Think it not strange…

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!

You know, as a child, young adult, saved older young adult :-), you have a certain “expectation” of how things will go in your life. While our awesome God does bless us to have our heart’s desires according to His will, He also brings us trials that can throw you for a LOOP. Sickness, job changes, loss of loved ones, relational changes, financial challenges, taking care of loved ones—the list goes on. At some point,  we may experience one or more of these areas and cry out to God wondering why He has “forsaken us”.

I Peter 4:12-13 reminds us not to think it strange when the fiery trial comes to prove/test or try you, rather to rejoice in that we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings and when His glory is revealed, we will be glad and with EXCEEDING joy.

Now, I will be FIRST to admit that when these “fires” come (and I have had many over the last few months), I do not exactly embrace them! In one instance, I distinctly recall crying, snotting, calling on the Lord, and telling anyone who would listen what I was going through—hopeful someone would have a way to “remove the bitter cup” from me. At one point, Jesus FINALLY got my attention and let me know I had to rely on HIM and that He anointed me for the task.  My job was to pour out my heart before Him and trust that He knew what He was doing. Additionally, The Lord let me know that trusting means not stressing internally either.

We sometimes hide our stress behind big smiles and  a hearty “Praise The Lord”, when inwardly our minds are going over the situation constantly and to a point where you can be consumed and in extreme cases, stress symptoms can manifest themselves physically. Rather than thinking about the trial and how difficult it is, the Word of God has an answer for us. “Whatever is true, just, honest, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy–those are the things we think [or meditate] on (Philippians 4:8).  Not one Scripture commands us to worry or stress, so obviously, that comes from the enemy and needs immediate rebuking. It is not easy, yet, bringing your thoughts under subjection is a huge part of the trial process–it really helps you with  getting and maintaining your praise and the victory during your test.

My life lesson here? God knows and sees all. Yes, I know you know that, but think of it this way– because God knew us before we were born and has our lives in His control, He is very aware of what is happening to us. He does care and if the fire was not needful, He would not allow us to go through it. The proving or tests are a reminder to continue praising, praying, fasting and trusting God from day one of the trial until you pass the test. Just like any test or challenge we take in our natural lives (for school, work, etc.), we know it may be difficult, but we endure to the end for the reward/satisfaction of accomplishment. It’s the same thing spiritually as well–we endure for to the end for the reward that God has for us–whatever that my be.  You don’t have to take my word for it–take The Word of God! Ruth and Naomi are EXCELLENT examples of holding on in the difficult times and receiving a blessing in the end.

Listen, trials are HARD!!!! NO one likes to suffer, myself included– it is part of life and especially for those who walk with Christ. So while there is no way to avoid challenges, with the help and grace of our God, continue praying, standing on God’s word and wait it out till the end.

They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings as eagles

They shall run and not be weary

They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31).

Hold on, BCU Family…whatever God is teaching or blessing you with… is worth the wait.

How are you hanging in through what you’re going through? 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

Overcoming people approval! Lessons from Nehemiah (Part 2)

Hey there BCU Family!

As usual, you have two options for this post! Listen in by clicking the icon, read through the text or both! Whatever you choose, we pray God’s word blesses you!

So we are back with another study on one of my favorite books–Nehemiah! What I love about Nehemiah was his fortitude and steadfastness in doing the work of the Lord in the face of adversity. Last time we were together, we looked at Nehemiah chapter 1 to get our background story and basics on Nehemiah. Let’s continue talking about how we can overcome people approval/disapproval starting on Nehemiah chapter 2.

v1)And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. (This was about a 4 month period from chapter 1 in the month of Chisleu and the month of Nisan).

v2Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,

v3And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

v4Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

BOOM! This was the king—his employer and Nehemiah said he was SORE afraid (emotion). Rather than letting his emotion overtake him, he prayed—this was his time to put God’s plan given to Nehemiah 4 months prior (end of chapter 1–we find out about it later) into action.

v5And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

v6And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

v7Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
v8And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Nehemiah calmly asked for time off and then asked for letters to let him pass through to Judah, a letter for timber to make beams for the gates, walls and the house where he would stay. God touched the king’s heart to give him what we wanted. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, and just like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wants (Proverbs 21:1). Let’s ask God to touch people’s hearts.

v9)Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

Nehemiah did not ask for captains of the army or horseman at all–it was extra. When we do whatever job God gives us as unto Him, and not unto men, because we serve Christ, He rewards us (Colossians 3:23). When we serve the Lord with gladness as Psalm 100 commands,  (yes, even on the job that is trying,  but that we should be thankful to have), He will bless us with extras. Ask me how I know? He has done it for me!

v10When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

While God gave Nehemiah the plan, the enemies came with it. The weapon would be formed—yet not prosper (Isaiah 54:17).  All things would work together for good, to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose— but all the individual things that are happening may not good. My cousin Tanyel once said that the ingredients that go into a cookie, raw oatmeal, eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda a stick of butter—individually are not good. I’m not about to sit down to a good bowl of flour! Yet that flour when added to other ingredients and baked, it makes up a delicious confection. Our fiery trials, temptations, rough patches and valleys are a challenge!! They try your faith!!!! But when we mix all those things up and “bake” them we’re a confection for Jesus!! We have to go through the baking process!!!!!

As we look again at verse 10, notice when these folk HEARD the news, they were grieved.
The Horonites and Ammonites were two of the people groups God had driven from the Promised Land for the Israelites. Sanballat (meaning bramble bush—enemy in secret) Tobiah, (meaning God is good) were regional governors serving under the king of Persia. Generations after Israel had first possessed the Promised Land, some of their old enemies were back, seeking to keep Jerusalem in ruins.

If you were around for our study of Ruth we talked about the Moabites—they were enemies from way back.

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:

Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.

Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee.

Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭23:3-6‬.

Additionally, Judges 3:12-30 says, the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Here are a couple of key verses:

13In alliance with the Ammonites and the Amalekites, he went and defeated Israel; and they took possession of the city of palms.

14So the Israelites served King Eglon of Moab eighteen years.

Why bring this up, you say? Because typically, you don’t have “new enemies.” Oh sure they may come in a different disguise, but under the surface, it’s the same enemy from out in the world. And it’s usually linked to all that’s in the world—the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.(1 John 2:16)

Back in the day did you liked the men/women? Lust of the flesh. Coveted/schemed after nice things in a lustful way? Lust of the eye. Like to show-off new things? Pride of life. Lying to save face? Pride of life. Still upset with Kee-Kee for belittling you in 1972? Pride of life. Know your old enemies and stay alert to fight them in the spirit!

These two men were “exceedingly grieved” [to cause great distress to (someone)]. Some other synonyms are: sadden, upset, distress, pain, hurt, wounded, soured, pained dissatisfied, unhappy, all because they HEARD a man came to see about the children of Israel. Not that the walls were broken down or the people were in danger. They were upset because they HEARD Nehemiah came to take care of things. What spirit is that? Pride of life. Pride says:

Why are you helping them?!
You are not good enough. Why are YOU here?

Why should ANYONE look after them?

I’m not helping them—neither should you.
I don’t want to see them prosper. I don’t want to see them better.

Whatever happened it’s good for them.
Who sent you?

Pride is what goes before destruction. Pride is what kicked the enemy and 1/3 of the angels out of heaven. The spirit of pride works through people in subtle and big ways. For example, awhile back, a mechanic asked me what type of gas I put in my car. I KNEW I was all about riding on the cheap, so I’m putting in 87. I MIGHT have put in 93 once or twice. This was a long time ago, so I don’t recall my exact answer, but it was something like sometimes 91, sometimes 87. Immediately the Lord said “pride of life”—you didn’t want to look “cheap” or bad in front of the guy. Did that make sense? Like how would that help? I cleared it up and repented afterwards, but see how fast that spirit works IF you let it? 2 Thessalonians 2:7 says the mystery of inquity does already work in who lets it. Sure, I had the power to resist the spirit, but I gave in and wasn’t trying or intending to. Just.that.fast. So imagine that spirit working through someone is willfully and a practicing sinner.

Folk will be grieved when the Lord gives YOU an idea and the mind to carry it through. Folk will be soured because you preach/teach the Word. People will be distressed because you have a talent to sing and use it to the glory of God. Someone will be pained because you are striving for perfection. Another will be dissatisfied because the Lord blessed you. It’s NOT the person—those adjectives…grieved, soured, sad, upset, dissatisfied have their roots in PRIDE. It is the spirit of PRIDE we have to pray against and guard our hearts against. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

We are SO busy snarling, growling, avoiding, talking about and looking at the person—or fighting them in the flesh, we FORGET as Holy Ghost filled believers, that we have the power of Jesus on the inside to fight that spirit in the spirit. When you fight in your flesh, you’ll get wounded in your spirit. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go to verse 11.

v11So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.

v12And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.

Nehemiah took a few men with him that he trusted, but he kept quiet about what God told Him. Some of our people addiction/fear is because we TALK TOO much to the WRONG people. Why are we telling people we know that won’t support the work we are called to do and get upset when they don’t embrace it?

In Luke 2 around verse 13, after the birth of Jesus, ANGELS came praising God saying glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men. The shepards were the ones who made it known ABROAD what was said, but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Did God lead you to share it on social media? When you don’t get likes or shares will it bother you? When someone questions you on the inbox, you get upset—talking about, they won’t let me be great! Isn’t greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves (Matthew 18)? Does the servant tell everyone I’m making moves? Watch out because I’m going to… With God’s grace, do what you are called to do without calling everybody.

BCU Family, did The Word of God bless you? Was there a bit of conviction that came along with it, too? I know it did for me, but that is what the Word of God is designed to do, right? Along with blessing us, it corrects and reproves us as well in order for us to be more like Christ. With God’s grace, let’s take what we learned today and start taking the necessary steps (prayer, fasting, accountability partner, etc.), to stop letting people stop us from doing the work God gave us. Amen? Amen.

Lord will, join us next time as we continue to study chapter 2–the enemy is lurking and God blesses Nehemiah to deal with it beautifully, so do not miss it! Thank you SO much for stopping by, Family! May God bless, keep and, make His face to shine upon you–and until we are together again, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

 

 

Series: #SpeechTherapy..it starts in the heart! (part 2)

 

Hey BCU family,

As usual, please enjoy the audio podcast (click on the icon below), the written transcript, or both! In either case, God bless you as you read, hear and apply the Word of God.

We prepped and started heart surgery last time, realizing we may harbor too many old and bad things in the heart/mind, and bad meditations get you in trouble! We saw that with the evil-thought/actioned Haman in Esther 3. We need to understand that many of the adverse thoughts the enemy brings are rooted in lust that is spoken of in I John 2:15-17, followed by some examples.

Do not love the world or anything in the world, if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, comes NOT from the Father, but from the world. The world and the lusts pass away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

  • lust of the eyes (Esau wanted Jacob’s stew and sold his birthright for it in Genesis 25:30-34).
  • lust of the flesh (many of us know all about David & Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:1-4).
  • and pride of life (besides Haman in Esther 3), King Herod who gave a speech, was lauded by the people, and the angel of the Lord smote him for not giving God the glory (Acts 12:21-23).

This is a fixed fight you know, and God wants us to be victorious over our heart meditations and gives us the Word in which to do it. Let’s go back to Romans 12:1  from a previous study. I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. Verse 2 says not to be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing (ongoing) of your mind, that you may test or prove what is that good and acceptable perfect will of God. When we offer up our bodies, that includes the heart and mind. Acceptable means welcomed, well-pleasing and favorable. And we cannot present our bodies properly if the mind/heart isn’t right. Let’s talk about the lust of the eye.

*Since eyes are the windows to the soul, this lust tied to the soul and emotions. For the most part, every lust comes from a desire that is good. There is NOTHING wrong with desiring something—God gives us the desires of our heart when we delight ourselves in Him (Psalm 37:4). We desire to work, have things, work in a ministry, to be married—those are GOOD things. Where we have to be mindful is how the enemy can pervert good desires in your heart with thoughts that are contrary to how God commands us to think speak or act.  When you start to covet, plot, scheme, start working overtime, missing church, saving your tithes and offering money, not paying your bills, all to get “things”, that’s where the lust comes in. Let’s look at 1 Kings 21:1-16.

The story is, Naboth had a vineyard that the king, Ahab wanted (or coveted) BADLY. Naboth refused and Ahab was so upset about it, he would not even eat. Queen Jezebel found out and devised a HEINOUS plot to lie on and have Naboth killed–and then told the king the vineyard was now his to have. Just.like.that. This couple did not care that an innocent man was killed, his family likely very devastated—it did not matter who they needed to step on to get what they wanted, so long as they got it.

Can this apply to us? Perhaps not to this extreme…but let’s think about it from a few angles. For my singles..wanting to get married because you “see” everyone else is in a relationship, so you go out of our way, or rather “out of God’s way” to make it happen. When you get Mr. or Ms. NotRightNow, things go great initially (that’s how the enemy does it), and then he lowers the BOOM and you have a crazoks on your hands!  Let’s ask God to keep us content with what we have, and bless us with “extra” as He sees fit.

I Timothy 6:6-8 says, but godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be content.

Or, think about the times you may have wanted something so badly you missed important date or responsibility just to get it. In my early saved days, I skipped paying a bill to get a pair of shoes. I cannot tell you where those shoes are, what they looked like or where they are today! I can tell you I had a hard time recouping that money to pay my bill. All because of wanting something someone else had/ wanting something SO bad. A covetous heart. A desire gone bad.

Okay, what about the lust of the eye/desire to “play.” The purpose is socializing; taking a break..maybe talking a bit at work, playing Candy crush or a binging on a movie marathon. We all like to relax the mind–and that is a good thing.

What happens when the scales start tipping to the lust of wanting more play than work? This is when chronic slothful/laziness creeps in. A Sunday off here, missing a study there, half-doing what you’ve been called to do, not tending house, not taking care of yourself, burying your talent, not calling a sister, sending a note of encouragement, or maybe witnessing—all because you don’t feel like it, not in the mood, need a break from the people, the chores, etc, or have gotten into the habit of a Lifetime Movie Marathon or the whatever your go-to play routine is. While we all need days to unplug, recharge and refresh, we are accountable for the time God gives us and we have way too much responsibility to practice slothfulness on the regular. With God’s grace, let’s ask for wisdom to know how to spend the time He gives us.

See then that you walk circumspectly not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).

What about the desire to be safe? Keeping/knowing our loved ones are safe? Our jobs are safe, the bridge is safe, etc. We teach at work that feeling safe is a basic need—NOTHING wrong with that desire–in the right place. Where things go too far is when the emotion FEAR comes in. Fear can come on the form of cowardice, worry, panic, having irrational thoughts, making emotional decisions. Let’s not forget the unprofitable servant in Matthew 25 —the one who buried the talent? During accounting time, verse 25 says, the servant told his master he was AFRAID and went to hid his talent in the earth. The master called the servant wicked and slothful–and proceeded to cast him into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

A bit back, a dear friend and sister in Christ got a message in between Sunday School and morning service that a family member had not been heard from since the night before—not answering phones, etc. Notice how the enemy timed this attempt right before service. What I loved was that the sister said something like “God knows where He is and I am not going to worry about it.” We prayed and it turned out he was fine, thank God!! Sister did not let fear take over. Now, I realize that there are scary situations out there—no doubt. We want to ask God to cover, keep and sustain our hearts from fear.

And we know that God has NOT given is a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

What about grief? That’s an innate desire when we lose a loved one or friend. The emotion connected to that is sadness. Perfectly normal. Now hear me good, grieving, sad days, crying spells are normal as we miss a person—birthdays, holidays, special times…

Where the enemy gets heart-busy is when the grief is extended to the point where one cannot function and stay in a state of depression for years at a time. We talked about that in Ruth 1 as Naomi vocalized her grief (after losing her husband and two sons) by telling the folks to call her Mara meaning bitter—because the Lord had dealt bitterly with her. While she went though the grieving process,at some point the Lord blessed her to start adjusting to the “new normal”, and she was used to bring Boaz and Ruth together. If Naomi had stayed grieving, she would not have been functional as to what God called her to do–and look at the result! Boaz and Ruth became great-grandparents to king David and mentioned in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1.

To every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Once again, let’s start paying more attention to your thoughts/ what’s in your heart. Ask God to show you (even if it’s painful), what areas need more attention or a purge. and ask for His help in overcoming them and creating a clean heart Psalm 51:10. Also, step up your gatekeeping of the heart as directed in Proverbs 4:23. Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think on true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy, think on THOSE things. I did not say not to talk to the Lord about what bothers you, we just want to take it there and LEAVE it there. Amen? Amen!

Join us next time as #SpeechTherapy continues with the lust of the flesh–you do not want to miss it! Thank you so much for stopping by/tuning in and until we meet again, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

 

*See http://www.themoorings.org for a nifty chart and examples of lust gone awry!

Series: The called according to His purpose-part 4

Hey BCU family!

As usual, you are welcome to listen to the podcast (by clicking on the icon), read the written transcript, or both, either way, be blessed through listening and obeying the Word of God!

Before we get started, I was thinking, with the things going on today—the foolishness in the news, unholy alliances, calling the wrong right/right wrong, and our own personal trials, we NEED to know the Word of God and to  purpose in our hearts to get and stay grounded (attached to the Foundation, who is Jesus) and rooted (like a tree planted by the water—nourished and strong) by knowing who God says we are so we can STAY upright when the storms of life come and the winds of adversity blow.

In “The called” part 1  and part 2  as we looked at  Romans chapter 8, God says we are:

No  longer condemned
Walkers in the Spirit
Sons/Children of God
We are heirs/joint heirs
We suffer
The called according to His purpose
Predestinated
Justified
Glorified
Loved
More than conquerors
Not separated by the Love of God

Last time, we looked at I Peter 2:9 and covered “a chosen generation”. God calls us CHOSEN! Chosen for the rendering of special service to God.  And that special service included a look at Naomi, who God CHOSE and used to lead Ruth to Him, her new husband, Boaz who subsequently became the great-great-grandparents of King David (Ruth 4:22) and were named in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1.

God also calls up EQUIPPED. We looked at Moses, a palace kid, who killed someone and was a fugitive (Exodus 2)—yet God called him to lead the Israelites out of bondage.

For those who are more background people, God CHOSE you, too! Exodus chapter 1 tells of two midwives Shiprah and Puah, who were instructed by the king to KILL male Israelite babies after they were delivered. The women disobeyed the king’s ordered and were duly rewarded by God. They were the CHOSEN and CALLED according to His purpose. No matter what God calls you to do—in front or behind the scenes, it all IMPORTANT. Not always easy, pleasant,  without tears or hurt sometimes, but nonetheless you are a VITAL role in the Body of Christ!

Referring to our Scripture text from I Peter 2:9, but you are a chosen generation, a royal; priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people who should show forth the praises of Him who brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light, let’s concentrate on the second phrase—because God calls us–a royal priesthood.

This stems back to Exodus 19, after the Israelites left Egypt and were camped in the wilderness. After talking with God, Moses was to tell the people, “you’ve seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I brought you out on eagle’s wings, and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice, in truth and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure into me above ALL people for the earth is mine. And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation (Exodus 19:4-5).

Let’s pause here. This should resonate with us, because did not God bring us out of our bondage to sin?  Did we groan with the heavy burden the hard taskmaster of what our former sinful lives were like? Were we not SLAVES to sin? Entangled? When we were tired of the party, being broken, feeling empty and burdened, we came to the altar, were saved according to Acts 2:38, and God brought us out on eagle’s wings to Himself.  Eagles can carry quite the load, protect their young and have powerful wings that glide swiftly. This demonstrates God strength and power, y’all. He DELIVERED us.  He REDEEMED us. He CHOSE us. HE CALLED us! Let the REDEEMED of the Lord say so! You are CALLED! YOU ARE CHOSEN!

So this kingdom of priests/royal priesthood…now in Exodus 19 and I Peter 2.  Ofttimes when we use this statement, there is a sense of “entitlement” in a natural sense ( for example, this prosperity mentality/we should be sitting on a pile of money,  not having to wait in a line, talking to servers at the restaurant—“no, take that food back, I’m the King’s kid!” etcetera).

While God does take GOOD care of His children, we are not entitled to look down anyone,  getting everything discounted/free treating the non-royalty (non-believers) wrongly or to a earthly mansion and a yacht! This royalty we are called to and chosen for by God comes with responsibility!

One definition we found for royal to a realm in which a king sovereignly rules, which ties into where Christ rules in our hearts. The word priests are now associated with Christians because we have access to God and offer not external but ‘spiritual’ sacrifices. More to come on that.

Let’s look at the function of a priest.

A priest was an official who was set apart from the rest of the community in order to carry out certain duties associated with sacrifice and worship. While priests were mentioned throughout the Old Testament, the  first organization and ordination of priests is laid out in Exodus 28 & 29 where Aaron and his 4 sons were appointed by God to minister to Him in the office of the priesthood.

Exodus 28 also outlines the exact garments the priests should wear, right down to the precious metals, stones, colors, lettering,  the measurements and the material—along with how to wear the breastplate and how a bell should be on the hem when Aaron went out and came in so he would not die. Everything was exact.

Application to us:
1) God’s priests were not just anyone who decided they wanted to be one after studying up on it, or coveting the position. They were CHOSEN by God for a reason—Aaron wore the turban with the engraved plate that bared any iniquity of Israel so their offerings were ACCEPTED by God.  THAT is NOT to be taken lightly.

The priests wore specific garments outlined by God down to the tiniest detail even underclothes (Exodus 28).  My thought is everyone knew who the priests were by what they wore. As a royal priesthood, we should be dressed a certain way— yes, so we are distinct. Now, I’m NOT here to regulate wardrobes back to cotton hosiery and 3 piece suits for the men to an outdoor sporting event in July–we distinguish ourselves with our modesty. Men and women alike.

I saw a video clip where a “Christian” celebrity was rebuked by an audience member for baring her chest area on a magazine cover. The audience member in turn was rebuked by the celebrity’s husband, saying she can wear what she wants in Jesus name. [insert blank stare]. I’m not here to regulate what folks wear, with the grace of God guiding me, I don’t want people having to “guess” if I’m saved or not based on my lack of/apparel. Remember man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart.  Man looks at the outside, because they can’t see your heart.

In addition to that, we can’t just dress up the outside, cause that can look any way we want, but what do the insides look like? The Pharisees were dressed well, but Jesus said they were like white-washed seplechurs or coffins that APPEARED beautiful OUTWARD but inward were full of DEAD MEN’S BONES AND full of all UNCLEANNESS! (Matthew 23:27).  Anything dead on the inside stinks and no one is drawn to that expect flies and vultures who pick off carcasses. YUCK!

Bottom line: Just like the priests, people should know who we are without us saying a word—We have Jesus down on the inside that shows up on the outside. Are we dressed in the Word of God? Is Jesus an inside job?

God calls us DISTINCT!

2)Priests were also called to facilitate the different offerings (sacrifice or gift/Corban, see Mark 7:11)  for the people as a mediator between them and God. You just did not approach God and give Him your offering.  There are five main offerings spelled out in Leviticus (chapters 1-5), that came with very specific instructions that had to be followed a particular way.

The offerer was NOT forced to give an offering, it was something they wanted to do. (Leviticus 1:4 says he shall offer it of his OWN voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle). The offerer gave a perfect animal, prepared the animal or grain offering a particular way AND the priest had to offer up a specified way.  For example, once a bull was killed, the blood had to be sprinkled round about the alter by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation and the animal had to be laid in order on the wood for the fire. (Leviticus 1:11-12).

The priest were even had to offer up sacrifices for themselves for any accidental sin—if the priest sinned, everyone was guilty.

In Leviticus chapter 9, it outlines how the priests needed to offer up sin and burnt offerings to make atonement for themselves and for the people, as the Lord prepared His people to see His glory (Lev. 9:6), and because they did exactly what God said, verses 22-23 records that the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people—where the fire consumed the burnt offering and fat and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. HOW AWESOME!

How this applies to us:

First, we no longer need to offer up any animals for our sins. Jesus said in Hebrews 10:4 that it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins..every priest offering up the same sacrifices daily could never take away sins. Can you imagine how many animals were offered up?!  So Jesus Christ offered His body ONCE to sanctify ALL(Hebrews 10:10). Christ offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOREVER (Hebrew 4:12).

Also, we no longer need a priest as a mediator. Remember the priest was the go between for the people and God offering wise. Jesus did away with that by sacrificing His life as well. Ephesians 2:13 says “but now in Christ Jesus, you who were sometimes far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Also, Ephesians 2:18 says, for through Him, we have access by one Spirit into the Father. Further, we can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain grace and mercy to help in the time of need! (Hebrews 4:16).

God CALLS US to DIRECTLY to Him.

We have to stop here, BCU family.  I am prayerful that this Word empowers, encourages and challenges us all to change to be more like Christ. Stay tuned for “The called” part 5, as we finish up a royal priesthood. Thanks and God bless you for stopping by! Until next time, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love ,

 

BCU

Series: The called according to His purpose! Part 3

 

Hey BCU Family!

Please enjoy the condensed audio podcast (by clicking on the icon below), read through written format or do both! Be encouraged in the Lord!

Last time, talked about being grounded (attached to The Foundation–Jesus) and ROOTED (having deepness) in WHO God says we are, rather than being tossed about with what the world, the adversary, TV, Bubba and dem and anyone else says contrary to Word of God. We explored Romans 8, which reminded us that God says we are:

– No longer condemned
– Walkers in the Spirit
– Sons/Children of God
– Heirs/joint heirs
– We suffer
– The called according to His purpose
– Predestinated
– Justified
– Glorified
– SO Loved
– More than conquerors
– Not separated from the love of God

This gives us a good foundation into who God says we are, so we can withstand the attacks of the adversary without retreating/recoiling every time.

Let’s talk through 1 Peter 2:9. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 

Our focus this week? “but you are a chosen generation….” Let’s look at the word “chosen.”

Short Definition: chosen, elect, choice, select.  Longer definition: chosen out, elect, choice, select, of those chosen out by God for the rendering of special service to Him.

I want to get across to you how precious and special you are to God—this is really NOT to be taken lightly. When we think about what our final destination was and how God “called” and chose us and we responded…we ought to serve the Lord will GLADNESS!!!! Let’s talk about some biblical examples of chosen, so we can continue to be encouraged to #StayOnTheWall.

Going to our study a few weeks ago in the book of Ruth, (you can catch the  initial podcast here ), we HAVE to include Naomi. Yes NAOMI! If we think back to Ruth chapter 1, after Naomi and her daughters-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah lost their husbands, Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem and urged her daughters-in-law to stay in Moab to find rest with their “new” husbands (Ruth 1:9). Orpah went back to “her people and her gods” (v 15), where she would life comfortably, back home with what was familiar.

On the other hand, Ruth saw something in Naomi. Ruth felt compelled to leave the comfort of her country, familiarity of her worship, take on a mother-in-law, exchange certainty for uncertainty, face poverty, possible rejection and assault in a new land…all because Naomi lived in SUCH a way that Ruth WANTED to serve NAOMI’s God (v 16)—who we know is the ONE and ONLY true God! Naomi was CHOSEN to bring this one soul out of the darkness of idol worship and into the marvelous light of ONE God!  Did we not trade what was comfortable to us—the partying, the drunkeness, the ungodly behavior, the sin we became accustomed to, took on uncertainty about what/who we would lose, possible poverty (be it financial or emotional, rejection from friends/family), and even assaults from the enemy— because, thank God for the free will He gave us, we made the decision to give our lives to Christ?! Who was “your Naomi?” Who witnessed to you about the goodness of God?  Thank God for them!!! Glory to our awesome God!

Ahhh, but think about Naomi’s life under the light of Romans 8:28. Marriage, abundance, famine, widowed, daughters-in-law gained, sons lost—an elderly woman with a bleak future. Yet in all that, Ruth was won to God, she got the rest in Boaz (representative of Christ) due to Naomi’s instructions, Naomi gets taken care of, Ruth became great-great grandmother to King David (Ruth 4:22), and is named in the lineage of Christ (Matthew 1:5). AND her story is blessing and encouraging us THOUSANDS of years later! ROMANS 8:28 is in effect!!!! I Peter 2:9 say WE ARE CHOSEN!!! Naomi was CHOSEN!!!! CHOSEN to bring this ONE soul in and much fruit was bared after that! From now on, be mindful of how YOUR life effects others. You never know who will come to Christ because they see the Lord in your actions, decisions, attitude. GOD CALLS YOU CHOSEN!!!!!!! Next up? God called you EQUIPPED!

Moses. I know you all know the story—but let’s look at the backstory for those who feel like you are too “inadequate” to be used by God. Moses was actually supposed to be killed as a baby, due to the wicked Pharoh’s instruction to do so, as the Israelites were starting to outnumber the Egyptians (Exodus 1). Moses had a wise mom who arranged for her infant son to be in a basket down by the river where the Pharaoh’s daughter would happen to be, and of course the palace became Moses’ home (Exodus 2:1-10).

While Moses grew up privileged, he did kill an Egyptian and was a fugitive for years, settling in Midian (v 11-15). Exodus 3 records, while tending sheep in back of Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God, Moses heard the voice of the Lord who CALLED/CHOSE Moses to lead the Israelites OUT of bondage. Moses said:

Exodus 3:11– Who am go to Pharaoh? (Verse 12. Certainly I will be with you. When you bring the people out of Egypt, you will serve God on this same mountain).
What do WE say to God? Who am I to witness? Who am I to use this gift?

Exodus 3:13–Who do I say you are? What do I say when they ask your name? (The God of your fathers sent me and I AM that I AM. I Am sent me. This is my name forever and a memorial to all generations. The people will listen to you, the king won’t let you go, but I will smite them with all my wonders. You will spoil the Egyptians. Exodus 3:14-22).

Who do we tell people God is? How do our actions, words and thoughts line up with what He said? Are we bold enough to tell it? Live it out loud? God called Moses and warned him that the king would not let them go, but God would smite them and the Israelites would get the victory. How many times has God called us to something, a ministry—witnessing, doing something for someone, told us it would be difficult but promised the victory. Did we lean into the promise? or try and get out of it?  Moses goes into another chapter with his excuses.

Exodus 4:1 –They won’t believe me! They will say the Lord did not come to you! (God turned a rod to a serpent and back again, and on top of that made Moses’ hand white with leprosy and immediately healed him. God assured him of they didn’t believe Moses’ voice or the first two signs, they would believe the voice of the second sign where Moses was to take river water, pour it on dry land, and the river water would become blood on the dry land (verses 2-9).

What miracle did God do for you—saved you, kept you before you got saved, after you got saved and messed up, blessed you, delivered you— we all have a testimony to tell!

Exodus 4:10– I am not eloquent, slow of speech and tongue. (v 11 The Lord told Moses to GO! HE made the mouth and he would be IN his mouth and would teach Moses what to say).

God will give us the words to say, if we ask Him. He saw this moment for you to speak coming way back yonder and wants you to do well. Just rely on Him for every Word. If you do, it will be perfect.

Exodus 4:13-Then Moses wanted someone else to go (Verses  14—17). Now God gets angry and consents to Moses’ brother Aaron being the spokesperson to the people, but MOSES still had to work directly with God to teach Aaron what to say and Moses was in charge of the rods and signs). Moses finally relented.

What finally happened? Moses met with Aaron, they gathered the elders of the children of Isreal, Aaron spoke what Moses told him that God said, Moses did the signs and the people believed, bowed their heads and worshipped (Exodus 4:28-31).

Notice, Moses did NOT get out of what God called Him to do. He got some help, but still had to do the “heavy lifting.” We can cry, pout, weep, fast, pray and wail all day, everyday, but when God says I chose YOU to do it, YOU will not get out of it. How do I know? It happened to me. 🙂

God did not save you for a decorative showpiece—He chose YOU to do something—teaching, preaching, ushering, cleaning, taking care of your family, witnessing by attitude on the job whatever He called you to, He chose You for and –will equip you accordingly!

GOD CALLS US EQUIPPED!

BONUS info: And lest you think to yourself, well, Naomi and Moses were famous and God doesn’t call everyone to that. I’d say…you’re right. That still doesn’t get you out of what God called YOU to do. Many of the “supporting cast” in Ruth and Exodus were just as chosen as Naomi and Moses. Let’s check out one such example in Exodus 1.

As briefly mentioned before, prior to Moses coming on the scene, a new king arose over Egypt and was vexed that the (chosen) children of Isreal out numbered and were mightier than the Egyptians. Worried about the Israelites joining with their enemies in a war, the Egyptians decided to enslave and drive them hard–but the Israelites multiplied all the more (Exodus 1:8-14). Then the king gets this wicked idea to speak to the midwives, in particular, Shiprah and Puah. Shiphrah, meant splendid or pleasing, and Puah means to coo and cry out.

So imagine telling these wonderful women to kill ALL the male children upon birth! (verse 16). The Word says BUT the midwives feared {reverenced} God and they did not do what the king told them, rather saved the men children alive (v 17). When the king questioned the women about why his order was disobeyed, they said the babies came too quickly for  the midwives to see what the gender of the baby was, so it sounds like the midwives got there too late to kill the babies.

Verse 20-21 of Exodus 1 says that God dealt well with the midwives, the people multiplied and waxed mighty. Moreover, in reward for their heroic and virtuous behavior, God “established households” for Shiphrah and Puah which probably means that they became the matriarchs of enduring families in Israel.

The Bible does not record ONE death of an Israelite due to the king’s order—the actions of these women allowed THOUSANDS of Israelites to flee from Egypt with their families intact at the appointed time.

Bottom line: Nothing that God called you to do is trivial or unimportant.

Whew!! Once again, the meat is off the bones and now it’s time to apply what we learned.

God calls us to action—in all capacities. If you know what God has for you to do, walk worthy of that vocation with His grace. If you do not, ask God to reveal it to you and walk in it with His help. If we ask, He will answer!

I am prayerful that you all should be excited and renewed to function in the body of Christ on all SIX cylinders. There are days where it will be a challenge, like God told Moses, but just the same, God was with Moses. And He is with us.

God called us CHOSEN!

God CALLS us EQUIPPED!

You are who GOD said you are! Amen? Amen!

God bless you and until next time #StayOnThe Wall.

 

Love,

BCU