Put Prayer On It (Single & Following Jesus Part VI)

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?~Amos 3:3.

This was my devotion yesterday on Facebook, yet thought it may bless singles here. Here is the link to my author site if you wish to connect there Erin Lamb Author Page. I post devotions, encouraging words almost daily.

Before you date, court, pursue a business deal, say yes, sign up for that ministry thing, ask God before connecting/partnering with other people. God sees the heart and true motivation.

One of my favorite prayers is, "God show me who this person really is."

It's easy for people to smile, do the Christian nice thing (some are not even nice), or go along when there is something they want. Yet God sees the heart. God sees the core of us, even the things we do not see.

I give people about a year before I truly let my guard down and during that time I pray, "God do I need to be connected to this person? Please reveal their heart." Sometimes what flows out of them during that year is unloving, unkind, grossly selfish, etc…I thank God for the reveal. I am simply watching and assessing how they treat me and other people. Someone who is kind to those they deem important and rude to those they do not feel are important is not a kind person.

I love all, trust few, and am close friends with few. Why? My inner circle is reserved for people who genuinely care about me and treat me and others with respect, honor, dignity.

Our actions are always screaming over our words. Our words reveal our heart. Sometimes people are nice to everyone else and hateful to me. Why? I ask God to reveal their heart. God goes, "Here, this is what you are dealing with, you decide how to proceed."

I love all people, I am not friends or partners with all people. Some, I love and the information in my life is guarded from them. Why? They are not trustworthy. The Bible says, "You will know a tree by it's fruit." It is wisdom to seek God over friendships, dating, partnership, business, and even ministry. How can two be joined together lest they agree?

A Tree and It's Fruit

"Beware of the false prophets, [teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep [appearing gentle and innocent], but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them [that is, by their contrived doctrine and self-focus]. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the unhealthy tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will recognize them [as false prophets],~Jesus (Matthew 7:15-20).

My core values are:

  1. Love, respect, honor of all people not just those deemed important.
  2. Build people up instead of tear them down.
  3. Represent (re present) Jesus to those around me; reveal the Fathers heart.
  4. Honesty and integrity.
  5. Seeking to do no harm to anyone.
  6. Caring about others.
  7. Releasing who lives inside (Holy Spirit)

Connection with likeminded people brings forth greater fruit. It helps us to grow stronger. Those who build us up in love are so beneficial. Those who repeadily tear us down are not. Sometimes our mental, emotional, and physical health is compromised due to our associations and friendships.

Papa God, guard our hearts and lives from sheep in wolves clothing. Protect us from linking arms with those who do not love well or seek our harm. Help us to walk in wisdom, love, peace, and joy. You know who is best to be a part of our lives and who is not. Protect us from the wrong associations, the wrong friendships, the wrong partnerships. Help us to be connected to those who will love us like Jesus. Bring in the right friends, associates, partners. Give us eyes that examine fruit, not judge, yet see fruit. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

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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 

We are Family (Identity in Christ Part 20)

 

Young Couple with Two Children (8-12) Walking on the Beach

God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing, ~Psalm 68:6a.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father,” ~Romans 8:15.

What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir, ~Galatians 4:1-7.

The picture above is what we normally think of when we think of a family. We have a father, a mother, and children. If this is our only view of family, we will be disappointed if our family does not look like the one above. In today’s society you find single parent homes. You find widows and orphans. You find childless couples. You find millions of singles who may never marry. So, where is their family?

God sets the lonely in families. We were not intended to become His child and neglect other believers. We are family. It’s a challenging and difficult concept. We are not only called to care for our blood related family, we are called to care for our spiritual family. Some of our relatives we may not see again in heaven (though I’d hope so). There will be no marriage in heaven (Matt 22:30). There will be no having children there. We will all be like the angels. One big happy family.

Why is it so difficult to function as a family in church?

1. We don’t see the benefits of unity.Read previous post about the members of the Body. Division and independence weakens us. A divided force is a weak one. God is a God of unity. We need each other.

2.We live in a self focused society. We can go to church and not invest in anyone. We go, get our needs met, and go home. It’s about us, not necessarily others.

3.Our worship gatherings attract broken, hurting, and some really messed up people. Just like our natural families there are some awkward people we are related to. We are probably someone’s awkward person. It tests our love and patience to deal with people who don’t always act like Jesus or we have nothing other than Jesus in common with.

4. We are taught to care for our natural families, not our spiritual family. However, the Bible says, “Mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice,” Romans 12:15. We read in Philippians 2:4, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

5. We are too busy. I don’t know about you, but getting to know people takes time, energy, and resources. We have to make time for people. It can be tiring. We are not called to strive, but to make an effort to bless other believers.

6. It can be messy. If you’ve been a Christian long enough, you’ve probably been hurt by another believer. It’s painful for we expect people who are Christians to act like Jesus. That is not always the case. Hurt feelings, offense, betrayal, it can can happen. We learn boundaries with our natural families, and we need boundaries with our spiritual family. Some relationships can be damaging, toxic, or unhealthy. Wisdom, boundaries, and counsel may be needed in dealing with people.

Personal Experience:

Have you ever been to someone else’s family gatherings? I have. My family has been disinterested in celebrating holidays since my mum passed. So, year after year I have either hosted my own gathering with people from church or been invited to other people’s homes. Some are welcoming. Others though the intentions are good, have left me to feel like the stray someone picked up and it’s a pity meal. You don’t really fit. You don’t really belong. You are a guest. You don’t have the same privileges as the regular family and it’s awkward. God intentionally set us in a big church family. So, no person is a misfit. No person in His family is to feel like a stray. Every believer in Christ is an equal heir to Christ’s inheritance. There are only adopted children, each one wanted, cherished, and desired.

I love the movie The Blind Side. Micheal became a real member of their family. He wasn’t a guest, a pity case, but a loved child. He was chosen to be a part of a family. They treated him the same way they did their other children. God did that with us. He calls us to do the same for others.

Final Notes:

If you are a part of a community believers, I encourage you to start investing in the lives of the people around you. Get to know them and treat them like family. If you see a person who’s lonely, be a friend. If you’re a married couple with kids, I encourage you to befriend singles and not just other couples with kids. If you’re a single person, reach out to married couples. We are supposed to be a family. Protect each other. Encourage each other. Mourn with each other. Rejoice with one another. Don’t simply look out for your own interests, but the interests of others. Ask God who you can bless and be on the lookout for opportunities to be like Jesus to those around you.

P.S My friend Virginia wrote an excellent book called Single Not Separate, How to make church more like a family. Check it out. http://www.amazon.com/Single-Not-Separate-makethe-church/dp/0884199290

 

 

The Single Reality (Part 9)

Is Our House Divided?

A house divided against itself cannot stand, Mark 3:25

Today, I wanted to talk about something that touches my heart- Division within the Body of Christ. We learn from childhood to separate things into categories and lump things that are similar together. It is engrained into our minds to put labels on people and to associate with people who are similar. Our eyes have been trained to separate what is different. It can be a detrimental thing, for a house divided against itself cannot stand. Division is a way to destroy something or minimize its strength. Unity is powerful. One of the reasons I started this series was due to numerous blogs for married couples, engaged couples, those dating, and I could find very few that focused on single life as a Christian. If I did find one, they were geared towards getting a person to the altar instead of living a fulfilled life as a single person.

We Are In This Together….

As part of one race, the human race, we are all connected and sharing a planet. As part of Christ’s body, we are all connected by God’s Spirit. We belong to one another. In relation to single people versus married people we have some obstacles to overcome.

1. Separate Fellowship. Single and married people are to fellowship together within the body. God never intended for singles to only interact with singles and married people to only interact with other married people. He has a view of unity and community where His entire church body comes together and works together to give the world a picture of what He is like. Both groups are equal in His eyes. He sees one body, not a divided one. One is not more important that the other. They are to work together to display His Glory.

2. Isolation. I’ve met many single people who feel more and more isolated as their friends get married. Some lose their friends. Some have no community or family of their own. God never intended for anyone to feel left out, isolated, or without community. Check out the verses below from the church in Acts.

The Fellowship of the Believers

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved, Acts 2:42-47.

The church was unified and they grew. They helped each other and supported one another. This is a true picture of a house undivided.

3. My Status Is Better Than Your Status. What a great way to keep us from loving one another than to create a world of, “My status is better than your status.” Our identity cannot be rooted in our status. Our  identity is to rooted in Christ. If our identity is rooted in Christ then we view others as a part of our spiritual family. In His eyes, we are all His children, all heirs; no status is more valuable or important. There is no “us” versus “them”. Neither status makes us greater in God’s eyes.

4. My Family Versus God’s Family. Having our own families, caring for them, and making them a priority is important. However, there is God’s family that we are called to invest in as well. Investing in His family can include serving, volunteering, making disciples, and/or developing friendships. In God’s eyes all who are in Christ are family.  We may not want to invest in anyone other than our own biological family, but we have another family as well, our spiritual family.

Prayer:

Abba, I pray that our identities are rooted in You. May we be unified and not divided. Help us to see each other through Your eyes. Help us to view single life or married life the way You do. May our eyes be fixed on You. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Single Reality (Part 5)

Overcoming the Challenges of Being Single

My dear friends. Soon we will have some guest authors submitting posts for you. How exciting! I hope you are enjoying the posts. Here are some of the challenges of being single that I have heard people speak of and some ways to overcome them.

1. What about my needs? I thought we would start with talking about the media’s favorite subjects love and sex.  God made humans with the desire for love and sex. Our media does not portray it the way God intended, but the desires to mate are not sinful.  The problem comes when there is no outlet for unmet needs. People rush to the altar to have those needs met instead of asking God for peace in the current state of being without someone. Should you get married for those reasons? I am not here to judge. To each his/her own. However, if you don’t have someone and want to follow Jesus, then sex outside of marriage is against His will. So, what do you do?

a. Pray. Ask God to calm your desires until love arrives or give you the ability to not be perpetually frustrated. God is able to keep those who want to be kept. Jesus lived without a spouse, so did Paul and many others. It can be done. God’s Spirit is able to calm the fiercest drives. Many have prayed for contentment unless God led them to marry.

b.Pay Attention to What You Read/Watch/Listen To. Our books, music, and movies glorify sex outside of committment. Sometimes they throw a sultry scene in the middle of a movie with no point at all. The same goes for romance movies/books. If you are saturated with scenes, images, etc…of what you don’t have and can’t do, you will be frustrated. What you take in does matter. I am not saying you can’t go to the movies, etc…I am saying if you are struggling, it may not be helping out.

c. What You Feed Grows. What You Starve Dies. Our appetites are tied to what we are feeding. Whatever we indulge in is what we will crave. Those who struggle with lust are not cured by marriage. Lust is a hungry beast that is never satisfied.

2. Married and Engaged Couples. Some of your lovely friends are headed to the chapel. And you aren’t. You are happy for them, but they are not thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves, how happy they are. They say things like, “I am so glad I am not single anymore.” Or, “We need to find you someone.” Or, “Your day will come.” Aside from being a different category, you may notice that you lose friends as they get married. Their focus turns towards their families. So, what do you do.

a. Be Happy for Others and Understand Happy People Can Be Insensitive. I have heard married people say ridiculous things to singles. I have heard them brag, boast, and even talk about their sex lives. Try not to take it personal. It seems in the church the only things people are allowed to brag about are their significant others or children. It’s socially acceptable. Even unhappy people brag and can be insensitive. Let it roll off. If people insist on asking you about your love life or lack of one, limit time with people like that or tell them you don’t want to discuss your personal life.

3. Wanting a Family. For those who don’t have a close family, family members are dead, or want kids, the wait or prospect of not having a family is disheartening. How to deal.

a. Pray. God hears your prayers. If you want a family, pray for one. In the meantime try to connect with a church, others who share the same interests, neighbors, and community service activities. Invest in others. God will send you people who can be a substitute family. If you want people to ask about your life, start engaging with others about their lives. Also don’t limit yourself to people in your church. I have a single friend who met amazing people within a hiking group. There are still good people in the world, waiting to meet you!

b. Kick Your Biological Clock. Today people are able to have children later in life. Heck, in the Bible people had children later in life. God is not limited by time or anything. He called the Universe into being.

4. Social Activities. Wedding invitations are flooded to your inbox and couples are everywhere. You don’t want to go alone or be the third wheel. You want a travel buddy.

a. Make friends with members of the opposite sex. It may be awkward, but men and women can be friends. If that doesn’t work you can always see if another friend you know is available to go. It’s easier said than done, but it’s a way to get over the hurdle of people asking you why you aren’t with someone. You are a treasure and just because someone hasn’t noticed, doesn’t take away from your value. A diamond is a diamond, whether it’s on someone’s finger or perfectly polished on the shelf.

Lastly my friends, no matter what you face God is with you and for you. You are not alone or without help or hope. You are a valued, treasure and God sees the desires of you heart. You are in my thoughts and prayers. 🙂

The Single Reality (Part 4)

Dear friends,

Here’s some mid week encouragement. One of the challenges of single life is sometimes there are seasons of feeling lonely. Even married people have seasons of loneliness.

If there’s no one to ask about your day or invest in your life. If you are without strong community, or are experiencing loneliness, this prayer is for you.

Abba, I pray for every person who reads this blog to have an encounter with You. Fill their hearts with Your love, encouragement, hope, joy, and peace. Provide them with family here on earth, a strong community of people who will love them as you do. May they never feel lonely, outcast, or insignificant. Give them blessings they have no room to contain. Shield their ears from those who speak negatively. Fill their minds with Your words. They are loved, cherished, cared for, and the apples of Your eye.

You are deeply loved…:)