A lesson from an ice cream cone.

Hey ūüĎčūüŹĺ 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 corresponding Scriptures. We pray the post blesses and encourages you.  If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

For those who know me personally, you know I have a thing about going out for ice cream. I think it had to do with a unfortunate incident with losing that ice cream cone when I was a kid! LOLOL!!! (If you know the story, ¬†you can post it in the comments) ūüôā

Anyway, while the creamy dessert was a minor indulgence, the Lord used it to teach me a BIG heart lesson. Click below to listen in.

Scriptures to meditate on:

…The little foxes, that spoil the vines… (Song of Solomon 2:15).

The heart is deceitful¬†above all things, and desperately wicked–who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9).¬†

…Man looks on the outer appearance, but God looks on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7).¬†

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit  and of the joints and marrow , and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord, you shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve Christ the Lord (Colossians 4:23). 

So, BCU Fam, what’s your reaction to the podcast? What about the quote, “When you go to do something, when you do it, be sure to do it and NOT look for something in return?” What else resonated with you? ¬†Please scroll on down to the comments section and let’s 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 iTunes/Apple podcasts!

Thank you SO much for tuning in and Lord will, until the next time we are together, may God bless you, keep you, make His face to shine upon you and give you peace, as you #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

#RealTalk-When you have NO strength to complete your assignment..

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!

I trust our¬†Nehemiah study has been a blessing and a call to action for you–it has been for me! ¬†Last time, we started digging into Nehemiah chapter 4, and left off with where Sanballat and his posse were threatening the work on the wall, but Nehemiah set up a watch and prayed, so the work would go on. ¬†Now, though, Nehemiah faces more challenges with his own work crew! Let’s dig right in!

v10And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.

What the Lord pointed out to me here was Judah saying “the strength of THE bearers of burdens”. Notice in chapter 3, Nehemiah took the time to NAME the individual builders, the priests,¬†merchants, Tekoites, sons of so-and-so. ¬†Here it¬†says THE bearers of¬†burdens--in other words,¬†the¬†strength of ALL the workers, the priests, merchants, Tekoites, sons of so-and-so was¬†decayed. ¬†Initially, everyone was willing to work even in the midst of the earlier threats. Now for some reason, the crew started to notice all the work ahead of them and things started to look impossible. Can you relate to that?

Anytime you are into an assignment, especially the middle and end, you start to get tired.
The result? You are NOW fearful, cowering, stressed, thinking this is too much of a trial, too much work, too dangerous, too difficult, you play the song over and over (notice how the enemy gave you the track free of charge) and you start think it, say it, act it and SPREAD it! So now ALL the workers are infected with this poison called fear!

It happens all the time! In the news, the police force, the Zika virus, the shortage of food, the contamination of chicken parts, the plastic we consume in a burger, the pesticides you get, is it organic or not? What is this President going to do? Will I lose my job? What if? Fear will have you DO NOTHING, GAIN NOTHING, and GET NOTHING! God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a power, love, power and a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7). GLORY to God!

Back to Nehemiah–on top of these threats, bluffs, ridicule and tiredness, here comes another attack!

v11And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.

They learned the enemy is planning a¬†sneak¬†attack to wipe them out–and THEN the wall will cease. Obviously the enemy was VERY threatened by what was going on,¬†otherwise, he¬†wouldn’t be plotting so hard. Did you catch that BCU Family?

v 12And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, from all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.

Now the Jews who neighbored by the wall project heard what the adversaries were planning, and told Nehemiah and the crew all about it. At first, I thought about them being lazy and not helping, BUT God had a purpose for them being in place to report back to Nehemiah. This teaches us that sometimes God has people on the wall to watch and warn.

Think about the assignments God has called you to. What have we abandoned because we felt weary? Fearful? It was too much work? Who threatened you? Ridiculed you? Told you so and so was out to stop you? Why did you let it stop you? While threats and ridicule is real and HURTS, it does not negate is from staying on the wall. God gave us the assignment and we must complete it with His help!

We may need to come down and get healed up,¬†but the work should not cease. John 9:4 says: I must works the works of Him that sent me while it is day. The night comes when no man can¬†work. Get your work done NOW¬†while it is day and you are able. Once our night comes (death) we cease from working and we want to be sure we are caught up with the Lord in the rapture–or if we die ahead of that, we hear well done, thou good and faithful servant. We can’t walk off the job now, Family!!! ¬†Now, let‚Äôs take a look at what Nehemiah did about the workers concerns.

v13Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

Notice how he took¬†their¬†concerns¬†seriously and¬†acted on them. He¬†didn‚Äôt¬†tell them, “oh just trust God and keep working!” He set up a WATCH. He¬†organized them with weapons and then was able to speak encouraging words to¬†their¬†hearts.

v14And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

He reminded them of God’s word, as well as who they were fighting for. Notice how Nehemiah’s faith was backed up by works. Faith without works is DEAD (James 2:17).

Is what we have worth fighting for? Is what God gave us, put in our hearts to do, the task, the assignment, the talent, the gift, the marriage HE ordained, the relationship HE blessed you with, the family member, the friend, even the STRANGER you are witnessing to worth fighting/staying on the wall/staying on duty for?  YES!!!!!

v15And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.

Nehemiah’s crew kept working and the enemy stopped. Sanballat and his team KNEW they were defeated. The enemy KNOWS he is defeated and we do as well. It’s a fixed fight, BCU Fam! We are not to just lay down and give the enemy the victory claiming he stole it! We watch and pray (Nehemiah 4:9), we fight in the¬†spirit RATHER than the flesh and we stay in our full armour (Ephesians 6:10-18).

We ALL get tired in the battle, myself included! In addition to the above Scriptures to encourages us, we can also wait on the Lord to renew our strength, so that we will mount of with wings of an eagle, run and not be weary, and walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).  Amen? Amen!

Well, BCU family we have to get ready to wrap things up, but Nehemiah has plenty more challenges for us to explore and apply to our lives in the remainder of chapter 4, so please stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, there are additional¬†podcasts for you to enjoy–you are welcome to peruse the BlenCouragesU.com site 24-7! ¬†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.

Before you go, please comment below and tell us what are your favorite Scriptures to encourage you?

Until we are together again,  thank you for stopping by and may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you! #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

 

BCU

 

 

Series: Lessons from Ruth chapter 2

Hi BCU Family!

Even if you saw the Periscope broadcast, review is a good thing! Please enjoy the podcast by clicking on the logo below or you can read through the written account at your leisure. We trust either format will be a blessing to you!

Okay, last time when we left off in Ruth  chapter 1, Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi had safely journeyed back to Bethlehem, just in time for the spring barley harvest.

2:1-3 Chapter 2 opens and unbeknownst to Naomi, ¬†her late husband, Elimelich had a kinsman or relative named Boaz (meaning in him is strength) who wasn’t just an ordinary man, he was a MIGHTY man of wealth (we’ll get back to that).

Background: Rather than expect Naomi to provide, Ruth asked ¬†for and received “permission” from Naomi ¬†to go out and work in the fields gleaning. Let’s stop right here. Bethlehem had a very moderate climate and was full of lush fields, olive groves and farms, so there was plenty of work to be had at harvest time for¬†reapers and gleaners.

Reapers were paid to cut down and bundle the wheat and barley stalks, but to leave the corners of the fields untouched and to NOT go back and pick up any harvest (olives, grain, etc.) that was missed. The Lord commanded so in ¬†Leviticus 19:9-10 and ¬†Deuteronomy 24:19-22 that the leftover grains and such were for the poor, stranger, fatherless and the widow–in other words the gleaners. In addition to helping the gleaners provide food for themselves, ¬†God promised to bless the work of the harvesters hands, and this also served as a reminder of the Israelites when they were ¬†bondsmen in Egypt–they were unable to plant and harvest at will and were now free to do so.

So spiritual gut check–are we leaving anything behind for the “gleaners?” In other words, how are we being a blessing to someone (as God leads us) who cannot bless us back? Remember then YOU were enslaved to sin, the creditors, a stronghold and God set you free?! GLORRAYYYY! Everyone has a little something they can give, even with the smallest salary. ¬†Maybe you are having a hard time financially or on a limited income…can you offer to babysit, sit with someone, cook a meal, buy a coffee, make a call to encourage someone, ¬†visit, buy/make a greeting card that says “I was thinking about/praying for you?” God can bless us with creative ways to share our harvest!

2:4-6. ¬†Ruth’s initiative landed her in the field belonging to Boaz– And while I’m sure he had substance, notice how he greeted his staff “the Lord be with you!”and they answer back “the Lord bless you.” This was a godly and well-respected man and that kind of character is worth MUCH¬†more than money (that wealth mentioned in verse 1). Trust me, I have been close to¬†people with money and the dispositions was “bowling shoe ugly” as my brother would say. Money comes and goes, but how you conduct yourself tells who you are. Proverbs 22:1 says “a good name is rather to be chosen that great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold”.

2:6-9. Getting back to Ruth, the¬†Word says her hap (or destiny) was to glean in Boaz’s field. He noticed this foreign woman and after some inquiry found out ¬†who Ruth was, how she asked to glean AND the fact had been gleaning all day–just resting a little. In turn, Boaz approached Ruth and instructed her to 1) stay in his field 2) go with his maidens 3) the young men would not bother her AND 4) they would get her water when she was thirsty. ¬†Closer look time–this speaks to Boaz’s character once again.

Single ladies, take note–marrieds, please stay with me or relate this to a friend or your dating children. ¬†First, BOAZ went to seek out Ruth not the other way around. Nor was Ruth posing and cheesing by the well—acting all ” 7-11 Big Gulp thirsty” waiting to be noticed and rescued from gleaning. She was BUSY and godly!!! Men notice BUSY, godly, fulfilled ¬†women. They notice other types, too but for reasons we need to cover in another study. ūüôā

Next, recall that Ruth is new in town, and a widow in this land and could very easily been taken advantage of (remember that from our first study–the widows were not always treated fairly). Boaz got in front of any potential foolishness by giving Ruth and his young men specific instructions that were followed without question. A godly man (single or married) will protect, rather than take advantage of your condition, manipulate or guilt you into doing something wrong, or just to fleece you.

I remember visiting a friend in Chicago a few ¬†years back, and when we left church it had snowed a bit. One of the deacons (around my age) cleared off my rental car without blinking ¬†an eye. Another time, as a group of us were leaving a venue, the deacons (again, these were not 80 year old men), happily made sure we got to our cars safely rather than just driving off. And there was NONE¬†of this “well, since I did…you should” or “when can I expect a little payment in the special room later?” This was IN them and it came out. Boaz characteristics in full effect.

Conversely, I was talking with a young lady who had a boyfriend she “loved” but spoke roughly to her, was physical with her, cheated regularly and manipulated¬†her into buying him an Xbox (whatever that is, I still rock my Wii) with the little money she did have. What was in him came out, stayed out and needs to be cast out!!!! Where is the Boaz in THAT situation? What’s attractive or wonderful about that?! ¬†I ask you single ladies–are you dealing with a Bozo? Clear the decks and wait on BOAZ! He’s out there!!!!

2:10-12. Ok, back to our study! Ruth, clearly overwhelmed at Boaz’s friendliness and favor, tells her he knows all about how Ruth took care of Naomi in Moab, ¬†and since, had left her own family and homeland to come into this strange land. Then he said “the Lord recompense ¬†for your work and a full reward be given unto you from God under whose wings you have come to trust.”¬†This hearkens back to when Ruth took on Naomi’s one true God as her God–you can NEVER go wrong choosing Christ!

Also BCU family, know whatever you are doing from your heart is not going unnoticed, especially from God. Remember, He is NOT unrighteous to forget your labour of love which you have showed toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister (Hebrews 6:10).

2:11-14. Getting back to Ruth, as if the blessings from Boaz were not enough, Boaz’s favor continues as he INVITES¬†her to eat. Singles women, ¬†Boaz did not ask Ruth for her gleaned grain, to go “half” or for anything in return. ¬†On top of that, Boaz served Ruth (he reached her the parched corn verse 14 ) as she ate until she got full ¬†with the reapers—the hired folks! How many other ¬†gleaners are recorded in the Ruth’s story as sitting at the owners table? None!

Also, what I love about Ruth in verse 15, was rather than hang around and make small talk, or otherwise take advantage of Boaz’s kindness, after dinner, she went right back into the field to work until evening. ¬†Ruth’s laser focus, intent and ¬†godly character stayed consistent–even with the new-found favor of Boaz. Ladies, let us never exploit anything a man does out of his heart for us. ¬†Nor should we get all silly and unfocused–ask the Lord to help you stay on task!

2:15-22. With Boaz’s instruction to his staff to ¬†purposely drop grain for Ruth and not to rebuke her, ¬†she brought about a bushel of grain–roughly about 64 pints or ¬†50-odd pounds home to Naomi (another unselfish act–Ruth shared her grain), which prompted Naomi to ask, “where did you glean and work?” Once Ruth told her it was Boaz, Naomi went into a praise saying, “blessed be he of the Lord who was not left off His kindness to the living and to the dead. Boaz is near kin to us, one of our next kinsmen”. One of the most memorable moments from out last study was a grieving and broken Naomi who is now rejoicing in God–He knows just how to turn our mourning into dancing.

The chapter wraps up where Ruth tells Naomi of Boaz’s kind protection, ¬†their “verbal contract” for Ruth¬†to glean till the end of harvest, and how Ruth stayed with her mother-in law.¬†These women came to Bethlehem poor and unsure, and in one chapter were blessed and less stressed. ¬†Amen!!! ¬†Let’s see what our notes to self are:

  1. God blessed Ruth with a selfless heart, ambition, faith and the mind to be guided by the voice of the Lord to “hap” in the field Boaz owned. ¬†That would not have happened if she and Naomi sat around waiting. ¬†Faith without works is dead (James 2:20).
  2. Boaz may have been a man of wealth, but that extended far beyond money. His generous, selfless acts went above the law God provided. He protected and took care ¬†of ¬†Ruth without anything in return and taught his men to do the same thing. This type of character is what all men should exhibit. Examine any “Bozo’s” singles, you may be entertaining and ask God for a discerning heart and to use “clown repellant.”
  3. Likewise, Ruth remained humble, hardworking and a godly example of how a woman should behave #NotThirsty! ¬†She never counter-offered herself for any of Boaz’s favor (thereby protecting him), rather she thanked him and went back to what she purposed in her heart to do. Single men, if the women are offering up things, ¬†unless the Lord told you He has plans to turn things around, run as fast as your legs can carry you! That’s a Proverbs 5 woman–you’re looking for the Proverbs 31 woman!
  4. Whether you get recognized by people or not, God takes note of your work. Paul said, whatever we do, do it heartily and to God and not unto men, because we serve God and He is the rewarder (Colossians 3:23-24). Men may award, but God rewards.

I trust you were as blessed and challenged (whew!) by this word brought to you by God as I am. I thank God for His awesome illumination and now the application of what He said. We have to be doers of the Word, amen? Amen! God bless you for tuning in and until next time we meet #StayOnTheWall.

 

Love,

BCU