Surving the Holidays Single

 

comparison quote

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

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Hello from Erin Lamb (Author Update) 


Aloha from my house to yours! 🌸🌺

I want to share some fun things with you and thank you for subscribing to this web page! 

I so enjoy your comments and appreciate you. Thank you. 

My earnest prayers are the things shared on this page draw your heart closer to God’s heart. How He loves us so (John 3:16). 

Here are some updates…

Books in Queue: 

Books are coming! I have two that are close to being done (over half way done) and I can’t wait to share them with you. Both deal with identity, Godly confidence, freedom, and authority in Christ. One is a devotional book/decrees and the other a regular book. 

You can get your copy of book 1 (I Thought I Knew What Love Was) here:  I Thought I Knew What Love Was.

Operation God is Love:

If you are unfamiliar with Operation God is Love (OGL), it is a street ministry and service intiative for the poor, unseen, unloved, homeless, and abused. 

OGL involves outreaches to the homeless community, street evangelism, work at the free clinic (praying for the sick/poor/immigrants), and deep inner healing for the abused/those suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/dissociation from abuse). 

I started OGL 4 years ago in response to darkness in parts of my city. It has grown beyond street ministry and prayer walking to so much more. 

You do not need much money to make a difference in the world. You need to be willing to love! 

Love requires time, yet I can not think of a better way to spend time. 

You can find out more at Operation God is Love

Or join me on Instagram: @OperationGodisLove 

Women on the Frontlines: 

I will be in Columbus, Ohio and sharing at Women on the Frontlines Regional Conference August 3-5th, 2017. I would love to see you there. The focus is we are empowered to do the works of Jesus. He said we would do even greater things (John 14:12)! Join us for 2 full days and 3 nights of fun. Join me, Joan Hunter, Julie Meyer, Ethan Flack & Band (Bethel Church), and Brandi Belt. 

Click here to register: Register for Women on the Frontlines Columbus

Well, sweet ones, you are loved! May the rest of this weekend overflow with the goodness of God.  

Love in Christ, 
Erin Lamb

Community (Single & Following Jesus Series Part I)


As promised, embarking on this journey of loving life as an unmarried person. 

I know this is foreign to some, yet you can be blissfully happy with just God and friends. People ask me, “When are you going to settle down? Don’t you want kids? We do not want you to miss out!” 

I think to myself I do not base contentment or happiness off marriage or having kids. My joy comes from God. Life with God is the most incredible adventure.  If I never marry, you will find me in roaring laughter with God, probably rocking orphans in my arms. 

Redefine Success: 

Our culture sees marriage as attaining status or success. God sees success as being faithful and fruitful where He plants you. 

I worked my way through two engineering degrees, founded/run a community service (outreach to the poor) with God, serve the poor, mentor/disciple women, and oversee 7 ministries. My time with God, friends, family is awesome. I have been all over the world and have freedom with God to do anything! I am content. I am quite content. God is amazing. 

Yeah right? Some say. Yet I have met numerous couples miserable and married. Despite the love stories on tv, Hallmark cards, or Disney movies, not every story leads to happliy ever after. 

Relationships require effort. When you combine two imperfect people there can be some conflict. There is also a divided focus: family and ministry. Family is to be the primary ministry. The ability to just pick and go is not as easy. Fasting means talking to your spouse. 

An unmarried person has one focus-please the Lord. 

Paul’s word to the unmarried: 1 Corinthians 7:25-38

But Marriage was God’s Idea!!:

Covenant and community was (is) God’s idea. God has great ideas. The first relationship God showed us was the Godhead. In the beginning they were together. Then we see Adam and God, God and Eve…then Adam and Eve. God had community before mankind was created. God is our community. God also adopts us into His family so we have billions of siblings in Christ. God deposits His Spirit so we have 24/7 companionship. We have full access to God 24/7. 

We are never truly alone. 

I desire for unmarried believers to enjoy life, instead of waiting to enjoy life if/when a mate shows up. I am not against marriage. I am pro enjoying God and living life to the fullest. 

We need community. 

Community does not have to be a spouse and children, though it can be. 

I have several unmarried friends without families. For holidays, we celebrate together. Yes, I spend time with my natural born family too. I make time for those who have nowhere to go on holidays. I believe God intended for the church (believers) to invite others into their families. My parents taught us believers are family.Family includes others. 

We are kind champions, “You can sit with us.” 


Finding a tribe (community) that treats you and loves you like Jesus is worth the investment. I repeat over and over, you are not alone. There are supposedly 2.2 billion Christians on this planet…Over half are unmarried. There is a community out there for you. You can also cultivate your own; hobby group, bible study, fitness pals. 

God sets the lonely in families, His very own family (from Psalm 68:6). 

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure,~Ephesians 1:5. 

Papa thank You for giving us Jesus and Holy Spirit. Thank You we are never alone. Thank You that You include us in Your family. We were chosen, adopted, loved! We are so deeply loved by You. I pray this series helps so many who feel like outcasts or lonely or misunderstood to feel Your great love for them. I ask for healthy, loving community to be a part of their lives. For those desiring marriage, I ask for contentment in You until it comes. I ask for hearts and lives prepared for all you have to offer! In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

You are so deeply loved! 

Erin Lamb 

Unashamed (Sacred Sex Series Part II) 

  
This photo from wordswag is of two ballerinas, male and female dancing. They are wearing white leotards/tights. Just clarifying so no one freaks out. 🙂 

Here is the original (beautiful right?): 

  In the continuation of this series I have been thinking about Genesis 2:25. It reads: 

Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

We know the word naked means without clothing. They were vulnerable. There was nothing they felt they needed to hide or airbrush away. 

Adam and Eve had no insecurities. They did not have body issues or body shame. They did not have lust issues. They did not pick each other apart, “Where are your six pack abs? Maybe a few runs around the Garden might help you out!” 

They were free to be who God created them to be; loved, seen, secure, and known in the boundary of covenant. 

They knew no shame. Carrying shame is not our friend. Repeat with me, “Carrying shame is not my friend.” Awesome, we are on the same page. Carrying shame leads to pain.

What on earth is shame some may ask? Let’s talk about shame. 

Shame:

a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

synonyms:

humiliation, mortification, chagrin, ignominy, embarrassment, indignity, discomfort, guilt, remorse, contrition, compunction. 

Lets’s look at Genesis 3:6-13, when shame entered the equation. 

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The aftermath of the first sin was as follows: 

  • Feel uncovered/vulnerable
  • Cover up yourself/your vulnerability 
  • Fear 
  • Hide from God 
  • Blame 

After the fall, Adam and Eve realized they had no clothes-they realized their vulnerability and sin. They decided they would fix the problem by covering up their vulnerability and then hide from God. They, for the first time, knew sin. 

Adam blamed Eve. Eve goes on to blame the serpent and well it just spirals downward. Oh, the dreaded curses of the Fall. 

Before you check out because Adam and Eve’s sins brought pain, death, turmoil, shame, and heartache into humanity know Jesus was already a part of God’s plan to redeem humanity. Praise pause. 

God knew before creating humanity  we would mess up. I will maybe touch on that in another post. He also knew Adam was hiding. Interesting! 

Sin leads to hiding. Sin, untouched by the forgiveness of God, leads to shame-unless our sense of right and wrong is perverted/seared/numbed. 

Women and shame: 

Sometimes the shame comes not from the sins we have committed, but from the sins committed against us. I have prayed for and peer counseled women who have been sexually abused, sexually harassed, or verbally abused. They grew to hate their bodies, their sexuality, or sex altogether. Some were used by men for sex. Some gave themselves away. Some struggled with their desires, thought life. Why? Sin leads to shame. 

Women especially are judged by their physical appearance and sex appeal. I have heard men state, “Women are only good for one thing.” There are too many stats on rape, sexual abuse, pornography, the sexist images of women, and the exploitation of women to talk about it here. 

Just know God created women to be loved. He says, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” God likes who He created and woman was not just created simply to meet a physicial need for man. God gave woman a brain, a heart, and she was created in the image of God to be loved by God and by man. Love is not about taking or self gratification. Love is about giving. Agape love is not selfish. 

Men and shame:

Sexual and physical abuse hurts men too. I have not counseled men, so I have less experience in this area. I do know men are judged by how “manly” they can be. I hear them talk about this “man card.” So there is intense pressure to be validated by other men and I have seen men shame or humiliate other men who where not “masculine” enough. If you add in sexual abuse, especially by a another man that can lead to deep rooted shame. There can also be fear of not being man enough. 

I have heard men say they felt shame for their high desires for physical intimacy. Some run like the wind from any pretty woman. Others have secret lives of images they view on a screen or an inner world that lacks purity (some women do too).

Some struggle with same sex attraction (both genders) and feel deep fear and shame. 

Some do not know the difference between lust and God given attraction to the opposite sex. 

God’s plan (love, intimacy, covenant): 

Sex was God’s idea. His intention was physical intimacy inside the boundaries of commited love between a man and woman. Why? So they could be vulnerable, protected, loved, known, cared for, and unashamed. 

God is all about love and connection. He is relational. He also established the first family through procreation. 

When someone loves  unconditionally, truly loves, you can let your defenses down and be vulnerable. You are free to be who you are. Just as in the Garden, Adam and Eve were vulnerable and without shame (fear, hiding, humiliation, embarrassment). 

Every human being was created for intimacy (to be known and loved). Our world focuses so much on the physical aspect of intimacy. Yet God sees beyond the physical. 

We were created to be loved, respected, known, secure, and cared for. To God intimacy is about connection and not just pleasure. God created physical intimacy to connect two souls, bodies, spirits. It was designed for more than procreation and pleasure. 

He said, “I will give man and woman a way to be loved and known on a deep level. Two become one.” This does not mean you morph into one person. It means the connection joins two people. 

Those in Christ are joined with Him. We become one with the Lord. This does not mean God becomes us or we become God. It does not mean we lose our identity either. It means we are connected through an eternal covenant of love through faith; heart to heart, spirit to Spirit. 

Shame seeks to pervert love and destroy intimacy. The cycle of shame is filled with hiding, fear, feeling bad, sin-then hiding, fear, feeling bad, more sin…you get the picture. We were not designed for shame. We were made for agape love. We were not created to try to measure up to some magazine or movie standard. We were not created to be abused or treated like a disposable object. We were not created to hide or pretend, or blame or seek to cover ourselves. We were created for relationship with God then others. 

Jesus is the only One who can pay for our sins. He is the covering. So, no matter whether we have sinned or been sinned against-we seek a Savior. He is Jesus. All failures, insecurities, abuse, misplaced appetites, affections, desires for affection, all of it can be laid at His feet. Jesus paid it all. He took our shame so we could live unashamed! 

Father God for any person who is struggling tonight with shame, I ask for a washing in Your love and power. If there are things which require repentance and greater freedom, please bring them to light. Align minds with Yours. Lord Your loving light heals anything in the darkness. Only Your Son can cover. Your perfect love casts out fear. No more hiding. May everything be laid before You. You love us so. In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

Being With Jesus (The Life & Teachings of Jesus Part V)

  
I’m excited to get back into this series on Jesus! Isn’t He incredible? Yes indeed. 

Today, I want to talk about being with Jesus. In order to know someone, there must be some time invested in getting to know them. It’s a process, a journey. It involves faith, seeking, and experience. 

Think about the people you know well, how did you get to know them? 

You spent time them? Or did you simply read about them? 

The Holy Spirit gives believers the ability to have complete access to God 24/7. Sunday morning isn’t the only time to be with God, nor is reading the Bible the only way to be with God. If the Holy Spirit is in you, then you have the ability to be with God whenever you want. He seeks us out, He also wants to be sought out. 

One of my favorite things is to invite Him into the day, each day.  

The Real Jesus vs. Culture Loving Jesus

In our culture today I’ve seen so many posts or word posts that have information about Jesus that’s not true. I’ve read some that read, “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality so it must be okay.” Heard people say, “Times have changed so I can sleep with my boyfriend or girlfriend or do what I want to do.

Here’s the deal. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. They do not contradict each other. The Holy Spirit inspired the written word of God. So even if Jesus never preached a sermon on a topic, you can bet He’s in agreement with all of scripture. Jesus did preach in the Sermon on the Mount that a man who looks lustfully (to covet) after a woman has committed adultery in his heart. Jesus went beyond the physical acts into the heart. Side note, the desire to have sex is not sin. A sex drive was given by God to enable procreation. To covet someone is to desire with the intent to take from them. Lust is about self gratification. Love is about giving, honoring, showing respect. If you have questions regarding sex or sexuality, check out Moral Revolution. They cover every topic imagineable and they use the Bible as their basis. 

In order to know if Jesus would say or do something, we must be in relationship with Him as well as read His Word. God invites us to be with Him. Through relationship we know Him. 

Intimacy (knowing) with God is where we abide in His love/truth and then bear the fruit of His likeness (John 15:5). 

There are people who know the Bible yet have no personal relationship with Jesus. Therefore, the interpretation of what He’s like is not always accurate. 

Jesus revealed the Father: The Father Revealed (John 14:7-11)

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I
speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

So this is my prayer: 

Father may we know who You are. May we read Your word and abide in You. May we spend time with You daily and invite you into every area of our lives. May we seek to know You. May we read Your word with You, be led by the Holy Spirit. May we have realtionship with You! 

Know the Author (God)

God longs to be known by U.S. And made a way through His Son!

God=Love

Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near,~Jeremiah 55:6.

The platform and foundation of my life is intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is so crucial to understanding the Word of God and living an abundant life.

One of my life verses is John 15:5. Jesus said, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one, in perfect communion, unity. If we are to know God, we must abide in Him.

Over the years I’ve met so many people who can quote me verses of the Bible and miss the heart of God. Even some who can defend their prejudice or sexism based on passages of the Bible. People defended slavery with the Bible. People still defend sexism with the Bible or the oppression of…

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Divine Appointments (Miracle Series)

God longs to bless others through you! This series is a collection of testimonies of God’s awesome power. Hope they bless & inspire you, love…Erin.

God=Love

God accomplishes quite a bit of His will through people. You and I have the opportunity to partner with Him to change the lives of others.

These are a few stories on God setting up divine appointments. If you don’t believe in them, check out the story of Ruth and Boaz, Saul on the road to Demascus, Jesus and the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus and the woman at the well, Mary (the mother of Jesus) and the Angel…

Suicide Prevention

Operation God is Love is a ministry started Spring 2014 to reach people on the street and spiritually dark areas of our city. We pray before we go out for divine appointments, for God to put people on our path that need His love, healing, and delivering power.

One of the ladies on the team suggested one afternoon we wait to hear if God would give us…

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Worrying is Worship (Worship Series Part 13)

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,~Philippians 4:6.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?~Matthew 6:27.

Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth,~Colossians 3:2.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,~Philippians 2:5.

I heard a minister say something this weekend that hit me as true. She said much of our praying is worrying with our eyes closed. She said we are talking about our problems instead if talking to God who can solve our problems.

I honestly believe we can worship the problems or circumstances in our lives. It’s called worrying and complaining. We are giving our undivided attention to the problem instead of focusing on the solution. We exalt the problems above God.

How many times have you been in a prayer circle and everyone talked about and prayed only about the problem? There was no exaltation of God being above the problem. There was no worship of who God is and His ability to solve any problem. Instead of words of faith, there were words of doubt, unbelief, and planted seeds of worry.

One of my favorite verses is, “God will keep in perfect peace those who’s minds are stayed on Him,”~Isaiah 26:3.

You see it’s almost impossible to worship God and worry at the same time. When God is exalted, we see how big He is and how small everything else is in comparison. We can respond in faith to our circumstances. It’s challenging, yet it can be done.

It starts with feeding our minds the word of God. When fearful thoughts come we can rehearse what’s deposited in our spirit.

There have been layoffs in my company the past year. For awhile my head was plagued with thoughts, ” You’re next! The economy is bad. What are you going to do?”

After muddling around in those negative thoughts for awhile I sensed the Lord saying, “No one can take anything from you without my permission.” God affirmed His position as protector and provider. My security is in Him, not my company.

The evil one always presents the worst case scenario.

What if you lose this job?
What if you have this sickness?
What if you are rejected?
What if you fail?
What if it’s the end of the world?

He’s not positive and loves to see people worrying instead of worshipping and enjoying God.

God says:

I will supply all your needs according to My riches in glory.
I am the Healer.
I will see you through any and every situation.
You are accepted in the beloved!
You learn from your mistakes and move on. I will perfect everything concerning you.
I will come again and set all the wrongs things right.

God invites us to pray about everything and rest in Him! True worship isn’t ignoring the problem, it’s surrendering the problem to God. It’s staying focused on who God is and what He’s doing.

Father, help us to set our eyes on you. To remain focused on you. Bless us with heavenly perspectives. Shower us with Kingdom revelation. May we cease exalting anything or anyone above you. May we rest in your unfailing love. In Jesus name, Amen!

Do You Know Him? (Worship Series Part 12)

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God is multifaceted. Meaning He is not one dimensional. As soon as we place Him in a box and say, “This is how He will respond,” He often turns and allows us to see another part of His character or nature.

I am not stating God is flakey or shifty or unreliable. I am stating He can be mysterious. He longs for us to know Him personally and not simply through second hand knowledge.

Who is God to you? How do you define Him? Here are some of my responses…

He is truth. He is life. He is holy. He is pure. He is love. He is good. He is faithful. He is wise. He is righteous. He is just. He is mercy. He is compassionate. He is glorious. He is the beginning and the end. He is the everlasting God. No one stands above Him. He is Sovereign. He is Redeemer. He is Healer. He is creative. He is wonderful. He corrects those He loves. He is amazing!

He is my Heavenly Father. Jesus is my best friend. The Holy Spirit is my Comforter, Teacher, Guide, and fills me with gifts and love. He is attentive. He speaks words of life. He asks challenging questions to get to the heart of matters. He sings. He laughs. He speaks my love language. He sets up divine alignments and appointments. He wows me. He brings freedom. He saves and delivers. He forgives completely. He is kind. He encourages. He knows me. He cares for me. He is good to me even when I don’t see it. He sees something good in His kids. He cares more for His children than any earthly parent could. He’s misrepresented and often misunderstood. He doesn’t need, but wants our love. He loves when we say thanks. He loves when we selflessly love others. He is concerned with why we do what we do. Knowing Him is so worth it.

We become like the One we worship. Jesus said, “Abide and remain in me and you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing,” John 15:5. The world will know we are His by our fruit (character).

How does this all fit together? Good question.

1. God invites us to know Him. This starts with relationship with His Son Jesus. No one can come to The Father except through the Son.

2. He tells us to abide and remain in Him.

If we do not know Him and are not abiding in Him, we will not truly be worshipping Him but the God created in our own image or imagination. Without the Spirit of God and relationship with Him we are relying on our flesh and what others tell us about Him.

Worship is intimacy. How awkward is it to be vulnerable with someone you don’t know? To love someone we don’t know?

God reveals Himself to use in this beautiful way. He sends out a loving invitation, “I want to be with you.” Our response to this invitation is an eternal covenant. It’s far more intimate and serious than a marriage covenant. Marriage is on earth only. The covenant with God is eternal. We become one with God. He dwells in us through His Holy Spirit. That is 24/7 habitation. Married people aren’t together 24/7. Nor do spouses know everything about each other. God knows everything. He invites us to know Him.

Lastly…

God doesn’t need our worship, we need Him. Our worship (love, adoration, devotion) changes who we are for the better. Worship takes our eyes off ourselves, our problems, our desires, and places them on Him. When He’s the highest priority, life flourishes.

Father help us to know you, truly know you. May our hearts be knit tightly into yours. May we seek first the Kingdom of God and all your righteousness. May we develop a deeper knowing of who you are. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Lessons Learned & Happy New Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Keep God as your best friend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erin