God’s lesson from a storm…

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 conversational story, please tune into the podcast recording and refer to the written post for the highlights and corresponding Scriptures. We pray the post blesses and encourages you.  If so, please thumbs up AND leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

So BCU Fam, living in New England, our winters are unpredictable. At the time of this post, we just got through a HUGE snow storm, dumping a foot of snow in most places.

During the storm and in removing some of the snow, I stopped to notice how beautiful and peaceful things looked. And noticed something I don’t ever remember hearing.

Listen to the clip above 👆🏽 and the podcast below to find out!👇🏽

Scriptures to ponder

Rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4).

I will bless the Lord at all times and His praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1). 

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15). 

I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable (Psalm 145:3).

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:8). 

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.. (Ephesians 3:20). 

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 (Philippians 4:8).

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

BCU Fam, to God be the glory for showing me this—this  post blesses me EVERY TIME I hear it. While tests and trials are inevitable in this life, God has assured us that He is walking with us and we should continue to praise Him with our whole heart—withholding nothing and watch how He moves the situation or our attitude toward it. It is all part of the process of becoming more like Jesus! And on top of all that, when we remember that Heaven belongs to those of us that endure to the end, (see 2 Corinthians 4:17), we should be encouraged to continue praying, fasting, serving and praising God. Amen? Amen!

How are you hanging in through what you’re going through? Is there a praise in your heart? What are your go-to scriptures? 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, Instagram, and  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

It’s a wrap! Nehemiah study finale

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!

As we moved into further chapters, gatekeep from our chapter 7 lesson,  preparing to apply God’s word from chapter 8  and why we should be mindful of a condition called “stiff neck” in Nehemiah 9 as the Israelites continue recalling what God has done, how far they were away from the Word of God and how they wanted to make a covenant to start obeying once again. Please take the time to read the chapters in their entirety in order to get the full understanding and context of what the Lord has revealed here.

Nehemiah 10 highlights:

So Nehemiah, the priests, chief of the people, porters, singers, and all the people separated themselves from others in the land now having knowledge and understanding. They also began cleaving to themselves as a people and swore to walk in God’s law, observing and doing all the commandments, judgements and statues of the Lord.

How does this apply to us?

 We should take a look at our surroundings and take note of who and what we are attached to. If the situations and the crowd we run with are not lining up with the Word of God, with His guidance, timing and help, we need to leave those things behind and cleave to God.

For you were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8). 

Nehemiah 11 highlights:

Here, the people were settling into their homes and assignments (singers, workers on the house, gatekeepers, etc.)

How does this apply to us?

What has God assigned you to? With the help of the Lord, are we carrying them out in excellence? Giving God our very best, or excusing away our duties because of work (which we usually show up for daily), home duties, or because of PEOPLE “not letting you be great?” That statement deserves another post, but suffice it to say that God is the one that’s great and it’s HIM that works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). So the only ones stopping God from being great in us, is us– allowing the foul spirit that works through people to stop us from carrying out our assignments. Matthew 25:14-30, tells the story and consequences of following (or not) through with what He’s entrusted us with. 

Nehemiah 12 highlights:

The wall is dedicated it is a celebrated with gladness, thanksgivings, singing, cymbals, psaltries, harps and sacrifices! On top of that, the rejoicing and great joy in Jerusalem was hear afar off!

How does this apply to us?

This is how it should be when we give God praise–much singing, rejoicing and thanksgiving!  We’re supposed to bless the Lord at all times, and HIS praises should  CONTINUALLY be in our mouths (Psalm 34:1). Whether it’s in a corporate worship setting, during your prayer time, Bible study, in the car, or even to yourself! In fact, Ephesians 5:19 and 20 says, “speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks ALWAYS for all things unto God and the Father in the name of out Lord Jesus Christ”. Let EVERYTHING that has breath praise ye the LORD! (Psalm 150:6). HALLELUJAH! 

Nehemiah 13 highlights:

The last chapter has some unusual endings. Nehemiah was away and came back to find that  Tobiah, (the enemy only goes away for a season), had befriended one of the priests, ended up in one of the chambers in the house of the Lord! Nehemiah was grieved and subsequently threw Tobiah out and commanded the people cleanse the chamber afterward.

Nehemiah also chastised the rulers and the people who had started selling on the very wall the Lord blessed them to build AND selling on the sabbath! The Israelites were also rebuked for marrying “strange people” or taking spouses who served more than one god along with the Hebrew people who believed in the ONE TRUE God. After straightening all that out, Nehemiah cleansed and purified everyone and asked God to remember him for the good he did with the people.

How does this apply to us?

 We can tell people what to do according to do according to the word of God, but we are not responsible for their action/inaction. God will take care of that. Luke 12:47 says that those who knew the Lord’s will, did not prepare himself and did not do it, will be beat with many stripes. Yes, God is love, but He also has to correct and punish as He is a good Father and keeps ALL of His word. With the help of God, let’s avoid the stripes by being obedient to His will and stay walking in the Spirit and NOT in the flesh (Galatians 5:16-25). Amen? Amen!

Well, BCU Fam, this concludes our study of Nehemiah!!!!! I pray that this extensive study was a blessing to you! If so, we’d love to hear about what you took away from any of the studies, 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

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 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 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

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

Out and in: A prayer for a time such as this.

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

We are less than 24 hours from 2017 (depending on when you’ve tuned in) and you all know that means countdowns, lessons, look-backs and promises. Now we here at BCU will partake in the some of those things (minus the promises) in an upcoming post/podcast, but for this post, I felt led to simply pray. Yes pray.

While we may not like to think about it, with all that is happening in the world, we can see that the coming of the Lord is imminent and we must be prepared to go back with Him, if He does not come for us in death first. The cares of this life, the people we have to deal with on the regular, job stress, family challenges, health crises, the change in administration, uncertainty about what’s next, who’s next, who’s got next–can distract us to a point where our stays focus off Jesus and what He has called us to do. We’re angry, miserable, tired, unmotivated, slipping into bad/ungodly habits and find it hard to hear God’s voice or even trust Him again. Dangerous. And exactly what the enemy wants.

With the help of the Lord and His leading, we’ll plan to tackle some of those areas in 2017 in some form or another–until then, let’s boldly go to the throne of grace where we can always go to obtain help in the time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Let us pray.

Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, we bow before you to say “thank You”. You are SO awesome, wonderful, amazing, gracious, merciful, faithful and ever so kind. We thank You for the new mercies we see renewed daily and for the benefits that you load us with–forgiving, healing, redeeming and satisfying our mouths with GOOD things, as Psalm 103 reminds us.

We will honestly tell you, Lord (You already know anyway), that for many of us, this year was a trying one. Some of us lost loved ones, friends, jobs, went through with spouses , family members and children, faced illnesses/treatments or had to caregive–all along with the other assignments and obligations You entrusted us with. It did get difficult from time to time–we cried, questioned, got angry, gave up for a bit, but because of YOUR better-than-life lovingkindness, Your grace, Your tender mercy, YOUR grace, YOUR faithfulness to Your flock, You blessed us–Your children to make it through and we say “thank You!”

We thank You for blessing us with the lessons from 2016 and pray that if You will and we enter into 2017, that You continue to bless with to APPLY what You have/are teaching us to our everyday lives. Please bless us to be on high alert for ministry opportunities to all we come in contact with, for we may just be the planter or waterer before YOU give the increase. Please help us to take our assignments in the Body seriously, diligently and to Your glory. Help us to be a blessing to those in and outside of the body of Christ. Bless us, Lord to hear and follow YOUR voice–and not to practice sinning in any fashion, as we endeavor to be that light set on a hill.

We pray for leaders everywhere–in government, first responders, leaders on our jobs, in the Body of Christ, in our homes–wherever they may be, please guide their thoughts and actions. Bless them to make wise decisions that glorify You, for it is written in Proverbs 21:1, that the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord and like the rivers of water, you turn it wherever YOU want. And if the decisions made are not favorable, we trust that You will take good care of us, because Luke 12:22-31 reminds us to take NO thought about what we need–if You supply for the birds and clothe the grass, You will supply for us, as we seek your kingdom.

Please bless our families, friends and yes, our enemies! Strengthen the single parents and caregivers. Remember those are are incarcerated, along with their families. Comfort the grieving. Speak to someone’s suicidal heart and help them to realize this life is worth living–that they need You, Jesus. We ask that You send healing to broken hearts, that You regulate minds, heal bodies, reconcile ordained relationships, break up toxic situations-ships, send provisions, protection, assurance, conviction, repentance and most of all SAVE souls according to Acts 2:38! Glory!!!

Thank you for blessing us to continue on the straight and narrow way, making our call and election sure, teaching us to number our days and helping us to be counted worthy to escape. We magnify You Lord and bless you for hearing our cry and answering our prayers according to Your perfect will.

To you, Lord, be the glory, honor and praise, in the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

YESSSS!!!! This is the way to start a year, month, day, hour, assignment, task, situation, or challenge. IN PRAYER! And we just don’t pray, we pray FERVENTLY and  in FAITH!!! Hallelujah!

We’re looking forward to the things God has in store for the days ahead and want to share that with you, so please pray and stay tuned! And if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so, it’s free and a good place to get 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.

Well let’s go ahead and wrap up our last post of the year! May God bless and keep us all to #StayOnTheWall!

Happy 2017!🎊🙏🏽

 

Love,

 

BCU