Read To Grow

The Power of A Weeping Husband

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Although you might wonder for a moment when you see tears flowing down a woman’s face, most of us take it as normal. Yes, it may even make us a little uncomfortable because we know something is wrong, but a weeping woman seems pretty ordinary. It is typical for the simple reason that women in general experience higher levels of emotional stimulation – and are prone to not only talk about what they are thinking and feeling, but also to demonstrate these feelings with their tears, facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language – than men. And it’s alright. Men, by and large, just find it easier to be less expressive, however there a few that defy the odds.

I read the story of Michal, Saul’s daughter who helped David escape when the king sought to kill him (1 Samuel 19:8-12) After his escape, David undergoes a strange kind of amnesic attack and he ‘forgets’ that he has a wife at home. He proceeds to marry two more; Abigail and Ahinoam (1 Samuel 25:39b-43). Meanwhile, Michal his wife, is given to Paltiel as a wife! This new husband adores Michal to the point that when David returns to reclaim her – more like a trophy than a wife (2 Samuel 3:14), Paltiel cannot bear the thought of losing her, so much so that he follows, weeping (2 Samuel 3:16)! Oh, the love he had for her!

Besides Paltiel, we see Jacob weeping out aloud when he saw Rachel (Genesis 29:9-11). This is a man that was overcome by emotion. Talk about love at first sight! Even though these men wept for the women that they loved, their weeping had no lasting power.

Have you ever seen a strong man weeping? There’s one who wept for his bride and the sound of his weeping is still felt today. The power of a weeping husband can be seen through Jesus Christ. He wept with loud cries and tears offering up prayers and supplications (Hebrews 5:7). Why? He looked on man’s wretchedness and had compassion. He was in anguish, yet had mercy for He had to fulfill His purpose on this earth.

On His final trip to Jerusalem soon before His crucifixion, Jesus comes close to the city and weeps over it Luke 19:41-44. Jerusalem is lost and Jesus is in sorrow over the future of this city (Luke 13:34). What was that future? In AD 70, just under four decades from the time He wept over it, over one million of Jerusalem’s inhabitants perished in one of the most ghastly sieges in recorded history, and other thousands sold into servitude that no one would buy any more slaves.

Jesus wept (John 11:35). Many are quick to point out that this is the shortest verse in the Bible, but aren’t able to give you reasons for the Master’s weeping. The death of Lazarus wasn’t the reason Jesus wept. He wept because when He saw the pain felt by the bereaved, this deeply moved and troubled Him in spirit (John 11:33). Weep with those who weep, says Romans 12:15b and so He did.

Our Savior wept (and still weeps) for all the lost souls – He is disturbed by our blinded eyes. For this reason, He suffered in obedience and was made perfect; therefore became the source of eternal salvation to everyone who obeys Him (Hebrews 5:8-9). This is the power of a weeping Husband: He moves us to fall in love with Him. His weeping opens the eyes of our understanding to see that His death on the cross was not in vain. Like Peter, it should drive us to our knees in repentance (Matthew 26:75). This weeping has power to redeem and transform. The weeping Husband is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in Him will live even if he dies (John 11:25). And the bride of Christ said, Amen!

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Health Matters: Caring for Yourself

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Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In the United states the leading cause of death in women and men is heart disease. God teaches us to care for our bodies, that it is a temple. Ironically most of the diseases we face are preventable including heart disease. Obesity continues to plague our communities at an unprecedented rate.

As Christians we tend to focus on our spiritual health. Many of us focus on making sure we find time to pray, to read the Bible,  to build our spiritual lives, but God also asks us to care for our physical bodies.

How can we do this? Eat healthy. It’s always interesting to watch the gyms fill up during the new year. To watch many of us making a new year’s resolution that often has to do with losing a few pounds or giving up sweets. But, because we often are operating in the flesh we tend to let go of these new year’s resolutions within weeks or a month. God doesn’t ask us to loss a few pounds, he doesn’t ask us to stop eating certain foods, instead he asks us to seek him.

If we look at God’s view of us, we will understand just how much he loves us. We will think of the importance of living along enough to fulfill our destiny knowing that this is what God wants. He wants us to be able to see our kids grow, to hold our grandkids, to share memories that supersede one generation. Knowing this means understanding that what we put in our bodies will impact the quality of life we have and the burden we place on our families.

I’ve always loved walking, in fact I used to joke that I must have gotten that love directly from Jesus because he had to walk to save souls, to heal the hurt and care for the poor. I’ve also realized that it only takes a few steps to change your life. Even when I started running I first thought, if only I can make it a few blocks, a few blocks turned to 6, 7. Eventually I started thinking of conquering entire neighborhoods. Walking may seem like the easiest form of exercise but the impact it has on someone that has never exercised is huge. It also reminds me of how simple steps will change the way you view the world.

A person that walks will always see more of God’s world than a person that doesn’t. You will meet other walkers, runners, people that you may be able to help on your Christian walk. You will have time to reflect, but most importantly you will be caring for the temple that God has given you.

We Want to Know:

How are you caring for yourself?

How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?

What are some of the challenges you face when it comes to being healthy?

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Dear God, I Want A Job… Actually Make That A Full-time Job

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A year ago I was searching for a job. I had just left a stressful position where my supervisor ran the office like a military boot camp and was praying for an environment that was less stressful. I was overwhelmed and felt guilty for having left without finding a new position elsewhere. I sometimes felt like I was complaining to God. I tried to start my prayer sessions with thanksgiving, but couldn’t wait to remind God just how much I needed this job. I spent three days sending out resumes far into the night, telling God before clicking the “send” button that I really wanted (and needed) this job.

I remember having a phone interview for a position with a research firm and was excited about how well the phone interview went. Only problem was it was a part-time position and as I walked into the in-person interview my enthusiasm deteriorated. I was offered the position during the in-person interview and accepted it right away. Later on I told people my testimony of finding a job in three days. I thought to myself, God is amazing but I wish this was a full-time position.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

A few days later I realized God had given me exactly what I asked for. All I had asked for was a less stressful position, and well, he had delivered. When I told friends of my new job they were excited, but I reminded them that it was only part-time. I reminded them that I still had worries, student loans, medical bills, and transportation needs to take care of.

“Did you ask God for a full-time position?” A friend asked.

“No, I just needed a job.” I replied.

“When talking to God you should be specific, after all he can only give you what you ask for.” She said.

I never thought of prayer in this profound way. I began to think of the difference between my conversations with friends and my prayer. I thought of all of the general prayers and requests I had made to God. I realized that God had given me so much and yet I had denied myself of so many other blessings.

As I went to work at the research firm I prayed for God’s forgiveness and mercy. I prayed for a new position, a full-time position with benefits. I told God that I wanted to help people; that I wanted to be in a place where I was impacting lives; where my Christian values were honored.

God gave me that position a month later, surrounding me with Christian coworkers and providing me with full benefits.

The more specific my prayer requests, the more I felt connected with God’s purpose for me in my life. Instead of just asking for wisdom, I asked for wisdom in specific areas of my life – finances, career, and education. Instead of asking for a spouse, I asked God to be at the center of my future spouse’s life. I also started to think of the steps needed to fulfill my God given destiny. I realized that God became my number one advisor and fan, that he was now guiding me every step of the way in my decisions instead of my telling him to just give me what I wanted.

I became less anxious, remembering that God wants only the best for me.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I thought of the boldness of those seeking healing in the Bible.

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. Matthew 9:20-22

We Want to Know:

Has your prayer life changed recently?

If so, how has it changed and has it impacted your relationship with God?

leslyicdigitalDear God, I Want A Job… Actually Make That A Full-time Job
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Want to be an Evangelist? Be a Friend

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I used to teach high school students at a charter school for teenagers that had committed crimes and were on probation. In homeroom they were restless, sleepy and uninterested in starting their day with current events. Many of the students straddled in, slouched over on their chairs and went to sleep while others spent most of the period asking for breakfast from their classmates.

I would offer a greeting as I went through the roster checking to see who was in class, absent, or tardy. This went on for weeks with other teachers assuring me that this was the norm for first period. With each passing day I grew more and more frustrated, thinking that my students either had little respect for me, their teacher, or simply did not care about their education. I called parents and guardians, kept students for detention for being disruptive, and made them stay after school for being tardy for my class.

One of my students yelled at me as I was writing him up for detention for having missed half of my class.

“I went to see my Mom!” He screamed as I handed him the slip.

During detention I asked him about his Mom and why he had to go see her before my class. I assumed he was living with his father and that they had separated over the years. The more I spoke to my student the more I realized I had stopped listening to my students. That they had offered me signs of the frustrations they were dealing with at home.

My student was often late to my class on Wednesdays because he would visit his Mom as she stood on the corner of a busy street selling drugs. That it was an ongoing appointment, where he knew where he could find her every week. I wondered about how broken that family was, but more importantly how much he loved his mother even in the midst of her struggles.

I stopped writing detention slips for him, instead adding him to my prayer list. I would ask about his mother, about her treatment for drug abuse. I gave him a list of resources for her just in case she was ready to leave the streets. I allowed my students to have fifteen minutes to eat during homeroom. I offered them food when I could. I realized that I had forgotten the power of empathy.

This is the power if evangelism. I recently began to speak to a homeless man about Christ and all he could mutter was, “Do you have anything to eat?”.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15

Like my students, he had immediate needs that clouded his ability to even listen to my message. As Christians it is easy to focus on God’s commandment to evangelize but we often forget to meet people at their point of need. We often forget to do the work of teaching one to fish, instead treating evangelism like a sales pitch.

When I think of Jesus and how he walked among sinners, I am reminded of how he met their needs- feeding five thousand, healing the sick.

We Want to Know:

How are you sharing the word of God to others?

How do you overcome obstacles while evangelizing?

leslyicdigitalWant to be an Evangelist? Be a Friend
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The Next Step

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About two months ago, I convinced my family that we needed to take a four hour trip to Branson Missouri to check out a great show on the life of Joseph. With great anticipation for the evening scenery of Branson, we loaded some few items in the car, positioned our GPS on the dashboard and started out on this trip.

After driving through several roads that we are well familiar with from our previous travels, the GPS became adventurous. It led us onto a road that we had never used before and in just a few minutes on this back road lined with trees, the GPS announced that we had arrived at our destination. Are you kidding me, this is in the middle of nowhere, not our much anticipated hotel. This did not look like the hotel we saw in the pictures online.

This reminded me of our Christian life. This life is a journey. The fact that we are in a race is repeated many times in the word. We tell ourselves that we have arrived when we, in fact, are at a different location. We are probably in the woods but our friends and minds tell us that we have attained or arrived at the destination. This life is a journey and we need to have a clear picture of the destination so that we will know we are there when we get there. If we get there, we will know it. Do you have a clear picture if where your Christian life is headed?

The greatest hindrance to our growth and greatness is the illusion that we have arrived, when we are still lost or a long way away. Have you stopped growing spiritually? Have you found yourself bored with your life without progress? This may be because you think you have arrived. Paul said it the best way in Phil 3:12-13

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

Do not consider yourself to have arrived.  V12.
Apostle Paul was one of the greatest men in the faith to walk on the face of the earth. He had seen and heard the voice of Jesus. He had been used by God to perform many miracles and healing. He had reached more people and nations than we are reaching today with our technology. He wrote most of the new testament but he says that he has not arrived. If this is what this man of God says, what should we be telling ourselves? I have not arrived! I need to keep moving. I need to keep running. I need to keep taking step. I need to take the NEXT step now.

Write down what your next step is in your faith journey.
Is it giving your life to Christ? Is it baptism? Is it start attending a church regularly? Whatever it is, write it down.

Take the step. Press on. Just do it. V 12
For example, if your next step is to be baptized, take progressive actions like registering for baptism, email or call the church office for the dates of the next baptism day etc. If you can make one giant step, divide it into mini-step so that daily, you can do something to move forward.

Keep you mind on the goal. Do not stop until you see Him, Christ, who is our goal.
What is your next step today? Take it!

leslyicdigitalThe Next Step
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Does Your Tongue Need Healing?

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Does Your Tongue Need Healing? by Derek Prince is one of the books for this month and from people’s reactions, I could tell that Heb. 4:12 is about to have a new and personal meaning in many lives!

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing of the soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

We may look all neat and polished but when the word of God hits us we cannot deny it’s power. So you don’t curse and honestly you think you’re very polite. This book will help you understand that that’s not all there is in this race. It is about death or life. What you feed on settles in your heart and it will, at some point be expressed. The tongue will easily do this for you. Have you ever had one of those ‘oops moments’? That awkward moment when you say (out loud) what you really think (in the presence of a number of people). Yes! Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and you cannot speak without your tongue.

I am so eager to find out what my problem is and the steps to take toward my healing. Won’t you join me? Sign up for the Read To Grow (R2G) program at the BCC NEXT Resource Center and let us take the next step in Christ.

leslyicdigitalDoes Your Tongue Need Healing?
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The Explicit Gospel

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November is here already! We have been challenged to read 2 books a month and I have just picked up this book The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler and already I can tell it’s going to be an unforgettable experience. A call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly!

Listen to this: Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death. My sin in the past: forgiven. My current struggles: Covered. My future failures: paid in full by the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace found in the atoning work of the cross of Jesus Christ.

If you haven’t signed one out yet please do so. This is a must get!

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Not A Fan of Jesus Christ!

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I have a question for you.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP IN CHRIST?

My NEXT step is to look at myself in the mirror of God’s Word and see what is truly in my heart as God sees it. With that, I dare make this bold statement in writing: I am not a fan of Jesus!

Let me explain: It is possible to look great on the outside and be rotten on the inside. Those that live their lives as fans of Jesus haven’t quite realized that Jesus is interested in the heart. Many claim to love Christ but in reality they have a false version of Him. A version of their own creation – different from the Christ of the scriptures.

The Read To Grow (R2G) program at your Resource Center has a new addition: NOT A FAN by Kyle Idleman. Since you want to grow spiritually, we encourage you to stop by on Sunday, check this book out, read it and increase your understanding. This book will help you know if you’re a follower of Christ or merely a fan of His.

leslyicdigitalNot A Fan of Jesus Christ!
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Bring Goliath Down! The Principles

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The story in 1 Samuel 17 is very interesting. For 40 days, everyday; morning and afternoon, Goliath came out to intimidate them but no one in the Israelite army came up to challenge him.

David had been anointed already but he wasn’t yet in the army – he was still tending sheep. When he took food to his brothers, he spotted opportunity.

“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” 1 Samuel 17:32 NLT

And of course you know that the Lord did deliver David.

Though Goliath is dead, his brothers are still alive coming to intimidate us to inactivity and we must call them out by name. What is it that has been taunting you? You must call it out by name!

Principles David used to bring Goliath down

You will win over the issues affecting you life negatively by following these principles that David used.

1. Faithfulness in the little tasks. 1 Samuel 17:17. Even though he was anointed to be king when he was sent on menial errands, he was faithful to go.

Can you be counted on to do the little tasks of life? Can you be trusted to do the small duties in the church?

David knew that faithfulness is never in vain. 1 Samuel 17:26-28.

Did you know that there is a reward for you for being faithful to your call? Did you know that there is a reward for you for conquering sin and addiction in your life?

2. David won the fight against Goliath when he took the first step toward the giant. Your victory in bringing down that sin or that taunting issue is in your taking the first step. You will never win a fight that you have not started.

Be faithful to your tasks in Christ and you will bring defeat sin and all the troublesome issues in your life. In addition to the victory, you will be rewarded.

God bless you!

leslyicdigitalBring Goliath Down! The Principles
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Tither’s Blessing

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Hi BCC,
I trust that you are well and enjoying the journey God is taking us. Financial freedom is one of the blessings for the Believer. As God continues to unfold this truth to us and we continue to do our part, I want to speak the blessing of God into your life. As a tither, you have the key to unlock your financial freedom. You are blessed!

On the authority of God’s infallible word – I proclaim over you as a tithing Christian – the blessings of our faithful and loving heavenly Father. As a tither you are not limited to the ups and downs of the economy of this world system.

The scriptures declare that we are the seed of Abraham and that the blessings of Abraham upon us set us apart and make us to prosper in all situations, favorable and unfavorable.

The heavens are open over this church and over this congregation, therefore I speak this blessing.

• I call forth jobs for the unemployed – meaningful jobs with good pay and benefits.

• Things that have been held up in the courts such as your inheritance, godly settlements and other legal matters, be settled in Jesus Name so you may have what is rightfully yours without and further delay.

• Those who earn your living as entrepreneurs or those who work in sales and commissions, I speak God’s favor to be upon you so that deals and opportunities to excel, come your way.

• I call forth raises and bonuses to those who need them.

• I speak that you find money unexpectedly and that unexpected checks come in the mail right out of nowhere as a gift from heaven just for you.

• I speak the word “INCREASE” over to you – I speak abundance to overtake you – such abundance that you miraculously come out of debt so that the stress of those debts will release your minds and God’s peace will return to you quickly.

• I now release God’s angels to go forth and minister for you and yours – this is your covenant blessing.

Now that you have given may your heart be filled with worship and faith.
I BLESS YOU IN JESUS NAME. Amen

leslyicdigitalTither’s Blessing
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