2020 has pushed me even further away from cultural Chrisianity, yet deeper into Jesus. I do not fit in the religious/political crowd that cares little to nothing about the poor, and more about things than people. I do not fit into the grid that ignores suffering, while judging experiences that they do not have to live. I do not fit there. I do not belong there. While I love people, we are not on the same page.
I see Jesus out in the world meeting with people some church people have said, “I do not agree with that, so I want no part of ‘those’ people.” Well, Jesus came to the world that was totally out of alignment with God. They thought they were righteous. They were clueless and on their way to hell. Jesus called the religious/political crowd white washed tombs. They looked good on the outside; they were mess on the inside. What if He said, “I do not agree with ‘those’ people, I refuse to go hang on a cross for them.”
Jesus speaks to the Pharisees (Matthew 23: 23-28)
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and pretenders! For you are obsessed with peripheral issues, like insisting on paying meticulous tithes on the smallest herbs that grow in your gardens. These matters are fine, yet you ignore the most important duty of all: to walk in the love of God, to display mercy to others, and to live with integrity. Readjust your values and place first things first. What blind guides! Nitpickers! You will spoon out a gnat from your drink, yet at the same time you’ve gulped down a camel without realizing it!
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are like one who will only wipe clean the outside of a cup or bowl, leaving the inside filthy. You are foolish to ignore the greed and self-indulgence that live like germs within you. You are blind and deaf to your evil. Shouldn’t the one who cleans the outside also be concerned with cleaning the inside? You need to have more than clean dishes; you need clean hearts!
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption. Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
I do not know where I fit in the grand scheme of what people call Christianity. I do know I love Jesus and want to follow Him, not the crowd. Maybe I will tap into my Jewish roots (it’s part of my ethnic identity) and choose to identify as a Messianic Jew. All I know for sure at this moment is I love Jesus, Jesus is Lord, Jesus cares about the poor/hurting/marginalized/outcasts of society/justice, and I want to follow Him.
Our current times have stirred up so many people. I think social media aggravates it, makes people emboldened in their responses, and some are quite mean spirited.
Along with the stirring comes the troops of denial. “There is not a problem. I don’t see it.” Or “It does not affect me, therefore it’s not a problem!” Deniers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Some do not deny, they deflect. They are quick to pull some stat that is negative about people being oppressed, “See, look what they do wrong!” They change the subject to something that could possibly shift the narrative to, “There must be something this person did to deserve this.”
Dylan Roof flat out confessed he murdered 9 black people in their own church to start a race war. Those weren’t criminals. They were in their own church, worshipping Jesus, and welcomed him with open arms. He admitted to being racist and there are still people who deny or deflect from the issue of racism in America.
Both the denier and the deflector gain something. They do not have to express compassion, listen, love, humble themselves, learn, assess any prejudice in their own heart, or assume any responsibility for a solution. It’s perfect for the person who wants no skin in the game.
I had a Christian lady tell me recently, “This is not my fight.” So, as a Christian we can chant against abortion, throw tantrums if we feel sensored by anyone for our religious beliefs, say we follow Jesus, yet completely ignore what He came to do. He came to bring justice to the world.
If we are only pro unborn lives, let’s change the chant to “We care about the unborn. Once you are born, we don’t care. If you are marginalized, poor, a different ethnicity, don’t think like us, or don’t vote like us we really don’t care. Don’t ask us for help. We don’t care about you! Yet you should really get saved. Jesus loves you, but I don’t!” WTHeck is that line of thinking?!
My encouragement to the church world is do not complain or critique how people respond to a crisis you don’t care about enough to be involved. If you do not care about black people, don’t judge how they respond to hundreds of years of trauma; years of injustice, horrific treatment, being brutalized, the government bringing drugs into their neighborhoods, wrongful incarceration, being treated like garbage, their successes outside of athletics/music mostly hidden and any negative stat amplified.
I was traumatized watching George Floyd die and double traumatized by the insensitive or bigoted responses of some people. I saw my dad lying there (he has brown skin). I saw Jesus. Not saying George is saintly. Stating people watched Jesus (a brown man) be murdered and it was okay to publicly crucify him. People stood by and watched Jesus suffer and die. No fair trial, just execution. In America they used to have Sunday afternoon lynchings. They would go to church, afterwards lynch a black man, all while eating lunch. That my friends is INJUSTICE. They probably considered themselves good Christians. It’s funny how our ideas of what is good don’t always match God.
It reminds of the story of the Good Samaritan. The two religious people crossed the street to avoid helping the hurt man. The Samaritan was the only one to stop. Jesus said, “Be like the Good Samaritan.” And not in an arrogant, “I am here to prove my superiority and fulfill my messiah complex.” In a humbling oneself to help your neighbor. Who is our neighbor? All of humanity!
Be silent or pray if there is no desire to love. If there is no desire to love as the church, can we hang our hats and go home? Take off our WWJD bracelets and just admit we do not care.
Can we stop talking about Planned Parenthood? Because racism planted PP in communities of color and encouraged abortion. Black people did not form it, fight to abort babies, nor ask for abortion rights. White women fought for abortion rights and to put them eventually in minority communities. Until the 1980s/90s the majority of babies aborted were white.
Imagine living in a society where the history is to hate you, blame you, make you the butt of the joke, and you see how people who look like you are treated. Imagine the message sent (if it were an honest conversation based on what I have witnessed), “Keep the baby, now if they are killed once they are 5 years old or older society will not care. Your child will become a hashtag for a season, yet overall society does not care about your dead child once it’s born. Even if it’s an unjust murder, your community will be blamed. Oh, and please do not say black lives matter, that’s offensive to us!”
Sometimes in cultural Christianity it feels like people are saying Jesus loves everybody and giving you the middle finger at the same time. At least I have felt this way at times.
I saw a young black female protestor say, “I am afraid to have black children. I do not want them treated this way.”
Someone sent me a “prophetic” word to white people from a white prophet and it said, “Though most of us think they (black people) are just getting what they deserve we should mentor them…” I was floored. It was outright racist and using God told me this. God is not racist. God pulled all people out of Africa. The oldest remains are a black woman. Jesus was not white. He was brown. He would not have even been welcomed in His own church for hundreds of years. He would have been in the colored church. Slave owners would not even allow their hostages to worship God. So Jesus probably would have been out in the fields being beat up too!
If you study American history it outlines in clear English why there have been economic disparities. Everything from slavery, Jim Crow, Black Codes, Red Lining, Scorched Earth, Mass Incarceration for crimes not committed or receiving massive sentences for petty crimes, Devil’s Punchbowl Concentration Camp (freed hostages from the human trafficking of Africans) were put in concentration camps and killed by the thousands, Tulsa & Rosewood Massacres (when black people built wealth, their cities were burned to the ground and hundreds murdered). The system of racism was set up to prevent black advancement.
We never want to forget 9/11 or the Holocaust, yet hid Concentration Camps for black people and torturing/killing millions of them. We cannot hide from the skeletons in the closet.
President Hoover stated he would never allow a Negro (not the word he used) to rise to power like Malcom X or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr unless the government formed that man. During the Black Panther Party era, government officials were sent into black neighborhoods to loot, start riots, and hurt people and blame it on the black community.
I have had my own experiences with racism even the past few weeks.
I believe racism stole parts of my childhood. My mom pushed me to study more, do more, achieve more because she stated, “People think we are ignorant. You are brilliant, yet must work twice as hard.” I did not get as much play time. I did college level work in secondary school. I was moved into a school for the gifted and I hated that school. Parents did not want their kids to be with me or come to my house. I am not that old people! This is recent stuff.
I recall going to an all white church and the lady telling me, “This used to be a white church.” She grabbed her purse and moved. She turned to me and said, “I am not moving because you are black.” Racism seems to find comfort next to religion, this should not be. I think it’s because sometimes in circles of faith excuses are made for sin and Sunday mornings are typically the most segregated day of the week. People are not forced to relate to anyone who does not look or think just like them.
Kudos to pastors trying to diversify their church! Heaven is a multiethnic place. If you don’t like brown people, just wait til you see Jesus and most saved people in the Bible. They were brown, dark brown.
I recall my years working in a laboratory where white people, especially white men would take credit for my work. Sometimes their names were put on reports I wrote. Sometimes those with far less qualifications would complain when I was promoted and work against efforts. One lady told me, “Well, at least your job is secure because you are a minority.” Obviously it was affirmative action. There was sometimes resentment, pushback, lying, and some nasty parts too. You learn to suck it up because companies usually do not favor the person who reports issues. It’s a misunderstanding or you get shunned.
I have overheard and been the target of racist comments. I have listened to the ignorant stereotypes. “They all are poor. They all have kinky or frizzy hair. They don’t have dads at home. They are angry. They steal. Oh she’s pretty or educated, she must be mixed.”
Even with studying chemical/civil/environmental engineering, running businesses, running not for profits initiatives, serving the community, and a gifted level I.Q, I still face racism and racist mindsets. I have worked twice, if not three times harder than some of my peers and have faced dishonor for the way God created me to be. I thank God for who I am. I am not seeking any sympathy. I do want people to understand racism did not die just because we had a black President!
There are more black men in college than in jail, which is a miracle considering racism and profiling. There are more black women getting advanced degrees than any ethnic group. There are 107 historically black universities in America. There is a group on Instagram called the Dad Gang, they showcase black fathers caring for their kids. I was raised by an upstanding black man. We are not ignorant, poor, thieves, violent, nor fit any of the stereotypes. We are also not the anomaly.
Media paints the pictures it wants society to believe. I had a friend who’s mom became racist after watching the news daily. She now hates black people. I do not trust all things shared in media.
Racism is woven into all 7 mountains of influence, including the church. Every time you see white Jesus, you see a denial of who He is-a repainting of His ethnicity that fueled white supremacy.
I do not care what people say about it’s a thing of the past. I saw all the nasty posts about President Obama by people. Some called his wife an ape or monkey. Racism did not die. It’s now being filmed and posted on social media. America was built on the foundations of racism. No one was blowing up my feed, emails, or phone to pray for Obama. No one was shouting “God appoints leaders let’s honor them,” to me during his presidency. They were tearing him to shreds. Now people tear me to shreds if they even think I am questioning Trump. I have been called horrible names by professing Christians thinking I am saying something negative regarding Trump,
I saw how professing Christians have bullied others online, threatened ministers who supported black lives matter, and black out Tuesday. I have watched threatening of businesses too. One platform minister told me she lost thousands of followers. Just for saying black lives matter. Threats, tantrums, name calling…all in the name of Jesus. I have been called some colorful names and threatened too!! What do you do with the angry, entitled, racist in your church? I rebuked one last week. She deleted me. God bless you, yet not apologizing for calling sin what it is. Narcissism must be addressed in church and thinking the world revolves around us. The Gospel revolves around Jesus.
Whether we recognize it or not, the world sees our hypocrisy. The world sees the disparity regarding the causes of injustice we support. The world sees when we don’t seem to care. The world sees racism in the church even if Christians bury their heads in the sand.
The excuse cannot be “I don’t understand injustice,” because I saw Christians going crazy online when they said their religious posts were taken off Twitter, FB, or Instagram. People marched our statehouse and several other states to protest the shut downs due to COVID19. They were not tear gassed, to my knowledge, nor slandered online by any Christians I saw. I believe some of the protestors in Michigan had guns. They had the right to protest during the stay at home orders. But those protestors about the recent murders, that is just George Soros, ANTIFA, and terrorists. I wonder if we are blind to our double standards or see them and just want to pretend we don’t. I can imagine a black person showing up at a BLM event with a gun and being killed immediately, “They looked like threat.”
In this racial unrest, some professing Christians have not demonstrated the heart of a Good Samaritan. I met with protestors, let some cry on me, listened to stories. While some of the Christians I knew watched from their comfy homes passing judgement and denouncing Black Lives Matter, focused on looters/rioters, they missed the whole point.
It took protests and unrest to get the two men who murdered Ahmaud Aubrey and filmed it arrested. He was not a criminal. He was jogging down the street. They blocked him with their truck and murdered him in broad daylight. It took protests and unrest to get the cop arrested who knelt on George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds arrested. Many others have never been prosecuted. If Dylan Roof can kill 9 black people in a church and get walked out nicely, why do black people have to be gunned down?! The autistic boy who played violin was just walking home. Dead. Why are people so upset? Why are they rioting? Why are people crying? We don’t have a racism problem in America! The system is just.
If the system is just, how did Dylan Roof go into a black church, sit through their bible study, confess he killed them for being black and get walked out calmly? The police even took him to get food. Yet George Floyd supposedly had a fake 20 dollar bill and was lynched on film. If you think this is a just system, tell me the last time you saw a white person lynched and it broadcasted? Our white serial killers and rapists are treated with greater dignity.
I grow weary from deleting abrasive, prejudice, and racist comments on my social media. People have been combative, angry, refusing love if they do not agree politically. It’s made me sad to be labeled a Christian. Yet who am I to judge. My job is to roll up my sleeves and keep jumping in the ring. I keep trying to educate people online even when they call me mames or call me racist (they do not know what that word means). I do know because I have lived it! Oh my I have lived it. My parents lived it. My grandparents lived it. My Native and Jewish ancestors lived it.
We keep getting back up even if the world or church seemingly chants, “We don’t truly care about you! You don’t matter. If you say you matter, then you are excluding others and racist.” I keep getting back up when exposed to some of the worst of humanity. That will be our legacy! Overcomers. We have come a long way, yet we still have a long way to go.
I hope something said here helps someone. If you have been an ally and genuinely care, thank you! God bless you. I am thankful for anyone willing to stand up against injustice.
Before I go, I do care about the injustice to police who are doing their jobs or businesses owners looted. I also recognize the catalyst for all the unrest. I do not know how I would respond to all this if I did not know Jesus.
We can deny it, deflect from it, look away, or ask what we can do about the problem. It is a problem. Cities should not have to be burned to get a murder on film taken care of…and for those who say, “Why can’t they just pray or peaceful protest.” The football players tried that; they were called unpatriotic and by our leadership sons of $&!”?’s. Dr. King peacefully protested and he was violently beaten, water hosed, his friends beaten/murdered, dogs let loose on him, threatened, and he was murdered. Can we stop pretending that the protest is the issue and look at racism/rage against people of color. If we do not pay attention, I believe history will keep trying to repeat itself.
There were no mass riots/mass looting/mass protests before America had to watch George Floyd lynched on film.
I am against looting/destruction of property/uncalled for violence.
I am also not sure people see the series of events that got us here. 400 years of fighting for equal rights which benefited all people of color, not just African Americans and we still have some major problems. It was a “whites only” society for hundreds of years. I am stating history, not trying to blame a current generation for what was done.
Without many African American and non-African American people willing to risk their lives for equality, only whites of European ancestry would have access to great schools, freedom, drinking from the same water fountains, the right to vote for people of color and for women, jobs rights, access to the same facilities, and protection under the law from discrimination. Their sacrifices benefit the Latino community, immigrants not from Europe, Asian community, and other marginalized groups.
People thought the Civil Rights movement put an end to inequalty. It did not. Dr. Martin Luther King peacefully protested and was jailed 30 times, then murdered. Recently football players peacefully took a knee to protest police brutality. They were publically condemned and called thugs. People peacefully protested so many deaths that were ignored. People tried to raise their voices in civility to say, “There is a problem.” Many were ignored.
Now that things are being filmed, cities are being burned and looted, people who are not African American are suddenly impacted, shaken by a reality that has been continual, and saying, “Hmmm, maybe there is a problem.” I am quoting the words of others who did not recognize an issue until now.
Even still there are people missing part of the root and catalyst. Sure there are opportunistic people across the color spectrum behaving in ungodly ways. There are far, far more peacefully stating, “Injustice is not okay, not on my watch!”
What gave looters/rioters the opportunity? Were they doing this in mass number prior to death of George, Breonna, Ahmed? No. Breonna was killed in her home. Ahmed was jogging down a public street. Neither were criminals.
People also forget 1 in 5 Americans are unemployed due to COVID19. We are suffering through a pandemic, economic downfall, and racial unrest. Even before race related tensions rose, people were breaking into cars in my neighborhood. I live in an extremely nice neighborhood. My sister’s friend was held at gun point and robbed at the grocery store for money, and groceries. People are hurting, and some are desperate. Does it make crime okay? No!!
I hope to God we see roots and stop trying to deal with just fruit. Why? Because I do NOT want a repeat of this.
Whether people agree with me or not, America’s failure to deal with certain issues thoroughly has created problems later. I will save tackling all the arguments on things people state the black community does wrong for a later post.
I will say media shows the worst, presents the ugliest stats, and often minimizes or hides the major contributions of people of color. The message that can be propagated is, “We love you as entertainers, athletes, musicians, but overall we do not view you as equal. If there is injustice against you, we may remain unmotivated to help or even at times believe you. You must have done something to cause this mistreatment or it’s a misunderstanding. If you peacefully protest injustice, this will be condemned too. America is great, the land of the free! Respect America even if America continually disrespects you.”
Across the world people are now protesting for George Floyd. Yet in America, there are still people who do not get it, or are focused more on the fruit of civil unrest rather than the root. Guess what happens when we refuse to dig up roots? The same fruit keeps popping up. The riots of the 1990s over the beating senseless of Rodney King did not teach America all the lessons needed.
We need to cease pretending we are not sick to be made whole!
I rarely hear sermons on racism unless someone has been murdered. Even then some pastors avoid talking about the sin of racism. People are reacting to George’s death because it was filmed. Normally it’s just, “Oh, another black man died. It must have been his fault. Black people are criminals.” The person becomes a hash tag for a season, and people move on with their lives.
Black people are painted as thieves and violent when some of the most heinous crimes in America have not been done by men of color. The extreme majority of mass shooters and serial killers have not been black men. When it comes to embezzling money and stealing millions from corporations, it has not been black men. If you look at the slavery era and post slavery, extreme violence, lynching, rape of black women, looting, burning down towns, these were crimes that were not prosecuted and committed not by black men. Yet the narrative is consistently “black men are violent and criminals.”
I believe the media is partially to blame for the way stories are told. If we do not tell the whole story, it creates blame shifting and bias. Are all white men mass murders, no. Are all black men criminals, no. Are all police unjust, no.
Across racial spectrums there are sinners. There are people who try to help humanity, and those who try to harm humanity. At the end of the day, we need God’s help. No group of people or person is perfect.
When we do not know history, it repeats itself. Read about the Tulsa Massacre and Rosewood Massacre. On false accusations of rape, entire black cities were looted, burned to the ground, and hundreds of black people killed on a false accusation. Some of the people alive today, were alive during the time of the Rosewood Massacre. If you demonstrate the way to get justice is to do certain things, understand where the model was set. It has only been 52 years since the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. Peaceful protestors of injustice murdered before their time.
What about black on black crime? This always comes up when a black person is murdered and it was racially motivated.
I will say racism fuels self hatred. It is challenging to love people who look like you when you have seen and been told you are the problem, you are bad/violent, your life does not matter. When the images of you were/are often negative, it takes God or a strong will to rise above a system that was set up to keep you from succeeding or even loving yourself.
After the Native Americans, the main recipients of violence were slaves; lynched, murdered, beaten till their flesh came off, women raped, families broken, unable to go to school, unable to marry, unable to vote, refused jobs, towns burned down/looted once you got on your feet. Violence was the language of the slave master. So when people talk about black on black crime, violence was learned. Culture drives behavior. Want a different behavior, change the culture!!
I hate injustice against any people group. I also hate when people look at fruit and not the root. There is tons of judging, criticizing, finger pointing. I think if we want to heal, we must stop simply looking at fruit and look at roots. How do we heal hundreds of years of injustice? I included some steps below:
1. Listen. When people speak up and say, “There is a problem,” don’t dismiss it.
2. Ask God if there is any prejudice in our hearts. I have had “friends” who held some pretty racist beliefs. They slipped out in conversations or times like these. Racism is sin. Attitudes of superiority are sin. Apathy is also sin. Only God can fill us with love for our neighbors. God HATES pride and a sense of superiority (Proverbs 6:16-19).
3. Stop ignoring parts of history that are shameful.Many people did not know about the Tulsa Massacre because it was hidden for 75 years. Watch films like Hidden Figures, Selma, Just Mercy, the Netflix film 13th, Harriet, 12 Years a Slave, Glory.
4. Learn about the contributions of people of color to America. The stop light, refrigerated trucks, automatic elevator doors, electret microphone, light bulb filament, co invention of the color IBM PC monitor and gigahertz chip, laser cataract surgery, the super soaker, identifying explosives spot test, illusion transmitter, peanut butter, numerous medical patents, NASA space calculations (see the movie Hidden Figures) were done by African Americans. Despite severe oppression, there have been countless contributions.
5. If you feel called, get involved with organizations seeking to fight injustice. Racism is a humanitarian issue. People in Christianity shout, “I am pro-life!” Yet crickets are sometimes heard when you talk about injustice against people of color.
6. Shut down racist conversations and speak up! I unfriended some people online spewing divisive or racist propaganda. One lady had to let people know a black lady hit her car. Well, I have had 3 major car accidents where a white person totaled my car. I did not get online and say, “This white person did this to me.” I have not posted publicly online videos or stories that increase division or have not been fact checked. What we permit, we promote. If we see people who are causing more problems and we go along with it, we help promote that narrative.
I do not want a repeat of this year. I want real change. I desire equality and justice for all people.
I hate that people are being hurt, looted, brutalized, murdered. I also know part of how we got here was because racism has not a big deal until someone dies or a city is burning down. Sin got us here. The numerous cases of injustice ingnored, got us here. Before there was ever black on black violence there was hundreds of years of extreme, sadistic, and horrific violence and injustice against black people.
I have seen some of the best and worst of humanity this past week. I hope we turn to Jesus. I will say being out with protestors I have seen the most amazing acts of kindness. People are giving their hearts to Jesus. He cares WAY more about people than politics, being politically correct, appeasing the masses, and material possessions.
Unfortunately we are feeling the reaping of what has been sown for hundreds of years. We can look for ways to stop the cycle!
I could not sleep last night so I started writing. Writing is often therapeutic. I hope this post encourages, inspires, and helps someone.
We rise as light bearers…
Pain and evil surround us. If we are not careful to guard our hearts, we can become reactionary rather than instruments of radical change. There are opportunities in adversity to rise to the occassion as a leader of positive change or to sink into an abyss of evil or an eye for eye. Oh, the eye for an eye; it eventually makes the whole world blind.
In the moment, pain can seem louder than reason. It can scream above the voice of God. It can pursue means that yield destruction. It can temporarily place band aids on broken bones. It can move swiftly to deal with fruit without examing the roots. Trusting God can slip by the wayside, drowned out by disappointment, hopelessness, or even despair. Self effort and self reliance can seek to overshadow God reliance. The heart can exclaim in fatigued cries-God can you hear me? Can you hear us? Crying out again and again. When will your justice reign supreme in our land?
I firmly believe He sees. God hears. God cares.
God is not screaming over the chaos. He is extending a hand, a whisper, an invitation to draw near. He understands more than anyone the pains humanity bears. His own Son was murdered without just cause, persecuted, betrayed, and abandoned. Jesus was an innocent man brutalized and hung on a cross. God does not look onward in pity. God enters into the deepest depths of human suffering. He weeps. God comes overflowing with compassion. God comes to heal the deep places inside that continue to bleed. He bottles the tears no one else sees.
It requires courage and dignity not to stoop to the level of those who have violently opposed you. It requires humility to yield to God and forgive even when people are not repentant nor remorseful. Forgiveness is not condoning evil. It is preventing evil from consuming our own soul. It is not forgiving an innocent person; it is forgiving a guilty person. It is releasing a guilty person to God. Faith in God involves a strong belief that the greatest justice is led from heaven’s throne.
We are the beloved of God…
To be the beloved of God is to hold one’s head high in dignity knowing you (we) are created in the image of God. It is choosing to yield to a Kingdom that is higher, a King far greater, and to abide in the one who is pure agape love. It is choosing to grieve with God, rather than run from God. It is choosing the high road, even though the low road seems far easier.
Let no man bring you so low as to hate him, or to return evil for his evil. For darkness is never extinguished by darkness, it can only be expelled by light.
May we abide in the light of God and shine.
As children of God, we fight with different weapons. We choose a higher way. We choose light over darkness, good over evil, and godly justice over ungodly paths of revenge. We abide in God and we rise. We rise again and again!! We shine like stars amidst the darkest night. We cannot be extinguished by adversity…We RISE!
Addition to this post this morning:
I truly believe this can be the church’s finest hour. We can rise in love, dignity, and defeat injustice God’s way. We can demonstrate to the world who God is.
It’s easy to turn a blind eye to things not personally impacting us or our community. Yet I do not believe that is the way of Christ. I told a friend yesterday that if we want to see better relationships with people of various ethnic backgrounds in the world, it must start in the church.
Sunday morning is still one of the most segregated times of the week. Conferences are still somewhat segregated. Jesus is still depicted as European when we know He was not. Racism, prejudice, and mistreatment of people not like us in ethnicity or another variable is still not addressed enough as sin. When the global church arises as diverse, united across manmade racial lines, then I believe we will see radical revival in the world. 🙂
You are so deeply loved! If you are hurting, please know I am praying and Jesus is praying for you.
The saying, “Love God first, others second, and yourself last,” sounds noble. It is not biblical. The Bible says we love because God first loves us (1 John 4:19). Then we are to love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We cannot give away what we do not possess. A naked man cannot give you a shirt. God desires we love ourselves as He does, then love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).
One of the ways we demonstrate reception of God’s love is by setting boundaries and enforcing them. We teach people how to treat us by what we tolerate. What are your boundaries?
Boundaries protect what we value, so I have some boundaries.
I don’t tell men where I live unless I know them well because I have had several real stalkers. One I had to file a police report in 2018. I never gave this person any indication I wanted their attention, nada.
My instagram is private because though my pofile is mainly about Jesus, men would follow me and send creepy inbox messages.
I take roughly a year to watch and get to know people because of experiences of being too kind and people were not who they presented themselves to be.
I am slower to say yes to every ministry opportunity based on seeing everything that glitters is not God.
I pull back when I see red flags because I have traveled the road of ignoring them and it never turned out well.
I am more cautious being kind to men based on their wrong assumptions of my motives. Someone must vouch for them and their level of maturity.
I do not befriend everyone nor accept every invitation for deep, personal connection.
I do not just listen to what people say, I watch what they do and set boundaries accordingly.
I do not just trust clergy or Christians because they say they love Jesus. You know a tree by its fruit.
I do not go every place invited.
I do not pick up the phone for everyone, or pick it up past my rest time.
I do not spend copious amounts of time with people I do not trust.
I don’t befriend gossips.
I don’t tell everyone my business.
I don’t keep casting pearls before those who trample it under foot.
I don’t just give people money who ask, I pray and ask God. More giving is placed before Him lately. He knows what is wise.
I ask God to reveal who I truly am. I also ask Him to reveal tbe hearts of those who desire personal connection with me, so I know what level of access they need to have in my life.
Wisdom can come by listening to God/others and also through experience. I hope you love yourself as much as God does, then love your neighbor as you love yourself. I hope you have boundaries.
One of the greatest mistakes I’ve made in life involves misunderstanding love. I loved lavishly without wisdom. Gave some people VIP access who should have had outside the window viewing privileges only. Listened more to what people said than watched their behavior. In an effort not to be a relational snob, to be inclusive, I would befriend almost anyone. Not due to loneliness, because I like spending time by myself. I simply thought I was loving.
Here are some hard lessons I learned:
Love and access are two different things. Love everyone (seek to do no harm). Give people who have earned trust access. Love is a gift. Trust is earned. Some people will treat your heart like it has no value, mishandle you. It’s your job to test who should have access. Guard your heart. Build a fence, not a wall. Everyone can see it’s beauty, not everyone has access.
Some people believe they are great and that they have pure motives, and they do not. Ask God. I ask God to reveal who I am and the hearts of others. Not to judge, to assess levels of access. We do background checks and ask for references regarding jobs or child care workers. Why don’t we investigate people who want to be close to us?
People who do not love themselves, or struggle with hating themselves cannot love you! A naked man can not give you a shirt. We give away the love we possess. An insecure person will struggle with your confidence or success. They may struggle with jealousy, envy, comparison, competing, putting you down, being unsupportive, or emotionally needy/entitled.
If you are doing all the giving, initiating, serving, etc…it’s charity/ministry or associate not a friendship.
Take time to get to know people before calling them friend or giving access to your heart/life. Everyone does not need access or to know your business.
It is challenging to truly know who someone is online. Spend time in person if you can. I have met numerous people who appear like Jesus online and in person they are unkind, rude, selfish, and toxic.
Don’t just trust a person because they claim to be a Christian, a minister, etc…goes back to point 6. Take time to get to know a person’s character.
Some people are ministry assignments or associates, not friends. Friendship is a higher level of trust and involves mutual investment. Friends are trustworthy.
Pray over relationships. God sees what we cannot see. Listen to God even if the person is shouting, “I love you so much!”
We are not a great fit for everyone. Sure, be friendly/kind to all. It does not mean every person is a good fit for friendship.
Some people are attracted to what you carry, they do not value you as a person. They are fans not friends. Jesus has tons of fans, far less close friends.
You can eat at the table with Judas, wash his feet, yet not take him up the mount of transfiguration.
God expects us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, not more than we love ourselves.
If you don’t set boundaries, people will run all over you. People treat you how you let them treat you.
God wants His kids to have great relationships just like a natural parent would.
They say you attract who you are. Sometimes you attract who you are not. If you are happy, you may attract negative people. If you are a giver, you may attract takers.
Selfish people can be dangerous. They primarily think about themselves.
Sometimes the person who flatters you the most is the least trustworthy with your heart.
People say loads of things, watch what they do.
Focus on becoming a wiser person attracts wiser friends. Get wisdom, gain discernment. We don’t owe everyone friendship.
We know COVID19 has impacted numerous lives. Some people are depressed, stress eating, juggling kids and work at home, or unemployed. This virus has impacted almost every person on this planet.
I want to encourage you to monitor your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health during this time.
While it is noble to reach out to help others, your health matters too! Stress weakens the immune system. We want to share tips and tools to help manage the stress and keep you healthy. For example, there are certain foods/herbs that help with stress, like matcha. We want to share our knowledge with you.
Maribel Hernandez is a fitness and nutrition specialist in Southern California. She helps clients get back to basics. I have a background in soul healing and assisting people to step out of trauma.
Let’s move towards healthier living! Let us help you. I thought, “what if we call the course Reboot 2020?” When we reboot something, we provide a fresh start! People have been negatively impacted by COVID19, let’s reboot!
Along with tips on eating healthy on a budget, taking care of your immune system, detoxing your system, nutrition, and fitness…I will be sharing on tips and tools for maintaining health in the mind and emotions.
We desire you win in life!
Yes, storms (challenges) are raging around us. This does not mean we need to allow the storms to destroy us.
I hope you join us starting May 15th, 2020! Classes will be each Friday evening for 4 weeks via Zoom. Class times will be 2:30pm PST/5:30pm EST.
Sign up for a $300 dollar value course for only $24.99. We are reducing the cost because we know families and singles are trying to save money. Those who sign up before May 9th will receive an added bonus!!
Go to empowered-free.com/shop to sign up today!!
As an added bonus today, sharing a free teaching on Get the Trauma out from COVID19 and a soaking prayer for trauma.
Jesus did not invite people to pray a prayer, join a local church, and attend meetings (though connecting with other faith filled people is encouraged in Hebrews 10:25). He said, “Place your faith in me, deny yourself, and follow me.” To follow means to link hearts with Jesus and move in the direction Jesus is going.
It’s easy to be a fan of Jesus that gathers in buildings or stadiums to cheer for Him. It is quite another to yield our entire lives to God; to yield the time, the way we spend our time, resources, what we take into our eye gate, money, what we eat, and what we do with our bodies to God.
Over the years I have encountered numerous fans of Jesus, and fewer disciples of Jesus. Disciples are intimate with God. Disciples apply what they learn and see Jesus as King (Lord). He is not an add on in crisis, someone to turn to just to get needs met, someone to claim, but not do anything He says.
When we truly receive God’s love, and fall in love with Jesus, then the desires of His heart become the desires of our heart. Imagine being married and you mainly saw your spouse 1 or 2 times per week. Imagine only pursuing them in crisis. Imagine mainly talking to them to get your needs met. Imagine along with your spouse you have multiple other relationships that take priority. Imagine your spouse letting you know what they like and their desires, you in turn do nothing they desire unless it benefits you. I do not see that relationship thriving.
The covenant with God is supposed to be more important than a human spouse relationship. It is eternal, whereas an earthly covenant is temporary. God desires to lavish us with a love that is deeper and more profound than anything in this world. As we receive His incredible love, we are then able to pour that love back onto God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Is God first? Are we fans or followers? Following Jesus produces good fruit, purity, an aroma of heaven, Christ likeness, and joy. There is far more to gain than what is left behind. Denying our flesh does not feel good at first, yet once we link hearts with Jesus we begin to see the fullness of His beauty. We are transformed from the inside out by His great love.
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me,~Luke 9:23.
“What good does it do for you to say I am your Lord and Master if what I teach you is not put into practice? Let me describe the one who truly follows me and does what I say. He is like a man who chooses the right place to build a house and then lays a deep and secure foundation. When the storms and floods rage against that house, it continues to stand strong and unshaken through the tempest, for it has been wisely built on the right foundation. But the one who has heard my teaching and does not obey it is like a man who builds a house without laying any foundation whatsoever. When the storms and floods rage against that house, it will immediately collapse and become a total loss. Which of these two builders will you be?”~Luke 6:46-49 (TPT).
Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes,~Romans 12:1-2 (TPT).
God loves you! Blessing you and praying for you. Let’s seek the King (Jesus) in this season and every season.
The news reports bad news. People believe it, come into agreement, things seem to get worse. Why? There is power in agreement. The serpent had no power until Eve/Adam agreed with him over God. What we believe and profess is oh so powerful. It is possible to have faith in the wrong things.
I have met people who constantly think and believe the worst. Guess what? Their lives are full of hellish experiences. They believe the worst, profess the worst, and see the worst. Flip it and come into agreement with God. Speak LIFE! Choose the word of God over the media.
We need more people prophesying life over valley’s of dry bones over the “sky is falling” type people. It takes no power to see a problem-speak about problems. It requires the eyes of God and spiritual insight to hear what God is saying and to speak His words. What am I hearing from God (I encourage everyone to seek God for themselves):
The world will know Me, from the least to the greatest that I am God and there is no other God like Jehovah.
Millions will come to know My Son, My love, My goodness, and supernatural provision.
My glory will be seen all over the earth.
I am releasing a company of yielded sons and daughters who harken to the words of My Son to partner with Me to bless the world.
I am exposing hidden things; things done in the darkness will be brought to light.
I am working powerfully in the Nations, though the media shows the world what is negative.
I am continually setting the stage for the fulfillments of prophecy. I accomplish/finish what I start. I am faithful to My word.
I am exposing idols and inviting people to know Me for themselves, to place their faith in My Son, and to deepen their understanding of who I am.
I am pursuing relationship not mankind’s religious duty.
I am tapping people on the shoulder to wake up and recognize the season and times.
I am inviting My children to move past old movements and ways of thinking about what I will do. I do not fit into the boxes created by mankind for Me.
I am revealing that mankind is not God, nor Sovereign.
God wants us to know His voice and choose to agree with Him over the bad reports. As an added bonus I penned some scripture based decrees regarding the pandemic. You may find them on facebook.com/erinlambauthor. Blessing you!