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.
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.
From moments with Jesus discussing his heart for a hurting world.
Written by Erin Lamb
The world may be quaking & shaking, yet I know a man who speaks peace into storms, raises the dead to life, is still opening deaf ears/blind eyes, still loving the world, still working miracles, still saving the lost, delivering the oppressed. He is Jesus!
It is quite easy to be critical and judge. It is so easy to throw stones at other people and not see the plank in our own eyes. Why? We see in part and know in part. We can think we know and know nothing. God does not simply see the behaviors of humanity; God sees why people do what they do.
How many of you have been harmed greatly by someone who seemed to not get what the problem is? How many of you have been harmed by a professing Christian? Ah, it stings a bit more when they claim to love Jesus and do not love others right? Yet there is a part of the puzzle God sees that we may not. God sees how much of His love they have actually received. We can only give away what we possess.
We tell people to love God and others. “Love God, love others, love yourself last.” This mantra has led to loads of dysfunctional and sometimes codependent relationships. “I will love myself last and God will be so proud.” Well, it sounds noble. The problem is that is it is not biblical.
The Bible says we love because God first loves us (1 John 4:19). The starting point is God. God is love (1 John 4:8).
God is the source of agape (unselfish, sacrificial, unwavering love). This love is the highest of all loves. It trumps eros (romantic/sexual), philia (brotherly love), and storage (family love). Jesus stated His disciples would be known by their agape love (John 13:34-35). This love is the 1 Corinthians 13 type of love.
The next step is receiving God’s love, then giving that love back to God and loving our neighbor AS we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). We will not be able to love God or our neighbor if we do not FIRST RECEIVE agape from God. “God here I am in need of your love, help me to receive the fullness of your love for me,” is a great starting prayer.
It is so vital that we learn how to receive love from God and believe God loves us.
Our thoughts matter! We will not out behave our thought life. Those who think they are the scum of the earth tend to treat others poorly. Those who have not fully accepted they are profoundly loved and accepted by God tend to struggle with loving God, themselves, and others. Your greatest adversary lacks God love. The person who mistreated or abused you lacked God love. The people who dishonored you, they lacked God love.
We cannot give away what we do not possess.
When we move beyond judging behavior to recognizing the root, compassion fills our heart. We move from being critical to praying the other person knows intimately the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of God’s love. We can only reveal to others the God we know. We can only honor others when we have experienced His honor and approval.
When people ask “How could you sit with the homeless, they are so dirty and gross?” I think, “How could I not? I see someone God created with great love. Under all the dirt, is a treasure.” I can honor what society calls, “The least of them,” because I know how much God loves me. If I were dirty and on the streets, I would anticipate God sending someone to love me. I am greatly loved, so are they, and so are you.
Jesus was able to move in high levels of compassion because He was one with the Father. He was not led by His flesh. Jesus knew how greatly He was loved, therefore He could take the lowest place. He could honor the least, last, lost, sinners, and lepers of society because He knew His worth. Those who do not know their own worth or value will not be able to see yours or anyone else’s.
One of the greatest revelations I had from God regarding people was during a season I was being grossly mistreated by Christians. God spoke to my heart, “People will not treat you any better than they treat me. People can not give you what they do not possess.” I recognized in that moment people say they love God, yet if you observe them, some do not honor, cherish, respect, obey, listen to God, etc… For some people, God is their sugar daddy or fire insurance. Loving God to gain something from Him is not loving God.
You can tell quite a bit about how a person feels about themselves by how they treat other people.
You can also gain insight into how people will treat you if you look at how they treat God. If God is only pursued to gain something, that is how they will treat you.
I am learning not to take things personally. How people behave, myself included, is a reflection of the inner condition. Those who know they are loved, love well. Those who try to “fake it til they make it,” tend to hurt tons of people because their love is shallow or deficient.
Before we throw stones, get offended, or hurt by people, pause. Press pause and ask God for His view point of the person, situation, and what is not as visibly seen.
I had a friend chat with me about missing friend gatherings. More than my introversion, there is normally a reason aligned with everything I say no to. Instead of taking on offense, he asked me about it and we talked. His heart grew with compassion.
The evil one will tell you to judge, jump to conclusions, criticize people, be nasty, look for all the things the other person is doing that could be wrong. Love moves us deeper into compassion. Maybe, most likely, there is something more going on than meets the eye.
May you and I sink deeper into compassion. It is a fruit of God’s love.
“…when he (Jesus) saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd,”-Matthew 9:36.
I hope to release book 4, Killing Insecurity, either later this year or 2021! I hope it leads many into freedom. God longs to see us live bold, confident, and FREE!!
P.S You can support our mission to love the homeless, poor, and victims of human trafficking by supporting our new merch store. Go to empoweredandfreemerch.com.
The dying AIDS patient who deepened my awareness of God’s love…
I have this thing with Jesus where if He asks me to do something, my heart melts under the weight of His love. I find Him mostly irresistible. Often He calls me to do things my base personality probably would not run towards. Like the day I met John (not his real name). John was covered in sores (scabbed over), dying, and sad. I stopped for John and tears filled his eyes as he told me there was no hope for him. The way he lived, the diagnosis, no hope. I felt led to pull John into my arms and hug him. Tears flowed freely from his eyes.
Could I be contaminated by John, sores covering his body, tears and saliva flowing? It did not matter in that moment. What mattered was John feeling the deep embrace of God. “John God sees you and loves you. Your life matters greatly to God. John there is always hope with Jesus.”
That day with John wrecked me. Who wanted to touch John? Most people avoided eye contact with Him. God wanted to touch John. There is no fear in love. I have attempted to love many people in my lifetime who could not see God’s love or responded poorly to love. Yet love (God) keeps calling me to love.
So my encouragement is abide in the one who is love, Jesus. When you do, love will FLOW out of you in abounding ways. No striving, abide in Him (cultivate intimacy with God). It won’t matter if you are highly introverted, or not into loving strangers. He will love through YOU! God is simply looking to love the world and it starts with me and you!
My prayer is our hearts receive more of God’s love and we give it away! The world needs love, love, love!!!
I want to be sensitive, loving, and appropriate with this post. Jesus did what He saw the Father doing and said what He heard Him speaking. Jesus operated in this holy and intimate connection with the Father. He listened intently to the agenda of heaven. Jesus did not pray for every sick person He saw, nor raise every single dead person. Those who came to Him He healed. He did not stop for every sick person He saw. Jesus listened to the agenda of heaven and followed suit.
I know of people raised from the dead. God has saved my life 7 times over from nearly dying. In each case, there was a purpose and reason. That person’s assignment was incomplete and/or someone came into alignment with heaven to see the fulfillment of their destiny. Only God knows the assignment and destiny of a person. It is not dependent on age. Some do not cry nor contend if an 80 year old person dies. Yet if their destiny in God was not fulfilled, it’s still worth mourning. An 8 year old may seem like they have not fulfilled their calling. However, only God knows why each of us are here.
It is tragic and awful when death occurs. It’s painful. When we know God can do something, it can tug at the desire for the miraculous inside of us to see Heaven invade the earth. It can be tempting to believe if we just sing louder, pray harder, believe bigger that we are somehow going to be The Avengers who snap our fingers and magically reverse death. I have seen God do incredible things. I have also seen children and older people who loved God slip right on into eternity. I love what Kathryn Kuhlman said, “It is my job to pray, God’s job to heal.”
I prayed for a man on death’s door that had thousands of people praying for him. He died. This was devastating for people. I saw light leave his body and return to God. I heard a still small voice saying, “His assignment is done. Well done my good and faithful servant.” When people were talking about calling him back, I could not link to their prayers. They were praying their will be done, not the best for the man. He was martyred for the Gospel and will receive incredible eternal rewards. While his death was tragic to us. Heaven saw someone willing to risk it all for Jesus entering into rest.
I was battling with God over someone I loved with my life who died. I loved this person with my life. This person loved, loved, loved Jesus. Lived a holy life. She died. We prayed for life. She slipped out of our arms and right into the arms of Jesus. If God can raise the dead, why didn’t He do it this time?! I talked to my best friend Jesus after grieving for awhile. I am sharing this with you to hopefully bring hope and perspective, not pain. Adding in what He spoke this morning. Certainly weigh it, test it, pray over it.
“I hate the pain that death causes. I wept over the pain of the death of Lazarus. Lazarus was my friend. I knew he would be raised, yet his death brought pain to so many. Some think the Father is the orchestrator of their pain and it is untrue. Some blame. Some grow angry. Some disappointed. They do not understand that before sin entered the world, death and sickness were not a reality.
Mankind chose sin, sin brings pain. It impacts those who love me and those who hate me. You live in a sin filled world, yet I have overcome the world. Even those who love me and abide in me will face challenges on your side of eternity. Have hope that what you live now is not the full story. Eternity awaits and there is no death in Paradise.
I love faith. I love when the children of God lift their eyes to the promises of God and believe. I love the boldness to declare with unwavering faith what has been spoken from the Father’s heart in scripture. I also desire for closeness and pursuit of heaven’s vantage point. There are things at work that humans do not always see nor understand. They think, ‘How could a loving God allow this?,’ instead of asking, ‘How can I grow to know God through this?’
We are not causing tragedy to build intimacy. We do not prevent all bad things from happening. It requires a different perspective to see as we see. We move intently into the middle of grief. I am close to the broken hearted and save those crushed in spirit. I hold the hurting in my arms and love them to life.
Some do not realize to every life there is an assignment and many fulfill it and come home. The timing is not what others desire for it is in the human heart to live for eternity. Those who are united with me will live forever, simply not in your realm. The conditions are far more pleasant where there is no sin, no sickness, no death.
Some desire to come home and I will not violate their will. They may never tell their loved ones, yet they get a glimpse of where they will be, who I am, and never want to go back. I care for each person’s wishes as well as completing the will of the Father.
In the moments where you do not understand, sink into my heart. Inquire and listen. Heaven has a different viewpoint than the sons and daughters of Adam.”
I believe in praying bold, faith filled prayers. I also believe in asking God, “What are you doing in this situation and how should I pray?” When my friend was sick and we had been praying for weeks for a miracle, I finally stopped praying our will be done and started praying, “God what is heaven’s best in this situation? I want that.”
Sure we want people to live forever on earth, yet the reality is sin created an environment where we will all leave earth. Some will be gathered into the eternal arms of God. Some will slip into a godless realm. Either way, earth is the shortest time we will live.
Should we pray for the sick and expect healing. I think so. Should we leave the results in God’s hands, yes! We cannot heal or raise anyone from the dead. It’s only by God’s power. Do we believe for what looks impossible? Heck yeah! Do we also recognize we do not command the Universe, God does? Yes.
I don’t always get it. I do know God is good. I do know the wisdom of God is FAR beyond our wisdom.