Singles chalkboard: Recognizing “The set-up!”

Hey BCU Family!

As usual, the written transcript has a little more detail in it than the podcast does, but nothing drastic! Please enjoy both formats!

This post is especially for the singles..but the Scripture lesson can apply in a few situations for ANYONE! Please stay with me, BCU Fam! Let’s dig in!

There is something about the holidays–and the new year in particular, that seems to bring out the nostalgia, audacity and duplicity in folks. Over the past few weeks, a few very shady menfolk, cleverly disguised as a “good things”, tried to run their best game, but the Word says “resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7b). I thank God for heeding to His voice and not falling for the old set-up/okie-doke. It seems a few of my sisters have also had some menfolk trying them as well, and glory to God, they recognized the set-up and came out victoriously!

Luke 4:1-13 tells the story of the enemy tempting Jesus after His fast (of course, Jesus used the Word to counteract Satan’s attack). Verse 13 says.  “and when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from [Jesus] for a season. In other words, the enemy will be back and likely to tempt you in this same/similar area, singles. In that case, let’s prepare!

 

Your best line of defense: Prayer. I know you know this, but we can NEVER underestimate the POWER of prayer and seeking God for answers. I’ve told this story in some form or another before, but it’s always worth a revisit! Awhile back, a former acquaintance telephoned me, and as we were catching up, I thought to myself, “hmm.. sounds like “Bob” grew up a lot–I think there is some serious maturity here.” Eventually Bob mentioned meeting up for lunch at the end of the week and I agreed without even thinking about it. That quick agreement has happened to “seasoned” people of God before—it’s a set-up and it gets you into trouble! Let’s look at Joshua.

Joshua, chosen by God to secede Moses, was a mighty in faith and in battle, so much so that the people of Gibeon, in chapter 9 were concerned about Joshua coming for them next. So the Gibonites went to work on a plot to trick Joshua into to making peace with them.  Though Gibeon was about eight miles from Israel, the Gibonites pretended to be ambassadors from a far away place, seeking a covenant with Joshua so he would not harm them.  They even came outfitted in old clothes, shoes, torn wineskins, and even had dry, moldy bread to authenticate their story. After a short round of questions,  Joshua and his people ate with these tricksters and eventually covenanted peace with them–only to find out they were tricked into the agreement, but it was too late to do anything about it. Joshua was set-up!!! And why did the scheme work? Verse 14  in that same chapter says “[the Israelites] asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.” If JOSHUA could trip up and miss praying to see if this situation was okay by God, the very same thing can happen to us, if we do not consult God first.

Notice that the Gibonites “looked” the part of ambassadors and “said” they came in the name of the Lord, but their heart was all about how they would benefit from this ill-gotten agreement. How many of these old flames that show up look good–dressed nicely, well represented OR even playing the part of the  Gibonite, “woe as me, I’m dressed this way because I lost my job” my car, my place, I have no where to go.” “I just need $40, or “may I borrow your car to go on this job interview?” Or  “My new place will be ready tomorrow, if I can stay….” OR “You’re supposed to be a Christian and help people, right?”  This is a set-up!!!! And they sound like they know God–“Yes, I am SO blessed”, “I know God, too”, “I thank God for..”. or “I need to give my life to God, can you tell me how?” Do you see the set-up here?!  What is going on in that HEART?! Jeremiah 17:9 says, “the heart is deceitful above ALL things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” We may not, but God sure does and will reveal it to us IF we ask and heed to what He says.

Now, I’m not saying that every old flame or person that approaches you isn’t sincere about being saved or that should we skip sharing God’s plan of salvation according to Acts 2:38-NO!  We really need to be prayerful about how best to witness to this person without compromising your witness. Be in public, with another believer, or better yet, invite the person to church. That move tells a lot about the heart– either they come and start really yielding to the voice of Christ who wants to save them, or they will flee with a quickness!! Just remember to pray for the individual as we do want them to be saved. As we’re praying, one other are to be on hight alert in is “preventive care”.

Unless God reveals otherwise, stay out of places (in this case, people) that God delivered you from. Proverbs 26:11 says “as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his own folly.” While dogs are very popular these days–that was not the case in biblical times. In fact, most of the time a dog is mentioned, they represent wicked men, (Psalm 22:16), noise (Psalm 59:14), along with laziness, being dumb and greedy (Isaiah 56:10-11). YIKES!!! All these horrible traits on TOP of the fact that a dog has a habit of vomiting up what did not agree with him —and then going back to eat it. I don’t know one person who likes to see or smell something they upchucked. UGH!!! To what restaurant would you go visit to order, pay for and EAT VOMIT?! Who DOES that?! Only a dog–and he’ll do that for free. UGH!!!!

Family, if God blessed you to escape a relationship (be it romantic or platonic) with this individual, it’s because they do not “agree with you”–who YOU are in Christ.  It doesn’t matter that the relationship didn’t make you “sick” in the beginning or it only made you ill sometimes. When God says leave it alone, that is His way of protecting us from coming in contact with a potential situation that can wreak havoc on your system–your heart, soul and mind. And the recovery process and chastening that follows can set you back days, weeks, months and possibly years and in some cases, never.

Recall in Genesis 19, when God extended His mercy to Lot, his wife and two daughters as they escaped from the wicked city of Sodom, which was being destroyed by fire and brimstone. Among other requirements, God commanded them not to look back, or they would be consumed (verse 17). As the city burned, apparently, Lot’s wife could not resist looking back “at the vomit”and in doing so immediately became a pillar of salt.  With God’s grace, let’s avoid vomit all together and trust that at the appointed time, He will send whoever (friend or otherwise) we are supposed to have in our lives. Amen?! Amen.

Before we end the podcast, I should tell you the ending of my story.  While I agreed to lunch, the Lord was gracious enough to use Joshua 9 and Proverbs 26:11 to get my attention over a two-day time period (yep, it did not sink in right away). Once it did, though, I cancelled lunch and invited Bob to church. Strangest thing, though–he never did show up…

Well this concludes our time together! I pray this blesses and challenges you. If this post been a blessing to you, please give us a thumbs up, comment and share. God bless you always and until next time, #StayOnTheWall.

 

 

Love,

BCU

 

 

 

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

Happy 2016 everyone!!!

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

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

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

Let’s get started!

Promises, promises:

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

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

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

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

 

Appearances are deceiving: 

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

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

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

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

God bless you and thanks for stopping by!

 

BCU

 

 

 

Rejoice with them that rejoice… right?

Hey family,

Welcome new followers–God bless you! And faithful followers, God bless you as well!! Years ago, I worked with a wise woman of God who used to quote Proverbs 10:22 when the Lord blessed her with something. She’d say aloud,  “the blessing of the Lord, it makes rich and He adds no sorrow to them”.  I used to chuckle when she said it, but I think I finally got why she said it.

Praise is what we do.

While we are happy to receive the blessings from God as He gives them, it is sometimes a challenge to share our news with people, in part because of the reaction we may receive. As we testify or people witness the blessings of God in our lives, ideally we’d like for them to be happy for us. Very often, people may comment adversely, causing us to not want to share how God made a way.

I raised my daughter as a single parent, which was a challenge to the third power sometimes–especially financially. The Lord saved me when she was 3, which did not  put me on Easy Street— He did send “ex-ree” 😀 blessings down on occasion. Whenever I wore something new to work, a former co-worker would notice and ask me “how can you afford that?” Oh, it gets better! Another ex-coworker–no, a manager once said, “I don’t know how you can dress all matched up like you do. I don’t have time to comb my hair. ” *insert hair blown back here* Of course that comment was a reference to me not being married , but “Sue-Ann” didn’t know it was with God’s grace getting my child and myself together every morning. On another occasion, the Lord blessed me to get some “accoutrements” on my car.  Someone went to my superior and said something like, “Blenda’s got money to do that– that’s not cheap!” Seriously?! Is that any way to react to someone received a blessing? Comments and attitudes like that are enough to make you stop testifying altogether.  But it shouldn’t.

Psalm 107:8 says, “oh that men would praise the name for His wonderful works to the children of men”.  And since He doesn’t add sorrow to His blessings, we should not be sorry or fearful for what He’s done, rather tell of His goodness! When Jesus healed and forgave folk in the Bible, they ran and told that thing to all who would listen!

Now it is true everyone can’t handle hearing about your blessings, so tune into God to find out who you can celebrate with and how to handle the naysayers. You may find the “negatory” folk are the ones who need to hear about God’s goodness and the plan of salvation.   If they are saved already, gently remind them that all that’s good and perfect comes from Him–and ask what good has happened in their lives lately.

Lest you think this post is about receiving all a ton of material things from God, that’s NOT my point. God has blessed me to grow spiritually, be healed emotionally, sustained physically, and be kept financially–and I am not sad about that at all!  With all that’s going on bad in the world, we really have a lot to be thankful– not sorrowful for.

Go ‘head and testify. I will praise God with you!

Be blessed all!

Blen