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Keep Sowing

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A little mid week encouragement since I won’t be blogging this weekend. God bless you sweet friends… 

Do you ever feel like love is a waste of time? Or you’ve invested in something for Jesus and there appeared to be no fruit.
I admit I have thought at times, “Jesus, there appears to be no fruit here, what was that about?
He’s super fun. His response, “It’s not about what you see. Are you willing to continue on out of love for Me?” Yep I am! 

Love is costly (our human nature yields to God to put others first). 

When love flows from God to us and through us, it’s a tremendous blessing. 

It’s all for HIS glory, not our own. 

Those who abide in God, love. Those who do not love, do not know God (1 John 4:8). 

It’s so much easier to only look out for ourselves. Sometimes it seems being selfish gets you further in this life. Yet, it isn’t the life God calls us to. 

Why not live for yourself? Because every seed sown will reap an eventual harvest. And this life is temporary. Eternity is forever. God calls us to look for opportunities to do good for others (Gal 6:10); not for our personal gain, to look good, or to win friends, but to demonstrate what He’s like to the world. He blesses us to be a blessing. He’s a good, loving, and generous God. He’s beyond generous. Also blessed doesn’t always speak to the immediate.

Some harvests for Jesus you won’t see until heaven. Some are storing up treasures in heaven where they do not decay and others on earth which will fade away. Some things that seemed insignificant to you may have changed a life or the course of history. If it brings God glory, we pursue it. Being with Him leads to a life of love, reckless abandon to love, radical generosity, and looking out for others. His heart becomes our heart. What matters to Him, matters to us. The people He loves, we begin to love like Him. 

I leave you with these verses. 

“…let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,”~Galatians 6:9. 

“So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith,”~Gal 6:10.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself,”~Phil 2:3. 

You are loved and continually prayed for! 


Love, 

Erin
Sent from my iPhone
 
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Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Love Everyone…Even Your Enemies

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Jesus didn’t tell me to only love those who love me. He told me to love everyone, “…love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven,”~Matt 5:44-45. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love,~1 John 4:8.

What is God like?

God is love. And I’m not talking about the Christian love we do of telling people we love them with flowery words, yet our actions do not demonstrate God like love.

How does God love you?

That’s the love He asks and commands us to give others. I’m not perfect in this area. No one other than Jesus got this right, yet throughout the Gospels God repeats Himself, “Love! Love! LOVE one another!” Jesus told the disciples the world would know we were following Him by our love for one another.

We cannot claim to love God and hate people. We cannot claim to truly be following Jesus and withhold love from people. It’s ungodly-not like Him.

What if God didn’t forgive us and wipe our slates completely clean?

What if God kept bringing up our past sins and rubbing them in our faces?

What if God was impatient and without compassion?

What if God only dealt with the people who were really good to Him and loved Him well?

What if God treated us the way we treat people?

What if God was stingy and rude?

What if God chose to one day hold grudges?

What if God completely ignored us though we were repentant or offered Him love?

What if God only showed up when love suited His best interests?

What if God never supported, encouraged, helped, or invested in us?

What if God ignored our needs because He was too busy or we were too needy?

What if God only showed up when He needed something?

What if God was like us?

The world would be HELL, far worse than it is now and billions of people would have no hope. Fortunately God doesn’t become like us. He empowers us to be like Him. He said in John 15:5, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Those who abide in me will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

We are called and empowered to love. It’s not optional for a follower of Jesus. It’s not something we bypass and slide into heaven. God is serious about love.

He doesn’t ask us to be God for people, only He can meet people’s needs completely. He does call us to reflect Him and point to Him. He does call us to obey Him.

Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say?

Many will come to me and I will say, depart from me, I never knew you. I was hungry and you didn’t feed me. Naked and you didn’t clothe me…whatever you did to the least of these, you did unto me.

How to we move forward…

We confess the sin of being unloving and disobedient and we repent (turn from it).

We forgive ourselves and others for being unloving. If we don’t forgive, we are not forgiven.

We invite the Holy Spirit to give us His eyes for people and His heart.

We abide in the Vine. If you have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there’s no way to abide in Him or have salvation.

We obey God. Obedience to God has never been optional though some teach it is. Jesus never taught that we could live as we please and somehow honor God. He states, “I’d rather you be hot or cold than lukewarm, lest I spit you out.” The Bible states obedience is better than sacrifice. We don’t obey to gain love or approval or righteousness. We obey out of love for God. If we don’t obey Him, we don’t love Him. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us.

We let God love us so we have love to give. We cannot give what we haven’t received. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. His mercy is new every morning.

Father forgive me and us for our lack of love for others. Teach us to love like you. May we be imitators of God as dearly loved children. Give us your eyes for others and ourselves. May we be known by our great love, compassion, generosity, faith, forgiveness of others, mercy, and goodness. May we overflow with good fruit. A sweet fragrance and bright light in our world. For Your glory. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Be Ready & Sow Generously

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Here are some nuggets I wanted to share with you from time with God and experiences.

1. Be ready in season and out of season…to share the Gospel and do the work of ministry.

2 Timothy 4:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

It’s easy to sit idle; there is nothing wrong with rest. It’s prudent for us to be continually aware that as Ambassadors for Jesus, we can be called on at any moment to do the work of ministry. This weekend I was prepared to share worship music with a few kids. Once I got to my destination, they had me lined up to do worship at church on Sunday. If I had not been playing and worshipping in my free time, I would not have been prepared for Sunday. At any moment we can be called upon to teach, preach, exhort, rebuke, share the Gospel, pray, or minister to other people. Are we ready? Are we cultivating intimacy with God so we have something to share? We can only release what we carry and give away what we already possess.

2. We are stewards not owners….

Everything we have; money, time, talent, resources, gifts, our bodies, relationships, it all belongs to God. We are not our own but were purchased with Christ’s blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Therefore, we don’t own, we steward what is given. The parable of the talents teaches us that God cares what we do with what we are given (Matthew 25:14-30). The more faithful we are over what is given, the more is given to us. So, when people complain…God is using this person more than me or they have more opportunities than me…the key is to look at what the person did with the little that they had. Did they use it for selfish means, or did they invest it for the benefit of others? Did they take care of what and who was entrusted to them or did they abuse, neglect, or misuse what was given?

We cannot ask God to lead nations if we are unwilling to serve where we are and who is right in front of us. If we will not care for what we already have, how can God entrust us with more? This is my own conviction…how am I ministering to my coworkers, neighbors, family, people who interact with me on a daily basis. Am I pointing them to Jesus? Am I using the things God has already given for His glory?

3. We reap what we sow…

Those who sow sparingly, reap sparingly. Those who are stingy normally do not prosper. God calls selfishness sin and does not reward selfishness. In the realm of God’s Kingdom, those who give or sow into things other than themselves reap a bountiful harvest. The key to abundance is giving,~Bill and Beni Johnson. The world says the key is hoarding and self-focus. It is the opposite in God’s Kingdom.

It may seem if you are sowing or investing, that you have less than others. The truth is, the longer the sowing season, the greater the harvest. When God speaks of blessing, He speaks to the end of a thing. Some people will live lavish lives on earth and have fewer or little rewards in heaven. Yes, there will be rewards given in heaven and we will co-reign with Christ (James 1:12, Matthew 5:12, Matthew 25:21, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 22:12, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 3:12-14, Matthew 6:6)…and there are so many more Bible verses about rewards in heaven. What we do here does matter. Our earthly life also prepares us for our heavenly assignment.

God blesses us not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of every person around us. Every person has been given something from God to help other people. The Holy Spirit in us has the ability to minister, encourage, help, bless, and love others. No believer is without something to offer. The question is; will we let God live and love through us…even if it costs us greatly? Our blessings cost Jesus His life.

Luke 6:38 New King James Version (NKJV)

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Some people are waiting on breakthrough, for their dreams to come true, and they are unwilling to sow/invest into anyone else. Joyce Meyer said this once and it stuck with me, “If you want something, start sowing it.” The point isn’t to give expecting something in return. The point is that God is faithful to His word and it’s good to take the focus off ourselves and help other people. The call of every believer is to help other people and to love them. It’s not something Jesus offered as an option, it would be nice if you did this (Matthew 25:31-46).

If you want your dreams to come true, start helping others with their dreams. Don’t neglect what you need to do, but help other people. Sow and invest in others. If you want good friends, be a good friend. If you want help, be willing to help others. If you want to be treated well, treat others well. If you want to be blessed, bless others. It’s not about getting, yet if you don’t sow it…you are going to reap what you sow; those who invest nothing, reap nothing. And we always reap more than we sow. A seed produces a seemingly endless harvest. Jesus told us to treat others well, even our enemies. It doesn’t mean we run out and start doing everything for everyone. It does mean we seek to do no harm and look for ways to bless others-being led by His Spirit.

If you’re a sower and your harvest hasn’t come yet, no worries. It will come and it will be more than you sowed. And it’s crucial to know it may never come back from the person or place you sowed into. You may not even see it this side of heaven, yet our God is faithful to His word. If you haven’t sowed or invested in anyone else, I encourage you to start giving, discipling others, and investing in the spiritual growth of others…not out of obligation or to get, but to represent Jesus. He’s done so much for us, how can we refuse being good to other people? It’s for His Glory. We show the world the character of God. As we reap a harvest of blessings, we can turn that over and bless more people for His glory.

May we live in such a way that people say, “When our paths crossed, I encountered Jesus and I was blessed.” He’s amazing. Let’s keep our eyes on Him and let Him live through us…for His Glory and the blessing of others.

You are continually in my prayers…and I am not just saying that. When I pray, you’re covered. Also Jesus lives to intercede for us…so you are always covered in prayer.

Have a blessed and wonderful week. Be a blessing to others…show the world how awesome our Papa is! He overflows with love and generosity. May we let Him live through us so others are richly blessed.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Learning to Love Like God (Part 2)

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This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters,~1 John 3:16.

The greatest commandment given to us is to love. The first post covered first receiving love from God, forgiving others, and how we learn to love. Jesus is our role model and example for love. He perfectly represented the Father.

I’ve noticed that love is one of the most misrepresented aspects of God’s character. Love defined by our terms does not equal love from God’s perspective. What does it mean to love your enemies? Does love mean you do everything that’s asked of you? Is love about feelings or choice? Does loving a person mean you need to be their best friend? Does love mean you never speak up if someone or something is wrong?

Loving Your “Enemies”:

First I will say, though people may oppose, harass, torment, or abuse others, the real enemy is not people.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,~Ephesians 6:12.

The first step in loving “enemies” is to recognize people are not the enemy. Jesus prayed for His persecutors, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” You may say, “Some people know exactly what they are doing!” This may be true, but God’s heart is for repentance. We, too, want to see people right with God. There will be a final judgement of people, everyone will not go to heaven. And some who claim Him, will not either (Matthew 7:21).

We love our “enemies” by forgiving, praying, and blessing. It does not profit us as Jesus said in Luke 6:32 to only love and bless those who love and bless us; even sinners do that.

Doing Whatever is Asked of You:

There are many scriptures that talk about being generous. Does this mean if someone walks up to you on the street and asks you to empty your accounts you should just do it? No. If God prompts you to, then yes. God blesses people who are generous, and He loves a cheerful giver.

Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing, not everything people asked of Him. When Lazarus was sick, Jesus stayed where He was until he died. There was a purpose for Jesus remaining where He was. He had a miracle planned.

Addressing extremes:

Do nothing…,

There are people who believe they should not do anything unless they want to. They only give, help, serve, or sacrifice when they want to. This isn’t scriptural. Jesus encourages and asks us to be a blessing.

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?~1 John 3:17.

Do everything…,

It’s wonderful to serve. Serving (doing for others) can become our identity. God doesn’t love us for what we do. Our identity is child of God. Even God rested after creating the world. Jesus retreated to be alone with the Father. We can’t be all things to all people. Only God can meet everyone’s needs. When serving replaces caring for our families, health, or time alone with God, it’s taken a wrong place in our lives.

Feeling or Choice:

I truly believe love is both a feeling and choice. We can feel loving or unloving towards someone, yet choose to demonstrate love in our actions. If we base love only on feelings, then love will not be constant. It’s not natural to selflessly love. It doesn’t feel good to our flesh. The Holy Spirit in a believer always wants to love. God is love.

Best Friends with Everyone:

We don’t have the time, energy, emotional capability, or ability to be everyone’s best friend or friend. We can be friendly and kind to everyone. However, offering ourselves up to be friends with everyone leads to burnout and sometimes heartache. Trust me on this one. Jesus had 12 disciples and spent a considerable amount of time with 3. He entrusted His mother Mary to 1, John.

I’ve learned to be friendly to everyone, yet reserve the closest parts of life and heart to a very, select few. Not every person can be your friend, and that doesn’t mean you don’t love them. You give different people different levels of access and intimacy. Love sets boundaries.

Correction:

Love does not go along with what’s wrong. God corrects those He loves. Unconditional love is not the same as unconditional approval. I had someone I was friends with years ago tell me, “I don’t want anyone telling me if I’m doing something wrong.

Proverbs 15:5 says, “a fool despises correction.” It seems harsh. We don’t like to be wrong. The person who refuses any correction is unwise. We grow from feedback. The person unwilling to allow anyone to speak into their life does not understand love.

This does not mean we become the sin police. We are to check ourselves first, then gently correct others.

Lastly, but most importantly, we rely on God. It’s His love and strength that helps us in our weakness.

Father, help us to rely on You to love as You love.

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Learning to Love Like God (Part 1)

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much,~Matthew 5:46.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”~John 13:34-35.

We love because he first loved us,~1 John 4:19.

Love is the highest calling for a believer. I talk about love quite a bit because God reveals the desperate need the world has for love. Addiction is a cry for comfort. Sexual promiscuity for attention and affection. Abuse for healing. Everywhere you look, people are trying to fill a God sized void with something. Drugs, food, tv, alcohol, sex, relationships, social media, and even church activities are often used to fill the void of love.

You and I are empowered to love. How? By the Holy Spirit. He is love. Sounds easy right? God in us loving people.

In order to love like God, we must first receive love from God. We cannot give away what we do not possess. That person who fails to love you mostly likely either doesn’t know how you perceive love, or they haven’t fully received God’s love.

Even after we receive God’s love, we can choose not to love other people. It’s a process of submitting to God, not relying on feelings, and dying to self.

I don’t always feel like loving people. Nope. Some days I grow tired of being kind to rude people. Some days I have to go straight to God with unpleasant feelings towards people. He reminds me of this, “Feelings are not an indication of truth. You can love this person because I love them.

How do we love like God?

We let God love us. Christianity is about relationship with God. Jesus paid for us to have full access to the Father.

Take time to just be with God. It can be journaling, reading, praying & listening, time in His Word, worship, etc…asking God to reveal His love on the heart level. It will then pour out on to others. God fills to overflowing. Part of it is faith as well; believing what God says about His love for us is true.

We forgive. Gosh, I don’t mind forgiving (surrendering a person to God and refusing to avenge). It’s far more difficult to reconcile and restore a relationship when someone has betrayed your trust, treated your heart like a punching bag, or just failed to be good to you. In those moments I’m reminded of these things…

1. What is God’s purpose for the relationship? Is it covenant? Will restoring the relationship be safe?

If someone is stealing from your bank account, love sets boundaries (change the info, block the person). If a person is not trustworthy, don’t confide in them. If someone is controlling and manipulative, limit the access they have to you. If someone is abusing you in any way, seek help. Forgiving does not mean you must remain in the same condition or immediately give someone your trust. We are responsible for who and what we allow into our lives.

If it’s a covenant relationship or one God is calling us to, we are to do our best to work it out (we will discuss more in a different post on covenant).

2. How does God treat me when I fail?

We are humans. We will blow it. God is so merciful and kind to me when I mess up. I am called to be merciful.

Unlike God, we can be severely damaged by others. Mercy doesn’t mean let someone continually, purposefully hurt or abuse you. Our role is to point people to Christ. It’s unloving to allow someone to continue to sin against us and not offer loving correction. We want people right with God. It does mean we offer grace, compassion, and mercy. Mercy may be refraining from gossip (which is so damaging). The person did you wrong, protect their name. Treat them better than they did you.

Lastly I will say love will cost you greatly. God has blessed me with years of experience loving people who did not in any way love, honor, or respect me. He gave me someone similar to Saul (4 years-40 hours a week. Not sure how I didn’t lose my mind), a few who behaved like Judas, and allowed people in my life who at times made me want to never love again. I’ve had to love people who have tried to take my life. I can say love doesn’t always feel good. I’m certain the experiences Jesus endured were not pleasant. They were excruciating. He suffered greatly. Yet, He did it for love.

Whatever love costs you, please know genuine love glorifies God. The world needs to see genuine, agape love through us. We may not know until heaven the impact we made in someone’s life. Though it may be painful at times, choose love!

You’re in my thoughts and prayers!

Father reduce us to love. Help us to love like You. Remove worldly views of love and replace them with Yours. Help us to see people as You do, and love them as You do. In Jesus name, Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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