Get Wisdom!

Morning Devotion: Gaining wisdom is vital to thriving. Let’s talk about relationships-great ones set you up to go further, draining ones sabotage efforts. God desires we have mutual and life giving relationships.

I had a very bad habit of giving people too much; too much access to me, too much availability, too much sacrificing for their benefit. They say you can never give too much-this is a lie.

Giving without wisdom is just as bad as not giving at all.

Giving in the wrong places, sowing into the wrong soil is just as bad as not sowing.

Let me break it down with examples. If I had a million dollars and gave it to someone who flushed it down the toilet, was that a good investment? No! They put the million dollars in the toilet and flushed it. They had no value for what was given to them. So they wasted it. Say they come back a few weeks later and asked for another million. It would be utter foolishness to give them another million. Yet let’s say you did and they flushed it down the toilet. They come back another time and ask for a million dollars. If you keep giving it to them, it’s pure foolishness.

How many times in Christian relationships is there a push to just give, give, and give with no wisdom? There is this push to give money, volunteer everywhere, give people-even toxic ones full access to your life, and just keep enduring abuse and mistreatment.

Jesus was not foolish. God is not foolish. God is a wise investor. Yes God allows His goodness to flow over the just and the unjust. God also invests wisely. God knows before He pursues us who we will become. God knew though Peter denied Jesus who he would become. God is purposeful, not aimless. There is a divine purpose behind everything God does and everything God allows. Even God has a boundary on who has full access to Him. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father unless they come through the Son.” God also has an expectation on His love. God tells us He expects to be loved in return. He freely gives us love. Love given relationship with God IS expected to be returned.

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’ Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.”~Matthew 22:36-40.

We are actually told the greatest commandment is to love God. God anticipates mutual love. I know this is not always taught, yet it’s biblical. God loves without our love. He does not cease loving if we do. God still expects mutual love in relationship. I truly believe one of the reasons humans struggle with loving other people is due to a lack of understanding of how to love God. God is their Mr. Fix it, or trunk monkey. He is not someone they engage with just because they love Him. Therefore they do not know how to just love other people.

We are invited to be good to people, even our enemies. This does not mean we become unwise and foolish. Get wisdom the bible says.

A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming and prepares himself for it.

But the senseless rush blindly forward

and suffer the consequences,~Proverbs 22:3.

Say goodbye to a troublemaker and you’ll say goodbye to quarrels, strife, tension, and arguments, for a troublemaker traffics in shame,~Proverbs 22:10.

Walk away from an angry man or you’ll embrace a snare in your soul by becoming bad-tempered just like him,~Proverbs 22:24-25.

So stop fooling yourselves! Evil companions will corrupt good morals and character.[c]~1 Corinthians 15:32.

[c] 1 Corinthians 15:33 This is likely a quotation from the Athenian poet Menander (Thras. 218). Paul is using this quote to encourage the believers to stay away from those who deny the resurrection.

Some Examples:

If Suzie only calls you to download her issues and problems, when she is bored, and sucks up hours of your time needed elsewhere, why are you answering the phone? Suzie is responsible for her own life and you yours. Yes we pray for people. Yes we love people. We also set boundaries.

I have sent people to ministries that have 24/7 prayer support, told then to pursue a counselor or life coach or soul healing or told them I could no longer be their stand in crisis person. Why? I am not God. I don’t want to be Jehovah Jr. I have limited time, tons of obligations, my own issues, and limited emotional capacity. God has no limits. I can not do all things. I can do all things God purposes me to do. Everything and everyone is not my assignment, nor yours.

If we are not careful, people will put us into the God spot. We do not belong there. Only God can be God. We have some limitations.

If Lucy has a bad temper and goes off on you regularly, and you have addressed this behavior with her and she never apologies and continues to verbally abuse you, why are you hanging out with Lucy? Why? Lucy has demonstrated with her actions that she does not care about you. Continuing to pursue closeness with Lucy is not helping Lucy become a better person. Lucy knows no matter how poorly she treats you, you will be back for her to verbally beat up again.

I am going to say something that may be shocking. Love sets boundaries! I repeat, “Love sets boundaries.”

What are boundaries? This is where someone else’s freedom ends where ours begins. It is self care, not selfishness. It is saying, “I value myself and I value you.” It is also wise stewardship. God expects us to love ourselves. We are told to love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. Boundaries examine what God has placed inside us and around us that needs guarded from just anyone and everyone having access.

I love the phrase, “Build a fence, not a wall around your heart. People can see its beauty, yet not everyone has access.”

If we do not gain wisdom in relationships, we can end up in toxic, abusive, one sided, life sucking relationships. How can I say this? I have walked it out. I just wanted to love people and love lavishly gives without expectation of return (in my mind). Like Oprah’s giveaways, I was going around to any and everyone, “You get love, you get love, you get love.” I would befriend anyone and drop my priorities to help other people. I would take vacation to help other people. I learned the following:

1. Without boundaries people treat you like a doormat or worse; you are something to wipe their muddy feet on and they do not respect you. Lack of boundaries leads to mistreatment, being used, and sometimes even abuse.

2. God did not ask me or you to be the sacrificial lamb for everyone. We are to follow the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit. Yes give, yes love people, and also LISTEN to the Holy Spirit. I had an instance with street ministry where the Holy Spirit told me not to stop for this man begging. I did anyway thinking, “This could not be God. This man is in need.” That man was super nasty squared! God was trying to save me from wasting time, I refused to listen.

3. Some people and things are a distraction! Hear me again. They are a distraction. They come and suck up time and resources when God has other things for us to do or other assignments. Put some prayer on it. God do you want me connected to this? Everything that sounds good or looks good is not God. Learning to set limits and say no is vital.

“Thank you for your offer, I am unable to do that at this time.”

“Thank you so much for thinking of me. I am not able to participate.”

We can lovingly say no.

4. Lack of boundaries is a lack of love for self. I have always hated the love God, love your neighbor, then love yourself last. It is wrong. The true order is receive love from God, love ourselves and God, then love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. God expects us to love ourselves. How do we want to be treated? Why are we tolerating less than that?

5. Lack of boundaries fuels entitlement. Entitlement says, “This is owed to me.” Believe it or not, I have had people demand I be in relationship with them. Or they were quite toxic in choices, behavior and expected close friendship or tried to manipulate me into friendship. Ummmm no. Friendship and relationships are gifts, not obligations. We give thanks for relationships and try to steward them with love. They do not owe us relationship. If we are a poor steward, we may lose relationships.

There are people I love and pray for that do not have full access to me; their access is limited. They have shown repeadily that they are mean spirited, unrepentant, some hostile, and grossly selfish. If they were hungry, I would feed them. Naked, try to get them an outfit. I pray for them. I do not invite them to hang out and talk about my deep inner world. Why? They are going to trample it under foot or go flush it down the toilet. I do not drop my schedule anymore to help others unless God tells me too. I have priorities, obligations, and assignments from God.

This does not mean if someone needs 911 I ignore it. It does mean if I have project work to do and someone needs a ride they can call Uber. It does mean some calls can go to voicemail. It does mean I give people tools to see their own personal breakthrough. It does mean I don’t drop what I am doing for everyone. If I did, I would be driven by people not the Holt Spirit. It does mean I now take a year or so to assess people before I share my inner world-call them a friend.

I have offered way too many people friendship who came into the garden of my heart, poured gasoline, and lit it on fire. They were destructive. I am not wounded nor jaded. I learned something.

I stopped initiating with people who never ever initiated with me or only contacted me if I first contacted them or gave them something or they need something. I learned. Oh baby did I learn.

When people show us who they are, I believe them. I believe what people show me. I am not criticizing nor putting them down. I am assessing a situation based on the evidence. I then set boundaries based on who they are, not what they say. People can chant, “I love you all day,” yet their actions scream indifferent, just here for what I can get, or hostile. Yes we look for the gold, we also gain wisdom! We also function with discernment. We learn to hear and follow the Holy Spirit.

Finally, God wants us connected to people who will steward our hearts, time, and resources like He would. God takes NO delight in toxic relationship. Would we want our children mistreated? Hopefully no. God’s heart is far bigger than ours. God loves His children FAR more than we do.

Activation:

1. If you have children or had a child, what kind of friends would you want them to have? Write it out. Do your friends match that list? Are you that type of friend?

2. Assess who gets most of your time or resources? How are they stewarding what is given? You can waste time with those who have no value for what you offer. How can you better steward the time and resources?

-I have pulled back from super investing as a mentor in people who do absolutely nothing with what is given to them. Why? There are other people who will steward it well.

Bless you! Have an amazing Saturday!

Love,

Erin Lamb

P.S Be sure to check out my latest book Confident & Free Paperback and Confident & Free ebook. If you wish for a signed copy and love in the USA or Canada, please stop by my business website Lamb Enterprises LLC (Live Empowered & Free).

The Field & Estate (Parable)

Morning Devotion: Seek First the Kingdom of God (Parable of the Field & Estate).

There was a man who had been given an inheritance that included a field. This field was so valuable. Of all the lands on earth it was the field that would continue to produce fruit and vegetation forever. Despite the world conditions, this field would produce crop after crop. The man was told to invite others to gleen from that field, invite others into his inheritance. This was not a small field, it stretched farther than the eyes could see. When other fields had their crops destroyed, this field continued to bear perfect fruit.

The man decided since the field would always be there, he would ignore that field and do other things. No one would take the field away from him. So he would come by some weekends and taste some of the fruit, then he would leave. He did not live at the estate on the field. He visited when he needed something.

Some of the other heirs had festivals on their estate. They invited the poor, the lame, the broken, the hungry to come and feast with them. Those people too were grafted into the inheritance. Those heirs increased the land. More and more fields were growing and inviting others into a glorious inheritance.

One day, the overseer of the estates decided to go to each field to see how it was going. He was delighted as he saw many growing, mulitplying, and thriving.

When he stopped at the one man’s field it was vacant. The estate was filled with dust. The dishes were not used, as he had not invited others in to dine with him. He had not cared for the poor, the lame, the broken. He had not cared for the field.

The overseer was saddened. He had been given so much and shared it with no one. He had been given an inheritance worth sharing. Everything he needed was provided on that field. The overseer waited for the man. He kept waiting. Hours turned into days. Finally the man showed up one weekend with his baskets to pull resources for himself. The overseer watched him from the estate.

The overseer went out to him and inquired, “What have you done to this estate? Your inheritance was meant to be shared. You were given this land and estate to be a blessing to those around you.

The man looked perplexed. He replied, “I only accepted this land for my needs. Others can get their own land. I am also too busy to live on this estate and I do not have time to go find people to invite inside, plus they are poor-why would I invite them into such a nice place to ruin it? I would love to keep chatting with you but I have business appointment soon. I just stopped by here to get what I needed and be on my way. I have things to do.

The overseer sadly replied, “Since you have chosen to live selfishly off your inheritance, what you have will be taken from you and handed over to the man over the hill. You see he took the field I gave him and has invited so many people onto his field that it has multiplied ten times over. He was given little and it has been continually muliplied. You have done nothing with what I gave you.”

The man was angry, “You can’t do that. This is my land.”

On the contrary. This land belongs to the King, you are are a steward of what belongs to the Royal Estates. You were invited into our estate. You were to be faithful over your inheritance. Since you are not faithful, what you have will be taken and given to the one who is most faithful.

The man dropped his basket in disbelief. The overseer pulled his name from the estate door. He took the keys, and drove down the road to meet with the one mulitplying fields.

The unfaithful servant wept. He had spent years doing nothing with what was given to him. He only took from the estate and field. He never followed the instructions of the overseer. He lived independently of the Royal guidelines. He was selfish and never cared for the poor, hurting, or forgotten. He cared only for himself. In return, he forfeited his inheritance. He was not given his inheritance based on his works. He, though, chose to forfiet his inheritance by his selfishness, disobedience, and lack of love for the King.

God has given each of us an inheritance in Christ, if we are followers of Jesus. It is not to be taken lightly or treated as nothing. We are to adhere to the principles of Jesus. We are not saved by works, lest no man can boast. Our inheritance comes by faith in the Son. Once we receive our inheritance, we are responsible for what we do with it. We are to invite others into knowing God, share with the poor, care for others, disciple others, share, be a blessing, increase what He has given. The parable of the talents tells us that God is looking at stewardship (Matthew 25:14-30).

Our freedom cost Jesus his life. God went to great lengths to graft us into His family. It is not an invitation to lawlesness (live independent of God) nor selfishness. It is an invitation to covenant. A covenant with God is stronger and more binding than a marriage covenant between humans. Married couples do not get married then one only visits when they need something. Hopefully, we would wince at the thought. Yet God is treated like a store, and He’s not. Come shop, get what you need, feel good, go home and live seperate from God. Jesus gave His life for a habitation-dwell with Him, be married to Him, seek Him first (even above a spouse or family), and invite others into the estate. God is after our whole heart. May you and I seek first the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is like this field and estate that King’s son laid down His life to share with the world. His death opened them up to a world of blessing. It is to spit on the King’s Son to abuse His legacy. The proper response is honor. We honor the King and say thanks. We listen to His principles and through relationship with God seek to follow Royal guidelines. We are no longer slaves, we are heirs.

Love,

Erin Lamb

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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