Think quick?

Hey there BCU Family!

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! 

So, for the past couple of podcasts we’ve been talking about our thoughts…the runaway imagination and the over-thinker. This week, let’s round out our “unintentional” mind renewal series  (God knew I was going this way..I didn’t) and talk about the “under-thinker” a.k.a. the hasty thinker.

Many of us, including myself have been this individual—at the first sign of seeing or hearing something, we immediately jump to a conclusion AND often speak without having all the “facts in evidence”. Here are some examples:

A co-worker says a cheery  good morning to you. Immediately you think, “what does SHE want? I bet she needs me to cover her break! NOT today!” You blurt out, “Morning. I cannot cover the desk this morning. I have a meeting.” She says sadly, “My break is covered…I was just saying hi”.

Someone at church does not greet you as they normally do. You think to yourself, “They must be upset I wasn’t at the church picnic last Saturday.” Right after that, your mood is altered to the point where you stop speaking to the individual for the next few Sundays. The whole story? At the time the person saw you, they were in deep thought about a serious family decision that needed an immediate answer. They meant no harm, rather they needed prayer and some encouragement.

It’s Saturday evening and a neighbor who can be long-winded starts walking toward your car as soon as you pull into your driveway. You quickly think about an “escape route” and call a family member to start a conversation, smiling and pointing to your phone as you get out. The neighbor walks away and sends a text later the next day, saying he had wanted to attend your church on Sunday–he just needed the address. Maybe next time. Next time never happens.

Sobering, right BCU Family? Hasty thoughts lead to hasty conclusions and hasty actions.  The Bible warns us of doing things in haste–so we really need to get an understanding of what haste is and what God says. Let’s start with the definition of haste from Dictionary.com

swiftness of motion; speed; celerity: 
urgent need of quick action; a hurry or rush.
unnecessarily quick action; thoughtless, rash, or undue speed.

That last definition is exactly where we are going to focus.

Judges 11 tells the story of Jephthah, a mighty warrior who was called for by the Israelites to help them win a war against the Ammonites.

After a failed attempt to avoid the war, Jephthah made a vow to God, saying, “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering” (Judges 11:30–31). Jephthah then defeated the Ammonites and returned home to Mizpah (Judges 11:32–34).

When Jephthah arrived at home, his daughter, an only child, was the first to come out of his house (Judges 11:34). Upon seeing her, Jephthah obviously remembered his vow and tore his clothes in mourning. When he told his daughter of his promise, she accepted the consequences, asking for two months to mourn beforehand (Judges 11:37–38). The Bible records that it actually became a custom for the daughters of Israel to mourn the event each year for four days (Judges 11:39-40).

In this case, Jepthath’s hasty thinking (or not thinking at all) lead to hasty speech that caused his only child trouble for the remainder of her life. How many  have lives/are living of us are living out unfavorable consequences from quick thinking/actions? While we cannot change what we did/said, we can ask God for the grace to walk out our decisions. Additionally, we can avoid repeating the same lesson by applying Jephthah’s story to our lives–and by taking into our hearts some additional scriptures.

 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: But he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly (Proverbs 14:29).

 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him (Proverbs 18:13).

👉🏾Folly means lack of good sense; wicked or someone who lacks the proper fear or respect of God. 

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Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him (Proverbs 29:20).

👉🏾The Pulpit Commentary says the dull, stupid man (kesil) may be instructed and guided and made to listen to reason—but the hasty and ill-advised speaker consults no one, takes no thought before he speaks, nor reflects on the effect of his words; such a man it is almost impossible to reform..

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 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).

👉🏾Not only should we be swift to hear the other person, we should be swift to hear what God is saying to us, before we speak or get angry. Otherwise we end up sinning. 

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2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? (Ecclesiastes 5:2-6).

👉🏾Unlike the world says, promises were NOT made to be broken. God takes our words seriously and expects us to follow through on what we say, even it it hurts us (See Psalm 15:4).   

So what can we do about this rash thinking/mouth? God has an answer!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). If we start by taking a moment to pray, God will supply us with the direction to go in, so He is glorified through what we THINK, SAY and DO! 

You know, BCU Fam, while the basis of salvation is Acts 2:38 (repentance, baptism in Jesus name, and being filled with the Holy Ghost), the Lord calls us to live a holy life which includes  being mindful of our thoughts, words and actions. In fact,we are accountable (we will give an answer) to God for our words and deeds (See Matthew 12:36 and 2 Corinthians 5:10), so while we can, with the help of the Lord, let’s be intentional about applying the Word of God to our thought process, which is the basis of everything. Amen? Amen!

As much as it disappoints me when people jump to conclusions about me, I have been guilty of doing the very same thing if I do not allow the Lord to govern my thoughts! How about you? How do you deal with your quick thinking? Let’s talk more in the comments section below!

Finally, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram! 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

Making “salted promises.”

Hey there BCU Family!

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! 

Last post, I started on a “salt series” that talked about salt production and how vital it is to our natural body and in the body of Christ on a spiritual level. This time around, lets see what the Word is on salt. Here is our anchor scripture.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Matthew 5:13). 

Let’s see why we need to keep salt in us.

One of the earliest mentions of salt is in Leviticus 2. That chapter outlines detailed instructions on how sacrifices had to be prepared to be given to the priests and then offered to God. In verses 4-6, you’ll see God was very specific about the flour, oil—and even if the grain sacrifice was made pan versus a frying pan. (Side note: note how you just couldn’t bring God a sacrifice any old way. That’s important for us to think about when we bring Him our sacrifice of praise, worship, time, money..anything we have for Him, we should give Him our best). Looking at the verses 11-12, God specifies the “seasonings” on the offering–that there should be no leaven or honey, but:

Every offering you shall season with salt. You shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt” (Leviticus 2:13).

Okay, Blen, so what does that mean? I am glad you asked! Salt was just not a food enhancer or monetary trade items like we learned last time, it was also used as a covenant symbol.

History mentions that people used salt as a sign of binding loyalty and a symbol of alliance. In fact, in Europe and parts of the Middle East, salt and bread are offered to guests as a sign of friendship (hence the phrase “we have salt between us”). Additionally, treaties and truces were formalized using salt. Each person would take a lick of salt (similar to shaking hands) to “seal the deal”.

Salt was also used to heal a rift between parties as well. If there was a disagreement between folks, you would invite the person into your home to share a dish of salt. Each of you would lick your finger, dip it in the salt and then eat the salt together. Peculiar as this may sound, when a promise was seasoned with salt, it was so serious, that people would rather die than break that promise! Let’s examine another Scripture on the Covenant of salt.

2 Chronicles 13 tells of a war between Israel (King Jeroboam) and Judah (King Abijah). Jeroboam had the bigger army and was pretty sure he could take Abijah down. King Abijah reminded Jeriboam of God’s promise.

“Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt? Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah”
(2 Chronicles 13:5,12,15 NKJV). Yessss–God ALWAYS keeps His word and Judah triumphed!!!!!!

Are you connecting the dots, Family? Isn’t it wonderful to see how God shows us how He keeps promises with something as simple, yet as powerful as salt? How about the promises we make? 🙊Are they “salt-worthy”? Solomon warns us think before we vow:

Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few
(Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV).

I cannot speak for you all, but if someone promises they will do something and they don’t follow through, I am so disappointed! Because the Lord has made me more mindful about keeping my word, He reminds me to say “with God’s help I will”…or, “if nothing changes, I plan to”, or “Lord will, I’ll…” Keeping that last verse in mind, it really helps us to rely on our perfect God to help us keep our word. Also, if we something does happen, it’s a good idea to circle back to the person quickly and fulfill your promise as soon as possible.

Bottom line: If you can’t season your promise with salt, it really best not to promise at all. I heard a cartoon character say, a broken promise cannot be easily put back together. That’s heavy, right? So keeping that in mind, we should pray before we promise. Amen? Amen.


So what are your thoughts on our topic-du-jour? Did you know about the salt covenant? Do you think about your promises carefully before making them? Please head to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!

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 , and Instagram! 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

 

The cost of emotional decision-making

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

Typically, you have the option of listening to our podcast, reading the notes or both. This week you have a bit of both! Please tune into the podcast recording and refer to the written post for the highlights wrap-up and 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!

So in our *Periscope class, we’ve been talking about procrastination and how that cheats us out of out chronos and karios moments. This brief podcast is on the opposite–making hasty, emotional decisions and the consequences to that. A young man by the name of Jephthah had to walk out his vow. Read the entire chapter of Judges 11 to get the whole story, as you listen to the “podcast on the go” and the commentary afterward. As a point of reference, below are the action and consequence Scriptures from chapter 11.

30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord‘s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.

33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.

36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.

37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.

38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,

40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

Hopefully you caught the last part of the podcast where Jephthah had to keep his word about his daughter. The Scriptures do not go into detail about how he kept his vow, but suffice it to say, the remembrance of his victory would always be bittersweet.

You may be thinking, well I don’t vow anything, especially to God, but in actuality we do. Anything we say we’ll do is not just in front of the individual, but God is also there listening and recording all we utter.

We casually say, “I’ll call you this week,” or ” I’ll get that to you”, “I’ll take care of it”, “I’ll be praying”. And yes, we say these things with a well-intentioned heart, yet we often forget or skip over our promises due to competing priorities. Even when we forget, God remembers–He takes us seriously and He expects us to keep our word. Consider Ecclesiastes 5:3-6.

For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

This is serious business BCU Family! In order to avoid hasty mouth, we really should acknowledge the Lord in all out ways, so He can direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6). As we slow down to listen to what God is telling us and (yield to Him) we can make promises that God can bless us to keep.

So if you’ve made rash, emotional decisions that you have not followed through on (I KNOW I have), let’s repent and ask God’s forgiveness as we walk out Proverbs 3:6 in all our decision-making. Are you as excited as I am about that? Amen!

 Question of the podcast:

What are your thoughts on making emotional decisions?  There’s a comment section here on the BCU site, just waiting for your thoughts so we can continue our conversation! Let’s talk!

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!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

*Join us on Periscope every Thursday night at 8:05pmEST on channel BlenCouragesU.

Series: Lessons from the book of Ruth (1:15-22).

Welcome back BCU family!

Please click on the icon for the podcast, if you’re on the go, otherwise take a few moments to read written account–I am sure you will find it a blessing!

So, as we continue from our last Life Lessons from Ruth (part 1) Orpah left Naomi to go back to her parents house leaving Naomi to fend for herself. On the other side, Ruth’s love was in action as she took on Naomi as family, and even starting serving God!

What an awesome testimony of conversion, as even in a strange land where idols were worshipped (notice Orpah went back to her gods). The Word doesn’t say what Naomi did or said–obviously she impacted Ruth through her love and dedication to God. Are we aware of who is watching how we interact with people? Are we impactful for Christ? Could we be living and loving for Him differently, more consistently?

Something else I noticed in Ruth’s insistence on staying with Naomi was the promise made in verse 17:

Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. The Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts you and I.

WHEW! That is a SERIOUS vow–from woman who was willing to travel from her homeland to a strange land with her mother- in-law. How deep did the love roots go in that relationship? How willing are we to give up the familiar and love and trust God for where He wants to take us?

Let’s look at the thought behind the vow.  In that time especially people relied on your word and the integrity of you keeping it. A good name is rather to be chosen above riches (Proverbs 22:1a). We also talked about vows and promises in a post entitled,  “Five lessons the Lord taught me in 2015 (Part 1).” In short, when you promise something, you need to mean it and follow through with it, with the help of the Lord. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances happen, but we still are accountable for what we said and need to do what we said.

Now the ladies are back in the city who is all abuzz with Naomi’s arrival. Naomi, obviously still grieving, instructs to people to call her Mara (meaning bitter) rather than Naomi (pleasant), because the Almighty had dealt bitterly, left her empty, testified against her and afflicted her (verses 20-21). This is proof that grief is biblical, Family! This woman was HURTING! While Naomi did not curse God, she was direct in how she felt about losing her family. This coupled with the fact she likely felt she was destined to be poverty-stricken among these people who once knew her as a secure, married woman probably exacerbated the mourning. We covered the topic of dealing with people who are “mourning aloud” in the post, “Five lessons the Lord taught me in 2015 (Part 2).” Bottom line: Be directed by the Lord as to what to say.  Or if you should say. Our chapter ends with the ladies landing in Bethlehem, right at the beginning of the barley harvest—a good time to get some work. We’ll look at that next time.

So our take-aways:

  • Obedience is better than sacrifice (I Samuel 5:22).
  • Love is an action item–even more so when it’s not easy (I Corinthians 13).
  • Love provides for others (Ruth 1).
  • Honor your vows (Ecclesiastes 5).
  • Pray for what to say (Isaiah 50:4).

I pray this blesses and challenges you to do continue or start to do better in God–I know I saw myself in much of what is written here, so now that God has showed us better, with His help, we’ll do better. Amen?! Amen!

Lord will, when we come back, we’ll look at Ruth chapter 2 and “glean” some of the awesome lessons God has for us! Thank you and may God bless you so much for stopping by and until the next time we’re together #StayOnTheWall.

 

Love,

 

BCU

Seasoned saints: The importance of salt in your life–Part 2

Hey family!

I trust God blessed you all with a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was fantastic, filling and went by fast! 🙀

Last post, I started on a “salt series” that talked about salt production and how vital it is to our natural body and in the body of Christ on a spiritual level. This time around, lets see what the Word is on salt.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Matthew 5:13).

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One of the earliest mentions of salt is in Leviticus 2. That chapter outlines detailed instructions on how sacrifices had to be prepared to be given to the priests and then offered to God. In verses 4-6, you’ll see God was very specific about the flour, oil—and even if the grain sacrifice was made pan versus a frying pan. (Side note: note how you just couldn’t bring God a sacrifice any ol’ way. That’s important for us to think about when we bring Him our sacrifice of praise, worship, time, money..anything we have for Him). Looking at the verses 11-12, God specifies the “seasonings” on the offering–that there should be no leaven or honey, but:

Every offering you shall season with salt. You shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt” (Leviticus 2:13).

Okay, Blen, so what does that mean? I am glad you asked! Salt was just not a food enhancer or monetary trade items like we learned last time, it was also used as a covenant symbol.

History mentions that people used salt as a sign of binding loyalty and a symbol of alliance. In fact, in Europe and parts of the Middle East, salt and bread are offered to guests as a sign of friendship (hence the phrase “we have salt between us”). Additionally, treaties and truces were formalized using salt. Each person would take a lick of salt (similar to shaking hands) to “seal the deal”.

Salt was also used to heal a rift between parties as well. If there was a disagreement between folks, you would invite the person into your home to share a dish of salt. Each of you would lick your finger, dip it in the salt and then eat the salt together. Peculiar as this may sound, when a promise was seasoned with salt, it was so serious, that people would rather die than break that promise! Let’s examine another Scripture on the Covenant of salt.

2 Chronicles 13 tells of a war between Israel (King Jeroboam) and Judah (King Abijah). Jeroboam had the bigger army and was pretty sure he could take Abijah down. King Abijah reminded Jeriboam of God’s promise.

“Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt? Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah”
(2 Chronicles 13:5,12,15 NKJV). Yessss–God ALWAYS keeps His word and Judah triumphed!!!!!!

Are you connecting the dots, Family? Isn’t it wonderful to see how God shows us how He keeps promises with something as simple, yet as powerful as salt? How about the promises we make? 🙊Are they “salt-worthy”? Solomon warns us think before we vow:

Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few
(Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV).

I cannot speak for you all, but if someone promises they will do something and they don’t follow through, I am so disappointed! Because the Lord has made me more mindful about keeping my word, He reminds me to say “with God’s help I will”…or, “if nothing changes, I plan to”, or “Lord will, I’ll…” Keeping that last verse in mind, it really helps us to rely on our perfect God to help us keep our word. Also, if we something does happen, it’s a good idea to circle back to the person quickly and fulfill your promise as soon as possible.

Bottom line: If you can’t season your promise with salt, it really best not to promise at all. I heard a cartoon character say, a broken promise cannot be easily put back together. How true.

I’ll leave you to meditate on this post, as we prepare for the next salt installment, that will talk more about why we need (more) salt in our natural and spiritual lives.

I pray you all were blessed by what you have read! Thanks and God bless you for stopping by!

Love,

Blen