Thoughts On Raising the Dead

Thoughts on raising the dead.

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.

Blessing you!

Love,

Erin Lamb

When God Love is Unrecognized

Loving People Who Do Not Grasp God’s Love

Have you ever tried to love someone with God love and they either misconstrued it as eros (romantic love), rejected the love, misunderstood the love, did not believe you loved them, tried to use you, or trampled it under foot? I have. It used to bother me greatly, I confess. Then God allowed me to see Jesus loved everyone perfectly, yet some still could accept His love, receive His love, understand Him, nor reciprocate His love.

Jesus, the love of God through Him, was foreign to the religious. His love was not recognized, God was not recognized, He was neither believed nor accepted. The love of God is so lavish, so selfless, and so pure.

The world without knowledge of God cannot recognize what it has no grid for. Love in our culture is often lust (based on selfish gain, fleshly passions, self gratification). It is not holy, pure, nor does it sacrifice anything for another unless there is hopes to gain something.

When you love people without knowing them, it can scare them. If you are too lavish, some think you have ulterior motives. Why? Because our world system is upside down to God’s system. God loves us first and sacrificially. God is not selfish. My point is, and I have to say this to myself, love is not wasted. It may feel that way, yet if it’s for God it’s not.

I served a homeless guy for a bit who ended up off the street and with a job. He rejoiced and thought I was amazing while he was being blessed. Years later I saw him drunk and back on the streets. He cursed me and shooed me away. Did I waste my time for that year I served him and helped him? That hot summer day he cursed me in broad daylight it felt that way. Yet the truth is, Jesus was glorified that year. That man cannot stand before God and say no one ever showed me your love. And guess what, I still keep showing up on the streets.

Whether people clap, boo, talk about me, slander my name, wrongly judge my intentions, trample love underfoot, I keep waking up to love the world. Yes, use wisdom and set boundaries. But don’t let people not full of God’s love destroy your desire to love. Those who do not love, do not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).

My encouragement is ask for wisdom and keep your love on for Jesus. Sometimes the prayer is, “God help me to love!”

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Which Jesus Are You Following?

I love Jesus. I hope to follow Him all the days of my life, even if it cost me my life.

Following Jesus has cost me “friendships” and invited persecution. Most of the persecution coming from people who claim to know Him. They have called me names (heretic, demonized, weird, another colorful b-word), slandered my name, a few threatened violence, I was struck once by a woman who called me a liar and I was not lying (she claimed to be a Spirit-filled Christian. I refused to hit her back out of love and she was far older than me/over twice my age), cursed my ministry, cursed me, cussed me out, boycotted things I was doing for Jesus, cursed me from pulpits, mocked me, tried to shame me, publically set me up to be humiliated, talked badly about me, stopped talking to me if I disagreed with their understanding of scripture, tried to turn entire groups against me, posted hateful or disrespectful comments on my blogs or social media, tried to debate me for hours and talked down to me like I was stupid, written me nasty notes, called me a bad Christian and untrustworthy, called my ministry for God illegitimate, etc…all in the name of Jesus.

I don’t know the Jesus who acts like that. Jesus said you will know my true disciples by their agape (sacrificial, unselfish) love. Jesus also stated you would know a tree by its fruit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentlenesses, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law (Gal 5:22-23). Love fulfills the law because it does no harm to its neighbor (Romans 13:10).

Why share these things, and I promise I am not complaining? Because if our picture of Jesus is violent, hateful, nasty, rude, unkind, mean spirited, argumentative, proud, hostile, etc…it’s not Jesus of Nazareth. The spirits behind the behaviors in paragraph one are demons. Mockery is a demon. An accusatory spirit is a demon. Pride is a demon. These are the chief characteristics of Satan. It’s easy to build an image of God that is not God at all. Cursing people is the language of demons. Slander and gossip, are demons.

God invites us to know Him, who He really is. Even in my highest levels of ignorance or rebellion God never responded to me in a hateful way. Never. The conviction of God never pushed my face in the dirt and stepped on my neck. The Pharisees partnered with the devil and wanted to stone people for not following their understanding of the law. Jesus did not.

If you feel compelled to violence or mean-spiritedness against people, that is not the Holy Spirit. If you feel compelled to send nasty notes, leave rude and hateful comments, that is not the Holy Spirit. If you feel led to mock people and curse their ministry, that is not the Holy Spirit. A genuine Spirit of God will go gently and speak privately with someone in great love. The Bible tells us to go first privately and to make sure we don’t have a plank in our eye. See Galatians 6:1, Matthew 7:4-5, 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Matthew 18:15-17. If you behave in these ways, I encourage repentance.

I truly believe once we (collectively who claim Jesus) get the love thing right, everything else will fall into place. I am not bitter over the behavior of other people. I forgive them, pray, and move forward. I am deeply saddened by the misrepresentation of Jesus. Why? The world is watching those who claim Jesus to find out who God is. If our actions do not align with the heart of God, why on earth would anyone want to know Jesus? The devil never tells people how their actions will impact others. He pushes humanity to pride.

My prayer is we choose the way of Jesus. I am still being refined and having my heart tended by God. I am still learning from Jesus. I am still yielding myself to God. My hopes are no one will be able to say I brutalized them in the name of Jesus or made a mockery of who He is. Why? I love Jesus. How I behave is a reflection of our intimacy.

My greatest prayer this morning is for those who claim Jesus to truly know Him. Jesus said if we abide in Him, we will bear good fruit (John 15:4-5).

I do not desire to worship a Jesus made in mankind’s image. I want Jesus of Nazareth, the humble king who washed feet and chose nails even for His enemies. My urgent plea is seek to know the real Jesus. The Holy Spirit promises to be our teacher and guide. If we ask God, He will reveal Himself to us.

Before I went to sleep last night I deleted a nasty comment off my author page. I wrote about women in ministry which created a firestorm. The defenders of their version of the law came out with Bibles raised to beat me with their level of understanding. What they do not realize is I spent years studying the Bible. I read through it almost every year, and I am not ignorant. I have been pursuing knowing Jesus for most of my life. I do not speak about things I do not study with God. I bless them, forgive them, delete their hatefulness, pray for them, and move along.

If you have been beaten up by professing Christians, I am sorry. Jesus is sorry. God is not mean nor cruel. God loves you! God is patient and kind. God is good and merciful. God is not hateful. God is love. I wrote my third book Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse this year because we have way too many Christians in bad shape because of the treatment and abuse of other Christians. If you are hurting, grab it. It has 5 star reviews and has helped numerous people step out of pain and into healing. You can grab off Amazon.com or Empowered-Free.com/shop.

I hope something written here blesses you! Praying for you, me, the global church. Let’s choose love!

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Photo Source: Pinterest

The Chef & The Feast (Parable)

The Chef & the Feast (Parable)

There was a local Chef who loved to prepare feasts for those in the town. Daily the Chef would rise and spend hours in preparation for the feast. There was great joy in the Chef’s eyes to share. Years had been spent learning to prepare food. Years where others were able to simply laugh and play, there was due dilligence to study and learn to prepare feasts for others.

The daily feasts were quite the spread. Each detail was thoughtful, with the guest in mind.

Some would come to the feast and enjoy! They were honored to sit with the Chef and enjoy the food and company. They would even place their dishes in the sink when done.

Some would eat and complain, “I don’t like roasted chicken and beef. Why didn’t you prepare what I like?” The Chef would endure their consistent complaining day after day because they were concerned primarily for themselves and not others. They did not recognize they were not paying for the feast. Their selfishness and complaining blocked them from enjoying what was prepared for them.

Some threw their food in the trash or their plate on the floor, because they did not like the Chef. They could not receive because of who was serving. They felt they would be better at cheffing or the Chef needed to be a certain way. They too missed out on enjoying a daily feast and dishonored the Chef.

Some refused to show up to the daily feasts. They were so busy. They could never make time to just rest and enjoy.

Some would come and try to cook for the Chef and they were never asked to cook. They misunderstood their role at the feast.

Some would push their way to the front of the table, “Me first,” they would shout. They did not care who was there, they had to be the first to eat. This disheartened the chef because the intent was a table of family, not a hierarchy of importance.

Sometimes the heart of the Chef would leap with joy because the people were kind and sharing with one another. The Chef loved when they enjoyed the feast. Sometimes the Chef would slip away to the kitchen and cry. The guests would fight over their opinions and beliefs. They would fight to be the first people getting a plate. They would smash plates on the floor, and complain.

There were days were the Chef spent hours cleaning up the messes made. Yet every day, the Chef would rise and prepare a feast. The Chef was never paid for the feast nor the prep time. It was a sacrifice and labor of love.

One day the Chef decided to move to another town and try again. Maybe in another place and with other faces there would be a different experience. The Chef soon realized no matter the town, the people were similar. The faces were different, yet the experiences were similar.

The Chef’s heart sank. Why bother preparing a feast? The Chef closed up the shop and moved into an isolated mountain top. The view was glorious. The Chef still had a passion to create feasts. Therefore, the Chef would rise early in the morning and prepare a mini feast. Dining in solo the Chef would give thanks. Thanks for provision. Thanks for health. Thanks for peace on top of the mountain.

One day there was a knock at the door. An unfamiliar gentleman stood at the door. He said, “I heard you were a Chef and I wondered if a hungry traveler could dine with you. I have traveled a long way and I am famished.” The Chef look puzzled at how the traveler could have found the mountain top home. It was so secluded. He obliged the traveler and let him inside.

The Chef prepared the meal of a lifetime. Oh what a feast. The traveler was in awe of the level of detail and thoughtfulness placed on each dish. The traveler smiled with delight and enjoyed every moment. The traveler asked questions of the Chef and listened. The Chef was amazed because no one had cared about the things on the Chef’s heart before. People came, ate, pleased themselves or complained and dishonored the Chef. The traveler asked, “What can I do for you? You have prepared such a glorious meal for me.” The Chef was startled and taken aback. “I don’t know. No one has ever asked what I desired. I am uncertain of what I want.” The traveler smiled and replied, “If you could have anything, what would it be?”

The Chef pondered for what seemed like an eternity. He finally came up with an idea. “I would love my own garden, to grow my own food and prepare meals from the garden! Yes, a garden. Yet I am on a mountain top and things will not grow here. I travel down the mountain to purchase what I need. I would love to have more travelers like you who understand the feast. The feast is not about the food. It is about fellowship, family, and intimacy. You see, sharing a meal is a time to get to know each other. Yes, those are my dreams.”

The traveler listened intently. “I believe I can help you! I am on my way to another town, yet I will return for you.”

The Chef was excited and they parted ways with a grin. The Chef thought, “Could someone be thinking of me? Oh, will I have my own garden and kind travelers to feast with me?!”

Days turned into weeks, that turned into months. The Chef’s heart sank into disappointment. “The traveler has forgotten me! Yet at least I had a dream.” The Chef continued making feasts for one, watching the sun rise and set in isolation. Though the Chef missed the bustle of the daily feasts in the villiage, the Chef did not miss the behavior of the patrons.

One day, out of the blue, when the dream of a garden had long died there was a knock at the door. The Chef arose thinking, “Who could this be?” The face on the other side was the warm faced traveler. He was smiling from ear to ear. “I told you I would return for you! Can you come with me?” The Chef rubbed the amazement from each eye and packed a bag to go.

The traveler was beyond excited to go on this journey with the Chef. They traveled far from the mountain home to a place where the royals lived. The Chef was flabbergasted at the sights and smells. Aroma of baked bread filled the town square. People were smiling and waving at the traveler. They were bowing and displaying such honor. This perplexed the Chef. Who was this traveler? He (the traveler) looked so ordinary and plain.

The traveler journeyed into the Land where the King lived. The Chef had never seen the King. He only heard stories of the wealthiest King in the world. His heart pounded.

They arrived upon a mansion. The traveler said, “Let’s explore!” The Chef stepped onto the land which was lush and beautiful. The traveler took him on a tour of the mansion and then he said, “I must show you the garden!” He pushed open the double doors and guided the Chef into a garden as far as the eye could see. “This Chef is your garden! Welcome home. I have tasted your food for years and I thank you for every feast. Thank you for all you prepared for me. I am so grateful for you and every feast you prepared for villager after villager. Thank you for feeding the widows and orphans of your town. They had nothing to repay you. I can repay you. Thank you for cleaning up the messes people made, and enduring their complaining and harsh criticisms with grace. Thank you for continuing to make a feast when your heart was breaking. Thank you! This is your garden. This is your mansion. This is your home. I have assigned gardeners to you and other chefs to help you. You will have family and fellowship here. No one will throw your food in the trash or break your plates on the floor. They will come with open hearts to recieve and honor who you are.”

The Chef stood amazed. “How can you say such a thing? How have you tasted my food many times? We just met.”

“Oh I know you Chef. I came every day in a different disguise to meet with you. I would sit at the last place, the last one to be served. I would take my plate to the kitchen and say thank you! I have eaten with you at every daily feast. Even the ones where you were so busy serving you did not recognize me.”

The Chef realized there was always at least one guest who stayed to put their plate away and say thank you. The Chef cried deeply and stood amazed. “How can you offer so much to me? Aren’t you simply a traveler?”

“I am the King! Welcome to my Kingdom. I own everything you see. And you are invited to be my friend, part of my family, and if you are willing-my Chef! We will have feasts and daily bread. I am a rewarder of those who seek to love. Thank you for loving me. I appeared as lowly, sometimes dirty. You treated me like royalty. When I appeared at your mountain top home, you invited me in and treated me like royalty. It’s my turn to repay the favor.”

The Chef remained in the land of King, enjoying daily feasts with people who smiled, laughed, and honored the feast. There was so much joy in the heart of the Chef. The daily feasts took on a new meaning. The King was always there and the King’s opinion of the feast mattered most. Despite how the Chef was treated by villagers in the past, the Chef was storing up treasures for the true cheffing assignment. The Chef was always cooking and preparing a feast for the King.

Moral of the Story: It’s all for the King (Jesus). He shows up daily and our actions are not for people primarily, they serve a great King. He rewards us for our love, sacrifices, and service. Some may trample your efforts under foot, complain, under value, dishonor, or treat with disdain. It does not matter too much. What matters is the King saying, “Well done! Well done! Enter into my Kingdom.”

Photos: Feast (Pinterest)

Lovingly,

Erin Lamb

Grief is Like a Ninja

Grief is Like a Ninja!

I realized Thursday night that I had not grieved the death of a friend this year, nor my aunt who died, nor anyone who died really the past 12 months. It may sound strange, yet with so many challenging things going on at once, you learn to press forward and not process everything.

I sat in an empty office with tears filling my eyes. As I wicked them away, I thought, “Why now?!” Grief has a way of showing up at unexpected times.

I had this thought while sitting there, grief is like a ninja. It shows up at these unexpectant moments. The tears flow, the truth of the situation sinks in and you face grief. It’s standing right in front of you declaring, “I will not be ignored.” Your attempts to bury grief, focus on other things, just keep going, is stalled by moments where reality sets in, “I will not see you again until eternity. Oh how I miss those moments with you!”

We do not wallow in grief, we unpack it. We process it. We come to terms with loss, betrayals, and so much this side of eternity. There is an understanding that God walks with us through the seasons. Through it all, God is with us. We are never forsaken. God does not scream at us to “Get it together, suck it up!” There is no harshness in God. God comes alongside us and whispers, “I love you; I bring comfort.”

The love of God is so deep! Vast beyond measure. Jesus comes along to unpack the pain, mend the ouchies, and deposit even greater love.

If the ninja has snuck up on you, it’s okay to process the loss. It’s okay to be fully human. It’s okay to be still and let the tears flow. It’s okay to process and heal. It’s okay to gracefully walk with Jesus and take it one day at a time. The ninja eventually visits less often. You may even find yourself dancing through a memory of a loved one, instead of tears. In the meantime, be gracious to yourself.

You are forever loved!

Love,

Erin Lamb

God is Not the Problem. God=Love. People Misrepresenting God is the Problem.

Some people are angry with God or Christianity. They have their horror stories that normally fall back on 1. Someone who claimed to know God treated them horribly or 2. God did not perform the way they wanted or agree with their line of thinking.

They did not get their way or the miracle they wanted, so obviously God is bad. I cannot explain why God does not prevent every disappointment or hurt. I do know God gave humanity the ability to choose and some people choose unwisely.

I talk about God’s heart towards humanity in all my books. I hope they help people see God is not the monster hiding in the dark with lightening bolts to strike them.

God is not the problem, sin is and misunderstanding the Bible or the character of God. We must understand that the God of Christianity is love. The greatest commandment Jesus gave His followers was, “Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Love fulfills God’s law because it seeks to do no harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10).

God love is not like human love that is based on feelings or agreement. There are people who believe that love is giving them everything they desire even if it us harmful. There are people who believe that love means absolute agreement. It does not. God is holy, without sin. Therefore, God can love us deeply and not agree with our poor choices that fall outside His boundaries. Disagreement is not hatred. God hates sin because sin destroys people. God loves people.

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (1 John 3:16). God loves the entire world, even those who do not love in return. It does not mean that God agrees with everything humanity does. Nor does it mean God accepts everything. God cannot agree with or accept sin because it is opposite of His nature. As stated before, God is holy (without any sin).

What about all these nasty Christians online or in your life. If God is love, why are you encountering hateful or bigoted/racist/sexist/prejudice/angry/hostile/mean/hurtful/abusive/selfish/unkind professing Christians? People can claim God all day long yet the Bible state plainly a tree can be known by it’s fruit. Jesus stated those who knew Him would love as He loves. The Bible also states that those who do not love do not know God (1 John 4:8).

This agape love is a byproduct of intimacy (knowing) with God. We imitate the God we know. There are people who are immature (immaturity is marked by selfishness), carnal (also marked by selfishness), or who struggle greatly with insecurity (insecure people can cause great damage because they need someone to be inferior to feel superior). Unfortunately there are some “Christians” who suffer from self righteousness or a holier than though complex.

The true Church, God, nor Jesus hurt you. A sinful person claiming to know God hurt you. One of the steps to healing is understanding people are NOT God and many falsely represent God and some grossly misunderstand or misinterpret the Bible. Some are immature or insecure Christians. Some are carnal. Some simply slipped out of abiding in the love of God.

God is good. God is holy. God loves people. If our view of the Bible does not align with the character of God then most likely we are wrong in our interpretation of the Bible or our definition of love/goodness. Some view love as agreeing on everything, no consequences for their actions, and approval-that is not the same as love. God love is unselfish, holy, pure, involves accountability, and is full of truth.

I repeat God is love-sacrificial, unselfish love. God is not petty, mean, selfish, flakey, rude, racist, prejudice, sexist, bigoted, harmful, nor awful. God is not the problem. People claiming to know God without full surrender to God are the issue. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He lived a surrendered life!

I pray we heal from awful acting Christians. Forgive them. Release them to God. People can only give away the love they possess. Pray God gives them a good dunking in His love. If your heart is still hurting or wounded, I want you to get your soul healed! It is possible to heal from being grossly mistreated or abused by Christians or clergy.

I hope you surrender all the pain to God and get to know Him for yourself. God loves you deeply and profoundly.

Join the Get Your Soul Healed Tribe:

If you wish for help to process through the pain, you can join my 8 week study and freedom group. It’s no cost to join. You simply need to grab a copy of the new book and the study guide. The study guide is only $6.99. Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse Book and Study Guide. Once you grab the study guide, I will add you to the closed and private group. Sessions start August 1! At 7pm EST this Thursday night I will kick off the study! I hope to see you there. Soul healing activations are a part of the group.

If you do not join the group, I hope to see you at one of the upcoming book signings in Ohio! Come say hello and enter to win some great prizes!!

You are so deeply loved!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

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People Are Not Against You; They Are Primarily For Themselves

Happy Look Out For Someone Besides Ourselves Wednesday!

The Bible tells us to love one another and part of love is demonstrating the heart of the Father to others. I recognized years ago in my own walk in ministry that I grew to believe God loved the people I was ministering to more than me. It is untrue. Yet the lie grew from experiences with Christians. I was expected to give, to love, to pour out, to lay my life down, to be available in every crisis, to forgive, to show up even when I was overwhelmed or in my own crisis, to put myself last, to endure gross mistreatment with a smile, to be perfect, and they were not expected to do much.

I was expected to be Jesus. They on the other hand were not. I was to offer grace and mercy and give others unlimited access to my time and life.

The reciprocation of God love was low and sometimes non existent. I was expected to get love from God and show up again to pour out. I recognized I had to set limits with people. Say no to extra ministry tasks.

I found reciprocal relationships in the marketplace and through hobbies/outside the church activities. I thank God today there are a few reciprocal relationships with believers.

It is not true God desires one sided relationships for us. It is NOT true that God desires for us to love Him, then others, and ourselves last. Every time I see those bumper stickers, I want to rip them off. The Bible states we love because He first loves us. Then we are called to love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. Step 1. God loves us. Step 2. We RECEIVE God’s love for ourselves (we cannot give what we do not receive). Step 3. We give back to God and others the love we have first received from God.

Unselfish love-loving others without strings attatched and desire for selfish gain comes ONLY from God. It is agape love-the highest form of love. It’s the love Jesus invites us into so we represent His heart to the world. It is the love that marks His followers.

Pain and disillusionment can come when we expect agape from Christians who are incapable of returning agape. We can only give what we first possess. May we abide in agape (Jesus) so we demonstrate agape (Jesus) to others.

Love is not selfish.

I noticed people would and will ask things of me that they absolutely would be unwilling to do in return. I have heard more than one person tell me I was supposed to help their ministry or business, but God was not calling them to help me. Not that I asked them for help. I tend to ask God and ask Him who to ask for help. It saves me time.

At the root of all sin is selfishness and hyper concern for self. Self is the idol to be worshipped instead of God. What about me? Is the theme song.

I realized I would push myself almost to the point of breaking to keep my word, to be there for people who would not even pull their own weight or bother to show up. It taught me something. It taught me boundaries. It taught me to expect Jesus to be Jesus, and people to be people.

Expecting people to be like Jesus leads to disillusionment. I am still a work in progress, so is everyone else. Expectations can lead to unnecessary discomfort.

We, humans, can also have flawed visions of ourselves. I have met those who believe they are representing the heart of God, yet their primary focus is self: making sure their voice is heard, their ministry is supported, their needs are met, their political agenda pushed forward.

We imitate the God we know and at times treat people similar to the way we treat God. If God is only pursued to meet a needs list, then people treat other people like slaves too. Abiding in God love, which is not selfish, is the only way we manifest unselfish love.

When we can connect with people and love them NOT for what we can gain from them, that is real love God. Love fulfills the law because love does NO purposeful harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10).

We can only give away what we receive first from God. Jesus stated His followers would be known by their unselfish, sacrificial love (John 13:34-35). May we abide in His love, and love others not for our gain but for their blessing!

Look for someone to love today!!

God love wins!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

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