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.
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!
I believe this can be the global churches finest hour to rise up and demonstrate to the world who God is. God is love.
We can go love our neighbors. If we cannot leave the house, we can reach out online. If we can go to the grocery store/pharmacy, we can leave care packages on porches. We can be kind. We can refuse to hoard because God is our provider. We can check in on people. “How are you? I heard you were laid off, do you need anything?” We can pray for the sick. My dad cannot go in hospitals or nursing homes right now as a Chaplain so he has been going to the parking lot to pray. We can pray over businesses and if we have money get gift cards from them. We can share Jesus online and gather people to worship through technology. If we have enough, we can share. We can cease spreading negativity and look for ways to lift others up!! We can look for ways to be a blessing in word and deed.
God is love. Love looks like something. It looks like someone-Jesus.
I find no where in the Bible where it tells me to think only of myself and go sit down idle waiting on Jesus to return. I find passages that encourage me to GO be light, GO love my neighbor, GO be a blessing, GO share the Gospel, GO be an example. We lead by example. Our sermons may make people feel good, yet the way we demonstrate what we believe leaves a lasting impression on people.
I told my brother last night that loving Jesus, following Jesus transforms the way we live. We begin to care about who and what God cares about. God cares that people are hungry, scared, uncertain, in great need. If I claim to love Him, what moves Him moves me. We are united in love.
Yesterday for We Will Rise worship gathering we did reverse offerings. They received money, not me. I do not take up offerings for me for teaching the Gospel. What good am I taking money from people who may not be able to eat when I have enough? Blessing them was the priority. It warmed my heart they nominated others in the community instead of just themselves. Love is looking out for others.
Arise and shine! Arise and shine!! Arise and shine!!!
We cannot do everything; we can do something!
If you have a grocery need, or know someone in need, the giveaway is this evening. My not for profit is doing a grocery giveaway. Go to http://www.OperationGodisLove.org.
Peace is not the absence of a storm or adversity. Peace comes in the presence of Christ. He is the one the winds and waves still obey. If He does not calm the storms around us, He calms the storms within us.
An encouragement I sensed from Jesus for the world. Certainly weigh it, test it against the word of God and character of God. Shalom.
“Beloved, I have come that you may have peace. Peace that surpasses your understanding. It will fill your heart and mind as you trust in Me. I love you and I am not unprepared nor unqualified to care for you in any and all circumstances. I am the Alpha and Omega. I have stood with My people through plagues, severe persecutions, wars, and turmoil since they began. I am the one who has the superior wisdom and all power.
I am the one who is speaking above the storms. The media cannot be your source. Sink into My word, My words, and surrender your fears at My feet. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. I disarmed every principality and power, spirits of wickedness in high places. I hold all authority. The Father and I still hold ALL power! We have never been defeated.
Do not allow the evil one to rob you of the peace and joy I paid to give you. Listen, listen, listen…turn your ears to heaven. Lift your voices to heaven. Turn your heart to worship. Worship is war song. It reminds the evil one that he has been defeated. When you worship in spirit and in truth it recalibrates your atmosphere, your soul, and body. We do not encourage worship out of ego. The Father and I know that worship releases heaven in your realm. There is no sickness, death, fear, or sorrow in heaven.
The Lord your God is all powerful. You do not need beg for help. Those who are united with Me through faith come BOLDLY before our throne of grace in times of need. It is your inheritance. I AM your provider. I AM your healer. I AM your peace. I AM your joy. I AM the all sufficient one. I AM your Deliverer.
Break your agreement with the spirits of fear and anxiety and command that spirit to FLEE! Your inheritance is peace despite the circumstances.
Those united with Me will bear fruit in every season. You are not defeated nor backed into a corner unless you come into agreement with the defeated one. I defeated him. I defeated death, hell, and the grave.
Lay down the idols that cannot save you. Place your trust in Me. Some trust in their bank accounts, their leaders, themselves, their spouse, their pastors, their military, yet behold only those who place fully in God will see themselves rise above the storm instead of sink into despair and poverty.
I have the power to take what you have and multiply it! I still have the power to send provision from heaven and call it from the sea. We are still working miracles.
Break up any seeds planted of unbelief. Your faith opens up a realm of the supernatural. Let your faith rise above the storm. Speak what heaven is speaking. Do not come into agreement with the reports of mankind. Mankind sees in part and knows in part. I SEE all, KNOW all, and stand ABOVE it all.
We have listened to mankind cry out for revival, yet leaned on their own strengths and agendas. We will do it our way. We will pour out glory over neighborhoods and communities. We will transform hearts and not a single person will hold the glory. Idols will fall. Demonic systems will fall. Religious systems not built on the foundation of My Kingdom will fall. My Kingdom will remain.
Those who worship in spirit and truth will see things in their day they could not even imagine. The trumpet has been blasting for years to turn, ‘Turn back to God.’ Mankind in their rebellion built monuments and idols to worship. Those idols cannot save!!! They cannot save.
I sent spokesmen and spokeswomen to blast the trumpet, ‘Turn from these idols. They seek to destroy you.’ Many were ignored. The earth began to shake and quake under the demonic idols of the land. For the evil one seeks to devour your world. He has been after worship since pride entered his heart. Mankind’s agreement gave him authority. I took back that authority and gave it to the sons and daughters of God.
I am not punishing the world. The demons beyond the idols are exercising the rights they have been given through human worship and human agreement to attack the world. When times are good, many sons and daughters of Adam turn their faces from us, ‘Who needs God?’ They blatantly sin and mock the precepts of God. Oh yet when crisis falls upon the earth, the same some ones cry out, ‘Where is God? Why did God allow this? Help us God!’
We are merciful. We hate to see the world suffer. Creation is groaning and crying out for the sons and daughters of God to arise to be light, to shine our light into the darkness. I tap on the shoulders and hearts of My friends and children of God to participate in My agenda for the world. Some ignore Me. Some buck the words of the Father in pursuit of self comfort and selfish ambition. My heart cries out ‘Wake up!!! A storm is coming. Wake up! The world needs what we placed inside you. Do not go to sleep.’ Some hear Me. Some ignore Me. Yet I stand in truth, love, mercy, and justice seeking whomever will listen and turn.
Turn to Me, I love you. Bring your heart to Me, I love you. Lay down your idols, your busyness, your selfish ambition, and listen. Seek first the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is advancing. Come into agreement and alignment with heaven. Heaven is speaking. Heaven is pursuing you. I am pursuing you. Look at Me! Will you listen and turn your heart to Me? Turn, turn, turn! My heart is here looking for your full heart. Come to Me!! COME!”
May you and I turn to God and surrender. God is speaking to turn. There can be idols in Christian culture. The things and people that are clung to and trusted more than God. Let’s turn. God alone saves. Turn from idols of busyness, self, selfish ambition, comfort, pleasure, people, politics, worship of ministry/ministers/church/family, entertainment, and anything else. May the reverence for the Lord return to us.
God you alone are God. May we find our identity, security, and comfort in you! Please forgive us for choosing any other god. They cannot save. Jesus is LORD! And His Kingdom will reign for ever and ever!!
I have seen panic and terror in the eyes of people on the streets. My not for profit has still been out serving the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing those sleeping outdoors, and praying for the sick at the Free Clinic. People need hope. You and I need to remain calm.
Tonight I am sharing an email blog post from my business website written in response to the coronavirus. I hope it blesses you!
How do we navigate through the challenging seasons of life without breaking down or completely losing it?
I believe it requires some focus and intentionality to maintain peace, hope, and even joy in the midst of uncertainty.
Our world is responding to a global crisis. Due to the easy access to information, people are inundated with bad news, negative reports, and are not being provided much hope (an expectation of good). My desire is to provide you with some hope and tools to navigate through the season.
An acronym for hope can be, “Hold On Pain Ends.” I want you to note that just as the seasons in nature change, so do seasons in our lives. There can be seasons that feel like a winter and others that feel like a spring or summer.
In the beginning and middle of hard times, it can be challenging to have a vision of better times or an expectation of good. As stated before it requires some focus and intentionality.
I want to share with you some tips that helped me during a 17-month long challenging season. It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life and just ended last summer. We expect the current global crisis with coronavirus to be much shorter. 🙂
These are some tips that helped me tremendously.
Tip 1: Limit exposure to negativity.
What we feed grows, what we starve dies. Find something positive to read, listen to, and positive people to talk to about your thoughts. In this current situation, you may need to avoid watching the news. We were not created to take in so much negativity and bad reports. If you are a person of faith, focus on meditating on the promises of God.
Tip 2: Start a gratitude journal.
One thing that I believe helped me keep my mind right during my 17-month challenging season was taking time to document things I was thankful for each day. Gratitude helps our brain produce feel-good hormones. Start by thinking of 3-6 things daily. Anything good that occurs, write it down. Focus on the good. It could be 1. I have clean water. 2. I have food. 3. I have a friend. 4. Someone cares about me. Be intentional about gratitude/giving thanks.
“A National Institutes of Health study found that when you express kindness or feel gratitude, your hypothalamus floods your brain with dopamine. This gives you a natural high, motivating you to do good and express gratitude even more.”
Tip 3: Practice kindness.
Just as stated above about gratitude, expressing kindness releases dopamine (feel-good hormones) in the brain. Not only does expressing kindness help the brain get out of stress hormone mode (fight or flight, cortisol, and immune system suppressing hormones), but it also helps get the focus off self and off things that cannot be controlled.
Many of us are working from home, some have been laid off, or the business is suffering. There is minimal to no control over what is occurring externally. We can exercise our will to be kind to others. We do not have control over every event. We do have control over how we respond.
Some ideas: Find someone to reach out to and ask them how they are doing, if they are okay, be kind at the grocery store, share, cease hoarding (operating with a scarcity/poverty mindset), be a blessing, ask neighbors if they need anything.
Tip 4: Write out your thoughts and feelings.
Thoughts and feelings trapped inside the head can lead to less than rational realities and behaviors. People are panicked, therefore they are not using logic or rational thought. It does not make sense for me to purchase 20 gallons of milk that will spoil or 500 rolls of toilet paper. Scared people show you their worst and operate under a “me-first mentality.”
When the thoughts and feelings are written out, it helps significantly. Once you write it out, read it. What is the story you are telling yourself? Process your thoughts and feelings. Before you react, press pause, and get your mind right. Just because others are panicked does not mean you or I need to panic.
Tip 5: GO outside! Fresh air helps.
Even though many events and venues are closed, the sidewalks are not, the backyard is not, and the freeways are not. It was such a blessing today to go outside. I saw people riding bikes, taking walks, and walking their dogs. It is good for the mind and body to get moving. Exercise, talk a walk, go for a drive.
“…taking a walk outside will help the brain produce endorphins, which are neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood. Both being outside and walking can work together to create positive changes in the overall state of mind.“-Advanced Neurotherapy.
None of us will bypass all adversity. The key is to learn how to navigate well through adversity. We may have an array of thoughts and feelings regarding the situations, that is human and normal. We process those thoughts and emotions. We seek solutions and look for what we can do.
The other key is to learn to manage our responses to adversity, challenges, and hard times. We do not have to allow others to pull us into their storm. We can pull them into our peace.
This too shall pass.
Hold on pain ends.
Keep your mind healthy by focusing on positive things.
Focus on anything that is going right.
Focus on what can be done.
Look for ways to help and bless others.
Process your thoughts and feelings. Write it out.
Get some fresh air.
Get moving if you can.
Take time to rest.
Continuing to keep you and your families in my prayers. We will get through this together!
P.S If you know someone suffering a hardship/food crisis, check out the grocery giveaway through my not for profit Operation God is Love. USA residents are eligible.
Is it possible to love a Nation and it’s people without setting foot on it’s soil? I believe so; God loves the Nations. When our heart beats in tandem with His, it is possible to love strangers. The Bible speaks of heaven including people from every tribe, tongue and Nation. God holds each Nation in His heart.
The heart of God is so vast beyond measure, so grand. If we could stretch His heart out over the world, it would wrap around the earth millions of times over! His love is so deep, so wide, so full, and oh so beautiful!!! ❤️💯
Africa, we are coming to love you and bless you. We are coming to speak life over your land. We are coming to see the sick healed, the oppressed set free, the hungry fed, the hurting comforted, and the Gospel (good news of Jesus) shared.
God placed Africa in my heart. When I was quite young, God started talking to me about the Nations. He spoke of where I would go, what I would do, and it was more than I could comprehend. I still wrote it down and pondered the words of a loving Father.
Has God placed a Nation or people group in your heart?
Then I began dreaming of being in the Nations. God was restoring the land. I see Him healing the sick, the lame walking, colonies of the dying coming to life. I dreamed of running across the continent of Africa with views of lush waterfalls, green grass, and fertile soil. My heart exclaimed loudly, “Africa shall be restored!”
In that dream, I ran into a missionary in Africa named Heidi Baker. She ministers to the poor all over Africa and has planted thousands of churches there. We hugged; we smiled. We each had our part of Africa to love! The mission was love. The mission was and is Jesus.
It is something when God knits a Nation, the Nations in your heart. It beats with passion and zeal for perfect strangers. You think of them with delight and joy. Why? They are the delight of the Father.
I recalled being at a youth event and Reinhard Bonnke spoke over us, prayed over us, “Africa will be saved!” My literally burned with passion. Does your heart burn with passion to see the lost reunited with the Father? I saw faces of people who would come to intimately know the one who is love. God is love. I felt heaven’s pulse and heartbeat. I felt the longing for those disconnected from God’s heart to come home.
We were created by love (God), to be loved, then to love. The world is looking for a true encounter with love. The agape love of God is much needed!
Maybe you will not cross the seas into the Nations. How about crossing the street to a neighbor?
We cannot do everything. We can do something! We can be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world. Some of us will go into the Nations. Some of us will go across the street or into the marketplace. The key is to abide in God’s love and go! Take love outside the four walls of weekend services.
God knit the ones you love into our hearts! Fuel our passion for those you love!
P.S if you wish to join us in Africa Oct 8th through 20th 2020, please grab an application from OperationGodisLove.org.