anyway, I’m not sure if co-worker sensed something or the Lord tapped them on the shoulder, but they did come and ask me was there anything they could have done differently or something like that. And with God’s grace I politely told them person what they did. They assured me it wasn’t intended that way and somewhat straightened it out, (I’d have done things differently), but that ok, the Lord worked it out. Who knows what would have come out if I had said something right in front of everyone..I may have compromised my witness, displeased God, had to be chastened for disobedience.

#Bottom line: We may be justified in feeling wronged or angry about something, we need to pause and pray before we say.

B.  LONGGG talk

In the multitude if words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise (Proverbs 10:19).

Do you know anyone who just talks, talks, talks, talks, talks? Do you play “dodgeball” when you see them, hoping to avoid a long, drawn-out, fruitless conversation? Do you already have something planned or time your meeting with Chatterbox so you have to go by a certain time OR are you the CHATTERER? It’s one thing if we are talking about things that are wholesome and edifying, and no, everything is not serious, so laughter is in order as well. For many of us who avoid the Chatterer, the CONTENT of the conversation is repetitious, long-winded, disjointed, hard to follow, can get gossipy, slanderous, messy, details get added…and idle words can creep in.

This Scripture is not dissuading us from talking to someone about concerns, situations, seeking godly counsel, or venting. We want to be sure to take things to the Lord first, ask Him IF we should talk to so-and-so and THEN tell your story with as much brevity AND detail as possible. Before you launch into your story, ask the person if this is a good time or how much time they have.

We talk about that in a class at work and to be honest, until I started teaching that concept, I don’t know if I was ever conscious about checking with people time wise to see if it was a good time for THEM. I just plopped on down and started talking! We don’t know the responsibilities the hearer has and how flexible they may or may not be. Maybe you didn’t come up for air long enough for hearer to say, “I have a doctor’s appointment in 30 minutes.” Then we feel gypped because we didn’t get to tell the story or feel hearer is insensitive or doesn’t care. Did you care to ASK the person, “do you have about 30 minutes or so, really need to talk this out?” Is it really an emergency, or can you pray and wait until hearer can get settled so they can give you undivided attention?

And this extends past talking to friends…what us speakers who are allowed 10 minutes to give a reflection or speak on a topic? We launch into 3-4 choruses of a rousing song that goes 7 minutes and then you want to start the clock for your 10. Or we start to tell an unrelated story with a lot of detail and then go into the topic. Not right. Yes, we have to allow for the Holy Spirit to have His way—as long as the Spirit is moving, then we yield to Him. It’s the flesh aka the tongue or a spirit of pride and disobedience where we feel it’s okay to take more time. This effects others who have to speak or carry on part of the program after you. Think of the person who is last on the program, spent time and effort to prepare their work, only to have it cut to two minutes because it’s time to go? This is a matter is respect and obedience. Philippians 2:3 says let NOTHING be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other not highly that yourselves. Think about the other person before yourself.

#BottomLine: talk long,talk wrong!

This week, with the help of the Lord, let’s pay attention to the triggers—the things that set of our impatience/hasty speech patterns —what is it about the slow speaker that really bothers you? How is it that cutting someone off, interrupting a conversation or changing the conversation to what YOU want to talk about giving God glory and helping others. How did we make the other person feel? You don’t care? God does and we will have to answer for it. Let’s start minimizing our account and  ask the Lord to help us not to be reactive in the mouth, rather to handle the situation HIS way. Amen? Amen!

Thank you so much for tuning in and 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!