Ability, responsibility, and the baseball cap.

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 post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

Currently, it’s summertime and for many of us that means a family vacation. In prep for the trip to the southern part of the country, I brought “Peanut”, aged 7, a baseball cap. While it looked cute, the main purpose was to help protect his little head from the sun from the hot summer sun. During various points of the trip, I found myself asking and reminding this little one about wearing and keeping up with that hat.

Fast forward to today where it’s raining and will be raining pretty hard all day. In an unsuccessful attempt to dodge raindrops, Peanut gets in the car and I ask:

“Where is your hat?”

Peanut: (quietly) “I don’t know”.

Me: “Hmm..do you know where your fidget spinner is?”

Peanut: “Yes!”

Me: “What’s my point of asking you that?”

Peanut: “That I don’t know where the IMPORTANT things are–but I know where the  not so important things are.

Now I admit his response was pretty impressive for a second-grader. It also sparked a couple of thoughts.

Many of you all listening and reading may be thinking, “well he’s ONLY seven”. “Kids lose things all the time.” “Boys are like that”. “Just get over it..it’s ONLY a cap. Go buy him another hat, Blen.” And I hear these points loud and clear–no doubt. Let’s look at this from a natural and spiritual perspective.
We all have (well, we all should have) a level of responsibility for certain things. While I would not expect an 18 month old child to drive a car, he can pick up a toy and put it back in the toy box upon request. When my daughter was around little–maybe around 16-18 months or so, when I asked her to get me a diaper to change her, she understood me enough to do just that. It was also a sign that she could start to potty train.  And thank God,  she was FULLY trained before age two with minimal accidents.

My point here is that many times, (I know there are exceptions),  children are capable of much more that we think they are. And as parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, godparents–whatever your role is in a child’s life, we should be assigning responsibility to our children according to their ability.  We also need to teach (and consistently reinforce) the consequences to evading our duties as well.  This, in part helps them to grow up as mature, responsible adults– in most cases.  So, now that we’ve looked at this naturally, let’s look at this spiritually.

When someone gives us something, asks us to take care of something, gifts us with something that has a benefit, we have a responsibility with the help of the Lord, to take care of that something. Even if it seems insignificant or not super important at the time, it was IMPORTANT enough to the giver to entrust us with it, so it should be just as important to us to keep and take care of it.

This takes me to one of my favorite stories, the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30.  It’s real, relatable and encourages me to take care of what God gives–not just material-wise, but even the spiritual gifts and talents as well. I plan to give a synopsis here, but please take some time to read the parable in it’s entirety, BCU Fam—it will bless you!

There was a lord that had servants who had to go away for awhile and called in his servants to give them talents to take care of.

The lord gave one servant five talents, another two talents and another one talent. Note he gave out the talents according to their ABILITY, so the master knew what each one was capable of (verse 15).

After a period of time, the lord  returns to see how the servants did with the tasks they were entrusted with.  The servant that received the five talents gained five more and the one who received two gained two more, much to the delight of their lord who told them, “well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many. Enter into the joy of the Lord.

When it came time for the servant with the one talent to reconcile, here’s what happened:

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 

25And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 
27So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
 28Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 
30And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Notice, BCU Fam that the servant was called wicked and lazy because he did NOTHING with his talent. Yes, he knew where it was, but because of his inaction, it was a good as lost, because it was TAKEN away–never to be recovered again. And on top of that–he was cast out where there was  sorrow, sadness, crying and regret. What a tragic ending to this servant’s story and his life!

I say all that, BCU Fam to say this: We should NEVER casually treat what God has given us to do. Some talents, gifts and opportunities that we are assigned, we may NOT be able to “just go get another one”.  We do not always get a second chance. We cannot say, “I was too young” because as our Creator knows exactly what we are capable of—He knows our ability, not age!!! And it is our RESPONSIBILITY with God’s grace and help to do what we can to gain more talents–win souls to the kingdom, excel in the ministry (ushering, praise and worship, cleaning the church, taking care of your family, being a witness on your job, preaching, teaching), what ever God has given! We are to flourish and not to hide or do nothing with our God-given assignment.

I am prayerful this post was a blessing, confirmation and a nudge to dig up your talent(s) and put them to work for our amazing God. I admit that it is easier and more comfortable to side-step our duties now, but inevitably we will have to give an account to God for every thing He’s given us to steward over and I want Him to say, “well done, thou good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over a few things and I will make you ruler over many. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord!” That’s something to get excited about, Amen? Amen!

So, what do you want the Lord to say to you? How do you stay focused on your talents? Do you struggle with that at all? Let’s talk more in the comments section below!

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

 

Speech Therapy | Forgiveness | Part 3 (final)

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

 

 

So we talked offenders, offended and the PROPER format to take air a grievance. To the person directly >two or three witnesses>>and then the church. In that order and ONLY progress to the next level if the situation is not resolved from the previous step. We also learned that many have WRONGLY divided the Word about touching and agreeing and where two or three gathered. Jesus was speaking in terms of the proceedings of how the church would deal with the offender/offended and that as the church was carrying the resolution out according to God’s Word, whatever was binding or loosed on Earth was done in Heaven—and of course He was in the midst of these proceedings. NOW we get to Peter’s question.

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Notice he offered up a number “7” which does have significance of completeness or finality. Jesus countered with “seventy times seven”. In addition to the number 7, the number “70” signifies ‘perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance’ (Bullinger, 1921, p.235). Therefore, 490, being the product of 70 x 7, signifies spiritual perfection of perfect order and completeness.

The interesting thing about this verse is that Jesus is not saying that we should forgive 490 times or simply a lot of times for that matter–we need to forgive to the point of spiritual perfection! We are required to forgive to the point were we no longer meditate on the hurt or have any anger or animosity towards the person who sinned against us. If you still talk about it with passion like it happened yesterday? You have a feeling of dread, remorse, bitterness, anger, hatred, vengeance, snide comments, retreat, murmuring, complaining to others—you have NOT forgiven the party.

Lest we think we have the all clear in this area, it’s a good idea to really examine our hearts, ask God to check your heart and to be open to the Word of God on the subject. In the last season of #SpeechTherapy (season 1),  we mentioned just like there are many containers of forgotten, old, ignored and overlooked things in our refrigerators sometimes, there are MANY things in the heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful above ALL things and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Matthew 15:18-20(a) says, But those things which proceed OUT of the mouth comes from the HEART and they DEFILE a man, for out the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. How you deal with forgiving tells about your hear‭t and relationship with God. Let’s go a little further into our text. 

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
I liken this to an expense account of sorts. This servant likely had some buying/spending power. Obviously he misappropriated funds in this story and now the accounts were being reconciled.

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

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Ten thousand talents was about 15 times an average person’s salary and would have taken 150,000 years to repay. The verse said the servant, wife, children and all that he had needed to be sold and payment made. That was no where NEAR enough to start the repayment process.

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

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

A couple of things here:

The servant could have NEVER repaid the king. Mercifully, the king heard the servants cry, he loosed (we just talked about that loosed on earth/loosed in heaven) and told him he was free. The King took the loss and kept the servant. No talking about it, bringing it back up, side eyes in the kingdom, he loosed or completely forgave him.

Just like us, it would take 150,000 lifetimes to repay God for all the debt I ran up in sin! Every thought, word, action, act of disobedience, sins of omission, commission—in my B.C. (before Christ) and A.C. (after Christ) life—there is NO way I could repay—never! So just like that king, our King took the loss…our sins, and bore them on the cross, so we could be free and have eternal life. That thought alone is enough to give God praise for and something we should keep in mind when dealing with others.

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

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

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

Notice, this servant did not run into the friend, this guy goes to LOOK for his friend. On top of that he got physical by laying hands on– getting him by the throat AND demanded his money. The friend begged for mercy (just like the servant begged the king) and unlike the king, servant threw the fellow servant in JAIL!!

Let’s be clear, 100 pence was about 4 months salary, so this was no small amount of money, and he felt wronged. Let’s stop there. Feeling angry, hurt, betrayed, disappointed or let down is NOT WRONG. Apparently God gave us these emotions for various reasons—it’s how we react or control them that God is concerned with, as we strive to be more like Him AND be a witness to others. Offenses will come AND with various emotions with the offenses which aren’t always the most stable or reliable. So in these times, do we go with how we feel–we go with what the Word of God says. Ephesians 4:26 says to be angry and not sin…don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. In other words, we should not HOLD on to the offense for a long period of time because that’s how MANY things come out of our heart/mouths and actions or inaction that are NOT of God.

We won’t go to the the person
We will talk about them.
We will run away.
We won’t speak.
We will ignore.
We will murmur against the person.
We will tell others over and over how wronged we were.
We will sit down on God.
We will shut God out of speaking to us through prayer (which should be a two way conversation), the taught or preached word (I hope SHE heard that, or a exree-LOUD amen) and your Bible reading, Sometimes God has to “get you by the lapels” to let you know He’s talking to you! (God had been talking to me about a jive date I was about to go on—it took me TWO days to catch on), or allow a trial or series of situations that you finally have to come to Him and ask why. Lack of forgiveness hardens our heart to the point where we can’t hear God clearly. Sure, He may be blessing and keeping you—that’s His mercy and grace. While that mercy endures forever—it may not be extended to you forever—especially if we’ve been ignoring His voice.

Next, and obviously servant forgot he just was loosed from a HUGE debt. Do we forget what Christ did for us? And how He keeps doing it over and over? Even when we offend? Is our compassion limited, biased, divided? How many people have we her captive in our hearts, stopped speaking to, avoided, cursed in our minds because they trespassed us, when WE SIN! I didn’t say PRACTICE sinning, and maybe you didn’t did not against them, but we do sin. Yes, you do!
I John 1:8 says, “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We may not be PRACTICING sin, but many of the things we mediate on, say (even if it’s an oops, it was still wrong), do, or even NOT do (I’m not apologizing, I’m not going to help her (when God told you to), I’m not going to tell the clerk he gave me an extra $10 change..that was a blessing—NO that was a TEST!) Sin. Respect of persons anyone? My brother brought up how pop singers of certain ethinicies are “sent to heaven” (that’s a different teaching)  on Facebook by “Christians” while other ethnicities are not talked about at all. That’s wrong. We can go round and round, but the deal is we can accumulate a massive debt of sin while we are here by not forgiving the people who wronged us. It’s not easy and our old nature won’t want to, but we HAVE to. If we love people like Jesus wants us to, we have to forgive.

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

The servant was a poor witness of the mercy extended to him. How many Christians behave this way in front of families, friends and strangers while professions Christ?

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

Isn’t it amazing that we are great defense lawyers for ourselves and great prosecutors for others?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So this servants lack of judgment, mercy, compassion and forgiveness got him a one-way ticket to life in torment until all was paid up. 150,000 years worth.

Which of the servant’s attitudes do we most have? Forgiven and forgotten? Is that situation worth going to be delivered to the tormentors? Is that church member (and that may just be who they are—a church member is SEPARATE from a Holy spirit-filled Body of Christ member) neutralizing your relationship with Christ and taking you off your assignment. Do you NOT recall YOU are the CALLED according to HIS purpose? If you slack on your post in The Body of Christ, you can negatively impact the rest of The Body. Or those watching you. Moreover, if we stay stuck in that place of unforgiving, verse 35 says:

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
People who have not forgiven are typically partial, bitter, wrathful, resentful, quarrelsome, (even in their minds) speak evil and have malice (see Ephesians 4:31). How does God allow any one practicing those characteristics to enter into the kingdom of Heaven? Do we consider eternity enough? Do we realize that we live this life to live again? Forever? Is what happens, albeit not nice, in this life worth torment, regret, and sorrow forever?

What if God was this unmerciful to us? Delivered us to the tormentor (enemy) for the 150,000 lifetimes worth? Yes He understands, but He doesn’t excuse. The Word is clear. When we don’t forgive, we are being disobedient and that’s a sin. Practicing sinners do not  make it into the Kingdom of Heaven. No situation is worth that.

So BCU family, with God’s help, let us ask the Lord to search our hearts to remove any traces or residue of unforgiveness toward anyone. Ask Him to check our motives or non-motives. Are we operating in our gifts and talents? Are we witnessing? How is our relationship/prayer life? How quick are we to rail on someone and forgive someone else. How many times do we say, “well you know I did not mean it”, or “I’m human” as a defense to offending, but we hold others captive because they “know better” or they should.

I pray this word blessed you and more that, brings you to a place in putting the Word in action–I know it did for ME! Whew!!! God bless you for tuning in, telling a friend, sharing commenting and subscribing–we at BlenCouragesU.com really appreciate you! Until the next time we’re together, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

Blen

 

Singles chalkboard: Recognizing “The set-up!”

Hey BCU Family!

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Love,

BCU