Follow Jesus Not Culture

Happy Pursue God’s Kingdom! ❤️

I love the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus. I don’t always enjoy Christian culture. They don’t always match. Sometimes the focus in culture is not what Jesus focused on at all. Paul and the teachings of Paul are sometimes elevated above Jesus. Paul is the most misquoted and misunderstood author of the New Testament. Paul stated, “follow me as I follow Jesus”-not “follow me instead of Jesus.”

Things Jesus talked about and demonstrated the most: loving God & loving each other (including enemies), the Kingdom of heaven (seek first God’s kingdom), our heart conditions, helping people, discipleship (go make disciples), the nature of the Father, intimacy with the Father, eternity, how to know the Father, what it is like to be His family, and development of leaders who could duplicate what Jesus did.

Things I notice focused on in Christian culture: tithing, marriage, come to church more than be the church, men are the head/wives submit, supporting your local church/pastor, how to get God to bless you, only a few have opportunities to lead or use gifts, development of followers/spectators instead of leaders.

I highly prefer the focus of Jesus. His methods produced disciples who shifted Nations. They did not just fill buildings, they made an impact for generations.

When God is pursued first and most, the rest falls into place-we give because we love God, we support ministers because we love God, people are better spouses when they love God…our focus matters. Sometimes things whispered in the Bible are shouted in culture and they are the secondary thing. Sometimes culture and a misunderstanding of scripture is promoted above the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus…especially the teaching on submission.

The highest things are have no other gods besides God, love, and seek first God’s Kingdom.

May we grow to know Jesus and abide in Him! True Christianity is focused on knowing God and abiding in Him!

Love,

Erin Lamb

P.S all books and audio teachings are on sale today for Valentine’s Day. Go to https://www.empowered-free.com/shop. Use the coupon code: Love2019

Our Reactions to Evil Matter (Pursuing Authentic Christianity)

Today I want to tackle reactions to evil in the world. When Jesus walked the earth there was evil, injustice, mistreatment of people groups, and he faced hatred/mockery/mistreatment.

We see Jesus responding in sternness to the self righteous (Pharisees) and the disciples. We see compassion for those who were lost and not claiming to be right with God.

Jesus also has a one up on us. He was sinless. Jesus was willing to die for the same people He rebuked sternly. He was willing to be mocked, beaten, and even killed for the UNGODLY! Jesus died for His enemies. If Jesus rebukes someone sternly, He is perfect in His assessment and without any sin.

We can sin in our attempts to deal with people and be puffed up in ourselves while doing so. “Oh, I think sister Susie is wrong, let me grab my bible and go point it out to her.” Is it wrong to try to help someone? No. Yet the bible tells us to make sure we don’t have a big mega plank in our eye before we go trying to pull a splinter out of someone’s eye. We are also told to be gentle. We can be gentle, direct, and not nasty. Is it wrong as a leader to address people? No. Yet if we do not love them, our words can be correct and in the wrong spirit.

It is a trap of the evil one to convince us that we are the Holy Spirit or Jesus. We point to God. We do not become God.

It is a trap of the evil one to respond in the same spirit as the evil of this age. We overcome evil with good. If someone comes at us crazy, it does not mean God gives us permission to act crazy.

God has tested this in my life over and over. It appears as weakness to some people. Yet I do not need to yell or act crazy because someone approaches me with ignorance, hatred, evil, or nonsense. We can rebuke and address in great love understanding that the spirits of this age blind people to the truth of who God is.

They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God,~2 Corinthians 4:4 (GNT).

Imagine going into a house and the lights are off and everyone is blind. Your method to help is to scream at them, “You are blind. You are in the dark!!!” Guess what, your screaming will not make them see. You can scream all day and it adds no value.

Imagine going to a graveyard and everyone is dead. You walk around screaming the Gospel at them. They can’t hear you! Dead people do not hear or see. The only reason a believer in Jesus can see or hear is because God opened blind eyes, deaf ears, and revealed Himself.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins,~Colossians 2:13 (NLT).

One of the ways we can help the world is by actually living a life that is a living testimony of the goodness, love, and power of God. I had several coworkers who were atheists, agnostic, or other faiths inquire about Jesus because of the way I acted at work. I did not bully them with the bible, point out everything they did that violated scripture, nor look down on them. I looked for ways to serve them, love them, and the topic of Jesus would just come up. One went to church because he said he could not figure out why I had so much joy. My Muslim neighbor said I was the only Christian he had encountered that did not mistreat him. One of my atheist coworkers hurt her back and because I did not mistreat her, she let me pray. God took all her pain away.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children,~Ephesians 5:1 (NLT).

The world has heard our sermons. Have they seen Jesus through us?

Do we respond to evil with the Spirit of Jesus? Do we see people God loves and desires to redeem? Or are we like the Pharisees, our hands are full of heavy stones and we are crying out to God to punish them? I will tell you sin alone is great punishment. Without Jesus, people will have ledgers marked with every sin. Do we care about their souls or just the way they treat us?

We also don’t need to beat people up with the bible. I saw this old movie years ago called Saved. It basically mocked Christians for hypocrisy and improper methods of evangelism. I have included a very short clip of the groups attempt to lead Mary back to Jesus. This involves beating her with an actual bible. The Gospel is Not A Weapon . It’s worth watching! It is about 5 minutes long.

I am not stating we condone sin.

I am not stating we condone immorality.

I am stating the way we deal with people can be part of the determining factors on whether they turn to Jesus or run from Him.

I am stating if we don’t live what we claim to believe it impacts the world. All of creation is groaning for sons and daughters of God to rise up and shine bright (Romans 8:19-23)!

We do have a small role to play. If we are hypocrites, hateful, only love people who are a certain way, then we demonstrate to the world that our God is that way. It misrepresents Jesus to the world.

Let’s look at what Jesus said (Luke 6:32-36 (AMP)

If you [only] love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend [money] to those from whom you expect to receive [it back], what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to receive back the same amount. But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your[heavenly] Father is merciful.

Expecting people who don’t know Jesus to act like Jesus, is like asking a person who cannot swim to compete in Olympic swimming. They can not. We cannot. Unless we have the Spirit of God we will not manifest the likeness of His character.

Honestly, I have met numerous people in my lifetime in churches who claim Jesus and look and act nothing like Jesus. I have had some of them yell at me, leave my fellowships, act hateful and nasty because I actually taught them what Jesus said. I could write a mega book on mistreatment from professing believers. Shouting “Praise the Lord,” on Sunday and gossiping about you on Monday. I will not even unpack the prejudice, jealousy, competing, pettiness, sexism, sabotage, and racism that I have encountered with professing Christians.

My point is as follows, to expect the world or people who do not know Jesus to flow in tune with God is unreasonable. It is also unfair if we (Christians) are not willing to submit to God to act in ways that actually look like God and then tell others they need God. It confuses the world when the Gospel we teach is not the Gospel we live.

How we react to evil is important. We do not condone it. We do not agree with it. We also do not stoop to low levels of conduct and act in ways unbecoming of Jesus to deal with it. If we were committing evil or out of line, how would we want to be treated? Would we want to be cussed out and condemned? Or would we want someone to say, “I love you and there is a better way?”

I love that even the rebukes of Jesus come because He longs for us to be right with God. Sometimes I think in culture its about us being right and not about the person being right with God.

Love is who God is and how He operates. I appreciate every rebuke and correction of God. Mainly because when God corrects it is to restore. When people do it, sometimes (not always), it is simply a critical spirit or pride. It lacks love, lacks compassion, and lacks tact. A critical spirit can seem like discernment, yet it’s not. God reveals to heal and so we can intercede or help. A critical spirit is rooted in pride and loves pointing out the flaws of others while rarely seeing it’s own flaws.

I am praying I walk in authentic Christianity. Rather than pointing the finger at others, I am asking God to help me walk out authentic faith. When people encounter me, I hope they walk away saying, “I want to know the God you worship,” not “Oh my gosh, get this person away from me. Whoever they worship must be a flake or a freak.”

I actually had a conversation with God Sunday about the way the church represents Him. I put myself in the shoes of someone completely unchurched. Would I desire Jesus just based on my encounters with believers over the years? Other than my parents and a handful of people, well, probably not. Yes, I have met some amazing people, yet as a whole (the summary of my life in Christiandom) have seen a culture that loves those who are already on the path better than the sinner. I would not feel comfortable as a way out there sinner coming into a community of faith. I would not feel comfortable as someone who was labeled liberal or alternative. I would not feel safe. How can I say this? Because I have spent my life in churches and seen the way “outsiders” are treated by a good chunk of people. The person can be a “get them saved project” or “be nice to them only at worship gatherings-ignore otherwise.” Gosh, I have encountered people who withhold love from other Christians because they go to another church or align with another political party. I have seen some pretty amazing believers too, yet as a summary-just my thoughts, we can do better.

I think we (I) can do better by abiding in Jesus (John 15:4-5). We can pray for revival all day, yet if we are not revived internally and begin to actually manifest Jesus, I do not think we will positively impact the world. I hear people chant, “They just need to get saved and come to the church.” Yet, how are we going to treat them when they get there? Is anyone going to mentor or disciple them? Is anyone going to genuinely love, invest, and treat them like Jesus would? We want these millions of souls to come to know Jesus and join our churches, yet have we learned to love the people already right in front of us?

Love is the highest standard. God speaks truth in love. The devil will tell the truth in the wrong spirit to hurt people or inappropriate times to create issues. If you don’t believe demons and the devil can speak truth, read the passages where demons cried out Jesus was the Son of God and He silenced them because it was not His time (Luke 4:41), or the slave girl who followed Paul around speaking truth from the wrong source (Acts 16).

Bottom line-we overcome evil with good.

Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good,~Romans 12:21 (CSB).

Love,

Erin Lamb

Godly Pursuit vs. Selfish Pursuit

Every Pursuit is Not Rooted in God Love

I have encountered numerous women in my lifetime who felt so special for being pursued. Yet the man pursued them as a game, out of loneliness, selfishness, lust, greed, to check a box, to cause harm. Women can pursue too…women are sometimes taught in culture that having a man increases their value or not being married or having children is a sign of life failure. It’s untrue, yet culture contains many things that simply aren’t true. Stalkers are pursuers too…they simply don’t possess the right motivations.

God tells us to pursue wisdom. God tells us to investigate fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). I have been pursued by people, not just men, for their selfish gain. They were not interested in what God was speaking to me or calling me to do. They saw something they thought they wanted and saught to convince me to go along with the agenda. God tells us not to pursue selfish agendas.

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself,~Phil 2:3.

God is not selfish. When God pursues us, our best interests are taken into consideration. When God presents a plan or His agenda, our best interests and the best interests of others are taken into consideration. I am going to throw out a radical statement. God does not need our worship or devotion. Angels surround the throne of God and worship God continually (Revelation 7:11, Isaiah 6). God invites us into worship not just because He alone is worthy of it, but because worship impacts us in a powerful way. We become like the gods we worship. God alone is good. Even prayer benefits us more than it does God. God is not ego driven; love is God’s persistent motivation.

It can be affirming to be pursued. Yet ask the question, why is this person pursuing me? What is the fruit of their life? Or why am I pursuing this person? God what are my true intentions? Help me to pursue to love as you love.

This is not just for dating. Think about business relationships, ministry relationships, friendships. Is the person coming to the table to add value or with containers to take away? We love tupperware people, we do not allow them to be consistent consumers in our lives. There needs to be balance. Ministering to people is pouring out expecting nothing in return. Godly love involves some reciprocation. God does expect us to love Him in return. It is a lie God desires nothing from us. You may read this in the following verses: Matthew 22:37, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Luke 6:46, John 14:15.

I am inclined to tell you the story of an old hoarder colleague. She loved to go to buffets. The main purpose was to load up her purse. I kid you not she would have a purse full of egg rolls, and chicken wings. She did not frequent buffets because she liked the restaurant per say. She went to load up her purse, what she considered free food. She was not poor in reality. She suffered from scarcity mentality, hoarding, and greed. The restaurant may think, “Oh she loves this place.” Nope, she loves benefiting from this place. If she truly loved the restaurant and the owners, she would abide by their guidelines of not carry out from the buffet. She would not fill her purse full of items. She would think about what is best for the owners not just herself.

God encourages us and invites us into a lifestyle of love. Love thinks of what is best for everyone, not just one person. Love is not selfish, greedy, one sided, nor pursues under false pretenses. God also commits to who He pursues. There is loyalty there. God is not simply pursuing to ditch you later.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Are You Carrying A Load Meant For Jesus?

Natural Lessons That Can Be Spiritual (Example From Boxing/Krav Maga): Why Rest (Conserving Energy) & Focus Are So Important. The Donkey In This Photo Broke Down Because His Owners Overloaded Him.

One of the easiest ways to defeat someone stronger than you is to overload them, have them use all their energy on things that do not matter, and keep them distracted. Another way is to convince them they are less than who they are, for as a man or woman thinketh in their heart-so are they. You see this in boxing; wear out your opponent or keep them distracted or insult them to try to get in their head.

I had a sparing training match with a primarily left handed fighter. I watched them carefully. They could not execute with the right arm well. I allowed them to swing at me on their left side and blocked every blow. I went after wearing out and disabling their left side. They lost. My intent was not cruelty and this was training, not a fight fight. I told the person. “You are weak on your right side and it’s obvious. You also expend too much energy right off the bat trying to fight me. Conserve your energy, make me work. Make your opponent expend energy and get tired. When your opponent is stronger than you, you let them wear themselves out trying to defeat you. You conserve energy and when they are weaker, you have an even fight. I am ambidextrous and have an advantage over you, instead of wearing yourself out, you should have focused on trying to get me to fight you, not block you.” I took her down quickly because she was so eager to fight she forget that there is a strategy to battle.

The devil is not stupid as people claim. He pays attention to what bothers people, what get’s people worked up and upset, and he loves crisis, fighting, debate, confusion. He wears people out with worry, stress, strain, or fighting battles that are not theirs to fight. Pretty soon the stronger person (Greater is He who is in you, than in the world) is in the corner exhausted. Why? They are overloaded.

I love what my dad does, where he documents a prayer then does not worry God again. He simply touches the paper when He thinks about it and says, “God you know.”

The other tactic of the enemy is to convince humanity that they are not who God says they are. He excels in put downs, mean sarcasm, harassment, mistreatment, in inserting doubt about who God says a person is. He did it with Jesus in the wilderness-“If you are the Son of God.” Well, Satan Jesus is the Son of God. How many times has someone spoken something over you and it was not of God, it was intended to create doubt so you would come into agreement with the liar Satan. Why? What we agree with, we empower. Jesus was wise enough to say, “It is written.” When someone comes at you with identity and confidence killers, you can say, “Oh no, it is written that I am who God says I am, and can do ALL He empowers me to do.”

God did not intend for us to be overloaded. Jesus stated plainly to come to Him all who are weary and heavy laden and He would give us rest. We are not supposed to be in war 24/7 and if we are in war, then we fight from the victory of the risen Christ.

One tool I see used in my own life is when my life is okay, for people to come out of no where with their own crisis, whether it’s family, associate, person from my past, or random ministry person. The person needs help. Yet I had to learn to assess what God wants me to do. Otherwise, I can end up absolutely exhausted. I rarely have a small storm, it’s normally multiple storms or trials at a time and storms around me. Yes we speak peace during storms. We also need to learn to lay down and take a nap. Jesus slept through storms.

I say often, “We cannot do everything, we can do something.” Sometimes that something is laying the situation or person on the alter of God and leaving them there. Sometimes it is offering the person another resource that’s not you. It’s not cruel to assess the energy you have and use wisdom on how to carry the load. Every load is not our load.

I carry quite a bit and 2018 gave me load after load. I triage the loads and try to put as much as possible on the alter of God. Why? I cannot carry everything. I am not a super hero. I am a human being. Too much crisis, too much trauma, too much tragedy, too much loss, too much conflict is bad. There must be times of refreshing. There must be times to truly rest from heavy loads.

Are you loaded down? Are you carrying loads that need placed on the alter of Jesus? Are you expending energy on things that are not supposed to be your focus?

Photo: Business Insider (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Created for Wholeness!

Part of what I do, aside from write books, is help people get healed from wounds of gross trauma, abuse, abandonment, rejection, and deep soul wounding.

I never thought I would be doing what I do. I simply could not understand why there were so many wounded people in churches and in the world who were not getting better from popping pills or cognitive (talk) therapy or just reciting the Bible. Mostly, I wondered why some people were physically healed and others were not.

God invited me on a several year journey into studying the soul (mind, will, and emotions). The body, soul, and spirit are connected. An injury to one can impact the others. I saw there were people with deep emotional wounds from trauma, abuse, mistreatment who were suffering greatly in their bodies.

After years of training with Dr. Kraft and Dr. Bitcon, I embarked on teaching, training, and facilitating sessions with people to help them step into greater freedom with God.

I have worked with people who are highly dissociative (have multiple personalities) and those so traumatized parts of their lives have been limited. I love seeing God bring freedom.

I also do a yearly MasterClass to train others to do what I do. There are loads of traumatized and wounded people in the world who need help, freedom, and hope. I have even used these methods with children.

God loves to heal! We were created for wholeness, not fractured living.

You may read more here: https://www.empowered-free.com/blog/created-for-wholeness.

If you are struggling with PTSD, wounds of trauma/abuse/abandonment/rejection-I would love to invite you to join me December 1, 2018 at 11am EST for a webinar on Freedom from Trauma!

God wants us free!

Register here: Sign Me Up (Freedom From Trauma Class)

You are profoundly loved, prayed for, and appreciated! Thanks for following the author blog!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Founder & CEO of Lamb Enterprises LLC

Founder of Operation God is Love

Empowered-Free.com

OperationGodisLove.org

We Can Change the World!

When we look at the news we see people fighting, mass shootings, hate crimes, rumors of war, poverty, injustice, bullying, name calling, and so many things that are not loving our neighbor. We can blame mental illness or look at the real issue, insecurity. We will not love our neighbor if we do not love ourselves. At the root of all abuse, lack of value for life, racism, sexism, and mistreatment of others is insecurity! There is a cure that does not involve popping pills and years of therapy! Read more here!!

https://www.empowered-free.com/blog

Handling Unfulfilled Promises

Sarah & Unfulfilled Promises (Devotion)

I am discouraged by people who make fun of Sarah. She laughed at God. So did Abraham, yet his issues are often overlooked. People who have not suffered in God’s waiting room, just from my experiences, are clueless the pain it brings. Imagine wanting a child and he shows up when you are 10 years away from death. It makes a great story, that’s because we are not the ones who must live the process. The same with the woman with the issue of blood. It’s great to celebrate the miracle, people can forget her 12 years of extreme suffering.

There are the parades of Christians who quote Scripture to those suffering, tell them to just trust God, while they walk past them with the promises they did not have to wait long for nor contend for long. They have no experience in the waiting rooms of disappointment, no after no from physicians, the disdain and judgement of their peers for not possessing something society says makes you valuable. “If you just had enough faith and believed God, then everything in your life would be perfect.” Well, no. Jesus stated in this world there would be troubles, yet take heart, He overcame the world. The early disciples of Jesus suffered greatly. Many were martyred for their faith, some tortured. Jesus suffered greatly. I do not know of anyone with more faith than Jesus.

My prayer is we cease telling people if they just believe enough, fast enough, pray enough, tithe enough that they will live in heaven on earth. Heaven is not simply a place. It is a person. God offers Himself to stand with us through the trials and disappointments of life.

Some people have no grid for suffering over hope deferred, therefore their counsel lacks genuine God compassion.

Some will tell you to settle and give up the dream! Some will grow tired of your waiting and avoid the topic or avoid you. Some will bombard you with every “Christian” phrase of God keeps His promises. You may even get a Jeremiah 29:11 sticker to put on your window. People quote to you, yet is rare to find one that will wrap their arms around you in compassion and weep with you.

Everyone is okay talking negatively about Sarah and desperation, yet unless you have walked through painful waiting and seasons of profound disappointment, it is impossible to speak into the life of another waiting and being seemingly denied over and over.

There is a compassion that is built during suffering that can not be simply imparted. It must be learned through experience. It is not a mantle for everyone. It is for some.

A woman’s worth…

It’s 2018 and I feel the pressure to be a wife and mom. It’s one of the first things Christian women ask other women. Then it’s, “Well don’t you want to be married? Don’t you want kids?” People feel at liberty to stick their nose in your business where it does not belong. I wonder if they ever think, “Maybe this person was married and their spouse died. Maybe they were told they can’t have children. Maybe me prying into their personal life is intrusive, rude, and unkind.” So I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for Sarah. She lived in a time and culture where barren women were seen as cursed, less than, shamed, and the inability to produce an heir was looked down upon by society. Oh Sarah!

Desperation and despair can be bedfellows of prolonged waiting for a promise. You can fast, pray, decree, dance around the mountain and still hurt. You can worship, appreciate God, believe God can, and still hurt. You can hope and still hurt. Why? Prolonged waiting followed by repeated disappointment, can still bring heartache.

I wish so very much in Christianity we could be like Jesus and Paul and be honest. Jesus was in anguish facing the cross. He knew the Father was good. He was still human and understood His flesh was about to be ripped from His body. He knew and believed the promise. He still felt the depths of agony of what He would walk through, and not be delivered from facing. Paul faced incredible challenges to which He responded with honest expression. He stated there were times they were almost pressed to the point of giving up.

If you are like Sarah, it’s okay to process your pain, disappointment, and true heart condition with God. You don’t have to pretend to be a super hero for God. God knows it hurts and stings more than anyone. You may be watching others enjoy their promise and you have been waiting, waiting, waiting. Maybe you have endured the insensitive Christian or just slap a verse on it. Maybe you are beyond tired. Maybe your heart is breaking. Maybe you have been pushed to the point of utter desperation.

I am not going to quote scripture to you. I am not going to tell you to trust God. I am not going to tell you to do the Christian things that are sometimes tools to try to manipulate God. I am going to tell you that God loves you and Jesus understands the depths of your sorrow. I am going to tell you it’s okay to gently tell people to mind their own business or you are not accepting their poor counsel. It is okay to rest. It’s okay to cry. Jesus wept. It’s okay to process the pain instead of stuffing it inside. It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to escape the mobs of people to just process with God. It’s okay!

I hope this helps someone today process pain and step into greater freedom. Giving people permission to be human is powerful.

Disclaimer:

Also this post is NOT about me wanting a child or spouse. Please DO NOT try to set me up, email me about someone, etc…I wrote this post because I am examining the process of desperation and suffering. I have promises that are NOT related to marriage and family that are long standing. I add this disclosure because some people think unmarried means marriage is all you want or think about or view you as a project to marry off. No! No! No!! Just putting it out there to save myself some drama and people sticking their nose in my personal life. One of the biggest promises I am contending for is the salvation of my entire family.

For more encouraging devotions, check out Confident & Free Devotional.

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Warmly,

Erin Lamb