When you feel alone…

A wonderful post from a wise and inspiring woman. Highly recommend her blog.

forgottenPeople will overlook you.

They will judge you without getting to know you.

They will reject you because you don’t fit in.

They will speak against you when you can’t hear.

They will hurt you with their words and deeds.

They will scoff at you and look down upon you.

They will betray behind your back you when you can’t see.

They will walk right past you like you’re not even there.

They will make you feel like you aren’t worth a minute of their time.

Sometimes these people are our neighbors, our family, or our closest friends.

People we love, look up to, and respect.

And when they hurt us the pain cuts deep.

Their words sting.

Their neglect brings us down to our knees.

And their rejection seems unreal.

But I have good news for you.

When you feel alone.

When you feel neglected.

When you feel forgotten.

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For the Ladies (Killing Insecurity)

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Today’s post is dedicated to the ladies! You are beautiful, chosen, loved, adored, pursued, cared for, and the apple of God’s eye.

This post is about insecurity. Insecurity is a poison that contaminates relationships and destroys it’s host. It seeps into every area of the heart seeking to place the focus on self instead of on God. Insecurity is the root that produces the fruits of fear, jealousy, bitterness, envy, control, manipulation, rejection, competition, paranoia, and more. Insecurity is not from God. Insecurity says, “God doesn’t have enough. God doesn’t love me enough. God is not able or faithful. I am not enough. Everyone else is better than me. I must have or do ______ in order to be okay.

The truth is: You are made in the image of God. You are His workmanship created for His glory. You are a Princess because your Father is the King of the Universe.

The world works diligently to make people insecure. The media is filled with images of people who are elevated to look perfect and be perfect. If you do not fit the mold, then you are less than. The news is filled with bad news: the world is ending, everything is bad, be afraid, be worried, save your money…you can’t  trust anything or anyone. Even the church can be a place where we are made to feel we must be something other than who we are in order to be loved and accepted. A place that is supposed to be welcoming, accepting, and filled with love can often be a place of judgment, criticism, comparisons, and competition as well. The message is not, “Be like Christ,” it’s “Be like me.” In the world we are loved if we behave a certain way or fit into a certain mold. In God’s eyes, we are loved despite who we are, and He works to change us into who He wants us to be.

One of the diseases that’s killing us is insecurity. Insecurity causes us to look down on others to lift ourselves up. It’s insecurity that causes us to gossip about people. Insecurity causes us to be highly critical of others instead of dealing with ourselves. It is insecurity that causes us to not stand up for what we believe. Insecurity causes us to be filled with jealousy, envy, strife, offense, prejudice, fear, and hatred. When we don’t know our own value and worth, we cannot value, celebrate, or honor anyone else. 

So, what’s the cure:

  • Jesus! A relationship with God. He is the One who created everything and everyone. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. God sent His only Son to die for all of mankind. The price for each person was paid with the highest price, the life of Jesus. We become like the One we worship. If we worship God, spend time with Him, allow Him to speak into our lives, then we have a more secure foundation. Jesus was not insecure. He knew who He was and who His Daddy was. He was confident.
  • Repentance. I know it seems radical to repent for being insecure. The repentance is going to God and saying, “I repent for saying Your assessment of me was not valid. I repent for making the opinions of other people more valuable than Yours. I repent for allowing the world to define who I am instead of allowing You to define who I am. Help me to see myself through your eyes.
  • Identity in Christ. Nothing we try to find our identity in other than God is stable: not money, not relationships, not marriage, not work, not achievements, not ministry, not serving, not the opinions of people, not looks or beauty, not the stock market, not our political beliefs, not ourselves, not children or our roles as mothers. There is nothing and no one who provides a stable, solid foundation outside of Jesus. All other ground is sinking sand.

It’s not about self-help or pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. The Gospel is about abiding in Christ and allowing Him to do the hard work. He creates lasting change. Relationship with God will always trump doing for Him. It is out of being that we begin to do. For what moves His heart begins to move ours. His thoughts invade ours. Fears melt away in the presence of unfailing love.

Final Notes/Testimony:

A good portion of my life I felt as though something bad was about to happen because for a good portion of my life bad things continually happened. I watched my best friend and mum die from cancer. I helped another close family member for 7 years through sickness, surgeries, pain, and losing everything. While other young people were having fun, I was sitting in hospitals. The promises of God were in my mind, but it took a long time for them to navigate to my heart. My circumstances did not line up with God’s promises.

Faith is not about our feelings, and it isn’t a fake it until you make it either. Experience with God builds our security in Him, hence Him inviting us into relationship.

Even today I feel more secure with God than I do with people. For experiences with people have left devastation and pain. It took time for God to remove labels people had placed on me and for me to accept His voice above all the mockers. It takes an effort for me to engage with some people, but God lovingly draws me out and says, “Love again.” It’s another situation where positive things are in my head, but they are slowly navigating to the heart. There are some really good people in the world! There are some really encouraging people in the world. It’s a journey and process.

It is a process to allow the love of God to flow in and out. It takes time to get to know God. We will not trust someone we don’t know. We will not be secure in a relationship with someone we don’t know. So the ever-increasing desire is to know God more! I pray the same for you too! You are deeply loved, today and always.

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Follow Me (Identity In Christ Series Part 23)

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True and False Disciples

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ Matthew 7:21-23.

Basically Jesus is saying, “I care about obedience.” He calls us to follow Him. We were chosen to do good works, to build God’s Kingdom, to be light in a dark world, to love God and love others, to be salt in earth, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We were not chosen to do nothing. We are not loved because we serve God or do what He says. God loves us regardless of our behavior. However, Jesus tells us, “If we love God, we will do what He asks (John 14:15).

Moving into full submission and obedience to God is the way of a disciple. We are no longer allowed to live as we please. Our lives are not our own but were purchased with the blood of Jesus. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself? 1 Corinthians 6:19.

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

  1. Fall in love with the King. The first step is love, to receive God’s love for us. We can only give away what we possess. There are people trying to find their identity in serving, but the motivation is to gain love from God instead of overflowing with love for God. Or serving is a means to feel good about oneself instead of to honor the King. When we allow God to love us and fall in the love with Him, doing what Jesus did comes naturally. No one has to beg us to do anything, we run to volunteer because love is a better motivator than fear.
  2. Do what Jesus did. As Christians we are called to obey God- it isn’t optional. Jesus never said, “Live how you want and I will bless you.” He said, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me (Luke 9:23).” Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He lived a life of sacrificial love. We cannot claim to love God and there be no evidence of sacrifice in our lives.If we did not tell people we were a Christian, would they know by our behavior? Would there be enough evidence to convict us if we were on trial for being a Christian?
  3. Jesus demonstrated the Kingdom and love for people. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, preached the Gospel, made disciples, loved and served people. We are called to follow Him, meaning do what we see Him doing. We can only do as He did by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Examples from life:

I asked someone I care deeply for to help me with something that they are fully able to do, their response was, “God please send someone to help Erin with this.” This person was asked to help, could help, offered prayer, and walked on by. This year I was in a car accident that totaled my car and 3 people in my family died within 3 weeks, all around the time of my accident. There were only a few people who offered to help and one person who sent a card.  Some people I told who were believers did not even offer prayer. I had a woman in community once tell me I needed to get my needs met elsewhere because I was there to serve others.  I don’t say these things to say, “Poor me.” I am blessed and can’t complain. God met my needs through random strangers at times. Some of the people he sent to help were atheist or other non-believers.

There are people screaming for significance, titles, or leadership roles, yet they are unwilling to serve anyone. They want the applause, not sacrificial love. I say these things because when we don’t do what Jesus did, we are missing out on opportunities to bring and build the Kingdom. How many times do we ask God to do something we can do? I believe many times when we are screaming to God, “Do something!” He is responding, “I called and empowered you to do something.” God is looking for people who love Him more than they love anything or anyone else. People willing to serve without being asked. He is calling all His children to be His hands, feet, and mouth to the world. He says, “Follow Me!

I love the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). People saw a wounded person and kept on going. The Good Samaritan stopped for the one. LOVE looks like something and we are all called to love. No Christian get’s a “I don’t have to do this,” card. It is a requirement for following Jesus.

Dear sweet friends, the world needs us to be a Light. We can’t pray for God to send someone else when we can do something. The Holy Spirit in us is the most powerful Being in the world. We have all we need to change the world! God chose me, and He chose you! We can’t do everything, but we can do something. We can be Spirit led and live a life of Kingdom building. He said the greatest amongst us would be the servant of all (Matthew 20:26). We can’t ask God for more influence or to change the world if we are unwilling to be a servant or better yet His friend, partner, and co-laborer. In God’s Kingdom, the leader is the one given the greatest capacity for sacrifice. Love is expensive and costly and we are all called to love.

I encourage you to serve without being asked, to give sacrificially expecting nothing in return, to find out who has needs around you and meet those needs if you can, to look out a window instead of in the mirror. I leave you with the words of Jesus.

Matthew 25:31-46

New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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Humpty Dumpty (You Can Recover)

The great nursery rhyme says:

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the kings horses and all the king’s men

Could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again….
 
I heard a quote I liked. It said, “Don’t tell other people your problems. Twenty (20) percent of the people don’t want to hear them and the other 80 percent are glad you have them.” God is not like people, you can tell Him your problems, and He will not grow tired. He will lead you out of self pity to victory, but He never, ever turns away those who mourn.

Here’s the truth as I see it.

Life will push you off the wall. People will push you off the wall. No matter what you do, how well you believe, how much you love God, bad things happen to all people. If nothing bad has happened to you, then no offense but you live a very safe and sheltered life. Jesus said, “In the world, you WILL have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” The more ground you are taking from darkness, the bigger the target on your head. That does not mean we should live afraid. We are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength. It does mean we can anticipate some bumps along the way.

I have unfortunately and fortunately had to learn most things about God via experience. Those who have known me a long time know that the there have been some hellish experiences along the way. Some I wish to never relive (including car accidents that cost me cars and physical/emotional traumas), three family members to die just this year, more relational trauma than a normal person should ever have to endure, etc….It is only by the grace of God that I am not completely out of my ever loving mind. Our God is able!

The Good News:

The Good News is, God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

No matter how bad it hurts today, He can and will put you back together again! No matter how many pieces your life has been shattered into, God specializes in calling dead things to life and calling something out of nothing. He created Adam from the dust. He spoke the world into existence. The Universe proclaims the splendor of the works of His hands. With one word, one encounter, God can turn your situation completely around! He is not limited by anyone or anything.

Closing thoughts:

There is joy bubbling out of my soul that is unexplainable, and not fully expressible. I know our Redeemer lives, and He is the Healer. There is nothing God can’t do.

Joy is your inheritance. Jesus paid for it! He said: 

For those who grieve in Zion—God will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor! Isaiah 61:3 

God is faithful to His word! No word from Him ever fails, but accomplishes every single thing it is sent out to do!

Blessings and love for your futures…

God knows the plans He has for you, not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Erin

Hearing God (Identity in Christ Part 22)

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My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow Me,~John 10:27.

Today I wanted to talk about something I think is vital to our identity in Christ, hearing from God. There are people all over the world who claim to be messengers for God. Do you take what they say and compare it to who you know God to be? Do you take what they say and compare it to God’s word? Or is every person who claims to be hearing from God deemed to be true? Do you take your own thoughts and measure them against God’s word and character? We can get into plenty of trouble by listening to the voices inside our own heads and listening to people without comparing it to the Gospel.

It starts with a thought….

Every thought you have is not your own. Yes, I said it. Just as the Holy Spirit can deposit a thought into your mind, the enemy can as well. He often disguises himself by speaking to people in first person. For example, a person who has been struggling with depression may have a thought, “I just want to die. I should kill myself.” Or a person who struggles with insecurity may have a thought, “No one likes me. Everyone hates me. Everyone is out to get me.” If those thoughts are not captured and measured against God’s word, the enemy plants a seed, that seed grows, and where the mind goes the body will eventually follow.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, ~2 Corinthians 10:5.

Every thought you have is not from God. We do have our own thoughts. Our thoughts can be good or bad. A thought is not necessarily sin. Our thoughts become sin when we meditate on what’s wrong and allow bad seeds to take root. Here’s an example. I have someone I have to deal with who is often difficult. I have had thoughts like, “I would like to duct tape your lips closed or I wish I had a remote to mute you.” Now those thoughts are not loving. In those moments I can fester on my negative thoughts or I can ask God to give me compassion for the person and help me to rely on the Holy Spirit to love them and be patient with them.

We can project our desires onto people or ourselves and say it’s God. Here’s an example. People will swear they heard God say they were going to marry a particular person. It can happen. Normally when that happens, God tells both people and both parties have an interest for one another. It would not make sense for God to tell one person and the other person has no desire for them at all. It’s contrary to His character. God is not the author of confusion, nor is He a control freak or out to control every detail of our lives. He provides input, and He still allows us to choose. For love involves freedom. Any thoughts that control us or cause us to obsess are not, I repeat not from God.

What are you hearing….

I’ve heard people say God yells at them or talks down to them. This is contrary to the character of God. He is perfect in patience. God will not call you a loser, call you names, or seek to condemn you. I am not perfect. I am far from it. When I do something that is not in line with God’s character, He says something like this, “Do you want to talk about what’s going on in your heart?” He gently pulls my heart closer to His. Or I get this feeling that I said or did the wrong thing and need to say to someone, “I apologize.” I’ve been a Christian since I was a little kid and I have never, ever in my 20+ years of knowing God had him treat me poorly or talk to me in a harsh, critical, cold, or unloving way. Even when I was clearly wrong, wrong, wrong…He draws me right back with love. Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?~Romans 2:4. God is kind. In the instances in the Bible where we see God rebuking people, killing them (old testament), etc…we have to understand He sees the heart of a person. We don’t know our own hearts and if we trust His nature as infinite in patience and wisdom, we realize He gives people many chances to repent before turning them over to their evil desires.

Hearing God through others…

Correction:

Sometimes I am blissfully ignorant of something I have done wrong, hence the need for people around us who can speak the truth in love. Now, let me say there are some people who believe they are speaking the truth in love and they are destroying people with their criticism, hatred, pride, and arrogance. Not every person who claims to be speaking for God is hearing from God. The bible tells us this about speaking truth into other people’s lives…

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye,~Matthew 7:3-5.

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things,~Romans 2:1.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself,~Galatians 6:1.

God tells us to gently and humbly correct people. Most of the passages in the Bible speak about believers correcting believers. Someone will have to send me verses for those that tell us to go out and attack the world for their sins. God will judge the world. We are told to preach the Gospel and love people. Beating people up with the word is not loving them. Jesus modeled for us how to deal with sinners. He told them the truth that always led to a way of redemption. He would say, “Go and sin no more,” or “Come follow Me.”

Prophetic:

God still speaks through people to bless us. He still speaks to us to bless us. He speaks things about what’s to come. I will do a separate post on the prophetic, but the goal of it is not to condemn people. The goal is to highlight what God is doing and will do in a person’s life. It is meant to be an encouragement or warning. There are people who love to give negative words. If the word is to prevent a disaster, awesome. If it’s to scare, embarrass, condemn, or hurt people, question the source or the messenger. I have had negative words from God, for example God has normally warned me when a betrayal was coming, when a loved one will pass, etc…those words are not encouraging. However, my heart is allowed to pray and grieve ahead of time. I would not go to a person and tell them, “God said your mom is going to die.” Why? Because this would create fear, panic, worry, etc…I can however pray. Pray the person lives longer. Pray for healing. Pray for their families. Everything we hear does not mean we are to share. I’ve learned some valuable lessons with this one. Just because it’s from God, does not mean He wants you to share it. God speaks to develop a relationship with us. I don’t share people’s secrets, confidences, or everything they tell me. Not everything from God is meant to be shared.

Closing thoughts…

This is a recommendation not a do as I say. I recommend getting a small journal and writing down things you believe are from God. Date them. Compare them to the word of God and character of God. I have journals dating back to 1999. Some things I could scratch out since they were not from God. Some things came to pass and were certainly from God not my imagination. God told me I would be a worship leader before I ever had a desire for it or even played guitar. God is always speaking….He is longing to dive deeper into relationship with His children. God bless you.

Papa I ask that those who don’t feel they hear from You would be able to tune into Your frequency. I ask that any unbelief would be uprooted in our lives. May we know clearly Your voice and not follow the voice of a stranger. In Jesus name, Amen.

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