We know COVID19 has impacted numerous lives. Some people are depressed, stress eating, juggling kids and work at home, or unemployed. This virus has impacted almost every person on this planet.
I want to encourage you to monitor your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health during this time.
While it is noble to reach out to help others, your health matters too! Stress weakens the immune system. We want to share tips and tools to help manage the stress and keep you healthy. For example, there are certain foods/herbs that help with stress, like matcha. We want to share our knowledge with you.
Maribel Hernandez is a fitness and nutrition specialist in Southern California. She helps clients get back to basics. I have a background in soul healing and assisting people to step out of trauma.
Let’s move towards healthier living! Let us help you. I thought, “what if we call the course Reboot 2020?” When we reboot something, we provide a fresh start! People have been negatively impacted by COVID19, let’s reboot!
Along with tips on eating healthy on a budget, taking care of your immune system, detoxing your system, nutrition, and fitness…I will be sharing on tips and tools for maintaining health in the mind and emotions.
We desire you win in life!
Yes, storms (challenges) are raging around us. This does not mean we need to allow the storms to destroy us.
I hope you join us starting May 15th, 2020! Classes will be each Friday evening for 4 weeks via Zoom. Class times will be 2:30pm PST/5:30pm EST.
Sign up for a $300 dollar value course for only $24.99. We are reducing the cost because we know families and singles are trying to save money. Those who sign up before May 9th will receive an added bonus!!
Go to empowered-free.com/shop to sign up today!!
As an added bonus today, sharing a free teaching on Get the Trauma out from COVID19 and a soaking prayer for trauma.
I believe this can be the global churches finest hour to rise up and demonstrate to the world who God is. God is love.
We can go love our neighbors. If we cannot leave the house, we can reach out online. If we can go to the grocery store/pharmacy, we can leave care packages on porches. We can be kind. We can refuse to hoard because God is our provider. We can check in on people. “How are you? I heard you were laid off, do you need anything?” We can pray for the sick. My dad cannot go in hospitals or nursing homes right now as a Chaplain so he has been going to the parking lot to pray. We can pray over businesses and if we have money get gift cards from them. We can share Jesus online and gather people to worship through technology. If we have enough, we can share. We can cease spreading negativity and look for ways to lift others up!! We can look for ways to be a blessing in word and deed.
God is love. Love looks like something. It looks like someone-Jesus.
I find no where in the Bible where it tells me to think only of myself and go sit down idle waiting on Jesus to return. I find passages that encourage me to GO be light, GO love my neighbor, GO be a blessing, GO share the Gospel, GO be an example. We lead by example. Our sermons may make people feel good, yet the way we demonstrate what we believe leaves a lasting impression on people.
I told my brother last night that loving Jesus, following Jesus transforms the way we live. We begin to care about who and what God cares about. God cares that people are hungry, scared, uncertain, in great need. If I claim to love Him, what moves Him moves me. We are united in love.
Yesterday for We Will Rise worship gathering we did reverse offerings. They received money, not me. I do not take up offerings for me for teaching the Gospel. What good am I taking money from people who may not be able to eat when I have enough? Blessing them was the priority. It warmed my heart they nominated others in the community instead of just themselves. Love is looking out for others.
Arise and shine! Arise and shine!! Arise and shine!!!
We cannot do everything; we can do something!
If you have a grocery need, or know someone in need, the giveaway is this evening. My not for profit is giving away up to 200 dollars of free groceries! Go to http://www.OperationGodisLove.org.
I have seen panic and terror in the eyes of people on the streets. My not for profit has still been out serving the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing those sleeping outdoors, and praying for the sick at the Free Clinic. People need hope. You and I need to remain calm.
Tonight I am sharing an email blog post from my business website written in response to the coronavirus. I hope it blesses you!
How do we navigate through the challenging seasons of life without breaking down or completely losing it?
I believe it requires some focus and intentionality to maintain peace, hope, and even joy in the midst of uncertainty.
Our world is responding to a global crisis. Due to the easy access to information, people are inundated with bad news, negative reports, and are not being provided much hope (an expectation of good). My desire is to provide you with some hope and tools to navigate through the season.
An acronym for hope can be, “Hold On Pain Ends.” I want you to note that just as the seasons in nature change, so do seasons in our lives. There can be seasons that feel like a winter and others that feel like a spring or summer.
In the beginning and middle of hard times, it can be challenging to have a vision of better times or an expectation of good. As stated before it requires some focus and intentionality.
I want to share with you some tips that helped me during a 17-month long challenging season. It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life and just ended last summer. We expect the current global crisis with coronavirus to be much shorter. 🙂
These are some tips that helped me tremendously.
Tip 1: Limit exposure to negativity.
What we feed grows, what we starve dies. Find something positive to read, listen to, and positive people to talk to about your thoughts. In this current situation, you may need to avoid watching the news. We were not created to take in so much negativity and bad reports. If you are a person of faith, focus on meditating on the promises of God.
Tip 2: Start a gratitude journal.
One thing that I believe helped me keep my mind right during my 17-month challenging season was taking time to document things I was thankful for each day. Gratitude helps our brain produce feel-good hormones. Start by thinking of 3-6 things daily. Anything good that occurs, write it down. Focus on the good. It could be 1. I have clean water. 2. I have food. 3. I have a friend. 4. Someone cares about me. Be intentional about gratitude/giving thanks.
“A National Institutes of Health study found that when you express kindness or feel gratitude, your hypothalamus floods your brain with dopamine. This gives you a natural high, motivating you to do good and express gratitude even more.”
Tip 3: Practice kindness.
Just as stated above about gratitude, expressing kindness releases dopamine (feel-good hormones) in the brain. Not only does expressing kindness help the brain get out of stress hormone mode (fight or flight, cortisol, and immune system suppressing hormones), but it also helps get the focus off self and off things that cannot be controlled.
Many of us are working from home, some have been laid off, or the business is suffering. There is minimal to no control over what is occurring externally. We can exercise our will to be kind to others. We do not have control over every event. We do have control over how we respond.
Some ideas: Find someone to reach out to and ask them how they are doing, if they are okay, be kind at the grocery store, share, cease hoarding (operating with a scarcity/poverty mindset), be a blessing, ask neighbors if they need anything.
Tip 4: Write out your thoughts and feelings.
Thoughts and feelings trapped inside the head can lead to less than rational realities and behaviors. People are panicked, therefore they are not using logic or rational thought. It does not make sense for me to purchase 20 gallons of milk that will spoil or 500 rolls of toilet paper. Scared people show you their worst and operate under a “me-first mentality.”
When the thoughts and feelings are written out, it helps significantly. Once you write it out, read it. What is the story you are telling yourself? Process your thoughts and feelings. Before you react, press pause, and get your mind right. Just because others are panicked does not mean you or I need to panic.
Tip 5: GO outside! Fresh air helps.
Even though many events and venues are closed, the sidewalks are not, the backyard is not, and the freeways are not. It was such a blessing today to go outside. I saw people riding bikes, taking walks, and walking their dogs. It is good for the mind and body to get moving. Exercise, talk a walk, go for a drive.
“...taking a walk outside will help the brain produce endorphins, which are neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood. Both being outside and walking can work together to create positive changes in the overall state of mind.“-Advanced Neurotherapy.
None of us will bypass all adversity. The key is to learn how to navigate well through adversity. We may have an array of thoughts and feelings regarding the situations, that is human and normal. We process those thoughts and emotions. We seek solutions and look for what we can do.
The other key is to learn to manage our responses to adversity, challenges, and hard times. We do not have to allow others to pull us into their storm. We can pull them into our peace.
This too shall pass.
Hold on pain ends.
Keep your mind healthy by focusing on positive things.
Focus on anything that is going right.
Focus on what can be done.
Look for ways to help and bless others.
Process your thoughts and feelings. Write it out.
Get some fresh air.
Get moving if you can.
Take time to rest.
Continuing to keep you and your families in my prayers. We will get through this together!
P.S If you know someone suffering a hardship/food crisis, check out the grocery giveaway through my not for profit Operation God is Love. USA residents are eligible.
There was man who prayed and prayed for blessings. He was defeated and poor. He cried out to God to bless him each day.
God heard his cry and began to send people to bless the man. He was suspicious of their kindness and refused help. He did not trust love, especially from someone he did not know.
One day God sent a stranger along the man’s path with a box, and inside was a bag of uncut diamonds. It was worth 77 million dollars.
The stranger approached the man during his lunch time meal. “Is your name John?” The man grumbled, “Yes!” He was frustrated because he could not see all the times/ways God tried to bless him.
The stranger asked to sit with him. John was already irritated and wanted nothing to do with the stranger. He was busy. His lunch break was only a half hour. He had people to see, things to do.
The stranger sensed John’s hesitation. “John, I know you are a busy man. I don’t want to take up much of your time. God sent me here to you to deliver this box.” John replied, “Can you just leave the box and GO! I am busy. I have work to do. I work 3 jobs just to pay my bills.”
The stranger honored the wishes and left the box. He walked away; John dismissed the box. He ate his lunch murmuring and complaining. “Why would God interrupt my lunch for this?! He knows I only have 30 minutes of peace.”
John’s attitude stunk like the garbage in the bin behind him. He never thought of the interruption as a potential blessing. He never saw the stranger as a gift. He saw him as a nuisance.
John opened the box before returning to his shift. “Rocks! God gave me a bag of rocks. Is this a joke?!!!” John was angry. He shoved the bag in his case and went back to work.
Years passed and John continued to pray and murmur against God.
God sent the stranger back to John. “It’s you again,” John exclaimed with roughness. “Yes, I am here for the bag I gave you. If you have no use for them, we have someone else who wants them.” “Sure take these stupid rocks.” John went into his room and pulled the bag out, brushed off the dust, and threw them at the stranger. “Thank you John. This bag of uncut diamonds worth 77 million dollars is going to help someone else.”
John stood there stunned and ashamed. For years he lived in poverty while millions of dollars sat in his bottom drawer collecting dust.
The stranger said to John, “For years God has been sending people to help you and you refused help. You were curt with me and so busy that you missed provision. I was sent to give you instructions on what you had been given and you dismissed me. Therefore, you forfeited your blessing. The lady several streets over has a great need and God told me she would listen and use these diamonds for good. John, God loves you. The lesson is to not dismiss something because you do not understand. Seek God for wisdom. Every interruption or person who wants to help you is not the devil. I hope you are you blessed. These diamonds were a gift to me from my father and I asked God for someone to give them to. I have more than enough. God sent me first to you. He chose you and you relinquished your blessing. Mary, the woman who will receive part of my inheritance will never have to work again. Good day John and God bless you.”
As the stranger walked away, John wept. He was so busy trying to make it by himself that he missed God.
It’s so easy to look with the eyes of the flesh and miss God. God works through people. God does set up divine interruptions. It is possible to miss what God is doing because we are so busy judging by what our natural eyes see. Wisdom pulls us deeper to say, “God give me your eyes and help me to walk in the Spirit of God not my flesh. God show me what you are doing? Is this you God?”
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out-Prov 25:2.
I asked God to be a benefactor and partner with Him to bless the world. I cannot tell you how many people have forfeited what God wanted to give them through me because they did not recognize nor value the packaging. One minister I had thousands to offer them, they behaved so poorly and were so full of pride, “I don’t need any help.” I gave their gift to someone else. Treat people with respect, honor, dignity because it’s the right thing to do. Also understand you may be entertaining a person on assignment from heaven to bless you. Some have entertained angels unaware.
Keep your eyes open in 2020 for the blessings of God. It may not come in the way you expect.
Sunday Encouragement: You Are Not Alone in the Fire (Prayer of Refreshing at the End).
Yesterday a candle set fire in my kitchen. No real harm, I contained it. No property damage. A little smokey in the house, yet thankful I heard it the second it caught fire. There was a flash and whoosh sound.
Fire consumes. Fire spreads quickly. Fire is intense. The heat from the flames can range from 750F to 1,300F. Have you ever felt like life seated you in the middle of a fire? Life was going along great then flash, whoosh, you went from zero to 1,000. If you look around things are being consumed and quite possibly it may seem that you cannot contain it. You see flames, yet if you walk with Jesus, do you recognize He is with you even until the ends of the earth and right in the fire with you?
Unlike mere human beings, God does not abandon us in the darkest of night or the fiercest of fires. God stands with us and for us. God is Emmanuel; God with us. The covenant God makes with His word and His heart is unlike any human covenant. Marriage covenants on earth end, they do not exist in heaven. Yet God’s covenant with humanity is eternal. Humans may run, forsake, hide, say-“That’s not my problem,” but God. I tell my friends and mentees, insert but God. But God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above ALL we could ask or imagine. But God will make even your enemies to be at peace with you when your ways please Him. But God is still the same God who raises the dead, opens blind eyes, causes the lame to walk, and that resurrection power did not end on calvary. But God is the same God who parted the Red Sea, called manna from heaven, and quail from the sea.
If God be for you (us) who stands a chance against you (us)? What is meant for evil, God can turn it around for good. God is still making ways where there seems to be no way. God is still providing streams in the desert. Like David I proclaim, “I look to the hills where my help comes from. My help comes from the Maker of the heavens and the earth.” There is no one more capable than God.
My encouragement, and I understand it can be a challenge…Don’t stare at the flames. Look into the eyes of Jesus. One of my frequent prayers in fire trials is, “God help me to see what you see. Give me the vantage point of heaven. I need help.”
Even though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us. Let that sink in deep this morning. God is with you! The most powerful being in the Universe is with you; He commands the angelic armies. No one can stop God. One word from God and everything shifts and changes.
I speak life over you today! The dry dead bones can live. Your body can be healed. Your family can be saved. You can find ample employment. You can overcome. You can live and NOT die to declare the works of the Lord. The Spirit of an Overcomer resides in Jesus and you have full access to Him. You can come out of the fire not even smelling like smoke. Don’t you die in the fire. Don’t give up when it looks bleak. There is another man in the fire with you. He is MIGHTY to SAVE!
I have never been trapped in a fire. I do know what it’s like to be trapped in a car under water. I understand facing death if no miracle occurred. I understand 911 not showing up for me. But God showed up!! God keeps showing up with love in His eyes and power in His hands. He is a mountain moving, dragon slaying, closing the mouths of lions, pulling people off death’s door kind of God.
Today, celebrate that you are not alone. He is the come to the rescue kind of God. He is the loving you when you are down to nothing or on top of the mountain kind of God. He is the forgiving and merciful God. He is full of justice! He sets the wrong things right. He provides in the wilderness. God never fails. I repeat, “God never fails!”
Abba, I ask that anyone who reads this receives a fresh touch of the anointing of an overcomer. Break off any spirits of hopelessness, self pity, depression, and despair. The devil is a liar. Break off the power of every lie that they can not make it or overcome. Holy Spirit breathe a fresh wind of refreshing over them today. No situation is too hard for you God. Nothing is impossible for you Papa. It can be done. I bind every spirit of loneliness and fear. I invite the Spirit of adoption to overwhelm each person, they are not orphans or outcasts. They are not alone. The Lord of Hosts is with them. Saturate each person with your truth today God. Believing your truth sets us free! Breaker anointing fall on every reader. Set the captives free. In the powerful name of Jesus!
Verses to Ponder:
Daniel 3:25-27 Amplified Bible (AMP)
He answered, “Look! I see four men untied, walking around in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” Then Nebuchadnezzar approached the door of the blazing furnace and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, servants of the Most High God, come out [of there]! Come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s counselors gathered around them and saw that in regard to these men the fire had no effect on their bodies—their hair was not singed, their clothes were not scorched or damaged, even the smell of smoke was not on them.
You can come out of the fire and not even smell like smoke!! 🔥🔥🔥 And when you overcome with Jesus, it takes you into a promoted level of authority. We have authority in His name. Those who stand in His authority in adversity find a greater level of understanding of who they are in Him and who God is through them. In Jesus we can stand VICTORIOUS!
There was a man who wanted to climb a mountain yet there was a boulder in his way. A man who came along and told him if he pushed the boulder up the mountain, he would give him ten fifty pounds bags of gold. He stated that many attempted to get the boulder up the mountain yet not one succeeded.
The man accepted the challenge and began to push the boulder up the mountain. He could only go so far without resting. The boulder was heavy and others just seemed to try to take the easy way around. They were playing in freedom while he kept pushing. It was hot, it was not easy. Some days it seemed he took a few steps forward and was pushed back.
He was tempted to give up at times because he could easily make money more easily. Why stick with the task at hand?
After many days and months of pushing the boulder up the mountain, he arrived. the man he had met at the bottom was there as promised with the bags of gold. He grinned with delight over the man making it to the top of the mountain. He asked the man to follow him even further up the mountain. Though fatigued, he climbed. The man asked him, “Why do you think I invited to you push the boulder up the mountain?” The gentleman pondered it for a moment and responded, “I do not know, maybe you needed it and there was no one to help you.” The man laughed. “No, I don’t need the boulder at all. This was not for me, it was for you.” The gentleman looked back at him puzzled, “How could this be for me?” The man replied, “Come look.” He took the man to an area where he could see his reflection. His muscles were fully developed and he had gained incredible strength.
“In the climb, you learned patience. You learned to persevere when it was challenging. You learned the easiest path was not the best path. You learned to focus, if you did not, you could be crushed by the boulder. You learned your own inner strength. You learned lessons some will never learn. The climb was never about me. It was about you. Every challenge has both an OPPORTUNITY and an UPGRADE attached to it. Some only live on the flat plains, they never rise to their highest level of potential. They take the easiest route and never learn who they can be. Some wait for someone else to push the boulder up the mountain and then try to glean from their success. You chose to take the path less traveled. You chose a path that would require strength. You chose faith to believe I would reward you for bringing the boulder up the mountain. Not only will I provide you with the bags of gold, but I am also including 10 times the reward in diamonds.”
Sometimes what looks easy is not the best path. Getting to where we want to go and be will take actual work, focus, planning, and perseverance. The race is given to the one who endures until the end. SO keep your eyes on the prize and keep going. If you need to rest, rest, then get back to what leads to your promise.
Praying for you!! You can do this with God’s help.
Oh…and this Friday, please check out our Black Friday sales on empowered-free.com/shop (books, teachings, audio) and empoweredandfreemerch.com (tshirts, bags, phone cases, etc)! All books and audio are 45% off.
Since there has been controversy on my author page and other parts of media about women in ministry, I hope to put together teachings on the women in the Bible who were teachers, prophets, evangelists, taught men, shepherding, friends of Jesus, world changers, and commended by Paul for their ministry.
I also hope to cover how Jesus treated women; He even sent Mary to go tell others He had risen in a culture that did not highly value the testimony of a woman. If God wanted the women to be silent, Jesus would not have appeared to a woman and told her to be His witness. God would also not have appointed female prophets, which He did. Prophets speak forth the word of God, teach, mentor, and exercise authority. I will touch on Deborah who was a prophet and judge over ALL of Israel. She exercised authority over men.
I think part of the issue is many people do not hear about women in churches, unless it’s Mother’s Day or talking about Mary mother of Jesus. We need to know all of the Bible, the culture, the context, and most importantly the heart of God.
I also hope to break down what Ezer Kenegdo means. It is the Hebrew word God used for creating woman. It is poorly translated as helper or help meet. Our English language does not do Hebrew justice. Ezer is a word God uses to describe Himself and there is no weakness and inferiority in God.
Eve was created as a warrior, one with divine instinct and she represents a part of God Adam does not. Together as partners they would have dominion on the earth (See Genesis 1:26-28). Before the fall of humanity represents God intentions. Both of them were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
I also hope to touch on the poorly taught doctrine of male headship and female submission. God did not create a hierarchy ladder. He created a triangle. Man+woman would function as equal partners ruling and reigning together both moving towards God.
God also instructed ALL believers (male and female) to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). The greatest among you will be your servant (Matthew 23:11), said Jesus. When it is taught the wife must just do what her husband wants, he’s the head (boss), it creates potential for competition. He must be the smartest and most spiritual. In some cases the husband is not or his wife is far more skilled in an area. Or he’s not listening to God and she is. If he has zero accountability, he can lead his family into a ditch. I see clients with husbands who have brought porn in the home, are abusive, the husband is controlling, absolutely destroyed their finances, not responsible, will not listen to anyone’s counsel, and they are stuck being yelled at to submit.
If the husband thinks he’s the last say, he may forgo listening to his wife and feel resentful if her relationship with God is stronger or she’s more skilled than he is in an area. She may be viewed as a subordinate, not a partner. Both parties are called to mutual love, mutual respect, and mutual submission (a willingness to yield to what honors God). It can create problems when the wife treats her husband like he’s her God. God was clear. You shall have no other gods beside me and there is one mediator between God and man-Jesus. We have one high priest, Jesus. If the husband says to do something that is wrong, the wife is not supposed to do that and vice versa.
The role of both parties is to love one another and love is not about lording over others. Marital love is not a boss employee relationship. It’s two partners laying their life down for the benefit of each other. Jesus told the disciples not to be like the people in the world who seek to dominate and lord over others. He told them to take on the position of a servant.
“…Jesus called them to Himself and said,“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute powerandlord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them[tyrannizing them]. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,“~Jesus Matthew 20:25-26.
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom. The way “headship” is sometimes taught is the husband is a god substitute in the home, the boss, the dictator, the final authority, and it’s not biblical. The husband is called to model Jesus in his sacrificial love, unselfishness, empowering his family, purity, etc…God did not create a boss and subordinate relationship, nor establish a system for husbands to have zero accountability. The husband is not a god substitute.
Whether you agree or disagree, I hope to unpack the word of God, the words of Jesus, creation, the Greek and Hebrew. Let’s unpack what God did say.
God willing after the holidays we will dive into the controversy. I think its great to study for ourselves and know what authors of the Bible meant. I also think it’s even better to know God, the character of God and the heart of God. The Pharisees knew the Torah and the law. They could quote it, beat people up with it, but they did not have personal relationship with God. We need both. The Holy Spirit is the best teacher.
I will be doing Facebook lives on these topics. I think as a woman, it’s important I know what God did say. I think for men it’s important to know what God did say. There are so many women being forced into silence that God is calling to SPEAK! There are husbands who are not receiving the full benefit of having a partner because she is seen as a subordinante to be led by the nose.
I hope you join me in the new year for the series! You can follow video posts by going to Facebook.com/erinlambauthor. You can grab copies of the books I have written or audio teachings by going to empowered-free.com!
I wish Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse was not a book I needed to write. Why? I wish “church” was always a place of love, safety, and God’s goodness. I wish the organized “church” looked and loved just like Jesus.
Jesus is perfect theology and God is love. There is no abuse in love. There is no manipulation or dominance in love. There is no control in love. There is nothing perverse, sexually inappropriate, or lustful in love.
I use quotes for the “church” because truly God’s church is not a weekend service or organization, it is a body of people yielded to God. Jesus stated His followers would be known by their agape love (pure, sacrificial, and unselfish love). Abuse is not love and not of God. God will separate His true church from what is false.
Part of what I do is called deep inner healing. It’s not SOZO for those who are in the charismatic church. It’s inviting God into memories throughout a person’s life to interject truth, expose lies, deal with pain, and negative emotions. I do not interject memories. We deal with what God reveals to a person that needs to be healed.
Over the years I have heard the worst of the worst of stories; stories that make Steven King movies appear tame. I deal with people who have been severely damaged and abused to the point of dissociation (they fracture into multiple personalities). I hate to admit that some of the perpetrators claimed to be Christians. Some were pastors or deacons. Some had high levels of influence. They used their status and influence to exploit, manipulate, abuse, or molest others.
Some churches have encouraged hiding the sins of the pastors or the “church”. If anyone knew it could damage the “church” reputation. Holding onto this mindset helped to enable thousands of pastors to continue to abuse people in silence. It is ungodly to enable sin. What you hide, enables abuse to continue. It sends a message, “Please come and abuse people here. We will keep your secrets and forgive. We will pretend that nothing happened.” Some “church” leaders don’t recognize forgiveness is not ENABLING! Forgiveness is supposed to be coupled with repentance. To repent is to change one’s mind, not offer a sloppy sorry because you were caught.
In Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse I talk about the boundaries churches need in place to prevent a set up for a scandal.
Background checks on every leader. If you are a pedophile, you are not qualified to lead. Period.
Men should not counsel women in closed door, behind the scenes situations or off hours. And vice versa with women counseling men. “Counseling,” has led numerous people into sexual misconduct. Have a two person system. If you must have a one on one, one pastor I knew had a glass office door and his admin would sit outside. She could not hear, she could see what was going on in the session. I do not do deep inner healing sessions by myself in person. I have an assistant. If it’s through Skype, it’s recorded.
Check in on pastors and their mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Some are burnt out and not connecting with God. They serve, yet they are not working on their own relationship with God. Check in and have accountability systems.
Set up situations where leaders are never alone with someone else’s child. Children’s ministry should have two people not related caring for kids. They all need background checks too!
Teach your children proper boundaries. Just because a person claims to be a Christian does not mean they are safe. Teach your children about inappropriate touch and they can tell you anything. It’s sad, yet many children are threatened with getting in trouble if they tell.
Cease trusting people just because they claim to be a Christian or clergy!! This one is big.
I knew a lady who’s pastor invited her out to a bar then began to sexually proposition her. Well, first thing is this-I am not meeting my pastor alone anywhere!! Let alone a bar. Secondly, the moment he propositioned me for sex he would have been rebuked and then turned into the church board. This pastor had a history of hitting on women at the church, sleeping with them, then getting up preaching on Sunday. He would also remove parts of scripture that talked about sexual immorality.
What we permit, we promote! Let me repeat that, “What we permit, we promote.” This woman wanted to love, forgive, and pray for her pastor. Awesome! Yes, forgive. Also rebuke the sexual advances and let someone know so he cannot prey on anyone else. Some women have been so brainwashed with false teachings on submitting to authority that they easily give in to what is ungodly. He’s my pastor, I have to do this. NO!!!! You are sinning and God still hold you accountable. “My pastor told me,” does not fly in heaven.
What are you and I going to do to help stop abuse in the church? We cannot change other people. We can ask God for our part! Writing this book and helping victims of abuse is part of my part. It’s also my part to say something if I see something inappropriate.
I regret not listening to my instincts years ago. I noticed a male minister always playing with the little girls. He was in his 50s. They were 7 to 14 years old. I did not wish to judge him. I thought I was being overly suspicious. I looked the other way though it bugged me. Later it was revealed he was grooming young teen girls for sex. He eventually married a teenage girl in an impoverished nation by grooming her parents as well. He was eventually removed from ministry. Could I have helped if I said something early on? I don’t know. I had no proof. It just creeped me out. I wish I had said something.
My encouragement is this, “Please don’t turn a blind eye to abuse, control, manipulation, or sexual sin.” God is loving, gracious, kind, and forgiving. God also highly values people. If we allow abuse we violate God’s love. Being passive is easy. Being passive is not godly.
I see the aftermath in sessions with people. I see how the abuse wounded their views of themselves, of God, of the church. I see the horror and the agony the victims of abuse carry.
Let’s have honest conversations about abuse in the church. Let’s have boundaries that keep people safe. Let’s stop teaching that submission is doing whatever is asked of you. It’s not! Godly submission is being willing to yield to what honors God. It does not mean obey. Let’s teach young children and teens about appropriate and inappropriate touch. Let’s teach everyone about healthy boundaries. No I am not meeting a man alone in his home for ministry. I do not have them come to my house either. Why? I have no desire to be a victim of rape nor to appear to be doing something inappropriate. I don’t meet men at bars to talk about ministry. I don’t sin with them.
Several stories came out this week of men in Christian leadership exposed for sexual misconduct. Those women could have helped themselves by saying, “No I am not sinning with you. No I am not meeting you somewhere alone with no witnesses.” I am not trying to blame them. I feel compassion for them. I am saying in this day and age, we must use wisdom. I am not traveling to my pastors house alone. I will meet you in a public place with witnesses. No I am not sinning with you and submitting to what dishonors me or my relationship with Jesus. Boundaries help protect what has value. It’s far more difficult for sexual assault to happen in a public place with loads of witnesses.
If you have been abused sexually, physically, emotionally, spiritually (spiritual abuse is another one that is high in clients I see), manipulated, controlled, or mistreated by clergy or professing Christians, I am so sorry! It is not the heart of God and He hates abused. I pray your heart is healed and restored. God loves you! I can also confidently say that God gives beauty for ashes and binds up the wounds of the broken hearted! You are greatly loved.
I love Jesus. I hope to follow Him all the days of my life, even if it cost me my life.
Following Jesus has cost me “friendships” and invited persecution. Most of the persecution coming from people who claim to know Him. They have called me names (heretic, demonized, weird, another colorful b-word), slandered my name, a few threatened violence, I was struck once by a woman who called me a liar and I was not lying (she claimed to be a Spirit-filled Christian. I refused to hit her back out of love and she was far older than me/over twice my age), cursed my ministry, cursed me, cussed me out, boycotted things I was doing for Jesus, cursed me from pulpits, mocked me, tried to shame me, publically set me up to be humiliated, talked badly about me, stopped talking to me if I disagreed with their understanding of scripture, tried to turn entire groups against me, posted hateful or disrespectful comments on my blogs or social media, tried to debate me for hours and talked down to me like I was stupid, written me nasty notes, called me a bad Christian and untrustworthy, called my ministry for God illegitimate, etc…all in the name of Jesus.
I don’t know the Jesus who acts like that. Jesus said you will know my true disciples by their agape (sacrificial, unselfish) love. Jesus also stated you would know a tree by its fruit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentlenesses, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law (Gal 5:22-23). Love fulfills the law because it does no harm to its neighbor (Romans 13:10).
Why share these things, and I promise I am not complaining? Because if our picture of Jesus is violent, hateful, nasty, rude, unkind, mean spirited, argumentative, proud, hostile, etc…it’s not Jesus of Nazareth. The spirits behind the behaviors in paragraph one are demons. Mockery is a demon. An accusatory spirit is a demon. Pride is a demon. These are the chief characteristics of Satan. It’s easy to build an image of God that is not God at all. Cursing people is the language of demons. Slander and gossip, are demons.
God invites us to know Him, who He really is. Even in my highest levels of ignorance or rebellion God never responded to me in a hateful way. Never. The conviction of God never pushed my face in the dirt and stepped on my neck. The Pharisees partnered with the devil and wanted to stone people for not following their understanding of the law. Jesus did not.
If you feel compelled to violence or mean-spiritedness against people, that is not the Holy Spirit. If you feel compelled to send nasty notes, leave rude and hateful comments, that is not the Holy Spirit. If you feel led to mock people and curse their ministry, that is not the Holy Spirit. A genuine Spirit of God will go gently and speak privately with someone in great love. The Bible tells us to go first privately and to make sure we don’t have a plank in our eye. See Galatians 6:1, Matthew 7:4-5, 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Matthew 18:15-17. If you behave in these ways, I encourage repentance.
I truly believe once we (collectively who claim Jesus) get the love thing right, everything else will fall into place. I am not bitter over the behavior of other people. I forgive them, pray, and move forward. I am deeply saddened by the misrepresentation of Jesus. Why? The world is watching those who claim Jesus to find out who God is. If our actions do not align with the heart of God, why on earth would anyone want to know Jesus? The devil never tells people how their actions will impact others. He pushes humanity to pride.
My prayer is we choose the way of Jesus. I am still being refined and having my heart tended by God. I am still learning from Jesus. I am still yielding myself to God. My hopes are no one will be able to say I brutalized them in the name of Jesus or made a mockery of who He is. Why? I love Jesus. How I behave is a reflection of our intimacy.
My greatest prayer this morning is for those who claim Jesus to truly know Him. Jesus said if we abide in Him, we will bear good fruit (John 15:4-5).
I do not desire to worship a Jesus made in mankind’s image. I want Jesus of Nazareth, the humble king who washed feet and chose nails even for His enemies. My urgent plea is seek to know the real Jesus. The Holy Spirit promises to be our teacher and guide. If we ask God, He will reveal Himself to us.
Before I went to sleep last night I deleted a nasty comment off my author page. I wrote about women in ministry which created a firestorm. The defenders of their version of the law came out with Bibles raised to beat me with their level of understanding. What they do not realize is I spent years studying the Bible. I read through it almost every year, and I am not ignorant. I have been pursuing knowing Jesus for most of my life. I do not speak about things I do not study with God. I bless them, forgive them, delete their hatefulness, pray for them, and move along.
If you have been beaten up by professing Christians, I am sorry. Jesus is sorry. God is not mean nor cruel. God loves you! God is patient and kind. God is good and merciful. God is not hateful. God is love. I wrote my third book Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse this year because we have way too many Christians in bad shape because of the treatment and abuse of other Christians. If you are hurting, grab it. It has 5 star reviews and has helped numerous people step out of pain and into healing. You can grab off Amazon.com or Empowered-Free.com/shop.
I hope something written here blesses you! Praying for you, me, the global church. Let’s choose love!
Confident people tend to treat others better than insecure people. Why? If we love ourselves, then we can love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Insecurity is more than just not feeling good about oneself.
Some people cannot be alone, they are fearful, and therefore they cling to anyone who comforts that fear of being alone or left out.
Some insecurity manifests in greed, hoarding, and the inability to be generous. If you give, then there is fear of not having enough.
Some insecurity manifests in settling for less than in relationships and treatment.
Some insecurity manifests in pushing oneself to the front of the line or excessive boasting.
Some insecurity manifests in promiscuity and unholy relationships; lust is false love. It may feel like love to people, but it leaves them empty.
Some insecurity manifests in unhealthy jealousy, comparison, or envy-they must have all the attention or blessing. If not, the internal deficit is triggered.
In the case of abuse, people treat other people the way they feel about themselves. It’s easy to talk down to you or slap you around because they hate themselves. The way people talk to you is often how they talk to themselves.
The critical spirit is rooted in insecurity-“I will nit pick everyone else to bypass dealing with my own issues.”
Manipulation and control are rooted in insecurity (fear). When we are secure in God, we have no need to try to control everything.
Racism and sexism are both deeply rooted in insecurity. Someone must be inferior to feel superior or good about one’s self or group.
God invites us to ditch insecurity and find identity in Him. Godly confidence differs from self confidence because it is rooted in who we are in God; created in His image, His workmanship, fearfully and wonderfully made, desired, cherished, without rival, uniquely loved, the object of God’s affection. God is not unstable, nor His feelings flakey. God is love 24/7 and always. When we live out of His love, our identity grows secure. Living loved by God enables us to give that love away to others and cease comparison, envy, or gross mistreatment of others. Why? We see our value and theirs.
There is a cure for insecurity and it’s found in God’s love; knowing God’s love, receiving God’s love, abiding in God’s love, being healed by God’s love, and living from God’s love. Our world is suffering from broken identity and insecurity. More than having a sin problem, there is an identity crisis. When we know who we are from the perspective of God, we cease mistreating others and ourselves. May you and I seek knowing the fullness of God’s love!!
Prayer: God show me who you are and who I am from your perspective. Heal my hurts, insecurities, and hidden fears. I want to live fully loved by you! Today I want to ditch insecurity and cling to godly confidence.