2016 Loopback: Applying “The Golden Rule.”

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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!


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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

#SpeechTherapy | Season 2 | Forgiveness (Part 1)

Hi BCU family!

As usual, you can enjoy the audio podcast (by clicking on the icon below) read the transcript notes or both! Either way, be encouraged by the Word of God and share this with a friend! God bless you!

Welcome to SEASON 2 of #SpeechTherapy!

So in season 1 of #SpeechTherapy, we talked through the contents of the heart, understanding that our heart meditations govern our speech and actions. The lust of the flesh, eye, pride of life, excessive talk and overstatements are all part of what we are in therapy for. This season, we want to dig a little deeper and study some areas that can hinder our efficacy in the Body of Christ, hinder our ministry and turn souls away– areas  that make the words of our mouths and meditation of our hearts UNACCEPTABLE. Recall that “strange fire” from one of our past sessions? We can’t offer any ol’ thoughts, words or actions to God. On that wise, let’s talk forgiveness. Let’s look at Matthew 18:

1) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2) “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,”

3)And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5)And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6) But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7) Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8)Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

9) And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10)Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

11) For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

12) How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

13) And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

14)Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

15) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

18) Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

19) Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

21) Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”

22) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

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

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

25) 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.

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

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

28) But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29) And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30)And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31) So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

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.”

We need to break this whole chapter down to understand the magnitude and importance of forgiving. Let’s look at Matthew 18:1.

Starting in verse 1, the disciples asked about greatness…do we do that? Look for that? Or do we have a servant attitude? Is the position you or a leader hold a position of “greatness”, meaning you have are visibly noticed and applauded? Jesus immediately  chose a child (verses 2-5) as a visual for a few reasons:

–Conversion is needful only because our old nature can be puffed up and proud—it wants to be served, admired, be the greatest rather than be humble or serve others.

–The audience at the time regarded children as property and people who should be seen and not heard; people to be cared for; looked after and subject to elders rule. Imagine the disappointment that it wouldn’t be the one who healed the most, listen to the most sermons, sold the most at the chitin’ strut, gave the most money, shouted the loudest or clapped the hardest—it was a child.

Think about the faith and trusting nature of a child. I used to watch Sesame Street as a youngster and my dad watched it with us. In the intro, there was a montage of kids, playing running, interacting– I don’t recall the whole thing, but I do recall the back/profile of a little brown girl with her hair done in three little braids. Anyway, she was playing hopscotch for a few seconds I think and my dad told me “that’s you! Now he likely meant it figuratively, but as a 4, 5 or 6 year old, I didn’t have the presence of mind to rationalize it! I took it literally like any child would. HAAAAAAAAAAA!

You KNOW I cheesed up and was SURE to watch that beginning EVERY time Sesame Street came on to see myself. I believed my dad, trusted his word, never thought …”hmm when was a camera ever outside to film me?” “I didn’t have that outfit”, “I don’t know the tree in the clip”, “when was the last time I played hopscotch?” He told me that was ME! My dad TOLD me it was so, it was SO and I did not question it. You all see where I’m going. That childlike nature in doing what God says and taking Him at His word it what gets us into the kingdom of heaven.

Also, think of the forgiving nature of most children. They are angry about something one minute and off the play with the same kid in the next. We can learn something by that. In fact, Paul said, “brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:20)‬, which ties back to my story. When Sesame Street came on one day, I happened to be watching with my mom. I couldn’t wait to show her me, and when “Blen” came on I proudly told her “that’s me”! Ms No-Nonsense no-spoonful-of-sugar-to help-the-medicine-go-down BLUNTLY told me “that is NOT you.”  Period. [insert blank stare]. I don’t remember my reaction—probably confused, but I didn’t question my dad and if he was “mistaken” I forgave him, because he loved and took good care of me. Now, we know God does not say things that are not SO–my point I forgave my dad—he was still cool to me. That’s what kids do.

This sets us up for some of the coming verses, (specifically verses 6-7)and we as believers need to pay special attention to because Jesus himself said that offenses WILL come. Offenses meaning snares, traps, trap-sticks, stumbling blocks, temptations, entrapment, enticers, obstacles, etc. All these things are considered OFFENSES and some will come from the enemy, old flames, new flames, smoldering flames, you own self and it’s old nature, well-meaning friends, enemies, strangers—like the guy that cut you off this morning, acquaintances like the receptionist that snapped at me for wanting to come get my glasses adjusted before closing time family—yes, mama, popsy, kids, Cousin Junebug, dear, sweet Ida Mae, spouses, significant others, church family, confidants, co-workers—the list can go on. And those offenses can be something as simple as you reacting to a bad attitude, getting in your flesh about a missed deadline, to kids acting up in school, marital issues, being lied on, finding things out at the last minute, your car breaking down—OFFENSES WILL COME. God allows them to teach is to stay in the Spirit and not react in the flesh, the enemy brings them to get you out of Spirit and KEEP you in the flesh. If you stay in the flesh about offenses, it breeds an angry, revengeful unforgiving spirit.

Jesus promises to deal with the offenders—it’s better that a millstone is hung around the neck and they cast into the sea. If they offend and do not repent and get the Holy Ghost, once they leave this world, a “sea” is what they will want. Think of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar in Luke 16. The rich man was tormented so in the flames that he wanted Abraham to have mercy and dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue. How much water is on a tip of a finger? That little bit would have brought him relief, but alas it was NOT to be–not a good ending at all.  While we may be clapping for the impending punishment for the offenders, let’s keep two things in mind:

1)Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him (Proverbs 24:16). God said not to, so we don’t with His help.

2) Let’s check ourselves to make sure we are not practicing offenders mentioned in Matthew 18. The onus is on US. Not THEM.

We do not want to be repeat for practicing offenders. Mind you, practicing or offending on purpose is very different from occasionally stumbling or struggling with something rather than succumbing to it. Again, it’s one thing to mess up occasionally, but choosing to lie on someone, being the marital issue, to have a bad attitude because “you don’t care today”, intentionally, maliciously, willfully, spitefully doing, saying or acting or retaliating, in ways that offend someone (whether or not they “deserve it”) is just wrong.

In verses 8-9 of Matthew 18, whatever the offending part is, hands busy sowing seeds of discord; feet swift to run into mischief or eye that is looking at things it should not,(check out Proverbs 6:12 for details), our job is to cut and pluck–that means take extremes to make sure you are not a willful offender.  Verses 10- 14 of Matthew 18 says God’s will is not that ANY of His sheep perish–He goes after the one. Some of us are that one sheep—we may be saved according to Acts 2:38 and have Jesus down on the inside, yet we may not handle the offenses the Bible way. Sheep, we can’t practice maliciousness, wrath, hatred and such and expect to make it into the kingdom of God. Romans 1:29-32 says so!

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

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

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful,

32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:29-32).

When you practice offending, it shows the condition of your heart and how closely you are walking with God. Additionally, we are not allowed to retaliate because they “deserve it.”  God says no! Romans 12:19 says, to never avenge ourselves, but leave the path open for God’s wrath, for it is written vengeance is mine, I will repay, requite, says the Lord. And that is a promise–God always keeps His word!

So limp, come with the eye patch, cast—with God’s help, let’s just do what He says so we can make it into the Kingdom of Heaven.

BCU Family, I have to warn you, you will be tested in this area…I know I was and it took every ounce of the Holy Ghost to keep my flesh under subjection! It can be done if we yield to the Spirit like He wants us to do willingly.

On that note, we’re going to wrap up this podcast and Lord will when we come back, we’ll start talking about HOW to handle offenses like Christ wants us to. I want to thank you so much for tuning in and sharing with a friend! God bless you and until we meet again, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU