The Lollipop Lesson

Hey there BCU Family!

For this post, 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!

A number of years ago, I had my faithful traveling companions, Jaz and Peanut with me–and Peanut was in dire need of a haircut. The barbershop I took him to, not only does a phenomenal job with kids, they also give lollypops to the kids, even if they don’t get a service. How nice is that?! Once the kids chose their treats, I told them to put them away until after we ate dinner. Veggies before sugar, right?

When we got home, I thought it best to collect the lollipops and pass them out after dinner. Peanut happily produced his lollypop, while Jaz hesitated and told me her stick broke. I told her that was fine, just hand it over. In addition to the broken stick, the wrapper was barely hanging on, obviously in an attempt to quickly re-wrap it. When I asked why it was open, after I was clear about NOT opening it, she replied “I wanted to see what color it was”. Well, it’s a good thing she enjoyed it with her eyes, because she did not get to enjoy her treat, even with the sad face and tears.

I know, I know, that seemed a little harsh? Not really. Let’s take a look at four lessons God taught me from this one situation.

  • Patience: When God clearly to tells wait, He MEANS it. There is a reason that we can’t have what we want when we want it. Remember when your/a child thought could make wise choices in fashion, makeup, friends and other life decisions at the age of six? Remember how much “wisdom” we possessed at age 16? Our parents had to suffer through that period and correct our thinking. In God’s infinite wisdom, He knows when the best time is to be blessed, even though WE think we know better. Romans 9:19-21 asks how the creature going to tell the Creator what’s best? When we look at it that way, it helps us to back down and trust His process.
  • Resisting temptation: This is a tough one–I know the shiny lollypop was alluring to Jaz–and we are no different as adults. When something looks good to our flesh, we want it and now. Things that look good surface-wise, are not necessarily beneficial in the short or long term. How many of us have learned that over the years? Don’t go back there! We have to ask God for the power to leave it alone. Period. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (I Corinthians 10:13).
  • Haste makes waste: running ahead of my instructions cost Jaz her lollypop, so it was wasted. She had to wait until we go again to get another one, which wouldn’t be for a long time. When we go outside of God’s divine will, He will allow us to do what we want often at a high price, including wasted time, emotions, money, energy, strength, resources, and then we likely have to wait a long time before we get what God had for us in the first place. Lamentations 3:26 says it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
  • Consequences: The Bible is clear that there are consequences for disobedience. While God is good and plenteous in mercy, sometimes His mercy is not taking us out of here right away when we mess up. Recalling Adam and Eve (Genesis 3),  they clearly disobeyed and while God spared them, there was still a punishment. Esau sought repentance with tears and still lost out on his birthright and blessing (Hebrews 12:17). Is the thing that is clearly outside of God’s divine will worth losing out on blessings, favor or even missing out on Heaven? Surely not! For it is better, if the will of God be so, that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing (1 Peter 3:17).

The bottom line: There will always be times where we feel frustrated with waiting, not understanding why things haven’t changed yet, why another trial, where is my blessing, maybe I should “help” God out–that’s natural! There will be times we mess up and go ahead of God–thank God He’s willing to forgive when we ask! And He wants us to learn from our experience rather than choose to make to wrong decisions repeatedly.

We also have to remind ourselves with the help of God, that He does really have out best interest in mind…Matthew 7:11 tells us so! And since we will never know better or more than Jesus, let’s purpose in our hearts to take Him at His Word! Amen? Amen!


Which part of what we talked about is a struggle for you?  Mine is the patience—the Lord is yet teaching me how to wait on Him. Otherwise the wait gets a LOT longer! Let me know in the comments section so we can continue our chat.

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

7 reasons why we do not forgive.

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

So if you’ve been listening for any length of time, you may notice the the Lord has been bringing up forgiveness.

Quite a bit.

Forgiveness means a dismissal of a debt; letting go or a release. Our version of forgiveness usually deals with us giving out “justice”, meaning, giving people what we feel they deserve (bad treatment/punishment). In actuality, our forgiveness should be steeped in grace (giving people the good they do not deserve) and mercy NOT giving people the bad treatment/punishment they deserve.

It’s been said that lack of forgiveness is the number one sins committed among Christians—which is pretty sad and scary considering the Matthew 18:34-35, that reminds us if we don’t forgive our brother of their trespasses from the heart, we’ll be delivered over to the tormentors (see Matthew 18:23-35 for the entire Scripture in context).

Below, are 7 common reasons* that people choose to hold on to offenses. And Scriptures answers to why you should let go of the offense.

1) I’ll forgive when he/she apologizes. See Matthew 5:23-24.

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Sometimes we need to initiate the conversation to accelerate the forgiveness process.

2) I’ll forgive when they PROVE they changed. | See Matthew 18:23-27

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

Notice that in order to be forgiven, the king did not require any proof of change. He simply forgave his servant. Grace and mercy in action.

3) I’ll forgive her, but I won’t forget what she did. | See Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Typically, whatever the offender did was something that has hurt us, makes us angry, disappointed, etc.  If we keep “replaying” in our minds what the offender did, we are in direct violation of what God says we should be thinking about. Forgiving the person will release you of the hurt and allow you to think on the positive things Paul talks about.

4) He does not have to worry about me,  he is out of my life forever. | See Matthew 18:32-35; I John 3:15 

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

Bottom line? If we don’t forgive, we will NOT make it into Heaven. Period.

5) She needs to come to me FIRST. It wasn’t my fault. See 1 John 2:16; Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 5:23-25.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

That statement is steeped in pride, which goes before destruction. Once again, we may need to initiate the conversation in order to facilitate the forgiveness.

6) I forgave him, but were not speaking. |See 1 John 2:16; Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 5:23-25

Pride rears it’s ugly head again. See the Scriptures for reason number 5.

7) If I forgive her, I’m a punk, admitting wrong, letting her off the hook. |See Matthew 5:7.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 

Mercy is NOT giving someone the bad/punishment they deserve.

Forgiving is SERIOUS business. How many of these reasons have you used to justify not forgiving people? What are you thoughts about forgiving? Please head down to the comments section to share your thoughts so we can continue our conversation!

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

*Reasons were adapted from https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/the-real-reason-we-don-t-forgive.html. Updated and Scripture-referenced by BlenCouragesU.

Continue reading “7 reasons why we do not forgive.”

On the wall with Nehemiah: God’s MANIFOLD mercies!

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 wallgetting 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 in the remaining chapters of Nehemiah! For example, gatekeeping from our chapter 7 lesson,  preparing to apply God’s word from our chapter 8 lesson) and why we should be mindful of a condition called “stiff neck” in chapter 9. Let’s  finish up Nehemiah 9 as the Israelites continue recalling what God has done and how they reacted.

So when we last left off, the hardened-necked people were not heeding God’s commandments, refused to obey and forgot what the Lord had done for them (verse 17).

BUT…

(Love these turning points)

The people said that God is ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and did not forsake them–even when they made a golden calf to worship taking the place of God (See Exodus 32).

YET..

While the Israelites turned their backs on God, and forgot what He did, God’s manifold (many and various) mercies continued in this way: (Nehemiah 9:18-25)

God did not leave them to rot in the wilderness
He never took away the cloud or pillar of fire
He never failed to instruct them
He did not withhold manna or water
He kept them in the wilderness for four decades
He made sure they lacked nothing
Their clothes stayed fresh and feet did not swell

AND ON TOP OF THAT…

God STILL gave the people kingdoms, nations and land..
Their children multiplied like stars of heaven—the Israelites were brought into the land, JUST like God promised.

They overtook cities, got houses filled with goods, water wells, vineyards, olive yards, fruit trees in abundance.

They ate, were filled, got fat and delighted in God’s goodness.

God’s manifold mercies in effect. 

NEVERTHELESS…

IN spite of all God had done, verse 26  says they were disobedient, rebellious, cast the law behind their backs and KILLED the prophets who warned them to come back to God.

BCU Fam, as we apply this part of the lesson to ourselves, as we recall the many things God did for us—the provision, protection, healing, comforting, saving us, and so on, how many times were we disobedient to what God said? Rebellious to the Word of God and cast it away in favor of doing what we felt was right or wanted to do? How many prophets (your pastor, that mother at church, friend, even a stranger) did we kill with a look, silence or even our words, when they warned us about going against what God said?

God’s manifold mercies in effect. 

Now, God will keep His Word no matter what we do or don’t. Know this—there is a penalty for disobedience. God allowed the Israelites, to be delivered into the hand of the enemy, due to their choice to stiffen their necks and disobey. When they cried out for relief, in God’s manifold mercies, He delivered them.

After the deliverance, (verses 27-29), the Israelites straightened up for awhile, BUT they got evil again and God LEFT them to the enemy to have dominion over them. Yet when they cried out, God delivered them– many times— according to His manifold mercies.
The Lord convicted the Israelites in wanting them to listen, but they did not. Hardened necks made a comeback, they wouldn’t listen or heed God, no matter who told them they were wrong, and time and time again, the people were still being delivered in the hands of the enemy because of their choice to sin..

NEVERTHELESS..

Verse 30 says God was still merciful—He did not consume or forsake them because He is a gracious and merciful God.

And while the Israelites got to keep what God gave them (verses 32-37),  they were servants in their OWN land,  had to pay “tribute” (excessive tax) to the kings, and those who ruled over the Israelites had dominion over their bodies and cattle, putting the Israelites in great distress. Verse 38 concludes where the Israelites FINALLY get what happened and now need to covenant to do what God says. My Lord!

BCU Fam, we are not unlike the Israelites at all. As God, in His manifold mercy continues to bless and warn us,  we often will continue doing what we like, not realizing or caring that there is a cumulative cost to actions that go against what God said. And to that end, here will be a pay day coming.

Sin always keeps it’s price hidden until it’s time to pay. And that payment can cost you in time, money, missed opportunities and even your life. Your eternal life! Rather than take God’s mercy for granted, let’s take advantage of the mercy God has extended to us TODAY and covenant with Him, His help to stop willfully and continually going against His Word. NOTHING on Earth should keep us from Heaven. Amen? Amen!

This concludes Nehemiah 9, BCU Fam! We’ll plan to wrap up the remaining chapters the next time we’re together.  In the meantime, as you reflect on God’s mercy, what you took away from this post, 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

2016 Loopback: Applying “The Golden Rule.”

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



HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

We praise God for the blessing of new mercies that are renewed daily and how those days brought us to 2017!  We pray God’s blessings for you now and in the days to come for a blessed and spiritually-enriched 2017.

So in our last post, I promised we’d do a reflection/count down type post and I’d like to make good on my word. As we go from December to January, we tend to think everything from the previous year “goes away”. It doesn’t. Whatever we went through, challenge or triumph, there are LESSONS God taught, and in the spirit of being a doer of the word (James 1), we need to recall those lessons in order to sustain us in the battles and walk us to victory. So this month, we’ll focus on a lesson learned in 2016, so we can apply it going forward. Let’s start with what the world calls “The Golden Rule”. I’ll call it what it is–the Word of God and it comes from Luke 6:31.

 “And as you would want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” 

That’s easy to read and to do when we are being treated properly, but does that verse get trampled when we are not being treated well?

Case in point: With the help of God, whenever I have to contact a customer service rep, or it’s my turn to be waited on at the store, typically, I greet the person with a smile, how are you, et cetera. I understand it’s not easy dealing with the public all day, rude customers, shortages in inventory, people calling out–those things can effect your day, so I like to be the customer that brings some pleasantness, you know? And I thank God for that attitude—-that’s all Him. The thing is,  I EXPECT pleasantness back. Most of the time, I get wonderful pleasantness in return,  BUT there are many times that I do not.

The dry “hi”. The face like “why are you talking to me?” The non-responsive associate. The “yep”. My things being put in the bag haphazardly. Talking to their neighbor while cashing me out. Over talking me. Not answering my questions. Answering with an “I don’t know” (and won’t look unless you ask).  The putting down of a pen or change on the counter instead of in my hand! The list goes on!

The thoughts that run through my head as I seethe go something like this: “After the hard-earned money I’m plunking down?” “SERIOUSLY?!” “I don’t know who she THINKS she’s talking to in that tone!” “Why is he not answering?” “Did I NOT just greet YOU nicely?” I should put it back.” “I need to get the manager.” “What is your issue?”  And then, I want to respond in the same sharp tone, give a look that says, “I’m NOT the one”, Ask, “am I bothering you?” or loudly plop the pen back down on the counter in retaliation. How many of you have played something like  this scenario in your mind? How many have done it? Yep, me, too.

While we may be justified in feeling wronged for being mistreated, what does Luke 6:31 say again? And as you would want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. In other words, our behavior must stay consistent with the Word of God that tells us to treat folks like WE would want, rather than how THEY treated us. I know this can be a tough one for the flesh, yet we need to be obedient to the Word of God. Why, you say? There are a lot of answers to that why, but let’s take a look at three reasons:

It’s taken care of: Mind you, any ill-treatment is WRONG…we know that, and more importantly God knows it. There is nothing that surprises Him, escapes His knowledge or memory. Because He is a righteous judge, He knows when, where and in what way to balance the scales.  Romans 12:19 says to avenge not ourselves, vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. He’ll handle it. We’ve got His word on it.

Mercy and compassion: Our flesh may long to see someone “get it”, but we have to remember the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18. We talked forgiveness in previous posts, but the parable, Jesus tells us about a servant who owed his leader ten thousand talents. The servant could have never paid the money back, but asked for mercy and the debt was forgiven! That same servant turned around and found one of his friends that owed him 100 pence and demanded to be paid. The friend asked for mercy and rather than granting it, servant threw the friend PRISON until the debt was paid! There is a LOT wrong here, but see how he took matters into his own hands? He could not WAIT for his friend to “get it!”.

Well, word got back to the servant’s lord about what happened and servant was called out on his lack of pity and compassion —and then he was delivered to the tormentors till the debt was paid. Remember, though, that debt was IMPOSSIBLE to pay back. Jesus ends the parable with these words: So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you do not forgive not from your heart, everyone his brother their tresspasses (Matthew 18:35). In other words, we do COUNTLESS things to offend God yet He has compassion, mercy and forgiveness on us. Imagine if He punished us the moment and every time we messed up? Man, I’d be delivered to the tormentors just like that servant! So looking at it that way, we need to exercise compassion, mercy and forgiveness as well. If we ask Him to help us, He will.

Confront as directed: In the event an incident needs to be escalated, or the Lord is leading you to confront the issue, it can be done in a way that gets the situation resolved, God is glorified and you don’t lose your cool or your witness. Nehemiah had to confront leaders who were wrongly taking advantage of their brethren. After calming down and thinking it over, Nehemiah rebuked the leaders, called them to a meeting and explained why the leaders were acting irresponsibly. Nehemiah 5:8 says..and they held their peace and found nothing to answer.  In fact, the leaders gave back what they took and praised God afterward! (More about Nehemiah 5 in an upcoming podcast). The thing is, Nehemiah handled the situation the way God wanted Him to and he was successful! If we do things God’s way, we will always be victorious! His ways are perfect! (Psalms 18:30).

BCU family, that was a tough one..I “wrassle” with getting in my feelings more often than I would like to! When we think about it, that need to want to “clapback” is a form of pride–the pride of life to be exact–and that deadly pride comes from the world, rather than  Father  (1 John 2:16).

The world and our flesh tells that we need to retaliate in tongue and deed so that person knows not to mess with us or will think twice about how they treat people. In essence it likely embarrasses the person, may enrage them to negatively respond to you, you retaliate again, so now,  it becomes a duel!

That exchange  may provide entertainment for the onlookers and temporary satisfaction for the flesh, but as that adrenaline wears off, you will have ruined your witness for Christ. And will have to reap the consequences of deliberately walking outside the Word of God. Is it worth it? Nay, I say. With the help of the Lord, let’s ask God to bless us to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath. because the wrath of man does NOT work the righteousness. of God. (James 1:19-20). Amen? Amen!


Our question of the week is:

What area(s) of your life will you apply Luke 6:31 to? Please leave a comment 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! 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 you, keep you and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

Now and later….Where are you in Christ?

Hey Family,

I had another post in mind, but as the news unfolds about the attacks in Paris, I felt it apropos to speak what the Lord laid on my heart.

As much as we don’t want to think about it, our days are numbered. In fact, Psalms 90:10 says, the days of our years are threescore years and ten, (age 70) and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, (age 80) yet it is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.  And we well know some people fly away sooner than those ages, according to God’s divine plan, so unless He specifically tells you, we have no idea when our last earthly moment will be, what it will entail and after that, we have to give an account to God (Romans 14:12). With all the things going on in this present world, it is scary to think about dying, yes. What we want to ensure right now is WHERE we live after we die.

As the Giver of Life, all souls belong to the Lord and whether or not we choose salvation along with how we live here determines if we go to Heaven or Hell. No, the Bible does not support places in between, purgatory, praying and paying for souls to come out of Hell. reincarnation, coming back as a worm, or anything other than Heaven or Hell.

Fact: Luke 16:19-31 tells the story of the rich man and poor man Lazarus. The rich man who apparently did not accept Christ lifted up his tormented eyes in hell, and seeing Lazarus and Abraham afar off, (presumably paradise or Heaven) begged for mercy and water (verses 23-24). Abraham spoke up and told the rich man, in part, there was a great gulf fixed and neither of the could leave where they were (verse 26). Think of the regret the rich man was and is living with. “If I only had known, I would have..” That is not how we want to spend eternity.

Bottom line: Let’s be clear, I DO NOT know where the victims of this hideous and cowardly act of terrorism were in their walk with God–that is now between them and Him.  As my heart weeps and prayers go out to the families and friends who are directly dealing with this unspeakable grief, fear, anger, disbelief and any other emotions, my prayer for anyone who is reading this to make the decision to repent (being godly sorry for all you’ve ever done to sin against God), be baptized in the name of Jesus (there is no other name under Heaven that we can be saved (Acts 4:12) and be filled with the Holy Ghost (everyone needs the Holy Ghost–see Acts 2).  Be advised there is NOTHING you’ve done that JESUS will not pardon! He wants all to come to repentance and be filled with His Spirit! Ask the Lord to help you find a church home that is focused on caring for your soul and teaching you how to live according to what the Bible says. Ensure your place on Heaven today, so you can truly rest in peace when your time comes.

We do not want to live on Earth and reject Jesus NOW only to find out it we need Him for LATER. Give your life to Jesus today!

God bless you and thank for reading!

Blen