Our Reactions to Evil Matter (Pursuing Authentic Christianity)

Today I want to tackle reactions to evil in the world. When Jesus walked the earth there was evil, injustice, mistreatment of people groups, and he faced hatred/mockery/mistreatment.

We see Jesus responding in sternness to the self righteous (Pharisees) and the disciples. We see compassion for those who were lost and not claiming to be right with God.

Jesus also has a one up on us. He was sinless. Jesus was willing to die for the same people He rebuked sternly. He was willing to be mocked, beaten, and even killed for the UNGODLY! Jesus died for His enemies. If Jesus rebukes someone sternly, He is perfect in His assessment and without any sin.

We can sin in our attempts to deal with people and be puffed up in ourselves while doing so. “Oh, I think sister Susie is wrong, let me grab my bible and go point it out to her.” Is it wrong to try to help someone? No. Yet the bible tells us to make sure we don’t have a big mega plank in our eye before we go trying to pull a splinter out of someone’s eye. We are also told to be gentle. We can be gentle, direct, and not nasty. Is it wrong as a leader to address people? No. Yet if we do not love them, our words can be correct and in the wrong spirit.

It is a trap of the evil one to convince us that we are the Holy Spirit or Jesus. We point to God. We do not become God.

It is a trap of the evil one to respond in the same spirit as the evil of this age. We overcome evil with good. If someone comes at us crazy, it does not mean God gives us permission to act crazy.

God has tested this in my life over and over. It appears as weakness to some people. Yet I do not need to yell or act crazy because someone approaches me with ignorance, hatred, evil, or nonsense. We can rebuke and address in great love understanding that the spirits of this age blind people to the truth of who God is.

They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God,~2 Corinthians 4:4 (GNT).

Imagine going into a house and the lights are off and everyone is blind. Your method to help is to scream at them, “You are blind. You are in the dark!!!” Guess what, your screaming will not make them see. You can scream all day and it adds no value.

Imagine going to a graveyard and everyone is dead. You walk around screaming the Gospel at them. They can’t hear you! Dead people do not hear or see. The only reason a believer in Jesus can see or hear is because God opened blind eyes, deaf ears, and revealed Himself.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins,~Colossians 2:13 (NLT).

One of the ways we can help the world is by actually living a life that is a living testimony of the goodness, love, and power of God. I had several coworkers who were atheists, agnostic, or other faiths inquire about Jesus because of the way I acted at work. I did not bully them with the bible, point out everything they did that violated scripture, nor look down on them. I looked for ways to serve them, love them, and the topic of Jesus would just come up. One went to church because he said he could not figure out why I had so much joy. My Muslim neighbor said I was the only Christian he had encountered that did not mistreat him. One of my atheist coworkers hurt her back and because I did not mistreat her, she let me pray. God took all her pain away.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children,~Ephesians 5:1 (NLT).

The world has heard our sermons. Have they seen Jesus through us?

Do we respond to evil with the Spirit of Jesus? Do we see people God loves and desires to redeem? Or are we like the Pharisees, our hands are full of heavy stones and we are crying out to God to punish them? I will tell you sin alone is great punishment. Without Jesus, people will have ledgers marked with every sin. Do we care about their souls or just the way they treat us?

We also don’t need to beat people up with the bible. I saw this old movie years ago called Saved. It basically mocked Christians for hypocrisy and improper methods of evangelism. I have included a very short clip of the groups attempt to lead Mary back to Jesus. This involves beating her with an actual bible. The Gospel is Not A Weapon . It’s worth watching! It is about 5 minutes long.

I am not stating we condone sin.

I am not stating we condone immorality.

I am stating the way we deal with people can be part of the determining factors on whether they turn to Jesus or run from Him.

I am stating if we don’t live what we claim to believe it impacts the world. All of creation is groaning for sons and daughters of God to rise up and shine bright (Romans 8:19-23)!

We do have a small role to play. If we are hypocrites, hateful, only love people who are a certain way, then we demonstrate to the world that our God is that way. It misrepresents Jesus to the world.

Let’s look at what Jesus said (Luke 6:32-36 (AMP)

If you [only] love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend [money] to those from whom you expect to receive [it back], what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to receive back the same amount. But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your[heavenly] Father is merciful.

Expecting people who don’t know Jesus to act like Jesus, is like asking a person who cannot swim to compete in Olympic swimming. They can not. We cannot. Unless we have the Spirit of God we will not manifest the likeness of His character.

Honestly, I have met numerous people in my lifetime in churches who claim Jesus and look and act nothing like Jesus. I have had some of them yell at me, leave my fellowships, act hateful and nasty because I actually taught them what Jesus said. I could write a mega book on mistreatment from professing believers. Shouting “Praise the Lord,” on Sunday and gossiping about you on Monday. I will not even unpack the prejudice, jealousy, competing, pettiness, sexism, sabotage, and racism that I have encountered with professing Christians.

My point is as follows, to expect the world or people who do not know Jesus to flow in tune with God is unreasonable. It is also unfair if we (Christians) are not willing to submit to God to act in ways that actually look like God and then tell others they need God. It confuses the world when the Gospel we teach is not the Gospel we live.

How we react to evil is important. We do not condone it. We do not agree with it. We also do not stoop to low levels of conduct and act in ways unbecoming of Jesus to deal with it. If we were committing evil or out of line, how would we want to be treated? Would we want to be cussed out and condemned? Or would we want someone to say, “I love you and there is a better way?”

I love that even the rebukes of Jesus come because He longs for us to be right with God. Sometimes I think in culture its about us being right and not about the person being right with God.

Love is who God is and how He operates. I appreciate every rebuke and correction of God. Mainly because when God corrects it is to restore. When people do it, sometimes (not always), it is simply a critical spirit or pride. It lacks love, lacks compassion, and lacks tact. A critical spirit can seem like discernment, yet it’s not. God reveals to heal and so we can intercede or help. A critical spirit is rooted in pride and loves pointing out the flaws of others while rarely seeing it’s own flaws.

I am praying I walk in authentic Christianity. Rather than pointing the finger at others, I am asking God to help me walk out authentic faith. When people encounter me, I hope they walk away saying, “I want to know the God you worship,” not “Oh my gosh, get this person away from me. Whoever they worship must be a flake or a freak.”

I actually had a conversation with God Sunday about the way the church represents Him. I put myself in the shoes of someone completely unchurched. Would I desire Jesus just based on my encounters with believers over the years? Other than my parents and a handful of people, well, probably not. Yes, I have met some amazing people, yet as a whole (the summary of my life in Christiandom) have seen a culture that loves those who are already on the path better than the sinner. I would not feel comfortable as a way out there sinner coming into a community of faith. I would not feel comfortable as someone who was labeled liberal or alternative. I would not feel safe. How can I say this? Because I have spent my life in churches and seen the way “outsiders” are treated by a good chunk of people. The person can be a “get them saved project” or “be nice to them only at worship gatherings-ignore otherwise.” Gosh, I have encountered people who withhold love from other Christians because they go to another church or align with another political party. I have seen some pretty amazing believers too, yet as a summary-just my thoughts, we can do better.

I think we (I) can do better by abiding in Jesus (John 15:4-5). We can pray for revival all day, yet if we are not revived internally and begin to actually manifest Jesus, I do not think we will positively impact the world. I hear people chant, “They just need to get saved and come to the church.” Yet, how are we going to treat them when they get there? Is anyone going to mentor or disciple them? Is anyone going to genuinely love, invest, and treat them like Jesus would? We want these millions of souls to come to know Jesus and join our churches, yet have we learned to love the people already right in front of us?

Love is the highest standard. God speaks truth in love. The devil will tell the truth in the wrong spirit to hurt people or inappropriate times to create issues. If you don’t believe demons and the devil can speak truth, read the passages where demons cried out Jesus was the Son of God and He silenced them because it was not His time (Luke 4:41), or the slave girl who followed Paul around speaking truth from the wrong source (Acts 16).

Bottom line-we overcome evil with good.

Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good,~Romans 12:21 (CSB).

Love,

Erin Lamb

Monday Encouragement

Revelation of God’s Heart Regarding Relationships (Encouraging Word).

Have you ever wondered how God feels about relationships, conflict, betrayal, loss, mistreatment? I have. I was taught that God loves the sinner (He does). There was far less focus on God loving the one sinned against. I was told to forgive (we should), keep giving, keep pouring out, keep investing because love never fails. What I found was a string of bad or one sided relationships. Yes I was loving. Yes I wad attempting lay my life down. Yes I was giving, giving, giving. I was also in a cycle of feeling unloved, used, abused, mistreated, and had no joy in those relationships. Mostly I wanted to escape those people yet felt obligated to stick with them because God is love.

I failed to realize God wants me to be loved in return. God created relationships to be mutually beneficial. He designed family, community, and what we call the church. It was never intended to be one sided, abusive, harmful, nor for people to be consumers. Love gives.

One of the issues present in our culture is things are being loved, and people are being used. God expects us to steward our lives and hearts. We, not God, must set boundaries. Boundaries are healthy and demonstrate love for ourselves. We love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. Below are the words I sensed from God yesterday. Certainly weigh and test them. God wants you loved well!

The Lord spoke some profound things to my heart that I hope bless someone else.

“I will never bring someone into your life to abuse you, use you, manipulate you, or hurt you. People have free will and they do not always make the right choices. I desire that you are loved well! I desire that you are treated well, honored, celebrated, and cared for the way My Son loves you.

Gosh we love you and we are so honored to know you and call you beloved. I desire for your dreams to be fulfilled and EXCEEDED. I do not delight when people mistreat you. It brings great sorrow to My heart. People think because I can turn bad situations into good ones that I am the source of the bad things. Some believe I am an unloving Father, that I want the very least for them, that I enjoy struggle, pain, betrayal and loss. They do not understand My heart.

I LOVE My children MORE than anyone could love them. I want the VERY BEST for them. I want them to have JOY. I want them to see My heart for them through others whether that is through a spouse or friend or family.

I am deeply grieved when My children hurt each other, out of their brokenness, pride, insecurity, and lack of receiving My love. It is not My will that My children are abused, wounded, put down, rejected, abandoned, or left to suffer. I run towards the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

Understand that I am for you. I will expose and move people away from you who seek to destroy your heart or life. I love them the same as I love you. I am also a protective Dad. I come to stand as an Advocate and the Lover of your soul.

I will remove you from people and situations where I gave you as a gift and they trampled that gift under foot. Just as I took the one talent from the unwise servant and gave it to the one with ten, I will remove you from unwise stewards of your heart and plant you in fertile, healthy soil. I will connect you with those who see your value, know their value, and will steward you as I intend.

I love you! I love you! I am for you!! You are a gift, My gift. You were carved out of My heart and bear the seal of My Son. You are our workmanship, created by Love, to be loved and then to love!

I want you to thrive in EVERY area of life! Love Dad.”

I believe this applies to each of us. God is a really good Father! God loves His children MORE than we could ever love ours. If we ask for bread, He will not give us a stone. If we who are sinful know how to give good gifts to our children, how much MORE will our heavenly Father who is perfect in love give us.

Love,

Erin Lamb

The Reason for the Season

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My heart has been pondering the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus came into the world to seek and save the lost. He had His eyes fixed on people that others called outcasts or the unloveable. Jesus took on the role of a servant and loved sinful humanity. While yet sinners, Jesus died for us. What love, what a sacrifice.

I believe we can pay it forward by loving others this season. We can sacrifice something for someone else.

In my area, it is cold. It is winter time.

Though I am on ministry break, it does not stop the part of me that cares deeply for humanity. Ministry is not a job, it is a lifestyle of loving God and loving people. One does not simply turn love off.

While out looking for wrapping paper, getting a few things this week, I saw a man along side the road begging for food. Do you drive past and pretend you do not see, or stop for the one? I believe Jesus would stop for the one. I believe God would feed the one hungry and cold. Not just because it’s the season to love, but because God is love.

I saw a shivering, skinny, and lonely man begging for food. His face was downcast, maybe shame or despair have crept in on his heart. I saw someone Jesus loves.

I had no blessing bags in the car this time. I cleaned out my car it was starting to look like Costco!! For reals. I did have the chance to stop at Burger King to grab a hot meal for this man. What is one meal? It’s better than nothing. If he has not eaten in days, one meal is better than no meals. What is a short interaction on side of the road with a stranger? I think it’s a way to demonstrate to someone in a practical way that God sees them. God loves them.

Love does not just go away on vacation. It springs forward to do something, not everything-something.

This frosty season, maybe God will place an angel on your path who could just use a meal or hot chocolate. Maybe that person needs to see and hear that “God sees you. God loves you! I will pray for you.” Maybe that person needs to see and hear the Gospel (good news).

I don’t tell you these things so you think highly of me. I tell you because maybe it will place some of the invisible people on someone’s radar. Not everyone has a home this Christmas. Not everyone has a family. Some are hurting deeply and wondering where this good God is. If we are in Christ, God lives in us. The greatest gift abides in us and we can partner with God to pay it forward.

I cannot do everything. You cannot do everything! We cannot stop for everyone. We can do something!

We say Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, though He was born in Autumn. If it is truly the celebration of His birth, may we look for some way to bless Jesus. I believe He would be looking for someone else to bless on His birthday. His heart is unselfish and overflowing with love.

Matthew 25:40-42 The Passion Translation (TPT)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for me.’

“Then to those on his left the King will say, ‘Leave me! For you are under the curse of eternal fire that has been destined for the devil and all his demons. For when you saw me hungry, you refused to give me food, and when you saw me thirsty, you refused to give me something to drink,~Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Photos: Pinterest

The Beauty of Honor

Morning Notes: When Familiarity Leads to Dishonor and Disrespect. Pride Breeds Dishonor, Disrespect, Rebellion, and Lack of Genuine Appreciation.

I believe every person is worthy of honor because they were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Honor does not mean complete agreement, nor worship. It is the ability to see the worth of a human being and treat them as though they matter. Honor is also seeing through the lenses of God and having the ability to assess someone by the spirit.

There is a proverb that states familiarity can breed contempt. I believe familiarity can breed dishonor, or lack of value for someone or something. When Jesus began ministry, some of the people around him stated, “Isn’t that Joseph’s son?” They had no grid for Jesus as Messiah. So they treated him with dishonor, disrespect, and disdain. They could not see who Jesus was because they had their own ideas and concepts.

Pride breeds dishonor. Why? Because pride is an elevation of our opinions above God’s. Pride is not just puffing our chest out and being cocky. Pride is an exaltation of self above of God. Dishonor says, “I know who this person is and I will treat them according to my assessment.” The problem with this thinking is that God values everyone and often has a different opinion that we do. Jesus stated, “Whatever you have done to the least of them, you have done unto me.”

Dishonor can also be a manifestation of an inward lack of value for self. We can only give away what we possess. If I view myself as royalty in the eyes of God, then I will honor others as deeply cherished by God. If I view myself as a bottom feeder, possess insecurity, then I may struggle with seeing the value of others because I do not value myself.

Pride pretends to be a friend, yet it is our greatest foe. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. God works on behalf of the yielded and surrendered to bring forth even greater honor. It is the person who elevates God’s opinion above theirs who receives more honor.

We see in part and know in part. God sees everything fully. God knows our end from our beginning. God knows who we really are. God knows who our neighbor is and the gifts/talents He placed inside of them. God sees clearly.

It can also be quite easy to not value what is familiar. Oh that is just Susie, she will always be here. It is possible to lose value for someone or something that is steady, constant, and available. Sometimes the best way to appreciate something or someone is to go without it for awhile. Sometimes our greatest appreciation comes in hindsight.

Regardless of how we feel, a Kingdom principle is honor. The bible says the following.

Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another,~Romans 12:10.

The key to honor is abiding (remaining) in Jesus and receiving the love and honor God has for us. We give away what we possess. If we have not received the honor God gives us, we cannot give that away. May we know how much God loves us and then honor/love others.

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Hidden in Jesus

Enjoy being hidden. Find home in God’s heart. ❤️

I love my cave. I actually prefer being in hidden seasons with Jesus. I never prayed to be seen nor to have a platform. My prayer was to be one of God’s very best friends. I think He is the greatest gift to humanity.

In hidden seasons you can simply enjoy God. No one is looking at you nor looking for you. You have an intimacy no one asks about and often they don’t even see you. Yet God sees you.

His eyes are the only ones that matter and He is the best thing.

Oh my, I could go on for days about God. Don’t forget to ENJOY God. Don’t forget to find yourself lost in His gaze. There is more pleasure in God than anything He created. There is more joy in God than any human.

He is worth knowing and pursuing…to say, “I want you God. I desire you. Here I am, laying all I am before your feet, to be swept up in love and intimacy. You are who my heart longs for…more of you.”

May we pursue Him. If no one on earth is looking at you, God is. Look back into those eyes of fire and let the intensity of that love wreck you!!!

Love,

Erin Lamb

The Ministry of Jesus

Morning Thoughts: The Ministry of Jesus & Heart of God (Isaiah 61 Reflection). Comforting those who mourn is just as important to God as physical healing.

Certainly still on Cambodia time. That’s okay, I will get back to my time zone eventually.

Awakened an hour ago thinking about the example of Jesus. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing and only said what He heard Him speaking. Jesus did not feel the need to prove His diety. “Come watch how many miracles I can perform to show you how great I am!” Yes His ministry demonstrated the great love and power of God, yet His motivation was not to gain the applause of people nor boost His ego. His motivation was to honor the Father, bring glory to the Father, and demonstrate compassion. Jesus was moved with compassion and healed the sick.

Jesus did more than heal the sick in body. Jesus healed the souls of people, comforted those who mourned, gave hope to the hopeless, ministered to the outcasts and displaced of society, spoke life, delivered the oppressed, spoke truth in love, and everything else aligned with Isaiah 61.

Our culture can be hyper focused on one aspect of God’s nature, and ignore equally as important parts of His attributes.

I love the ministry of Jesus was and is focused on loving people in whatever capacity is needed at the moment. He comes in with love to heal the body, love to heal the soul, love to comfort those who mourn, love to wipe tears, love to give the perfect gift, love to provide family and blessings, love to demonstrate radical generosity, love to hold a hurting person, love to befriend a lonely person, love to impart courage, love to sacrifice even when we have a need, love to get low instead of position ourselves high, love to work behind the scenes, love to elevate instead of diminish, love to pursue what is best for another.

I love that Jesus lived out of this place of extreme security in His identity. He knew when to be bold and when to be quiet. He knew when to lead and when to submit and follow. He knew when to be with the crowds and when to steal away with the Father. He knew when to step forward and when to pull back. Jesus, beautiful Jesus, operated out of radical confidence. He knew His true identity was approval already given by the Father. He walked in boldness and great humility. He could speak with great authority and profound gentleness.

Jesus is my role model and best friend. If I am to emulate anyone, may it be Jesus. I see through Isaiah 61 the multifaceted heart of God. Comforting those who mourn was and is just as important as sharing the Gospel.

Isaiah 61:1-9

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

Aliens shall stand [ready] and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

But you shall be called the priests of the Lord; people will speak of you as the ministers of our God. You shall eat the wealth of the nations, and the glory [once that of your captors] shall be yours.

Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.

For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong with violence or a burnt offering. And I will faithfully give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with them.

And their offspring shall be known among the nations and their descendants among the peoples. All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge that they are the people whom the Lord has blessed.

God cares about every detail of a person’s life, it all matters. I love that Jesus knew and understands love is the highest aim of the Kingdom!

Once I gain my bearings, I will share with you some of the amazing things God did in Cambodia. God is so good!

Love,

Erin Lamb

Founder of Operation God is Love

Owner and CEO of Lamb Enterprises LLC

Love God; Love People!

The mission is love. The mission is Jesus.

Upcoming Webcast August 7th 2018

Let’s connect!

Join me next week for a live webcast. It is lesson 2 in the 30 Day Speak Life Challenge.

This past Wednesday I spoke about Genesis 1 and our new identity in Christ. Let’s live on the right side of the cross!! We are not who we used to be if we are united to Jesus.

You may find that teaching here: Author Page Videos.

Tuesday for the Speak Life Lesson 2 (you can join us at facebook.com/erinlambauthor), I will be talking about navigating through hard seasons with God.

It’s easy to think positive and be confident when life is roses. What about when all hell is breaking loose, you are being persecuted, the bottom fell out of your plans, you are facing death or given a bad diagnosis, or life has sucker punched you? I will share some biblical insights from overcomings and part of my story of overcoming these things.

Tune in August 7th, at 9am EST, 6am Pacific, on the FB author page, and let’s chat.

See ya next week. God loves you. Enjoy Him today. He loves you with an everlasting love. ❤️

Love,

Erin Lamb