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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
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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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Radical LOVE!

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(Image credit Instapray)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,”-Jesus.

Jesus never asks us to do something He will not empower us to do. He gave us the secret to loving like Him in John 15:5. He told us to abide in Him. If His Spirit is in us, we can love! God is love. These are some thoughts I’ve been pondering about love in God’s Body (followers of Jesus).

In fellowship and covenant (committed love)…

Who will you die to self for?

Who are you willing to continually sacrifice for?

Who are you willing to carry when they cannot carry themselves?

Who are you willing to support even if it’s not convenient for you?

Who are you willing to pray for until they get breakthrough?

Who are you willing to join your life to so they are blessed beyond measure because of the gifts God placed in you?

Who are you willing to continually love, even if they do not love you?

God invites us to enter into covenant with other believers. It’s not about saying I love you…it’s about living I love you. Loving when it’s hard. Loving in winter, spring, summer, and fall. We are called to love one another as Christ loves us. It’s not a love that is in word only. It’s a love that causes us to throw off our selfishness, pride, apathy, complacency, and passivity. Are we committed to this kind of love for one another? This kind of love lets the world know we belong to Jesus. Here’s an excerpt from the Bible on the friends who carried their friend to Jesus. This is the radical love that God is calling every believer to…Christ’s agape love.

The Help of Friends – Luke 5:17-20

One day Jesus was teaching the people. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there too. They had come from every town in Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. The Lord (God) was giving Jesus the power to heal people. There was a man that was paralyzed (crippled). Some men carried him on a mat. The men tried to bring him and put him down before Jesus. But there were so many people that the men could not find a way to Jesus. So the men went up on the roof and lowered the crippled man down through a hole in the ceiling. They lowered the mat {into the room} so that the crippled man was lying before Jesus. Jesus saw that these men believed. Jesus said to the sick man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” (ERV)

I went through a very hard season and I can say I spent most of it relying heavily on Jesus. I can say I am thankful for the people who loved me in the beginning, middle, and end of the storm. The people who didn’t make it about them, but enabled me to just get to Jesus. I am human just like everyone else, in dire need of Jesus. I need comfort just like everyone else in loss and pain. If you encounter one person who loves you unconditionally and is willing to sacrifice for you, you are richer than most of the people in the world.

Many people have associates. Many people have buddies. Many people have people willing to take from them. Many people have someone to hang out with and participate in activities. Not very many people have friends willing to risk their very lives to save them.

We don’t need more self-centered Christians. We need more willing to lay down their lives as Christ did for us. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s painful to love, especially when you aren’t loved in return. Yet love will always be the greatest commandment and the true marking of a disciple of Jesus.

What if every believer lived a life a love?

No person would feel disconnected, unsupported, alone, or unloved. Yet, this is not the reality. We have people in church every weekend who feel absolutely unloved and uncared for. We don’t need to play Christian games or say, “I love you,” if we don’t. We do need to ask God to fill us so we have something to offer others. We need to live the Gospel, not just know the Gospel. It’s our mission. It’s our purpose on earth-Love God, love people.

May we love, and love well…it’s a process and it’s a journey…yet it’s what we are called to in Christ. And it’s possible through Christ who gives us His strength. Those who abide in Him will bear much fruit (John 15:5). I pray earnestly that I can live what I know of Jesus, let Him live through me. So imperfect, yet so dependent on Him for everything.

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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Love is Never Wasted

Be imitators of God as dearly loved children.

Love one another as I have loved you.

Build each other up. Encourage one another daily.

Don’t just look out for your own interests, look out for the interests of others.

Do nothing out of selfish motives or vain conceit.

Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the greatest commandment.

The words above are from the Bible. Many are from Jesus. I’d love to tell you that I always think love is a good idea. I don’t. Sometimes the logical response for me is to choose isolation from people and forgo loving anyone but God. As an introvert, loving people is sometimes exhausting. Sometimes, honestly, love feels like a waste of time. Just keeping it real…yet part of loving God is loving people, not just in word but through actions.

When you really love people, you are vulnerable to them. They have the power to hurt you in ways you never thought possible. Sometimes they do it and blame you. Sometimes they are ambivalent or indifferent. Sometimes people are cruel or unkind. Sometimes the people you’d give your life for are the ones nailing you to a rugged cross. My heart has some pretty interesting scars. 🙂

Guess what? No one bears more scars than Jesus. We cannot fully comprehend the pain our sins caused Him. He was marred beyond recognition. His friends denied Him, forsook Him, and betrayed Him. Love cost Jesus everything. He felt the weight, shame, and pain of every sin.

This same Jesus says to us, “Love as I love.” He gave us His Spirit to help us to love. He doesn’t ask us to do anything He has not done or will not empower us to do.

So what are we to do? Do we throw in the towel on this love thing?

We could, but we would be living a life in disobedience to God. God never gives us permission to stop loving people. He never gives us permission to hold grudges or withhold forgiveness. If we don’t forgive, we are not forgiven. God never stops loving. He said the world will know we are His by our love for one another. If we don’t love, we don’t know God.

You see the point of life is to be loved by God, love God, love people, do as Jesus does, & become like Him; not by striving, but by abiding in Him.

We are transformed by relationship with God. We are being transformed by what we love and worship. Hence God saying, “Love Me most! Love Me first. Have no other gods before Me!” We are slaves to who and what we worship and obey.

We are God’s Ambassadors on earth. We show and demonstrate to the world what He’s like.

Do you know anyone who reminds you of Jesus?

Do you know anyone who represents Him well?

Does the person you see in the mirror continue to grow into His likeness?

Sanctification (the process of growing more Christlike) is part of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. We can quench Him, resist Him, ignore Him, and offend Him. Yet He’s trying to work in us so we represent the Father well and become our truest selves.

Our world needs Christians who look, behave, and sound like Jesus. They’ve heard our sermons and worship, listened to our political agenda, but have they encountered Jesus? Have they seen Christ in us?

I ask these questions of myself. Am I becoming more like Jesus or more selfish and like the world? Am I loving people or harming them? Am I giving/serving or asking to be served? Is my life a reflection of His love and power? When God reveals weaknesses (which I have plenty of), am I asking Him to help me or making excuses for them?

Lastly, though I feel it at times, love is never wasted. People are not our audience, judge, or jury. We love and live for an audience of One. Every person will give an account for their lives. We are called to care more about what God thinks than people’s responses to us or their opinions. It’s for His Glory, not our own.

May we choose love. May we abide in the One who is love so we have love to give away. May we be known for looking, acting, sounding, and behaving like Jesus. He said those who abide (remain) in Him will bear MUCH fruit (John 15:5). I don’t know about you, but I desperately need Jesus to love people, including myself. Without God I am nothing and have nothing.

Have a blessed week! Be a blessing to others. The world needs what you’re carrying…Christ in you, the hope of glory.

You’re in my thoughts and continual prayers…

Love in Christ,

Erin

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

 

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The Standard is Jesus

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Follow God’s example, as dearly loved children & walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us & gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering & sacrifice to God,~Ephesians 5:1-2.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing,~1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

Our lives will be measured by how we love. It’s not something that’s preached in many pulpits anymore, yet Jesus taught on it all the time. He taught we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. He stated if we love God, we would obey Him. He also stated there would be many when they see Him face to face who will say, “Look at all the good things I did in Your name. He will reply-I was hungry and you did not feed me, naked and you did not clothe me, in prison and you did not visit me…whatever you did to the least of these, you’ve done to Me. Depart from Me, I never knew You-(Matthew 25:31-46, Matthew 7: 21-26).” These weren’t people who lived believing they’d miss heaven. They lived forsaking the greatest commandment; love. They lived not applying the Gospel to their lives. God cares how we treat Him and others. It’s all through the Bible.

Misunderstanding love:

Humans often equate love with warm fuzzy feelings or being able to have their way. Neither is biblical love. God corrects, rebukes, and provides consequences and boundaries for us so we can learn. He does not treat us poorly; He leads us to paths of righteousness so we are not destroyed by sin. No matter how we view it; sin destroys it’s host. As a loving parent, He can’t stand by and watch us kill ourselves. Though if we are super rebellious, He will give us over to our sin (Romans 1:28).

If we wait to feel love, we will only love a select few. God didn’t tell us to only love the happy, shiny, nice people. I wish that were true, but it’s not. He said love everyone! He gave His Spirit so we had 24/7 built in love. If I only loved when I felt love, gosh, that’d be 10-20 percent of the time and only a few people in my life. I’m not primarily a feeler; I’m a thinker. My brain dominates my heart. I’m learning to allow the Holy Spirit to direct my brain.

Love does not always equal friendship:

God didn’t tell us to give everyone full access to our lives or to be close friends with everyone. Trust me, you will be destroyed if you give everyone the same access to you. Be friendly, compassionate, a servant to all. Even Jesus only had a few disciples He pulled closest to Him. His love was the same, the level of intimacy was not.

I’ve upset many people in my life by ending relationships that causes chaos, drama, trauma, or simply weren’t helping me grow like Christ. My goal isn’t to please people; it’s to be in God’s will. If it’s destroying your relationship with God, it’s abusive, there’s never peace, etc…ask God what type of relationship it should be. Married people have a greater responsibility. If it’s a random person you befriended, love them…but set boundaries. Even married people are called to point their spouse to Christ by setting boundaries, correcting, and rebuking. Jesus corrected, rebuked, and had boundaries with people. Pray for, bless, do good, yet don’t let people continually destroy what God is trying to build.

The standard is Jesus!

Jesus is the standard. Even if the entire world stands against you; your role is to represent (Re-Present) Jesus. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hurt you. Bless those who curse you. It is the way of a disciple of Jesus. It’s not easy; it’s possible through Christ who gives you strength.

Lastly…

We are not mini saviors. We are called to imitate Jesus by walking in love! We are called to be His ambassadors of love in the earth. The world will know we belong to God by our love.

Be blessed today. You are loved with an everlasting love!

The key to loving well is abiding in the One who is love (John 15:5). We love because He first loves us. We recieve His love and let it pour out onto others.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Posted by on July 6, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Looking for Real Love…

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Love is one of the most common used words in our vocabulary. In English we have one word for love. In the Greek there are several words for love. There is philia which is described as brotherly love; love for family or friends. Eros is an intimate love; a passionate desire often used to describe affection between lovers. Agape is unconditional love used to describe God’s love for mankind, it is sacrificial love. Storge is used to describe the love a parent has for their offspring.

Outside of relationship with God many of us will encounter philia, storge, or even eros love. We will be hard pressed to find agape love. The love God has for us is agape love and it is independent of us. God gives sacrificially because of who He is, not who we are. His love is not based on our performance, or merit. Even if we reject Him, He never stops loving us. Even some parents reject their offspring. Some parents can base their love and affection for a child based on their behavior. God does not. People base their love for others on their beauty, behavior, performance, attraction, or family ties. God loves because He is love. He loves the wicked, vile, and evil.

When God says, “I Love You,” it means more than what we could imagine.  It is not something He simply does. Love is who God is. He cannot be anything other than love. Before the first humans were created, God was love. He created mankind knowing we would rebel against Him. Since, He is not limited by time or space, He knew everything there was to know about us before we were ever formed. He still made provisions to save mankind from the penalty of sin. He sent His very best to rescue us.

The world is looking for love. Looking for real love. I can say God is the best place to start. He knows everything about us and will never reject us. He cares more about us than we care about ourselves. He was willing to endure the worst pain to save those He loves.

We can spend our lives looking for love in all the wrong places, with all the wrong faces, or we can set our eyes on the One who is love. He is available 24/7 to be there for His children. He is 1 Corinthians 13 love. I replaced love with God’s name below.

God is patient. God is kind. He does not envy. He does not boast. He is not proud. God does not dishonor others. He is not self-seeking, or easily angered. God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  God never fails.

God’s love for us is not blanket love. Nor does He love us out of obligation. We are here because God allowed us to be here. He knows every hair on our heads (Luke 13:7). If we are following Him, it is because He pursued us. For no person can come to the Father unless He draws them (John 6:44).

Real love, genuine love can be found in God. It’s a love that does not fail. Don’t look for people to meet your needs. Go to the One who is love. He will change your life.

I leave you with Psalm 139. I hope it blesses you and sinks into your heart. You are deeply loved.

Psalm 139:1-18

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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