Lessons Learned & Happy New Year

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I don’t like talking about myself. I’d much rather talk to you about God. Yet a friend asked me if I ever talked about my struggles or weaknesses or problems.

Despite my normal bend…here are some lessons learned. Yep. Some bumps and bruises learned this year.

1. Listen. It’s easy to listen to God. I like what He’s talking about and speaking. I admit I sometimes get lost listening to people especially if I don’t know why information is being shared. Sorry. My brain works hard to figure out why I’m being told something. Do you want help? I problem solve all day. So social conversations aren’t easy always. If you’re just chatting, my brain internally can say, “Why am I being told this?” I’m learning to just listen…listen…Actively listen. It’s loving. 🙂 Don’t problem solve…listen…don’t analyze…listen. Love this person by listening.

2. Don’t advise unless asked. I had a friend going through something similar to what I’ve walked through. I offered what I thought was insight. He became very angry and combative. I didn’t tell him what to do. I simply stated what I had experienced. Oops…go back to 1. Just listen. Ouch! He was angry…

3. Direct communication can lead to miscommunication. I am a direct, not passive person. So I’m learning to ask God when to speak and when to just let it go…let it go! Let it go! Yes I’m singing the song from Frozen. 🙂

4. Obedience is costly yet fruitful. God has asked me to take leaps of faith in 2014. I mean truly stretching things. There are many times I’ve fought His attempts to get me out of the boat or back in ministry. I had my heart broken in ministry before. I had no desire to be involved in ministry again. Nope…comfy in my cubby with God. My greatest wounds were inflicted by believers. Yet God calls us to focus on Him, and forget those things which are behind.

5. Some people are just nice to you because you’re in their proximity, yet they don’t love you. So when people say, “I love you,” I wait to see if their actions align with their words. My goal is not to judge others. It’s to stay connected to Him so I have love for me and others. God’s the Source of love. I don’t count on others to fill my love tank or trust just because they say something it’s true. The scientist in me says, “Is there any evidence?”

6. Keep God as your best friend!

7. God can do more in a moment than anyone could in a lifetime. Expect big things from God.

8. There are some good people in the world, yet it takes time to get to know if the ones you meet are genuine or just being Christian nice.

9. Let your critics help you grow. Gosh…I have unsolicited input at times. I listen and attempt to grow, even if their assessment is off. The question is, “God is any of this true? If so, help me grow.” Never stop learning or listening.

10. God’s not as hard on my imperfections as I am or anyone else.

11. Listen to God. Wise counsel is great, yet God trumps advisors. If you know God is speaking to you, He holds you accountable for what He says. Respect, honor, and submit to authority, yet obey God. Just as Daniel obeyed God instead of man.

12. Even if you do what God says, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the result you expect. This year God has called me to love people who have rejected me. Reach out to those who have ignored me. Serve those who hated me. Bless those who have mistreated me. Apologize first when the other person was equally wrong. Honor those who have dishonored me. The end results weren’t me riding off into the sunset with these people. Sometimes they remained cruel and indifferent. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. Doing the right thing doesn’t always yield great results this side of heaven.

13. Only the people who love you care about your problems or issues, other’s I believe are curious.

14. Christians can behave in ways that are shocking. Extend grace. You want grace, give it. People are not perfect. Only God is perfect.

15. The less time spent watching tv, the happier I am. 🙂

16. Being different is okay. I’m not talking different and immoral. I’m talking having a different viewpoint or personality. God celebrates diversity.

17. Rebuke a mocker and he’ll hate you. There are people who find me on social media and blast negative things about God. Ignoring and blocking are sometimes warranted. Rebuking leads to quarreling. Just let it go…

18. Just because others say you “should” be doing something doesn’t mean you “should,” like get married, buy that car or house…wisdom considers the cost. Just because someone asks doesn’t mean you need to say yes. What’s God’s best for you? What’s your assignment?

19. Rest is crucial! Yep. Naps are my friend.

20. Trust God. So many great things and a few tragic things happened this year that required trusting God on new levels. Some days I felt like I might drown, but God remained faithful. He’s so faithful…

21. Stay connected to the right people. Know your tribe. Love everyone, yet stay connected to people who are mutually invested in you. They are life givers. Thank God for them, and invest in them too!

22. Set boundaries with takers. I’m a giver. I don’t say that to brag. I’m compelled by love to give. Don’t feel obligated to cater to takers. Be Spirit led. Say no to being abused or used. You teach people how to treat you by what you tolerate. What people need mostly is Jesus. If they’re hungry or naked, feed or clothe them. If they’re just dumping on you or taking what needs received from God or the Word-point them away from you and towards God! Don’t invest or sow aimlessly; be purposeful. Who does God want you to pour into? And how?

Well, that’s more sharing than I wanted. Yet I hope my lessons learned helped someone! May 2015 be a year overflowing with God’s goodness, wisdom, and provision. You are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Erin

It Starts With Love (Worship Series Part 11)

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Photo Credit: online, original source unknown.

We worship what we love. We were made by Love, to be loved, to give love. When we worship something or someone, we are expressing our love for that person or object or ourselves. When we are worshipping something or someone other than God, I am convinced it’s because we don’t realize how much God loves us.

Money can’t save us.
Parents, spouses, or children can’t save us.
Being beautiful or fit cannot save us.
Physical pleasure cannot save us.
Having the biggest, most influential church or ministry cannot save us.
Food cannot save us.
Having the most material possessions cannot save us.
We cannot save ourselves.

You see no one other than Jesus saves. If we don’t obtain relationship with Him, in this life, we are doomed for all eternity.

God gave His best to the world out of love. For God SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…John 3:16. He would’ve entered the world if you were the only person who needed salvation. He would’ve given His life for one. God’s love isn’t a blanket love that just covers the world. It’s individualized love. He knows every hair on your head, every tear you’ve cried, every pain you’ve suffered, your dreams written on His heart, He knows you and loves you. Psalm 139 says, “Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you!” What matters to you, matters to Him. He’s the Universe’s best Father.

God demonstrated His love for humanity on the cross. Jesus was innocent, yet marred beyond recognition to pay for our sins. He did not look human when they were done beating Him and ripping His flesh from His body. It’s graphic, yet I am so thankful someone loved us enough to die for us while we were still guilty.

No boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, parent, child, friend, job, pile of money, or anything else cares enough for us to endure what He did. There’s nothing and no one holy enough to be worshipped above God.

When we realize how much God loves us, worship of Him is the response.

Our idols reveal who and what we love. And though we don’t often admit it, we believe those idols love us or benefit us more than God.

Our world problems can be traced back to one thing; the absence of Godly love. People who don’t love who they are cannot love God, you, or anyone else. We can only give what we have first received. A naked person cannot give you a shirt. God continually pours out perfect love, yet it must be received. A gift still belongs to the giver if the recipient will not accept it. It’s only when we know God and abide in His love that we are able to love ourselves then others and worship Him fully. We tell people to love God & others & miss the most important step, receive love first from God. Those who do not love, have missed step 1.

The order of love: 1. receive God’s love, 2. Love God, 3. love yourself, 4. love your neighbor as yourself.

Where there’s an absence of love, there’s hatred, indifference, racism, sexism, bigotry, prejudice, murder, lust, greed, pride, selfishness, oppression, insecurity, control, manipulation, jealousy, envy, strife, lawlessness, perversion, idolatry, war, gluttony, casting off restraints, vanity, immorality, & chaos…

Sweet friends, as Paul prayed, may we know the height, the depth, the width, and the vast expanse of God’s love for us! On the heart level, not just the head level. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

Merry Christmas (Celebrating a King)

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Photo credit: Pinterest

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever,~Isaiah 9:6-7.

Merry Christmas to you and your families. Christmas is a time to reflect on the greatest gift ever given to humanity, Jesus. A King left Paradise to come and save a sinful world. He humbled Himself to take the lowest place, that of a babe. A child is dependent on others for care, protection, and provision. A babe cannot speak and is helpless in many ways.

The King of the Universe came into the world to bless the world. He wasn’t born into wealth. He left the riches of heaven for the poverty of earth.

Jesus is the gift who continues to give to the world. He’s continuing to bless the world. This glorious King is alive and pursuing the hearts of His people.

If you do not know Him personally, I invite you to get to know Jesus. Relationship with Him begins with the Father drawing us, acknowledging a need for Him, confessing our sins, repenting, and believing that He is the Son of God. He came for love. He came for you! God pursues to love!

If this season brings you stress, strain, pain, or grief, know that Jesus lives to intercede for you. He loves you! You are so deeply loved. Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” My prayers are with you as well.

Sweet friends, God loves you. He SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so whosoever will believe in Him will have everlasting life!

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Erin

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Be Still (Worship Series Part 10)

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

Be still and KNOW that I am God…

The words of God permeate my heart and mind when I’m still.

We live in a world that is busy. People are so busy that they sometimes cannot make time to simply be with God.

I will say if we are too busy to be with God, we are too busy.

One of my favorite verses is John 15:5. It contains the words of Jesus. He says, “I am the Vine. You are the branches. Abide in Me and you will bear abundant fruit. Apart from Me you can do nothing.”

The words echo in my spirit…”Apart from Me you can do nothing!”

Jesus plants this seed of wisdom for us so we know our striving produces nothing. Our busyness not rooted in His leading produces nothing. Our efforts are futile at accomplishing anything great if it’s apart from Him.

How do we navigate a life of pure worship and adoration of the King of Kings?

It’s more than singing songs and gathering on weekends in corporate worship. God is worthy of more than a song. He’s worthy of it all.

I truly believe an important part of worship is being still and meditating on the truth that He is God.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who formed the world and Universe by My words. I spoke and it was.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who created Adam from the earth and breathed My life into him.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who fashioned Eve from the rib of Adam and breathed My life into her.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who redeems you, cleanses you from unrighteousness and sin, sets you apart as a people of My very own.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who raises dead things to life! I rose with all power in My hands!

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who is undefeated!

Be still and know that I AM…

The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I was not created and have no limitations!

Be still and know that I AM…

With you, for you, loving you, pursuing you, looking out for you, and fighting for you!

Be still and know that I AM faithful!

Sweet friends, this week I pray there are many moments to be still and listen to the whispers of heaven. May we know the God we worship and rest in Him.

God bless you. Praying for you!

For more on knowing God. Feel free to join the intimacy with God series on my book website http ://ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com. Hope it blesses you.

Love,

Erin Lamb