Know the Character of God (Revelation Series Part II)

Photo: Pinterest (Character of God)

The last post we talked about knowing the word of God and studying the word of God with the Holy Spirit. Today I want to discuss knowing the character of God. It is just as important to know God personally and understand His character.

What is character?

char·ac·ter

ˈkerəktər/

noun

1. the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

If we do not know the character of God, it can lead to massive deception. There are quite a few representing a God they do not know. They can tell you information about God, yet they do not know God intimately.

I love the quote that says, ”Don’t worry about your reputation, it is who people say you are. Be more concerned with your character because that is who you really are.” It is important that we understand who God is, not who others say God is-who is God?

It is possible to think we know God, think we are worshipping God and actually be in a position where we are worshipping a God created in our own image. I heard another quote I loved. The author said, ”If God has all the same opinions you have, you may not be worshipping God at all.

There is something about God that is counter to our culture. God is higher! God’s ways are higher.

The Bible gives us a blueprint of the character of God, His essence, His attributes, and His nature. We must not pull isolated verses and passages, but study the whole of scripture with God AND pursue intimacy with God (knowing Him for ourselves/build history with God).

When we know the character of God it will help us to discern the words people speak and claim came from God. If we live by second hand information, then we can be easily deceived.

The Pharisees knew the Torah. They believed they knew God, yet Jesus informed them that they did not know God at all.

Jesus rebukes the Pharisees: Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees knew of God, they did not know the true and living God. They missed the God standing right in front of them.

Get To Know The Author:

People who know me, truly know me, spend time with me, invite me into their lives, and know my character are a far better judge of what is from me than those who only read my blog, books, or have heard of me.

God is everywhere, yet God is not hosted everywhere. You can go to a party and not be hosted. You can be ignored, not acknowledged, unheard, and treated as insignificant.

God may be omnipresent, yet not everyone is filled with the Spirit of God. Not everyone is led by the Spirit of God. Not everyone hosts the presence of God. Not everyone has an intimate relationship with God where He is known, pursued, followed, and experienced. I have been invited places then ignored or mistreated. If you asked those people who I am, who knows what they would tell you. They know of me. They do not know me.

Anyone can repeat what they have heard, yet someone who is intimate with the author is a better witness and discerner of what is from the author.

God is inviting us to know Him and not just things about Him.

Part of knowing is experience, and testing those experiences by His word. Part is studying the Bible WITH God.

There are many people who claim to know God and what they teach or manifest violates the character of God. The God they worship does not match the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

Some believe the God of the Old Testament died and the new God is like a fluffy Santa who has no requirements for righteous living. This is false. The New Covenant is far better and changes the way we access God. It does not change who God is. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Purifying Revelation:

Our revelation is often filtered by our understanding of God. This is why you meet people who can prophesy overly critical and quite hateful things. Some truly believe they are hearing from God. Some can substantiate their message with a part of scripture, yet if you take what is said and hold it up to the character of God and the whole of scripture it fails the test.

I would love to give you a few examples to potentially help with understanding.

I was sent a prophesy for 2018 from several friends. It was very popular on YouTube and social media. At a certain point of the prophesy the person stated that this year God was going to punish greatly those who did not honor the flag of the United States and bankrupt American football. This was all going to happen this year because God was angry with those who did not honor the flag (there has been great controversy over kneeling football players).

The prophesy did not set right with my spirit nor match the character of God. God does desire honor; God does not force honor. If He did, why isn’t God striking dead or cursing those who dishonor His Son Jesus? God places a higher value on His Son than on our flag. God will execute final judgement on the world, yet this prophesy was political and I sensed the soul/flesh of the speaker coming through.

The highest concern of God is the Kingdom of Heaven. The highest concern of heaven is reconciliation of a lost world to the Father. Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents.

The kindness of God leads to repentance. Prophets of old and the new covenant spoke Kingdom of heaven not the rhetoric of the culture. They upheld the precepts of the Gospel. This part of the prophesy was not primarily about Jesus or His Kingdom. It was about the cultural clash of the day.

Second examine these scriptures:

”Your ancestors have also been taught ‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them.For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil.What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that?How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that?Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.”~ JesusMatthew 5:43-48 the Passion Translation.

There are also football players and owners who love God. So why would God bankrupt His own children to punish a few kneeling football players? How does that express the justice, kindness, mercy, and love of God? How does this part of the prophesy align with the character of God? God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if He could find righteous people there.

Genesis 18: 22-26.

The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Abraham had an understanding of the character of God. God is just. God is not unfair. God is a Savior. Jesus came to save. What God allows (does not prevent) is not always the express will of God. God wishes that none would perish yet people still die in their sins. They choose death and hell. God does not force it on anyone.

The prophets who speak of no redemption may not be speaking the heart of God. Even old testament prophets gave the people warnings so they could repent and be spared/redeemed. God reveals to heal and exposes to redeem. God is good.

Here is a personal example. I have had numerous people prophesy things over my life that absolutely did not match the character of God. I had one lady say to me that God was going to give me an ugly husband, that he wasn’t going to be very good, yet I should be happy with it. Basically God was going to give me less than. First I do not pray for a spouse, women project this onto me because it’s what they want/need. Second, I truly believe Ephesians 3:20 is true that God wants to EXCEED our expectations. God gives good gifts. I am not stating looks are the most important, they are not. Her prophesy was essentially God wanted to give me less than His best for me and I was to just accept whatever. This does not match the character of God. The Bible tells me the following:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change, ~James 1:17.

Intimacy is vital to prophesy the heart of God. It is not speaking our thoughts and opinions. The prophets of old took seriously speaking for God. They held the revelation of God in high esteem. They were not reckless with the wisdom, insight, and words of God.

Final Notes:

What can we learn about the character of God?

  • God is holy! There is no sin in God nor does He approve of any sin.
  • God is love (sacrificial, unselfish, and perfect love). God sacrificially loves even His enemies.
  • God is just. There is no injustice in God. Sin has a penalty of death and God poured out that penalty on Jesus so whosoever repented and placed their faith in Him could be free of paying that personal penalty.
  • God is good! God does not give sloppy, worthless, awful gifts. ”So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him, ”~Matthew 7:11.
  • God is redemptive! God longs to see the world reconciled to Him. He exposes to heal and restore.
  • God is truth! God tells the truth.
  • God is faithful! If God gives His word, God will keep His word. God keeps every single promise He makes.
  • God loves the sinner! While yet sinners Jesus died for us.
  • God is after relationship! God wants to be known by us and have a personal, intimate relationship with us.
  • God is compassionate and merciful! Compassion moves us beyond feeling bad for things happening to others to doing something to help them. Jesus was moved with compassion and healed the sick. He felt their pain and was moved to do something to help them.
  • God forgives. God loves to restore and is kind to us to lead us to repentance.
  • God loves everyone, including those who hate Him. God is not prejudice, racist, elitist, sexist, nor is He only interested in Americans.
  • God desires obedience; it is better than sacrifice. God still requires something from us. Those who are lawless (have no regard for the commands of God), will not inherit His Kingdom (Matthew 7:23).
  • God is the judge. God is perfect at His execution of justice. He will judge the world.
  • God is wise. The wisdom of God far surpasses human intellect.
  • God is the giver of good gifts.
  • God wants His very best for His children.
  • God is a provider and deliverer. He moves on behalf of His children.
  • God is sovereign and reigns supreme.
  • God nurtures His children. God is not only a strong tower and defender. God refers to Himself as a mother/nurturer/teacher.
  • God is a builder and gardener.
  • God is a mentor and servant leader. Jesus said the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom.
  • God is a helper. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. God is an ezer-source of great strength.
  • God reaches low to lift others higher. Jesus showed us the Father. Jesus reached low to elevate humanity.
  • God values honor. Honor is is not agreeing with everyone about everything. It is choosing to respect someone and treat them with dignity.
  • God cares about every single detail of our lives. God cares more about His children than earthly parents care about theirs.
  • God is strategic and His timing is perfect. God does not half do things nor work sloppily. God is perfect.
  • God loves us as we are yet longs to see us grow to be the very best version of ourselves. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more or less. He also cares about every detail of our growth.
  • God is close to the broken hearted and saves those crushed in spirit. The suffering of humanity matters to God.
  • God is Spirit. God embodies the characteristics of male and female. God is not like us, we were created in His image. Though painted as male, God is not like a human male. God created both genders in His image (see Genesis 1:27).
  • God cares deeply for orphans, widows, the poor, refugees, and the outcasts. Jesus was a refugee. God cares deeply for the people society may ignore or hate.

There are certainly more things that could be written about God. I hoped to give a foundation, not complete the entire picture. We have a great invitation to know God and pursue Him. We have the opportunity to know God for ourselves. When we know God for ourselves, we are less deceived by every proclaiming representative of God.

We are also better testers of what we think we are hearing and sensing from God if we know His character. If I know His word and His character, it helps to decifer what is of God, what is from my flesh or soul, and what is from the devil.

My encouragement is to filter revelation not only through the word of God, filter through the character of God.

God help us to know you, truly know you and your character. Increase our intimacy with you and help us to know you intimately. Remove any flaws in our thinking of who you are. Clear our hearts and minds of any deception or flawed perceptions. Thank you for the opportunity to know you! In Jesus powerful name. Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

P.S Book 2 is scheduled to be released 7/7/2018. I hope you pick it up on Amazon or my business website https://www.empowered-free.com.

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Study the Bible with God (Revelation Series Part I)

Welcome to the revelation series! In a culture of believe what someone wrote on the internet, I invite people to study the bible and know God for themselves.

We have internet prophets, pastors, leaders, and some in churches who misrepresent God’s heart and character. What they say is taken as truth instead of what God said. There are entire movements that are centered around lies. There is a current movement of there is no hell and everyone goes to heaven. This is false. I give you some words of Jesus.

Jesus Warns of Pretenders (Matthew 7:21-27 The Passion Translation)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the realm of heaven’s kingdom. It is only those who persist in doing the will of my heavenly Father. On the day of judgment many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, don’t you remember us? Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we cast out demons and do many miracles for the sake of your name?’ But I will have to say to them, ‘Go away from me, you lawless rebels! I’ve never been joined to you!’

“Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation. When the rains fell and the flood came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.

“But everyone who hears my teaching and does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand. When it rained and rained and the flood came, with wind and waves beating upon his house, it collapsed and was swept away.”

Jesus spoke that He is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

Those who live lawless have no place in God’s Kingdom. You may read even more in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. God makes it very clear throughout all of scripture that not everyone will inherit the Kingdom of God. Despite the status of a person, pastor, or leader they are not higher than Jesus or the Father.

We could save ourselves loads of deception by reading, studying the bible for ourselves.

Another movement that has been going on for ages is the diminishment of women in the church and her role. I will dissect this in another post, yet highly recommend reading Why Not Women?

You may check it out on Amazon here: Why Not Women?.

I oversee a women’s mentoring and discipleship group. The focus for three months of mentoring was revelation, the prophetic, discernment, and knowing the voice of God for yourself. It is imperative that we take the things given to us and weigh, test them against the word of God.

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world,~1 John 4:1.

Some of the greatest deceptions arise out of a twisting God’s word (what Satan did to Eve in the Garden, Jesus in the wilderness), straight up lies that contradict the Bible yet people take what someone said, what they saw or heard, or had in a dream or vision and held it in higher regard than the word of God. God does not work in chaos. If the bible says do not lie, steal, or cheat, then God means it and it does not change because a “pastor” or “prophet” said something different. It does not matter what they dreamed or heard. If it contradicts God’s word, it’s not God.

Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you,~Galatians 1:8.

It is also possible to take the Bible out of context or misunderstand the Bible and create a deceptive teaching. It is imperative to know the following:

  1. Who is the author speaking to in the passage?
  2. What was occurring in the culture?
  3. Is the author speaking to the global church or a particular audience?
  4. What did the original text say? Some words in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic have different meanings than the english words.
  5. Does our understanding fit the rest of Scripture? Are there other parts of the bible that seem to contradict the verse or our understanding of the verse?
  6. Looking at various translations is there a difference? I like the NKJV, Amplified, Passion Translation. I do not like the NIV because they removed vital parts of scripture.

I also read the commentaries and compare them and look up words in the original language. Here’s an example. Eve is called an Ezer Kenegdo, which means “an equal but opposite complement who provides strength.” Yet some translations call her a helpmate. Helpmate does not mean quite the same as one who is an equal but opposite compliment who provides strength.

Victor Hamilton puts it: “[Kenegdo] suggests that what God creates for Adam will correspond to him. Thus the new creation will be neither a superior nor an inferior, but an equal. The creation of this helper will form one-half of a polarity and will be to man as the South Pole is to the North Pole” (emphasis added).

She will be his strongest ally in pursing God’s purposes and his first roadblock when he veers off course.

Long before I started digging, scholars tallied up the twenty-one times ezer appears in the Old Testament: twice in Genesis for the woman (Genesis 2:18, 20), three times for nations to whom Israel appealed for military aid (Isaiah 30:5; Ezekiel 12:14; Daniel 11:34), and here’s the kicker — sixteen times for God as Israel’s helper (Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:7, 26, 29; Psalms 20:2; 33:20; 70:5; 89:19 [translated “strength”]; 115:9, 10, 11; 121:1 – 2; 124:8; 146:5; Hosea 13:9).

Source: Ezer Unleashed

I want us to become students of the word of God and question what does not make sense. I want us to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us His word. I want us to be ones who take what is given to us and test it and weigh it against the word of God and the character of God. May you and I know God for ourselves!

Here’s to the new series! Praying for you.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

New Series (Revelation of God)

We live in a culture where there are numerous opinions of who God is and what God has said or is saying. There are internet prophets and spokespeople all claiming to know God and speak for Him. How do you discern who is truly representing God? How do you know if what you are given is truly from the heart of God or just someone’s opinion?

The greatest revealer of God was and is perfectly one with the Father. He is Jesus.

This new series will focus on revelation, testing revelation, prophecy, the spirit of prophecy, discerning, and how we grow in intimacy with God.

God invites us to know Him.

Revelation is a byproduct of intimacy. It is a connection heart to heart and spirit to spirit with God.

Revelation should bring us closer to God. When God speaks there is a purpose and reason. Every word from God is seed. Those seeds are intended to grow something, to connect us to His heartbeat, to infuse us with purpose, destiny, and guidance. Isaiah 55:11 says, “No word from shall ever fail, it accomplishes all it is sent out to do.”

It is imperative that we know His voice for ourselves and not just run after every movement that says, “God said.”

There are people teaching there is no hell and everyone goes to heaven despite their lack of love for God. This teaching is antichrist; it opposes the very teachings of Jesus who said, “Many, many will cry out to be Lord, Lord and I will reply, ‘Depart from Me. I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness.'” See Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus had direct words on eternal damnation for the unrepentant (Luke 16:19-31, Matthew 10:28, Luke 10:15, Matthew 25:46, Matthew 13:24-30, Matthew 25:41, and there are more!).

It may seem fun to follow the path of those who claim an angel showed up and told them something contrary to scripture or “God” told them something contrary to scripture and the character of God. It is not wisdom to follow anyone who violates the very teachings of Jesus and claim to be Christian.

Jesus said the following (John 14:18-26):

 “I promise that I will never leave you helpless or abandon you as orphans—I will come back to you! Soon I will leave this world and they will see me no longer, but you will see me, because I will live again, and you will come alive too.

So when that day comes, you will know that I am living in the Father and that you are one with me, for I will be living in you. Those who truly love me are those who obey my commands. Whoever passionately loves me will be passionately loved by my Father. And I will passionately love you in return and will manifest my life within you.”

Then one of the disciples named Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “Lord, why is it you will only reveal your identity to us and not to everyone?”

Jesus replied, “Loving me empowers you to obey my word. And my Father will love you so deeply that we will come to you and make you our dwelling place. But those who don’t love me will not obey my words. The Father did not send me to speak my own revelation, but the words of my Father. I am telling you this while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Spirit of Holiness, the One like me who sets you free, he will teach you all things in my name. And he will inspire you to remember every word that I’ve told you.

Jesus spoke the very words of the Father. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). Jesus invites us all to know Him and the Father. Jesus invites us to know His word, His character, His nature, and His heart. The invitation of revelation is for relationship. God invites us into relationship with Him.

Over this series I am praying that you and I have profound encounters with the heart of God. I am praying we grow deeper in knowing Him intimately. I am praying we have an even greater revelation of who God is.

Thank you God for the ability to know you. Remove any cobwebs, dividing walls, deception, and distance between our hearts and yours. Take us deeper than we have been before in knowing you for who you are and not who others have made you out to be. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.

Be blessed today! You are prayed for and deeply loved!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Thriving in a Joseph Season

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Devotion: Thriving in a Joseph season. They may try to bury you, but God is going to elevate you. Overcoming sabotage and betrayal.

I love King David. I love the way God positioned David. David did not have to fight his way to the front of the line nor clamor for position. God saw David, God elevated David. David was hidden and quite insignificant in the eyes of others. People could not see what God saw when He looked at David. God saw a giant killer!

David was pursued by a jealous Saul. Yet the attempts of Saul to kill David were futile. God had a plan for David that could not be thwarted by the insecurity, jealousy, and hatred of Saul. David sought the Lord and was protected by God. He overcame not by power or might, but by God’s Spirit. He even said to Goliath, “I come in the name of the Lord.”

It is imperative when attacked to rely on God’s strength and wisdom, not our own. We overcome by His power and His strength, not our flesh.

Let’s talk about Joseph. Betrayal from family (spiritual or natural) is a far more challenging pill to swallow.

Joseph is sometimes tagged as arrogant because he shared his dream with his family. The bible does not call Joseph arrogant. He was enthusiastic. There is wisdom in understanding not everyone can hear your dream for jealousy can lead many to try to sabotage the dream. Some dreams are to hold close and pray for God to show you who’s going to come into agreement. Some may smile and try to sabotage the very thing they tell you they are prating for. We can learn from Jospeh.

God is so organized and such a great planner He already had the jealousy of Joseph’s brothers factored into the equation. He knew they would betray him. God knew Joseph would be thrown into a pit. God knew every step of the process to get Joseph from his father’s house to the Palace. God knew every detour, disappointment, attempt at sabotage, betrayal, and lie that would be spoken to Joseph that would lead to his promotion. People tried to bury Joseph, yet God placed seed in Jospeh.

When God speaks, it is seed. I love that Isaiah 55:11 says, “No word from God ever fails, it accomplishes all it is sent out to do.” When you blow seed on the land it will sink into the earth and grow. Unless that seed is eaten or plucked up, it is going to bring forth a harvest. God spoke seed to Joseph. It did not matter how many times people tried to bury him, the momentum of heaven was behind Jospeh to see the fulfillment of God’s destiny for him and a Nation.

So my encouragement to you is this, if God be for you, who can stand against you? Who can defeat the Lord, the Lord strong and mighty? Who can overthrow what God has ordained? God is more powerful than any force of a person or nature. God is the great I AM. He can open up the earth and swallow His enemies. He can part the Red Seas, raise the dead to life, move mountains. The winds and waves obey Him.

God prepares a table in the presence of your enemies. God is our feast!

You become my delicious feast

even when my enemies dare to fight.

You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit; you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows,~Psalm 23:5 (The Passion Translation).

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people,~Genesis 50:20.

God has a plan and it is good! No matter who comes against you, they are no match for the God who is for you. We can thrive in seasons of betrayal and sabotage by knowing God had it all worked into the equation, by knowing God is going to fulfill His word, and by knowing greater is He who is in us than He that is in the world. The champion of these stories is not David nor Joseph, it is God. God empowered both David and Joseph to overcome.

You and I can thrive instead of survive if we choose to follow Jesus and abide in Him during those challenges. God is good at turning ashes into beauty, mourning into joy, betrayal into elevation, and sabotage into promotion! Jesus is the perfect example of someone betrayed and sabotaged. If only the enemy knew his plan to destroy Jesus was going to elevate Him to the highest place in the Father’s Kingdom.

Papa, heal every soul wound on those sabatoged and hurt by betrayal. You have a plan to turn it for exceptional good. No weapon forged against your children will prosper. Heal the deep wounds and bring forth radical peace. Let your peace and comfort sink deep. Others may have tried to bury them, yet they are your seeds. Water the seed today. In Jesus powerful name, amen!

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

One Sided Is Not a True Relationship

Relationship Notes:

I often wonder why men are encouraged to marry up and women are told to settle, there are no great men out there, take what you can get, marry down (less than what God would choose), and don’t be picky. Is it because our culture values the needs and desires of males over females? Is it because the value placed on women is lower? Her identity is sometimes linked to having a man, no matter how he treats her.

I believe God longs for relationships where BOTH people are blessed, you are not forced to endure a hellish union, iron sharpens iron, and both people benefit.

God is the best matchmaker. I believe God likes spiritually compatible unions, those rooted in mutual love, and those who seek Him can end up with them.

I have sat through too many coffee meetings where men expressed their needs, wants, desires, dreams, etc…and asked zero questions about me. I seriously could have placed a wax figure of me in the chair or any woman and they probably would have continued talking about themselves. Bored out of my mind I found myself daydreaming about Jesus and heaven and what I could’ve been doing other than another meeting. Honesty here.

Ladies listen up! If he cares nothing about inquiring of you, your dreams, desires, needs, or wants this is a red flag. You may be a trophy acquisition. Genuine friendship and love wants to know you, the real you, and will seek to get to know you…not just flatter you and talk about themselves.

Why are one sided unions even tolerated? I am not stating seek perfection. Only God is perfect. I am saying if you settle or think you will mold that person into who you wish you had married then you are not using wisdom. You may marry a fantasy yet wake up with reality.

I know some great men and some great women (maybe I need a matchmaking business 😉). Kidding about the business. I have seen on both sides the pursuit of someone they either thought was a trophy that elevated their esteem (not healthy-people are not objects to be used) or settling for what they do not desire just to have someone or not be lonely (also unhealthy).

Jesus help us humans pursue and have healthy relationships. May they be mutually a blessing and rooted in genuine friendship and agape love. Love seeks not just it’s own interests but the interest of another.

Are you settling or seeking a trophy spouse? If so, I highly encourage seeking the Lord for His ideas about relationships. God loves to see His children loved well. The person sitting across from you at coffee or lunch or dinner is someone Jesus died for and loves. Do you want to be with them to love them, help them, bless them, or for personal gain (to end loneliness, to fix feeling left out, to cure a low self esteem need)? Seeking dating or marriage for selfish motives leads to heartache.

God created relationships so both people are blessed! May we seek to be a blessing. Part of that is seeking to know what the other person perceives as a blessing, not just what we want to offer.

Love,

Erin Lamb

(Note: I recently found a way to gain income off blogging. If you wish to be paid to write, check out this link. I easily linked this wordpress blog to BlueHost. No gimmicks, just passive income: https://www.bluehost.com/track/lambe222. )

Relational Lessons Learned Part II

Lessons learned on dealing with the opposite sex.

I am also including information from years of peer counseling, having female friends, talking to those divorced, talking to those in good relationships, working with mostly males, talking to men, and doing soul healing sessions with the abused. I hope this helps someone.

1. Seek God in prayer not only over female friendships, but those with men or men who want to pursue you for dating or marriage. I pray, “God show me who this person really is. What is their heart like and what is their motivation for connection?”

Some men are looking for something pretty and shiny to play with, you are not a toy.

Some are looking for a trophy to display their ability to snag something pretty/shiny, you are not an object.

Some are driven by hormones or lust, not genuine agape love, you are not a pleasure center-you are a person.

Some are lonely or trying to fill a void for their lost girlfriend, dead wife, divorce-you are not the back up plan.

Some actually want to attempt to love you the way Jesus loves you. This is what you want. You won’t know if there is no inquiry from God.

People are trained to put their best foot forward to get what they want, then the act stops once they acquire their target. Men around me have confirmed they put forth mega effort to win a woman over, some pretended to like what she liked, faked interest in her hopes/dreams and after I do or physical relationship they stopped the pretending. One guy said, “Yeah, I got her now. Those flowers and dates were to get her.”

2. If a man or person wants to be with you or connect with you, they will not let you do all the work or initiation. Level of interest is directly tied to level of effort. Zero effort (you do all the work), minimal interest. Just enough effort to keep you lingering, minimal interest. Those who desire connection, pursue connection.

I grow tired of, “I think he likes me but I never hear from him, or he fell off the grid.” Ummmm…he’s not that into you. If he were interested, ignoring you would not be an option.

3. If you are kind, some men view this as an invitation to date or interest or flirting.

God tells us to treat men like brothers in Christ, so this can be challenging if you are just trying to obey the Lord and he is thinking, “She wants me.” So, I try to limit kindness to men to what is:

1. Public (and not frequent).

2. Neutral, not too affirming.

3. What includes others so they see they are not singled out.

4. Group activities, not one on one.

If a guy is married, the boundaries are even higher. If I have a gift or encouragement it goes through their wife. If I do not know their wife, I seek to know her. I do not go on lunches or meet ups with married men. I do not have long conversations about my inner world nor let them talk to me about their marriage or inner world. They have a wife. I am not interested in anyone’s husband.

4. When they show you who they are, believe them. Watch what they DO, not just what they SAY.

Lots of abusive men show red flags before they act out. Women are sometimes conditioned wrongly that they can change a man or their love will change him. No! No! No! I repeat again NO!

It is not our job to try to change anyone! That’s control and manipulation. What he shows you, especially if you follow step one (ask God to show you who he is) is what you are dealing with, so act accordingly.

I had a guy pursuing me once who had a great resume on paper. We seemed perfect for each other. Then I put prayer on him. His mask fell off and God showed me how everything he did was an act. He was one person at church and someone else outside church. I talked to him and he confessed out of his own mouth that he just put on an act and religious show for women to hopefully get them to fall for him and compromise. Ummmmm no! No man is worth compromise. I thanked God for answering my prayer and sent him packing. I did not stay in that situation and try to make him my project. Nope! Bye Feliciano…praying for you from a distance.

5. Men are people, not projects. They were created to loved, respected, and not a Jesus substitute.

The only perfect man is Jesus…pause for my heart to swoon. To expect a human man to be Jesus is ludicrous. Christian men are called to abide in Jesus and imitate Jesus, not be Jesus. The only Savior and Lord is Jesus. Wrong teaching of husband as the head (some is just plain idolatry masked in religious terms) has made men to be like demi gods to women. This leads to gross disappointment and does not please God. God is God, you shall have no others gods beside Him.

It is also not a woman’s job to try to make a man Jesus. Let Jesus be Jesus, let God mold man into His image. God is better at being God than we are.

6. Pay attention to his interactions with you. Does he inquire of you or just talk about himself or what you can do for him? Selfish people make horrible partners. HORRIBLE!

If he only talks about himself, how you can bless or serve him, and how pretty you are…RED flag. You may be the pretty/shiny toy he is looking to play with or a trophy. Love involves inquiry of the other person and listening. Love involves caring about the other person, not just yourself. Love involves giving, not consuming.

The root of all sin is selfishness. I becomes greater than God. If a man is grossly selfish, he will hurt you because his greatest concern is himself.

7. Let God hold your heart until is is wise to give it away.

Maybe we all have met the girl or woman who goes on one date and starts planning her wedding. Pause speedy Gonzalez! Who is this person? Talk to God. Put the brakes on creating a fantasy relationship with someone because you must live with the REALITY of them. Not every guy needs access to your heart or all your time. What is easy is not usually appreciated.

8. If you see abuse of others, you are not the special one he won’t abuse. How did he treat other women? How does he treat his mother? Servers? Those who can do nothing for him.

Pay attention! Walk in love and wisdom. If you see him abusing animals, cursing people out, having fits of rage, punching walls, picking fights, disrespecting his mother or other women-you may be next.

Men, people in general, with low self esteem can be very abusive. They can not love you as they love themselves if they hate themselves. If he struggles with healthy love of self, you won’t be loved either.

9. Don’t isolate your friends and family from your life.

Sometimes those connected to you see what you don’t see. Isolation is a key tool of abusers. Get the person away from anyone who may see the mistreatment and try to get the abuse victim help. Stay connected to people who truly know you and love you; pray and listen.

10. You are NOT responsible for his sin or lust.

I believe in modesty, just for me. I do not have my chest out, wear skimpy clothes, etc…I also understand if someone has a lust problem, you can be covered from head to toe and they find something to lust over. Women are not responsible for the actions of men. Our culture blames women and it’s wrong.

If he cheats on you, it was his choice.

If he hits you, it was his choice.

If he rapes someone, it was his choice.

If he abandons his responsibilities, it was his choice.

Since the Garden of Eden women have been blamed for the choices of men. Well no. She made me sin does not fly with Jesus. So ladies, yes use wisdom, act godly…yet know you are not to blame for the choices of other people.

11. Beware of sneak a date or those who use “God told me you’re my spouse.”

God is not manipulative, nor the author of confusion. God tells the truth. Often the sneak a date is, “I will pretend I need something, want something, or just want to be friends when the motives are otherwise.” This can be deception. Honesty says, “I like you. I want to get to know you better. Would you be interested in that?” Adults communicate their intentions.

If God did say, “This would be a great spouse for you.” God is smart enough to tell the other person and it will benefit both people-not just one. God also lets us choose.

I have had several guys try the sneak a date or God told me. No. I am not going that road. I pray and if God says no, I say no. Why? God knows the end from the beginning. If God says no there is reason.

12. “Prophecy” is not a good standard for picking a spouse, look at how they treat you.

Over the years met several women given words about their spouse and that guy was a complete jerk to them. God is not cruel nor a poor matchmaker. If it is truly a word from God, His choice, that person won’t treat you like garbage. God is GOOD. There is a misunderstanding that God wants us in bad relationships. He does not!

I have been given at least a dozen words about “This is your husband,” mainly from women. All from women who want me to be married because it is a social club in Christianity. None of those men were right for me. Not one! Run Forrest RUN!!!

If you are having dreams or impressions about one particular guy, you may have a soul tie with them. Break the soul tie and heart entanglement.

If he is treating you poorly and you keep having words he is the one, examine the voice speaking to you. God is not the author of confusion or mistreatment. Demonic spirits can try to set up bad unions. Test every voice and see if it’s of God.

13. Understand you marry into a family, not just that person.

If they have kids, a broken family, they become your family. You are not just marrying a person, you get their family too.

14. If you are interested in marriage, talk about money (is their credit jacked up), gender roles (some in Christian culture have some special ideas about gender roles), expectations, destiny, calling, raising kids, etc…

Focusing on chemistry is silly considering you are partnering with someone to build a life. He’s so hot or she’s so hot doesn’t fly when they don’t pay the bills on time, are a slob, have bad credit…

15. Men have feelings too and some deep fears of rejection.

It is sometimes masked with anger, yet men have all the feelings women have and some more deeply. Men are sometimes conditioned not to feel. Our actions as women wound and hurt men. Treat them how you want to be treated. If he steps out to pursue and you are not interested, treat him with respect, honor, and dignity.

16. There are some amazing men out there.

I have met them, have some as friends, and even dated a few. Yes there are some bad apples. There are some great ones too.

17. Pray for men.

Our culture bombards men with images that are ungodly that tell them manhood is about control, power, violence, and sexual immorality. Truly manhood was and is best represented in Jesus; love, humility, purity, service, kindness, and compassion.

18. Be a good friend to men and set boundaries.

It is possible to have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex. Understand though the time and sharing can create a bond in the soul. Use wisdom.

19. If you desire marriage, examine is this person really good friend to me. Friendship lasts longer than butterflies.

20. If he does not respect your boundaries, he does not respect you.

If you say no, don’t do that, or I don’t like that…and he keeps doing it or pressing the envelope, he does not respect or love you. Love respects a no. It does not pressure for more. Satan is pushy. God is respectful.

21. Men respond to actions.

I have noticed this at work. Nagging is futile. Saying, “If this is not done by this time or this follows,” and following through with actions is far more effective.

22. Men were created to serve, not be served.

Found many men like to help, they are wired to help and serve. All followers of Jesus are to serve. When women do everything for a man, it is more crippling than empowering. Let him help. Let him serve. Let him work it out without trying to be Jehovah jr.. Let him problem solve and provide input.

I have heard women say, “The more I do for him, the worse he treats me,” well you took his opportunity away to be a blessing. Our culture has reversed the roles so women do everything and men are served. This does not cultivate love. The one who invests the most, gives the most is the one who begins to love deeply. If women invest too much, they end up entangled. Both are to serve. So let him serve.

Hope this helps someone, somewhere.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Relational Lessons Learned Part I

Morning Devotion: Some things are a blessing, others are a lesson. God desires we have mutually loving, respectful, and life giving connections.

Over the years in ministry, life, and relationships I gathered some lessons learned. I shared some of these these with a buddy yesterday. I hope they bless someone else.

In Christian culture it is taught quite a bit to love others, put others first, love God. Not as much time is spent talking about healthy boundaries, how to guard your heart, what obstacles you will face as a leader or in relationships, what to do with abusive people (and no just pretending they are not violating love does not work-they need boundaries and consequences), or that God wants you loved well too.

Relational Lessons Learned:

1. Watch people for a year and put prayer on them (God show me their heart towards me-when God does, pay attention).

2. When people show you who they are, believe them.

3. Limit your inner circle to those you have prayed over and seen them demonstrate God love.

4. Understand at any time your inner circle can change.

5. Place all faith in God not people.

6. Place all confidence in God not people.

7. When someone shows you they do not care about you, believe them, do not look at words-look at actions.

8. Trust your instincts and listen to Holy Spirit.

9. Some relationships are for just a season and you need to understand when they are over they were just temporary.

10. Don’t try to make an associate into a friend; don’t assume a ministry assignment is a real friendship.

11. Don’t be quick to call everyone friend, examine them first.

12. Don’t let people just have free reign of your schedule. I did this with A few people. When they got busy it was like, “See ya!” This was my fault. I should have guarded my time better and NOT given them so much access to my life, thoughts, etc…they should have been need to know only people.

13. Understand it’s not always wisdom to lead your friends in ministry, some are better suited under someone they do not view as a peer. The greatest dishonor I have experienced in ministry has come from those who claimed to be my friend. Strangers often treat you better.

14. Don’t expect your friends to stick up for you, you stick up for yourself (set boundaries), and ask God for help.

15. Guard your heart, and don’t let everyone inside it. If someone is wreckless, you can love them without giving them full access to you. Use wisdom.

16. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

17. Understand that not everyone wants you to win, and if you become successful, some may turn on you.

18. Understand culture says people of color should be at the bottom, so if you rise, there are haters.

19. Keep God as your best friend.

20. Pursue God for all needs and wants and relationships.

21. Understand only those who have received God’s love for themselves can love you.

22. When or if people attack you, understand their greatest inner turmoil is within and attacking you is a means to handle low self worth, insecurity, and a flawed attempt to feel more powerful.

23. Understand just because a person is gifted, anointed, and can flow with Holy Spirit sometimes does not mean they possess the character of Jesus. Character is costly and involves intimacy with God.

24. Understand everyone is in process, even you. God is at work in those yielded to Him. Someone can buck God and walk in the flesh. In the flesh there is no holiness. Extend grace and walk in wisdom.

25. Loving difficult people does NOT mean you need to be best friends with them or give them VIP access. Use wisdom.

26. People make time for what they value. If they value you, they will make time-even if it’s a 15 second text message. Do not buy into the lie of busy. For some you may be the back up plan or on call prayer buddy. When they have a crisis they come find you. They value what you do, not you personally. Don’t mistake being needed for being loved. Love gives.

27. Value yourself the way God does and you will attract more people who value you too.

28. Ask God for His best yes in friendships, relationships.

29. Trust is developed over time. Don’t let people try to force you into trusting them when they have not demonstrated they are trustworthy.

30. Ask God for wisdom and discernment. Wisdom is a life preserver. Discernment lets you know what is right and almost right.

Once again I hope this helps someone. Some things I wish someone had told me instead of having to walk it out and learn the hard way.

Don’t Settle

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The best relationships evolve when two people know their own worth.

God places a high value on each human being. We are called to live at peace with all people, if possible. This does not mean that we are suitable for every person. Some relationships are not the best matchup for us. We can try to force them, waste years praying for change, or use wisdom and cease settling.

I would like to break this down…

I am a direct communicator and do not enjoy games, flakiness, hot then cold, nonsense. I mean what I say. I am not unstable, flakey, nor do I play games. I am not a good fit for unstable people. I am not a great fit for grossly insecure people. I actually like who I am in Christ and have zero desire to diminish who I am to appeal to those with low self esteem. God invited me to love myself, then love my neighbor as I love myself.

I have had numerous people tell me to settle in romantic relationships and friendships. I do not wish to because of what I know of God.

Scripture tells me the following:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen,~Ephesians 3:20-21.

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”~Luke 11:11-13.

The only perfect person and perfect relationship is with Jesus. There are synergy relationships and divine alignments that bring out the best in us, not the worst. There are relationships that complement us and add value. There are relationships that are Godsends. Then there are those that seem to be aligned with hell.

If we seek God before we date, before we become best friends, before taking the job, before the business or ministry alignment-it can save us loads of heartache. Will everything be perfect, no. Can we bypass some hell on earth by asking God to align us with Ephesians 3:20 relationships, yes.

The people I know who are divorced or in abusive or not so great relationships either settled, rushed in because of peer pressure-desire for sex-age-desperation, or did not seriously seek God about their choices. Hormones are not to be trusted. God can be trusted. Lonliness is a very poor decision making tool. It is far better to be alone with God than partnered with the wrong people.

God withholds nothing good from us according to Psalm 84.

For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly,~Psalm 84:11.

God is good. God withholds nothing good. If we are not seeking the manifestation of good in relationships we may either not be ready, choosing poorly, or not understanding the timing of God.

God exists outside of time and is patient. We as humans can be impatient. Impatience can lead to poor choices.

Settling for less than God’s best does not leave us fulfilled. It leaves us hungry and depleted. Dating out of lonliness or desperation can lead to devastation. Choosing someone just for physical intimacy or to meet a need is selfish. Nothing good springs from selfishness. Marrying someone just to check a box and fit into Christian culture is not prudent. Settling for crumbs does not leave us full. It leaves up empty.

God intended to meet our primary needs for love, security, identity, and intimacy. If God is first and we know who we are in Him, we will not settle for less than His most excellent best. It is not arrogance, it is alignment with what is God sent.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,~James 1:17.

There are still some great men and women in the world! If a person seeks God, they can be set up by God for divine friendships, divine marriages. Why settle for what we can get on our own when God offers custom relationships?

The more we love ourselves and stand confident in who God created us to be, the more we attract people with the same confidence and value for us. Those who do not love themselves cannot love others. We attract what we believe and manifest. Manifest low self esteem, attract those with low self esteem. One of the greatest gifts is actually choosing to believe what God has said about us.

Biblical examples of divine alignments…

Johnathan and David had a divine relationship. Ruth and Naomi had a divine relationship. Ruth and Boaz had a divine marriage. Those who seek God are blessed.

Papa God I bind all settling and seeking relationships with the wrong people. Help us also to set boundaries ad see ourselves as you do. Protect each person on this blog from choosing unwisely. Heal soul wounds from bad choices and bad relationships. Help each one not to settle for less than your most excellent best! Set up divine appointments for your best friendships, best relationships. Highlight destiny people and destiny relationships. Block the counterfeits. In Jesus powerful name, Jesus.

Leadership, Godly Submission, and Jesus

Morning Devotion: Leader means servant in God’s eyes, not dictator or boss. Dissecting the leadership model of Jesus and wrong teachings on submission. Submit=Be willing to yield to what honors God (possess humility), not obey or blindly obey people.

I am sometimes confused when people state they are the leader when their function is simply being served and telling others what to do. They are exalted and they have a hierarchy system so their needs, desires, wishes are served or met. Or they define great leadership by the number of people following them; Hitler had lots of followers under his demonic leadership it did not mean God thought he was a great leader.

I have had men tell me and women too that the husband is the leader in the family yet the wife does 80-90% of the serving, helping, loving, getting low in humility to empower her family. It is not the model Jesus laid out nor lived of leadership.

The one laying their life down, sacrificially loving, and serving is imitating Jesus and leading.

The disciples at one point became self important and argued over who would be the greatest among them. The desire to be great in the eyes of man is of the carnal nature (flesh).

Pride does not flow from God, it flows from Satan. Pride, self importance, was the principle sin of Lucifer. He wanted to be worshipped and exalted above God. Lucifer wanted to be served, not serve.

This was the response of Jesus to the arguing disciples:

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, called them to his side and said, “Kings and those with great authority in this world rule oppressively over their subjects, like tyrants. But this is not your calling. You will lead by a completely different model. The greatest one among you will live as the one who is called to serve others, because the greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one with the heart of a servant. For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone, and to give his life in exchange for the salvation of many,”~Matthew 20:25-28.

Jesus came with an upside down model of leadership. He came and served. He came and washed feet. He came and empowered others. He came and died to free others. He came and got low so we could be seated in heavenly places with Him, joint heirs and copartners. The value Jesus placed and places on humanity is high.

Jesus was and is perfect-He is the model for all things Christian. He selected disciples who were not yet enlightened. He walked with them, talked with them, served them, and empowered them to do what they saw Him doing. Great leadership is empowering others to reach their highest potential. Jesus did not show up and say, “Now look here peasants, God created you for Me so let’s get this straight, when I say jump, you say how high. These are my demands, meet them daily or else.”

Jesus had no pride, ego, or what they call male ego. Knowing He was worthy of worship, He got low and served others.

Phillipians tells us the following about following the example of Jesus:

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.

The Example of Jesus Christ

He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!~Phillipians 2:3-8.

Love is destroyed by pride. Love and pride cannot occupy the same spaces. One will dominate and overpower the other. God commissions and empowers us to love. So when someone says, “I am called to lead you,” if they are following Jesus this means, “I am called to serve you, not seek to be served by you.”

I have met numerous “leaders” and men in my day who told me they were called to lead me. Yet what that meant was they felt empowered to tell me what to do and wanted to be served. This is NOT godly leadership at all, it’s worldly leadership.

I have had single men tell me all the ways I could benefit their lives because to them a wife is servant to meet their needs. They could have cared less about loving me, treating me the way Jesus would. My dreams, calling from God, desires were completely insignificant. They saw someone unmarried and pretty (their words not mine) they wanted to purchase (flash their money, paycheck at) to serve them.

Women are not objects or slaves to be purchased to serve the whims of men then be replaced when she fails to meet a need, cheated on when she cannot meet his pleasures, or used for her body. God did NOT create a system of selfishness nor objectification. God created a family that is supposed to be fueled by love. God says, “Husbands forsake all others and cleave to your one wife. Love her the way Jesus loves the church. He was willing to die for the church. Jesus got low and served. Jesus empowers and leads by love and example. Jesus walks in purity not lust. Jesus cares about every single detail…follow My Son Jesus. Be an imitator of Him.”

The verse that says wives be subject to your husbands as unto the Lord in the original text means be wholly devoted in love-this means she is monogymous and not enganged with other lovers, she has eyes for her husband, single vision. It does NOT mean he becomes her god and she must obey him.

Husband is not the same as God. If it were so, then God is the author of confusion because He plainly says, “You shall have no other god besides me,” and “You are a slave to whomever you obey.” If the texts about husbands and wives meant the husband has the final authority, if he told his wife to betray God she would have to obey her spouse over God. No! She will be held accountable to God for obeying God not man. God is the final authority.

Example:

In inner healing class we had a lady who’s husband was molesting his granddaughter. The wife was submitting to his perverted leadership and holding a pillow over the child’s head during the violation. Was she honoring her husband by submitting to his perversion? Was she a good wife? No! She was a bad wife. She will spend a long time in jail like him for harming this child. The lady who was molested over and over was a testimony of healing in the class, her grandparents were not in the class.

Part of intimate relationship is revealing the righteousness of God to those connected to us. Her role as his wife and sister in Christ was to point her husband to righteousness. We do not yield to what is ungodly. No no no no! Ephesians 5:21 tells all followers of Jesus to be willing to yield (submit, possess humility) in reverence for the Lord. Being willing to yield is NOT the same word as obey.

Culture focuses on the wife submitting while ignoring the verse before it that says men and women, all believers submit to each other and choose humility. Culture also ignores the verses that tell husbands to go even further than that to love their wives the way Jesus loves the church (die to selfishness, pride, ego, immorality). Point highlighted again, we are NOT to yield to what is ungodly and violates our relationship with God. Nor are we puppets to be led on strings by whims of others.

Those led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. If your boss at work, pastor, mentor, parent, spouse or anyone claiming authority over you tells you to do something wicked, say no. That is not rebellion, it is honoring God. Godly leaders point to what honors the Lord and people. God will not lead anyone into sin, nor is God a slave driver who does not care about the needs, desires, or dreams of those He leads.

May we lead like Jesus which is counter cultural to this world. The greatest in the Kingdom of God has a heart of a servant, it is one who loves and looks out for the best interests of others.

Papa God help us to see leadership through the lenses of Jesus. You gave us a perfect model in your Son. Jesus was not a bully, dictator, abuser, nor did He use His status to Lord over people. He got low and served. He took the lowest place and you exalted Him to the highest place. Jesus is perfect theology. Jesus is the perfect spouse model. Jesus is the perfect leader; He seeks to look out for the best interests of those connected to Him. Jesus perfectly loves. Jesus does not use people He partners with them. Jesus, beautiful Jesus. May we abide in Jesus and lead like Jesus. In Your powerful name, amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Surving the Holidays Single

 

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Tis the season to be jolly…falalala lalalala. Right?! Yet this is also the season where your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter feed, Social Media feed is loaded with family photos, engagement announcements, and babies/kids galore.

It is the season for many men to pop the question and ladies display their bling all over social media. The family is a great thing, so is the start of new families. It is not the only thing worth celebrating during the holidays.

What is the true reason for the season?

Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of Jesus. He was not born on December 25th, scripture affirms that a birth during winter is the least likely season of His birth. The story of Jesus does not support a winter birth, yet the Catholic church chose it for many reasons. One reason was to take the focus away from pagan holidays.

If Jesus truly is the reason for the season, then unmarried people can celebrate Him without pressure, sadness, or comparison.

Make the focus Jesus, keep the focus-Jesus. If it truly is His birthday celebration, then I believe He should be the focal point-not what we have or do not have. Jesus never encourages comparison or wanting what others have. We are encouraged by Him to give thanks in every circumstance.

Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,~1 Thessalonians 5:18.

The New Year is a time to reflect on all that went well the previous year and look forward to a brand new year. I celebrate the Jewish New Year, so I am already celebrating 5778. Yet I also plan to celebrate all God has done on December 31rst and January 1rst.

You may learn more about the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah here Judaism 101: Rosh Hashanah.

Make God your source…

God is the source of joy, not people, not circumstances, and not family. I believe these things can add another level of joy. If they are the source of joy, it can bring gross disappointment. If having a mate or family is our primary source of joy, then if they are lost or do not meet our expectations it can bring heart pain.

I place all my expectations on God. God never fails. I have met numerous people in my life who are waiting on God to bring them a mate to be happy or do anything with their lives. They are stuck in what could be instead of living in the now. God is in the now.

I choose JOY

Comparison is the thief of joy. Jesus is pure joy. It is His presence that gives life meaning. In Him all things were made and have their meaning (Colossians 1:16).  Your life has meaning as an unmarried person. You have a purpose sans a spouse or children and that purpose is rooted in Jesus.

Contentment is something we can learn as unmarried people and add value to others. People who are constantly looking for the next big fix or need others to feel good drain relationships. They suck the life out of people. Those who are content add value.

Paul tells us this in Philippians 4:11-13.

Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances.  I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.  I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

Paul’s source was God. He too was an unmarried person who was devoted to following Jesus. The more I learn about Paul, the more I like him. He had a radical encounter with Jesus and he became revolutionary. He was not sitting around waiting for another encounter. He lived out of the overflow of Holy Spirit. We too can live out of the overflow of God’s presence. Scripture tells us in God’s presence is the fullness of JOY (Psalm 16:11).

But everyone else is so happy, am I missing out as an unmarried person…

What you will not see on your social media feed are the fights that happened pre-holiday feasts, the families struggling to hold it together, the parents disappointed by their kids choices, the pretend togetherness to make the world believe all is well, the people sitting in hospital rooms because their family member is sick this season, the grieving widows or families who lost everything in the recent hurricanes. You will see photo after photo of happy families and may think, “Where is my happily ever after?”  Please note every season of life has both blessing and challenge.

Steve Furtick said something that rings quite true. He said, “The reason we struggle with comparison is that we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” Social media is the highlight reel. For the most part, you will not get the bad and ugly in the feed.

It is human nature to want to be seen in the best light. We have apps to help us look better, more airbrushed, and more together. Reality is every person has struggled, every family faces challenges, every married couple and parent has had some disappointments.

I know of no better happily ever after than Jesus.

  • Jesus is eternal
  • The love of Jesus does not fail or falter-it is constant in every season
  • The joy of Jesus is constant
  • Jesus can be everywhere at once
  • Jesus completes the human soul and makes it whole
  • Jesus is perfect peace
  • Jesus is the friend that sticks closer than a brother
  • The covenant with Jesus is not broken in death like the marriage covenant
  • Jesus fills to overflowing
  • Jesus is perfection
  • Jesus lives beyond time
  • God+Nothing=Everything

My encouragement to you this holiday season is to start logging what you are thankful for and give thanks. I encourage spending some time focused on Jesus. Who is Jesus to you? How can you deepen the relationship with Him this season?

I promise God is better than we can imagine.

Papa God I thank you for everyone who is a part of this series. I pray for those feeling displaced this season because they are unmarried or without a natural family. I pray they are connected to a friend family and spiritual family that loves them deeply. I pray for hearts that are content with you. I ask for hopes that are wrapped up in your Son Jesus and filled to overflowing with exceeding JOY! Bless them big time this season. Put them in the hearts of others to be invited in and included. Wash over them with love that exceeds anything they could ever experience in a human relationship. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

Love in Him,

Erin Lamb