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Monthly Archives: April 2014

God is Undefeated! You can be too!!

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We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you,~2 Corinthians 4:8-12.

This is a message that I hope encourages you this week to feast on good things. Just as the body places on display what we have been eating, our lives often manifest what we have been feasting on spiritually and mentally. The battle is in our mind.

God is the source of all things good. Apart from Him we can do nothing. If we lack joy, peace, hope, wisdom, provision, vision, or anything good…He is the place to go.

Have you ever fasted? If you have, you know that your body craves food. There are hunger pains and physical manifestations of starvation. When we don’t spend time with God, our spirit has spiritual pains. They manifest in angry outbursts, worry, fear, anxiety, lust, imbalance, negative thoughts, critical of self and others.

We need God more than air, water, food.

So, what are we feasting on?

Continual communion with God leads to peace…love…joy…,and He will highlight people around us that need what we carry.

I’d love to tell you that I always think or meditate on beautiful things…but I don’t…Daily I have to pull down negative thoughts and train my brain to meditate on God’s Words. And it’s a process with the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts pop up like…

No one cares what you have to say
You talk about God too much
God made you wrong
You’re weird
You are never going to be able to do this
People don’t value or love you
This is hopeless or futile
What do you have to show for your life?
You’ve wasted so much of your life on helping other people, who’s helping you?
Loving this person has been a waste of time
You mess up all the time, why bother…

Many of these thoughts come in first person. I have to rebuke and cast down thoughts…and for some thoughts it’s not as easy. I can’t feast on them, meditate on them, or allow them to take root in my spirit. My spirit needs to feast in God’s truth, it superceeds my opinion or anyone else’s.

Negative thoughts are minimized by meditating on God’s word, reading previous prophetic words, professing and proclaiming God’s truth, and by simply being with God all day-aware of His Presence, inviting His Presence, soaking, and basking in His Presence.

“What we are feasting on mentally and spiritually is what we will attract. Hence gossips attract other gossips…Lustful people attract other lustful people…angry people attract other angry people. We give authority to a defeated enemy by agreeing with him with our thoughts and words. Our thoughts and words attract forces in the unseen world around us. The enemy has power. He has no authority. Jesus took back all authority the enemy gained in the Garden. The enemy does go around looking for those with authority to agree with him. Once he gets you into agreement with his lies, he uses your authority to impact the spiritual and natural environment around you,”~Bill Johnson.

Father I ask that we live connected to the Vine. Without You we can do absolutely nothing. Thank You for another day. Thank You for giving us authority in your Name. Thank You for raising us up and seating us in heavenly places with Your Son Jesus. Thank You for putting the enemy under our feet, for making us the head and not the tail. Thank You for paying for healing, restoration, deliverance, freedom, and every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Thank You for giving us the keys to the Kingdom. Thank You for ALL Jesus paid for and may we live appropriating it to every moment and area of our lives. May we live empowered and empower others. Use us in mighty ways to be blessing to every person around us. We are Your children and ALL we needed was purchased on the cross. Help us to believe it, grasp it, cling to it, live in it, and walk it out. You are the undefeated God. May we live undefeated. Nothing is ever impossible for You!

May we live in such a way that people say, “There was no light before you came and no darkness when you left!”

Have a great week.

Love,

Erin

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

 

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Learning to Love Like God (Part 1)

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If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much,~Matthew 5:46.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”~John 13:34-35.

We love because he first loved us,~1 John 4:19.

Love is the highest calling for a believer. I talk about love quite a bit because God reveals the desperate need the world has for love. Addiction is a cry for comfort. Sexual promiscuity for attention and affection. Abuse for healing. Everywhere you look, people are trying to fill a God sized void with something. Drugs, food, tv, alcohol, sex, relationships, social media, and even church activities are often used to fill the void of love.

You and I are empowered to love. How? By the Holy Spirit. He is love. Sounds easy right? God in us loving people.

In order to love like God, we must first receive love from God. We cannot give away what we do not possess. That person who fails to love you mostly likely either doesn’t know how you perceive love, or they haven’t fully received God’s love.

Even after we receive God’s love, we can choose not to love other people. It’s a process of submitting to God, not relying on feelings, and dying to self.

I don’t always feel like loving people. Nope. Some days I grow tired of being kind to rude people. Some days I have to go straight to God with unpleasant feelings towards people. He reminds me of this, “Feelings are not an indication of truth. You can love this person because I love them.

How do we love like God?

We let God love us. Christianity is about relationship with God. Jesus paid for us to have full access to the Father.

Take time to just be with God. It can be journaling, reading, praying & listening, time in His Word, worship, etc…asking God to reveal His love on the heart level. It will then pour out on to others. God fills to overflowing. Part of it is faith as well; believing what God says about His love for us is true.

We forgive. Gosh, I don’t mind forgiving (surrendering a person to God and refusing to avenge). It’s far more difficult to reconcile and restore a relationship when someone has betrayed your trust, treated your heart like a punching bag, or just failed to be good to you. In those moments I’m reminded of these things…

1. What is God’s purpose for the relationship? Is it covenant? Will restoring the relationship be safe?

If someone is stealing from your bank account, love sets boundaries (change the info, block the person). If a person is not trustworthy, don’t confide in them. If someone is controlling and manipulative, limit the access they have to you. If someone is abusing you in any way, seek help. Forgiving does not mean you must remain in the same condition or immediately give someone your trust. We are responsible for who and what we allow into our lives.

If it’s a covenant relationship or one God is calling us to, we are to do our best to work it out (we will discuss more in a different post on covenant).

2. How does God treat me when I fail?

We are humans. We will blow it. God is so merciful and kind to me when I mess up. I am called to be merciful.

Unlike God, we can be severely damaged by others. Mercy doesn’t mean let someone continually, purposefully hurt or abuse you. Our role is to point people to Christ. It’s unloving to allow someone to continue to sin against us and not offer loving correction. We want people right with God. It does mean we offer grace, compassion, and mercy. Mercy may be refraining from gossip (which is so damaging). The person did you wrong, protect their name. Treat them better than they did you.

Lastly I will say love will cost you greatly. God has blessed me with years of experience loving people who did not in any way love, honor, or respect me. He gave me someone similar to Saul (4 years-40 hours a week. Not sure how I didn’t lose my mind), a few who behaved like Judas, and allowed people in my life who at times made me want to never love again. I’ve had to love people who have tried to take my life. I can say love doesn’t always feel good. I’m certain the experiences Jesus endured were not pleasant. They were excruciating. He suffered greatly. Yet, He did it for love.

Whatever love costs you, please know genuine love glorifies God. The world needs to see genuine, agape love through us. We may not know until heaven the impact we made in someone’s life. Though it may be painful at times, choose love!

You’re in my thoughts and prayers!

Father reduce us to love. Help us to love like You. Remove worldly views of love and replace them with Yours. Help us to see people as You do, and love them as You do. In Jesus name, Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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

 

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God’s Vision (the Eyes of Love)

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You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,~Romans 5:6-8.

What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’ ~Isaiah 45:9.

Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago,~Ephesians 2:9-10.

For most of my life I’ve battled with the way God created me. Yes, it’s true. My personality is one of the rarest types for a woman. I had several tests as a child and adult. It’s found in only 0.8 percent of the female population. My brain is quite logical. I want things and people to make sense. I also use both sides of my brain equally, which lends to hours lost in creative thought. I’m very direct, pretty transparent, confident about what I can do and about what I don’t know. I want to learn as much as possible and share it with as many people as possible. I spend hours each day thinking, pondering, and analyzing. I don’t draw energy from being with people. I am energized by being alone. Is this a blessing or a curse?

Well, my parents noticed I had little to no interest in toys, tv, or other kids. A little concerning for them. I’d spend hours with books, note pads, and pens. I hated socializing. I had two good friends and didn’t want more. I was often labeled stubborn or independent because once I started a task, I couldn’t stop. I was and am driven to complete assignments by an internal conviction.

All my life there have been people trying to change me. Be more social. Be less direct. Have less passion.Your zeal offends people. Be more gentle. Be more like other women. Talk more, talk less. Be less you. I’ve had more input than I’ve ever liked. The message that was sent to me has been, “God made you wrong. You need to change in order to be accepted, celebrated, and loved. Be who we want you to be, then you will accepted.”

Sweet friends, let me tell you some truth. God knew what He was doing when He created me and you. Yes, there’s sin that He comes in to deal with, but He didn’t created us all with the same qualities, attributes, personalities, and brain wiring. His love is also not dependent on our changing and becoming someone else.

God loves you, as is…no ifs about it. Sure God corrects us. He disciplines us. He shapes and molds us. He never approves of our sin. He transforms our hearts. He does not base His love for us on performance, behavior, personality, or ability. We can’t earn His love or approval.

I told a friend this week who’s been giving herself a hard time the following:

We see ourselves as these hard lumps of clay that God wants to come in and change in order to love. As someone who’s taken ceramics, I can say I didn’t see lumps of clay. I saw vases, sculptures, delicate designs that could be created. The artist sees their vision, not the clay they are given. God is the Master Artist. He sees through the eyes of love. He sees what He envisioned before the foundations of the Earth. He sees His workmanship created for His Glory. Yes, the story is His story and it’s primarily about Him. He still loves us! We are here because of Love. Who are we to argue with the Creator of the Universe? He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I still don’t understand why God gave me a brain that functions the way it does. It’s caused some misunderstandings with others and relational distress. I’ve learned and am learning to leave the refining of my character to God. I learned to pitch the labels not of God. The Holy Spirit is the One who provides direction. He leads back to this place of love. What does God want to say or do? Who does God say I am?

When we know how much God loves us, the opinions of others (including ourselves) loses weight. It’s about God working through us. It looks different for each one because God’s a Creator not a cloner. You weren’t created to be like other people. Each person was created to represent a unique part of God. Some are bold and creative. Others are thoughtful and quiet. Our role model is Christ. He wants to work through us so the world sees Him.

I hope today you live loved. May the focus be Jesus. As we behold Him, we become like Him. It’s all for His glory and fame.

You’re daily in my thoughts and prayers.

Love in Christ,

Erin

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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It’s Not About You!

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,~Phil 2:3.

For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind,~James 3:16.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power…,~2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me,~Matthew 16:24.

I have not heard many sermons talk about selfishness as sin, yet the Bible is loaded with scripture on the evil that results from selfishness. The world says, “Think about yourself, your family, your needs, your rights, your pleasure, your dreams, your desires, your circumstances, how does this effect You!” The song that plays is, “It’s all about me! Me! Me!”

God says, “It’s not about you! It’s about building My Kingdom so as many people as possible can know Me, be loved by Me, and have everlasting life.

God cares about everyone, not just the people in our little bubble, community, ethnic group, or sphere of concern.

Selfishness is the root of all sin.

Unbelief-I will not believe God. I believe what I think is right.

Jealousy-Someone has what I don’t have and I’m discontent because of it.

Coveting/Envy-I want what they have and don’t want them to have it.

Lust-I want what I want now.

Impatience-Why can’t God move on my time? Why can’t others move on my time?

Greed-I need to get as much as I can for me.

Gluttony-I don’t need to consume more, but I will keep consuming because it feels good to me.

Sexual Sin-I will follow my passions, do what feels good for me even if it’s outside God’s will.

Lying-I need to protect me, inflate my image, take care of me.

Indifference-If it doesn’t directly affect me, I don’t care.

Stealing-I will take what I need instead of asking & trusting God to meet my needs.

Unforgiveness-I need this person to pay for what they did to me even though God freely forgives me. I care more about my rights than someone being right with God.

Offense-I must be hurt and angered by how this person’s actions or words impacted me. Instead of how can I check my own heart and if they truly sinned, help them be restored to God.

Put downs, Gossip, Slander, Mean Spirit, Hurtful Sarcasm-I will put others down to build myself up.

Disobedience, Control, & Manipulation-I need to get my way.

Self Reliance-I will do this without consulting or relying on God because I know best.

Self Hatred & Self Exaltation-my opinion of me is truth instead of God’s opinion of me. Both are rooted in pride.

Racism/Prejudice-I am better than others and will judge or mistreat those who look different or are different than me.

Hatred-I will refuse to love.

Abuse/Unrighteous Anger-I will take out my frustrations on others or use them for what I need.

Discontentment-I will not be happy until God or someone does something for me or my situation changes.

Chronic Tardiness/Broken Promises-I will do what’s convenient for me.

Idolatry-I will worship whatever best suits me. Only God is worthy of worship.

It’s easy to see selfishness in other people and be offended by it. It’s more prudent to ask God to search our own hearts and to repent of the sin of selfishness. Selfishness is sin. It’s an idol of self. Instead of God being on the throne, we are. The bad news is-we are born selfish. The good news-Jesus came, died, rose again, and gave us His Holy Spirit so we don’t have to die selfish. Jesus is the solution.

We can’t strive to be like Him. We can obey Him, submit to Him, and cultivate relationship with Him. We let Him live through us. It’s about relationship with God. If God is number 1, there is no number 2. If our pure devotion is Christ, then self moves off the throne and is nailed to a cross. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us. It’s a process. Just as a baby grows to stop messing their diapers and demanding their own way, God parents us so we can become focused on Him instead of ourselves.

I’m still in process. You’re still in process. No one other than Jesus gets it 100 percent right. Our goal is to love God, respond to His love, correction, and guiding. It’s all for His glory!

Father thank you for sending your Son to save us from death, destruction, and the weight of sin. He paid a debt we could not pay. Help us to respond to Your love. You bring about lasting change. Reduce us to love. Break our cycles of selfishness. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

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