True Christianity (Following Jesus) Cares About the Poor, Hurting, & Life Once Born.
My life changed sitting with children where their parents sold them into sex slavery, one girl they chained in the yard like a dog, another sold for 5 dollars a sexual experience so they would have food to eat. I have seen children homeless on the streets of my city, living in cars or tents with their parents. I once saw a 4 year old in the freezing cold with her grandma with no coat (they were homeless). I cried myself to sleep that night. I had layers of clothes on, they had little to nothing.
I have talked to people of color terrified to have brown children due to racism in America and police brutality. So when people say they are pro life and they care nothing about the poor, nothing about human trafficking, nothing about child abuse, nothing about racism, it’s a lie. You are pro fetus.
In my years of service to the poor and people on the streets, I have heard countless “Christians” tell me they are not called by God to do anything for the poor, though Jesus specifically calls it out over and over and over. There are numerous bible verses about caring for the poor. God takes it seriously.
Sometimes in my view, American “Christianity” is about controlling others/forcing beliefs onto others that may not even be lived by the people trying to force it onto others. That’s what settlers did to natives and Africans. It’s what has continued in this culture. “I will say I am a ‘Christian’, force my beliefs on you by law, treat you quite poorly, not love you or care about you as God commanded. I will look down on you because obviously I am superior. I will live opposite of what Jesus lived. I will become angry if you do not wish to be like me.”
Cultural “Christianity” is a LIE! It’s not rooted in Jesus. It is not about loving thy neighbor, laying our lives down, dying to self, caring about the least/last/lost. It’s about appearing holy without living holy. Hence, I strongly dislike cultural “Christianity.” It is a false doctrine. It does not match what Jesus taught or lived.
“I was hungry, you did not feed me. Naked you did not clothe me. In prison, you did not visit me. What you have done to the least of them, you have done unto me.”~Jesus.
This year has brought out the gold in some people and exceptional cruelty/the worst in others. I call it an unveiling year. We always had issues in my nation; now they are more visible.
I understand there has been stress, uncertainty, life changes, and for some they are living on the edge. We all need grace, kindness, the benefit of the doubt, and mercy is greater than judgement. Then there is a time to stand up, speak out, and set boundaries with people who are way out of line.
I do not know about you, yet I have witnessed things in cultural “Christianity” that do not align with God love (unselfish, sacrificial love).
Face Mask Mania:
I have witnessed grown adults having 2 year old tantrums over face masks. Some have cursed out store employees, destroyed property, and given others COVID. Wearing a mask to demonstrate to your neighbor you care about them is not being weak. It’s actually loving to consider other people.
I have heard people say, “Well, I am not afraid, and this is violating my rights.” Yet the same people wear clothes and shoes into the stores. Those are mandatory. The same people wear seat belts. Those are mandatory. The same people yield to traffic signs.
Sometimes loving our neighbors costs us something. I know of people who have died from COVID. My parents are much older (I came later in life). If someone could have prevented them from getting COVID and chose not to attesting their rights, and my parents died, I would be furious! Yes, God heals. Yes, God protects. God also considers people who are afraid, hurting, not healed, have no health insurance, etc.
I want to make a t-shirt for my merch site that says, “It’s not just about you. I looked at the center of the Universe and found God, not your photo.”
Jesus stated, “Love your neighbor AS you love yourself.” I know this is challenging and can only be done by abiding in Jesus. I have to ask God to help me love some people and to walk in love. I am not perfect. I am still being refined. I try to let Him love through me.
Jesus could have been the biggest ego maniac as the Son of God. Meaning His status was and is King of kings. He chose humility. Humility involves lowering ourselves and considering others.
Degrading and Mocking:
I have been talked down to, mocked, and treated poorly by “Christians” because of my stance against racist things and posting about racism this year. I am accustomed to churchy people attacking me because I do not just go along with the crowd.
There are people degrading and mocking other human beings while claiming to be pro-life. I have seen “Christians” stand up and support a murderer aligned with their political party, yet claim to be pro-life. Some have celebrated the death of someone who was pro-choice. I have seen people using another person’s tragedy to promote their political agenda (using a miscarriage to drag a pro-choice person through the mud). I have heard racist comments from professing “Christians”, leaders, pastors, people claiming to represent Jesus. I have seen levels of dishonor from professing believers that was and is absolutely demonic. It’s not how Jesus behaves nor how He behaved. It is from the pit.
I want to say this clearly. The world watches the way Christians behave. They often see the hypocrisy of the church better than anyone in the church. I have spoken to quite a few people about their gross disappointment with the church especially in the areas of justice, addressing racism, politics (turning a blind eye to gross sin in their chosen political party or political leader while screaming “You’re evil,” at them, for not caring about those terrified about COVID, and noticing extreme arrogance in people claiming to be a Christian especially those who are in a leadership or government role.
I may lose followers for posts like these, yet my loyalty is to Jesus. Despite behaviors of pastors, leaders, other Christians, politicians, and even the President-we answer to God for ourselves! If we claim to be a Christian, Jesus is the standard. God looks at how we live, notes everything we say, and we will give an account for how we represented Him on earth.
I hear people say they would die for Jesus. No you wouldn’t if you won’t even put on a face mask to help those around you. I hear people say they want to lead millions into knowing Jesus. Well, that involves sacrifice and dying to self. Would anyone want to know Jesus by the lifestyle we live in front of them? I see people running away from God due to political and rude professing Christians.
This whole notion that we are the center of the Universe and not God, is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous. It is dangerous because we can think we are following Jesus when we are actually not following Jesus at all.
I am reading through the entire bible and right now I am in Matthew. The things Jesus said were radical. “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out,” meaning we are responsible for our actions. He did not say, “Blame the other person and scream about your rights.”
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I could hear Jesus preaching this today and people screaming, “No Jesus! Blessed are ALL people. All people are blessed!!” There is something wrong when we make everything about us.
Something is wrong in a culture where there is zero consideration for others. Something is wrong when Christians are linked to cruelty rather than compassion. Something is wrong when the behavior of the church looks more like the world than Jesus.
I have ceased looking at my personal Facebook until I can clean it out due to the conflict “Christians” have caused on my page. No person should feel hostage or bullied on their own page. Why is this happening? People think my page is their territory to say whatever they like and quite a few love to make posts about them, especially the posts addressing racism. It’s funny the most vocal have not been recipients of racism. However, they show up to debate me or offer opinions regarding things they do not understand. They are harmful!!! I had to start a private, unseen group to discuss racism safely with people of color.
Who have been the ones causing strife on my page? Professing Christians. I ask this question, “Is this who we are?” Do we truly want to be lumped in the category of cruel, selfish, lacking compassion, mean spirited, narcissistic, uncaring, apathetic, mockers? I know Jesus is none of those things.
My encouragement to the world is “Let’s do better!” My encouragement to Christians is, “Please consider Jesus as the standard, not leaders of our time. Choose Jesus. Follow Jesus.” The same Jesus who flipped over tables and rebuked people to their faces was willing to die on a cross for them. I meet people who will not even endure 10 minutes of being uncomfortable to show love to someone else.
My hopes are people are pointed at the real Jesus! The Jesus who washed feet even though He was king. The Jesus who denied Himself and chose death to give us life. He put Himself in harms way to save our lives. Jesus who went out of His way to demonstrate unselfish, sacrificial love. Are we? Do people seen any hint of Jesus in us? Because we are walking billboards for Him. He wants the world to know Him. Jesus came to point the world to the Father. We have an incredible opportunity to do the same.
God gave the church copious opportunities in 2020 to demonstrate His love, compassion, selflessness, helping hand, and work for justice. Are we adding value anywhere other than our comfy Christian bubbles? The world around us is hurting.
Church buildings may have closed. Street corners did not. I have gone out on the streets almost every month this year; feeding people, clothing people, praying for people, sharing the Gospel, going to protest sites to love people, etc…Operation God is love paid for groceries for families laid off by COVID. One month we had a line of hungry people because no one was coming to feed them. Jesus does not stop being Jesus in a crisis. Jesus shows up with solutions. He invites His followers to do the same.
May we sink into Jesus, follow Jesus, and represent Him well.
The Parable of the 4 Sons (What we see depends on where we are standing)
There were 4 sons who lived on a farm with their dad. They each loved to play and could get quite rowdy at times. They loved adventure, climbing trees, and throwing rocks down by the creek. Sometimes they would get dirty and their clothing would demonstrate how elaborate their adventure was for the day.
They would come home at days with dirt filled grins. Their father was a firm believer in cleanliness. He would stop them at the door and demand they take off their mud marked shoes before entering the house.
The one son he would brush the dirt off his face, give him at atta boy for being his son, offer him extra soap and towels and send to the shower.
The second son he send to the shower with no praise, no affection, and no extra soap.
The third son he completely ignored. That son was accustombed to simply following his brothers and showering after them.
The fourth son he took out back and beat him, called him names, and then sent him to shower.
Over the years the boys noticed that their joy in play diminished. Two of the brothers (the ones mistreated) did not enjoy their adventures as much any more. The fourth son seemed stressed, depressed, and had been slipping at school. He eventually skipped out on play all together to go be alone. He knew his punishment for play would be severe. He would slip into the house unnoticed. He simply wanted to survive his childhood.
As time moved on the boys grew up and left home. The fourth son was eager to leave. His body and his heart still had scars from the abuse he suffered as a child. He found there were safe places out in the world, yet there was still trauma in his soul.
He met a young lady who was a writer at university. She explained to him that writing was therapeutic. She encouraged writing his story. The fourth son knew his story would paint his father in a bad light. He pondered for months what to do. He decided telling the truth was the way to go. He wrote his book A Fractured Lens and it became a national best seller.
His family became enraged! How could he do such a thing. His father worked so hard to provide for them!! His father was an upstanding Christian man!!! His other brothers had no complaints. He had to be making it up and just venegful and ungrateful. If his father did whip him, he must have deserved it. The town turned on the fourth son and told him to never return. The first and second son came to their father’s defense. They said their father was the kindest man they knew. They tried to find stories to discredit their brother. The third son remained quiet. While he did not know the benevolent father the other two sons knew, he also did not know the extreme abuse the fourth son knew. So, he slid into his corner to bypass any confrontation.
Fortunately for the fourth son one neighbor saw his brutal whippings. She would sneak out of her home to tend to him with first aid. She saw the rage, the anger, the pain the fourth son suffered. She stood as an ally for him. The fourth son still had marks on his body from the abuse.
Teachers in the town after reading the book felt great sorrow because they failed to see the writing on the wall. The fourth son lost interest in play, constantly looked down, came to school sometimes bruised/looking defeated, and never liked going home. They could not fathom just one of four being abused and the father was so charming with everyone else. They did nothing to help.
The father read the book, knew what he had done, yet wanted to have the story removed from every bookstore. He should be forgiven and not have his dirty laundry out there. He wanted stories told of how he treated his other sons, the ones he loved. He wanted his church attendance on record. He wanted to be painted as a hero.
The fourth son refused to remove his book from shelves. He received countless letters from people with similar experiences finding healing in the book. They were too afraid to tell their stories, yet the fourth son told his. He began to fight against abuse of children.
When asked if he regretted telling his story, he replied, “No. I suffered greatly as a child and bearing my untold story has caused greater suffering. I am healing. Others are healing too because they recognize they are not alone.”
My take/why I wrote this:
The moral of the story is people can live in the same house or the same country and have different experiences. It is challenging to see a different perspective. I meet people who cannot see nor refuse to listen to someone else’s experiences. Especially if those experiences paint their beloved ideals or a person/place they love in a bad light.
Our vantage point and experiences matter. The neighbor who helped the fourth son saw the violence, she had a different response/perspective. The first and second brothers did not see the violence and because they were treated far better they were upset for any complaints. The father knew he was abusive, yet wanted to hide his sins instead of confess them and address them. The fourth son carried the story, scars, and the trauma. The third son did not see the abuse, yet knew his father treated the first and second son better than him. He remained silent.
I meet with clients who have been severely abused by people others put on a pedestal. They go to church and abuse their family. They have great jobs and abuse their family. You cannot tell an abuser just by looking at them and looking at how often they go to church.
There are people in America who are treated differently based on whether they are poor or rich, black or white, belong to certain groups or not. When I meet with the homeless, they are treated FAR worse than other people.
Pointing out issues in an area also does not mean that all is bad. It means there can be improvement. The neighbor could have reported the abuse, the father got help, and the family healed. The father could have read the book, confessed his sins, and reconciled with his son. He refused due to pride. The third son could have stepped up to say, “I am not an eye witness for abuse, yet my dad did not treat me well either.”
It’s hard to walk in another person’s shoes. It’s an honor if God gives us the opportunity to do so.
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.
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.
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!