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God is Bigger Than Your Pain

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“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.

Have you ever been disappointed by God’s response to your problem or circumstances? If the answer is no, well, this post may not encourage you. If the answer is yes, then keep reading.

God and I have a long history together. Much of our history was deepened during seasons of intense grief and suffering. No worries, I have no plans of rehashing my entire life story. I will share with you one that may encourage you to cling to the words of Jeremiah 29:11.

My dad is a pastor, my mum was my Sunday school teacher. I grew up watching sick people recover by the power of prayer. I saw miracles. They were normal in our home and our church. There were times of supernatural provision and things that could never be explained away by luck or chance. We saw and were taught to expect God to do amazing things!

I did not see the behind the scenes with my parents, meaning they never showed us any disappointment in God’s answers. My dad to this day does not complain.

I had no grid for how to handle when God’s answers did not look like my prayers. The answer “God knows best” doesn’t make sense to a child or someone grieving or without a long history with God.

The amazing part about the Bible is that we read of people expressing their pain, grief, and disappointment: “Why did my son die? Lord, if I could only have a child. God have you forgotten me? Jesus, if you had been here my brother would not have died. Lord, my soul is weary and worn. If it’s your will Father, let this cup pass from me.”

Over the seasons of tremendous loss, I found peace in worship and the Psalms. David expressed his emotions to God unashamedly. I honor David. Probably why my book is a collection of Psalms, and verses to God. Some written in seasons of agony.

I tell you these things because in this world we will face trouble. Jesus told us we would. The day I buried my mum was the worst day of my life, well one of them. I knew God healed. She was not healed here on earth. I write this post for her as her birthday is upcoming.

I was disappointed she died when I had seen God heal so many other people. I wasn’t angry with God. I was disappointed. Some family members stated to be disappointed meant I had a lack of faith in God’s wisdom and will. To a 25 year old who’s just buried her best friend, I’m certain those are the wrong words. :)

My mum told me the week before she died that she was going home. She stared out the window of her hospital room, looking into the distance, and repeated those words. I told her she’d be fine. I had complete confidence in God’s ability to heal. And she was doing better. She looked me square in the eye and said, “I’ve done all He put me here to do. I’m going home.

Her funeral gathered people from all over the USA. It was so large we had to have in the high school auditorium. This woman who taught Sunday school in a small town had impacted so many people’s lives. She loved like Jesus. She acted like Jesus. She lived like Jesus. And everywhere we went she was loving people. They never forget her. Some gave their lives to Jesus once she was gone. I simply hoped God let her glimpse or know how many people she impacted for Him, for His Kingdom. Knowing her was something challenging to explain. She was unforgettable. She enlarged heaven even in her death.

So, my encouragement to you is this: when God’s answer does not seem to match your prayers know God isn’t angry with you for being hurt, or disappointed. You can cry out to Him, and He will bring tremendous comfort. He will do such a work in your heart. He will provide for you in ways you’ve never imagined. He’s so good. He loves you. He has a plan and it’s good!

Truths:

God works all things together for eventual good. It doesn’t always feel good and may not be our definition of good.

The evil one comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the fullest!

God’s love and comfort are more powerful than our pain.

God redeemed mankind and can redeem impossible situations. If the answer is no, we can still find joy and comfort in Him.

God does heal! I’ve seen many more people healed in the years since she’s past. Healer is His name. So we don’t stop believing God is who He says He is. Every human being will leave this earth at some time. God knows when. This flesh is not immortal. We only have eternal life in Christ, in eternity.

Jesus defeated our worst enemies on the cross. These momentary afflictions are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us!!!

That last truth has gotten me through some pretty challenging seasons. If you suffer loss or disappointment, you will grieve. It’s normal and does not mean you have no faith. I hope and pray you are blessed beyond measure! My prayer is we run to God instead of away from Him when we are hurt, grieving, or disappointed. You are so deeply loved.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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When Christians Hurt People (Misrepresenting God)

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Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,~Ephesians 5:1-2.

I know many people who have either abandoned their faith or forgo church attendance because of Christians. Before you judge them. I’d like for you to read this post and let it sink into your mind and heart.

God told us to imitate Him and walk in love. He gave us His Spirit to do so. This does not mean at the moment of conversion we are incapable of acting like devil. We can still choose to behave poorly. It also doesn’t mean we strive for perfection. We live under grace. The goal is to do no intentional harm to one’s neighbor. If we do harm someone, as a believer, we are called to go to that person one on one and apologize. God asks us to do our part to attempt to live at peace with all men (Romans 8:12).

I will tell you there was a season of my life where I wanted nothing to do with church. Yes, it’s true. My experience with other believers left a horrible stain on my heart. There were people who I ministered to in Bible studies and befriended that turned my world upside down. When I distanced myself from some relationships or spoke truth into them, they started vicious rumors and lies to any person who would listen. I was cussed out in public, some refused to talk to me-even at church functions, I was emailed at my job about it, and well, my name was dragged through the mud. It would have been less of a deal if I weren’t already dealing with both my parents having cancer at the time. If I weren’t working a super stressful 40+ hour a week job, and trying to lead a women’s discipleship group.

Long story short, over the period of four years, I went through relational turmoil and became an outcast in many ways. It amazed me that people would rather believe a lie than ask you for the truth. It amazed me that people could claim to love God and cease to be kind to someone just based off something they heard. It amazed me how doing what Jesus told me to do could cause such problems. I was amazed that people who claimed to love God were so openly offended by being presented with the Gospel and some hostile about it.

They sang songs on Sunday, raised hands to Jesus. Monday through Saturday they lied, gossiped, and stirred up relational discord. The end result was I had to humble myself and offer grace. Some relationships were not restored. Forgiveness was offered to all, yet for a season I lost all interest in ministry.

I didn’t get those years of my life back. I didn’t get the time poured into people who would later call me horrible names, slander, and gossip. I didn’t get the time I could’ve spent with my family back. I was given the opportunity to be like Jesus. In most cases God silenced my lips so I did not even refute their lies. It’s challenging and takes the Holy Spirit to not respond or respond in love when someone is calling you the b word to your face.

I’d love to tell you I walked away with a warm heart. Yeah, I got to be like Jesus. I walked away with fragmented parts of my heart. It was my first real experience of pouring into people. There was a period of about a year where I did not engage with anyone from that church. No one looked for me. I did not look for them. I had no desire to go to church and pretend that the people next to me were not the same people cursing me in public the weekend before. I don’t do pretend well. Actually, I don’t pretend at all.

Jesus never said following Him would be easy. The same people who cried out, “Hosanna, hosanna,” where the same ones who yelled, “Crucify Him!”

I’ve met countless people who have been severely wounded by Christians. Some of the number one complaints I hear are…

Christians are rude
Christians are stingy and the worst customers
Christians are more interested in politics and pushing their beliefs on people than loving people
Christians are hypocrites. They sin more than anyone else
Christians are judgmental
Christians are mean spirited
Christians gossip and slander people
If you don’t agree with them, they treat you poorly
Christians are unkind
Christians have no joy

You may say, “Those are gross exaggerations or the people who are that way aren’t really Christians.

I tell you this. I’ve been in church my entire life and it’s not a complete exaggeration. There are some amazing people in churches and some who behave horribly. Some believe they are representing God with their hatred, bigotry, racism, sexism, rudeness, apathy, or political agendas. Some use grace as an excuse to sin. Some use social media to bash the President or whoever they disagree with at the moment.

Unfortunately the people who misrepresent God gain more attention in the media and in people’s minds than those who are actually representing Him well.

Sweet friends, if you’re a follower of Jesus, you don’t just represent yourself. You represent Jesus. The world is looking to you and me to show them attributes of God. Even though it’s not easy to love the unlovable, offer mercy and grace, extend kindness to the hateful, or love those who are so different-it’s what we are called to do.

We can not yell at the masses, “Come to God He loves you,” and treat them like dirt. It’s not going to further the cause of the Gospel at all.

I love Jesus. I’ve loved him since I was 7 years old. I can say the treatment from other believers has in seasons of my life made me want to disconnect from His Body. Dishonor, disrespect, abuse of authority, control and manipulation, more concerned about members or money than caring for people, racism and sexism, or just a complete lack of genuine love or honor.

We can do better! God longs for us to love others; not so they join our church, political party, or to persuade them to accept Jesus. We love people because God is love.

We love and honor people of every ethnicity, social or economic group, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, beliefs, religions, and country of origin. We do not have to agree with everything people do. We are commanded to love people.

If you’ve been severely wounded or mistreated by people who claim to be Christians, I am so sorry. Jesus understands and so do I. I pray you are enveloped by His love and He brings Spirit filled, loving Christians into your life.

May we know the height, depth, breath, and vast expanse of God’s love so we can give it away! May the world know us by our love.

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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Radical LOVE!

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(Image credit Instapray)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,”-Jesus.

Jesus never asks us to do something He will not empower us to do. He gave us the secret to loving like Him in John 15:5. He told us to abide in Him. If His Spirit is in us, we can love! God is love. These are some thoughts I’ve been pondering about love in God’s Body (followers of Jesus).

In fellowship and covenant (committed love)…

Who will you die to self for?

Who are you willing to continually sacrifice for?

Who are you willing to carry when they cannot carry themselves?

Who are you willing to support even if it’s not convenient for you?

Who are you willing to pray for until they get breakthrough?

Who are you willing to join your life to so they are blessed beyond measure because of the gifts God placed in you?

Who are you willing to continually love, even if they do not love you?

God invites us to enter into covenant with other believers. It’s not about saying I love you…it’s about living I love you. Loving when it’s hard. Loving in winter, spring, summer, and fall. We are called to love one another as Christ loves us. It’s not a love that is in word only. It’s a love that causes us to throw off our selfishness, pride, apathy, complacency, and passivity. Are we committed to this kind of love for one another? This kind of love lets the world know we belong to Jesus. Here’s an excerpt from the Bible on the friends who carried their friend to Jesus. This is the radical love that God is calling every believer to…Christ’s agape love.

The Help of Friends – Luke 5:17-20

One day Jesus was teaching the people. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there too. They had come from every town in Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. The Lord (God) was giving Jesus the power to heal people. There was a man that was paralyzed (crippled). Some men carried him on a mat. The men tried to bring him and put him down before Jesus. But there were so many people that the men could not find a way to Jesus. So the men went up on the roof and lowered the crippled man down through a hole in the ceiling. They lowered the mat {into the room} so that the crippled man was lying before Jesus. Jesus saw that these men believed. Jesus said to the sick man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” (ERV)

I went through a very hard season and I can say I spent most of it relying heavily on Jesus. I can say I am thankful for the people who loved me in the beginning, middle, and end of the storm. The people who didn’t make it about them, but enabled me to just get to Jesus. I am human just like everyone else, in dire need of Jesus. I need comfort just like everyone else in loss and pain. If you encounter one person who loves you unconditionally and is willing to sacrifice for you, you are richer than most of the people in the world.

Many people have associates. Many people have buddies. Many people have people willing to take from them. Many people have someone to hang out with and participate in activities. Not very many people have friends willing to risk their very lives to save them.

We don’t need more self-centered Christians. We need more willing to lay down their lives as Christ did for us. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s painful to love, especially when you aren’t loved in return. Yet love will always be the greatest commandment and the true marking of a disciple of Jesus.

What if every believer lived a life a love?

No person would feel disconnected, unsupported, alone, or unloved. Yet, this is not the reality. We have people in church every weekend who feel absolutely unloved and uncared for. We don’t need to play Christian games or say, “I love you,” if we don’t. We do need to ask God to fill us so we have something to offer others. We need to live the Gospel, not just know the Gospel. It’s our mission. It’s our purpose on earth-Love God, love people.

May we love, and love well…it’s a process and it’s a journey…yet it’s what we are called to in Christ. And it’s possible through Christ who gives us His strength. Those who abide in Him will bear much fruit (John 15:5). I pray earnestly that I can live what I know of Jesus, let Him live through me. So imperfect, yet so dependent on Him for everything.

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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Becoming

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Image credit (Passion of the Christ Film).

Be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma,~Ephesians 5:1-2.

Becoming…the Christian walk is about becoming like the One who gave His life for ours. I do not hear many messages about becoming like Christ anymore. My pastor teaches on it and this past Sunday talked about this narrow path that leads us to being transformed into the image of God’s Son.

Becoming is rooted in abiding. After salvation (believing, repenting of sin, asking for forgiveness, and choosing to say yes to following Jesus), there’s a process called sanctification. The Holy Spirit works in us so we are transformed into the image of God. Those who abide in Him, will have abundant fruit (John 15:5). Apart from relationship with God, we cannot live like Jesus. Grace, God’s abounding grace, empowers us to do the impossible-live and love like Jesus.

Why is becoming so important?

Well, because we represent God in the earth. Some people will never set foot in a church. They will interact with you. If you are following Jesus, you are His Ambassador (sent ones-representative) on earth. He calls His followers to be salt and light. If we don’t imitate Christ in every area of influence and relationship, where’s the light shining in the darkness?

I’ve met way too many people who refuse to go to church because they’ve had horrible experiences with Christians. It’s sad because God is so good.

I have a few friends who are atheist. They grew up Catholic or Protestant, yet they saw people claiming to love and represent God abusing grace, acting exactly like the world, and had some painful experiences. All of which led them to believe God must not be real if His followers are so unrighteous and unloving.

I had one friend who fell down the steps while visiting a church. She stopped the pastor to ask for help. She couldn’t get up and he was the only one who came by. He told her he was late for a staff meeting and left her there.

Jesus said the world will know we belong to Him by our love for one another.

I’ve been in church my entire life. My dad is a pastor. We were taught loving people regardless of who they are or what they believe was and is a priority.

I’ve heard other Christians question my kindness towards them. Why are you doing this? Did God tell you to do this? Well, yes in His Word when He said love others as I have loved you.

How does God love me?

He forgives.
He gives.
He’s merciful and kind.
He’s generous.
He’s encouraging.
He’s thoughtful.
He gives good gifts!
He points me in the direction of truth and holiness.
He supports my dreams.
He cares about every detail of my life.
He’s patient.
He’s compassionate.
He gives more of Himself than I could imagine possible.
He mourns with me.
He laughs with me.
He rejoices over me.
He sees the best in me when I’m at my worst.
Jesus prays and intercedes for me.
The Holy Spirit empowers me.
He protects me.
He provides for me.
He shares His wisdom and knowledge.
He listens.
He speaks.
He comforts.
He celebrates.
He leads.
He’s good!

If I am to imitate Him, then I treat people the way God treats me. I do as He does.

Becoming requires a dying to self and selfishness. It’s not easy, yet it’s possible via the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. It’s so important. We are the only interactions some people will have with God. We are not responsible to save the world. We are responsible to let God live and love through us. Jesus invited people to follow Him, not just pray a prayer. Following Jesus is about imitating Him.

We can draw people to God by shining bright, or we can push them away by our lack of love.

God is LOVE!

Father please forgive us for the times we’ve chosen our own path apart from You. May we overflow with Your love. Teach us to stay connected to the true Vine, You. May we be the brightest lights, reflecting and representing You in the earth. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

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Posted by on September 3, 2014 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Remembering John (Operation God is Love)

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Picture credit: Pinterest

Whatever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done unto Me,~Jesus.

Operation God is Love is a street ministry I started this Spring. The objectives are to take the Gospel into the city, to pray for people, to share Jesus, and be instruments of love. I am drawn to people no one loves. They are too dirty, broken, messed up, and outcasts of society. I look into their eyes and my heart cries out, “I see you. You are loved.

This ministry is small. It’s me and two other women who pack up supplies and hit the city month after month. We never know who we will see or what God will do. What we do know is that God is good. God is all powerful. God is love. God has empowered us to go into all the world and make disciples! The Great Commission was given to all…

John (not his real name) was a beggar and homeless man we met our first time out. He was young, maybe early thirties. He was hungry and sad. John captured my attention the moment we saw him, and we took him to get pizza.

I’ve never seen someone so undone by what I would consider reasonable kindness…a meal. The Bible says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him.” John wasn’t an enemy. He was a hurting person who was invisible to many people who walked by.

He told us many people ignored him or looked down on him. He carried tremendous emotional pain and shame.

We asked about his life. We gave him a Bible and literature. We gave him food and supplies. We told him about Jesus. We prayed with John and his friend who showed up later. We prayed for healing of his leg. We spent an afternoon with John. Doing all we knew to do to express God’s heart.

John met his Maker a few weeks ago. He overdosed on some drug. We don’t know if it was an accident or on purpose. I do know the level of pain and shame he carried was heavy. I can’t imagine living his life story. I do remember his tears as we informed him of God’s love and redemption. I don’t know if John finally gave his life to Christ. He didn’t when we were with him.

Here’s what I do know…

It pays to stop for the one. I run into so many hurting or homeless people and sometimes it’s impossible to get to everyone. I can’t help everyone. I can help one person. I can share the Gospel with one. I can feed one. I can love one.

I don’t think I will ever forget John’s face. It’s etched in my memory. He wasn’t too dirty for me to touch. He wasn’t so lost I didn’t want to reach out. He wasn’t invisible. He was seen and loved. I was honored to share a meal with him. Honored God allowed our paths to cross. Honored to love him as a person God loves.

My encouragement to you is this…you have the ability to change someone’s life and enlarge heaven. Don’t waste it. Yes, it’s unsettling at first to reach out to strangers, but it’s worth it. I’ve found people on the street more welcoming and appreciative than people who gather in churches on Sundays. It’s far easier for me to minister to the hurting than people who think they have it all together and don’t need or want love.

Please pray for us as we continue to go out! We want to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Heaven full! Hell empty. We can’t do everything. We can do something….

Love in Christ,

Erin

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Finding JOY in Giving

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Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,~Luke 6:38.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too,~Phil 2:4.

One of the major causes of depression is selfishness. You might think, “No way!” Yes way. When our focus is always ourselves we will not be happy or have joy. Why? Because God did not create us to be self centered.

We were created to connect first to God, then others. The God sized void can only be filled by Him. Once He fills us up, He intends for us to pour out. If we don’t, we implode.

Have you ever had a plant that grew wildly? I have. I have a set of plants that once they grow to a certain size they stop because they are root bound. They need split or repotted to keep growing. If I over water or over feed them, they die.

God intends for us to grow, to help others grow, & to enlarge His Kingdom.

We don’t give to earn God’s favor. We don’t give to primarily get from God-though He rewards givers with pure motives. We don’t give so people think well of us. We give because God’s love causes us to become generous. We give for His glory, His fame, and His goodness to be shed abroad.

It’s not about us or them. It’s about Him. It’s about the world encountering Christ in us. He’s what the world needs.

There’s joy in seeing other people encounter God. There’s always someone in a worse situation. That’s not to say God ignores where we are. He doesn’t. I do think at times He whispers to us, “Go help this other person. I will handle your problem.

Introspection, self pity, self focus, what about me?, look how bad it is for me, poor me,…has never solved anything. Jesus is the one we focus our eyes on and entrust with our burdens.

I can say this because I used to have pity parties. I’d even invite Jesus to come. “Jesus, don’t you see how bad this is…why me?” I love how God handles His children. His response, “Do you want my help? Or do you want to have a tantrum or pout? I will let you choose. I love you. I will be here when you are done.

God has brought great comfort in dark seasons of my life. In loss, tragedy, betrayal, sickness, etc…He never refuses comfort. He does not, however, enter into pity with me. He brings hope. Do you want help? If not, then I still love you, but I can’t force help on you.

Which leads to my last point. It’s incredible to help other people and love them. It’s a trap to aimlessly pour out. Some people don’t want help. Some people are in the situation they are in because they created it and trying to get them out will hurt them-they won’t learn from their choices. Some people want others to do for them what they need to get directly from God or for themselves. Some people are users and look for anyone they can drain dry. Some people will take what you give and throw it in the garbage. Giving, like anything else, requires wisdom.

When we do street ministry, we feed people, provide necessities, etc…we do not give cash. Many of the people, through their own confessions, have substance abuse problems. We love them. We don’t enable them. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s naked, clothe him. Unless God prompts you to, I wouldn’t empty my bank account to some random person and say I’m generous. God intends for seeds sown to produce a harvest for Him. God is generous and wise. Just read about the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). God intends for us to do something with what He gives. Freely you receive, freely give,~Jesus.

If you have a million dollars and you give 1 dollar to a million people, have you helped them? Versus splitting it between 10 people. God knows where you should sow to yield the greatest harvest for His Kingdom.

I’ve spent years pouring into people and situations that yielded nothing but frustration. Why? It wasn’t my field of harvest. The people I targeted to love and pour into were chosen by me, not God. And since I was raised to be a giver, I chose to give 100% to everyone. That dear friends leads to burnout and being used and abused.

Jesus had 12 disciples and chose 3 of them to be closest to Him. We think God is out fixing everyone’s messes, but He’s not. That’s not good parenting. He allows us sometimes to face the earthly consequences of what we’ve done. If we repent we are forgiven in heaven, yet there are some consequences on earth.

Where’s the joy in giving?

You see heaven invade earth!

You see God move radically in the lives of others.

You invest in a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

You imitate Jesus who came to serve, not just be served. You re-present Him to the world.

You demonstrate to the world who God is: generous, kind, compassionate, and loving.

When you partner with God there’s joy.

What we do primarily for ourselves dies with us. What we do for His Kingdom remains eternal. What can we do to partner with Jesus so He gets the greatest reward? Where does God want us to sow? How can we fix our eyes on Him and eternity not the temporary things of this world? There is joy in being a blessing to Jesus by investing in His Kingdom.

May our eyes be upward then outward. Someone needs what we carry. May we be led by the Spirit to bring Jesus the greatest reward!!!

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Love is Never Wasted

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Be imitators of God as dearly loved children.

Love one another as I have loved you.

Build each other up. Encourage one another daily.

Don’t just look out for your own interests, look out for the interests of others.

Do nothing out of selfish motives or vain conceit.

Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the greatest commandment.

The words above are from the Bible. Many are from Jesus. I’d love to tell you that I always think love is a good idea. I don’t. Sometimes the logical response for me is to choose isolation from people and forgo loving anyone but God. As an introvert, loving people is sometimes exhausting. Sometimes, honestly, love feels like a waste of time. Just keeping it real…yet part of loving God is loving people, not just in word but through actions.

When you really love people, you are vulnerable to them. They have the power to hurt you in ways you never thought possible. Sometimes they do it and blame you. Sometimes they are ambivalent or indifferent. Sometimes people are cruel or unkind. Sometimes the people you’d give your life for are the ones nailing you to a rugged cross. My heart has some pretty interesting scars. :)

Guess what? No one bears more scars than Jesus. We cannot fully comprehend the pain our sins caused Him. He was marred beyond recognition. His friends denied Him, forsook Him, and betrayed Him. Love cost Jesus everything. He felt the weight, shame, and pain of every sin.

This same Jesus says to us, “Love as I love.” He gave us His Spirit to help us to love. He doesn’t ask us to do anything He has not done or will not empower us to do.

So what are we to do? Do we throw in the towel on this love thing?

We could, but we would be living a life in disobedience to God. God never gives us permission to stop loving people. He never gives us permission to hold grudges or withhold forgiveness. If we don’t forgive, we are not forgiven. God never stops loving. He said the world will know we are His by our love for one another. If we don’t love, we don’t know God.

You see the point of life is to be loved by God, love God, love people, do as Jesus does, & become like Him; not by striving, but by abiding in Him.

We are transformed by relationship with God. We are being transformed by what we love and worship. Hence God saying, “Love Me most! Love Me first. Have no other gods before Me!” We are slaves to who and what we worship and obey.

We are God’s Ambassadors on earth. We show and demonstrate to the world what He’s like.

Do you know anyone who reminds you of Jesus?

Do you know anyone who represents Him well?

Does the person you see in the mirror continue to grow into His likeness?

Sanctification (the process of growing more Christlike) is part of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. We can quench Him, resist Him, ignore Him, and offend Him. Yet He’s trying to work in us so we represent the Father well and become our truest selves.

Our world needs Christians who look, behave, and sound like Jesus. They’ve heard our sermons and worship, listened to our political agenda, but have they encountered Jesus? Have they seen Christ in us?

I ask these questions of myself. Am I becoming more like Jesus or more selfish and like the world? Am I loving people or harming them? Am I giving/serving or asking to be served? Is my life a reflection of His love and power? When God reveals weaknesses (which I have plenty of), am I asking Him to help me or making excuses for them?

Lastly, though I feel it at times, love is never wasted. People are not our audience, judge, or jury. We love and live for an audience of One. Every person will give an account for their lives. We are called to care more about what God thinks than people’s responses to us or their opinions. It’s for His Glory, not our own.

May we choose love. May we abide in the One who is love so we have love to give away. May we be known for looking, acting, sounding, and behaving like Jesus. He said those who abide (remain) in Him will bear MUCH fruit (John 15:5). I don’t know about you, but I desperately need Jesus to love people, including myself. Without God I am nothing and have nothing.

Have a blessed week! Be a blessing to others. The world needs what you’re carrying…Christ in you, the hope of glory.

You’re in my thoughts and continual prayers…

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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