Live in Reality (Single & Following Jesus Series Part VII)

Aloha friends.

Today I wanted to chat about living in reality and being realistic.

We live in a world of reality tv which does not always represent reality. We live in a world that promotes fantasy (what feels good to you, act that out).

God invites us into reality with Him. Why? God’s reality is rooted in truth, His wisdom, and holiness.

Fantasy is often rooted in seduction, lust, and deception.

Imagination is God given and can be holy; fantasy is normally rooted in pretending.

God invites us into His truth and holiness. Believing God’s truth sets us free. Believing the devil leads to bondage.

Culture vs. God’s Kingdom:

You see movies of two people falling instantly in love then bed together. They sleep together and live happily ever after right? They do not show you the people dumped after a one night stand, the pregnancies and abortions after one night stands, the sexually transmitted diseases contracted, the new demonic spirits transferred between two people, the tears on the soul, nor the decreased ability to bond to another person after casual sex. The devil never talks to people about negative consequences of stepping outside God’s boundaries. He presents something that seems good, will bring temporary pleasure, yet will not bring lasting joy and satisfaction.

The same goes with pornography. It was not until recently studies popped up showing the detriment of this activity. Fantasy in this area leads to lack of genuine love, decreased genuine intimacy with a real human, and is often the gateway for more illicit choices. Many who later participate in human trafficking (buying slaves or engaging in prostitution/abuse) started with pornography; it devalues humans and reduces them to objects instead of people.

What is Reality?

Reality is God highly values all people and they are not objects to be used for pleasure, they are people to be loved.

Godly love involves commitment, protection, and stewarding the heart of another person well. It is a love that says, “I want to honor you so I am willing to do things God’s way. I will safe guard this relationship so it brings God glory and honors you. I will not take from you without committing to you, for that is stealing what I am unwilling to cherish for life. I want to steward the gifts you are offering me of your time, resources, body, heart, and life. I want to be in covenant with you which is bound by a commitment to sacrificial, unselfish, God given love.”

Let’s talk about another form of fantasy. It happens when people start planning their marriage before their first date or idolizing someone they just met. Why is this dangerous? The person you may end up marrying may not be that person you made up in your head or the person sitting across from you at coffee. Pursuing a fantasy relationship (the made up one in the head) leads to gross disappointment when facing reality.

The made up John may cook, clean, leave roses and romantic cards. The real life John may just take out the trash.

I have seen way too many people fall in love with the idea or marriage or the idea of a person and end up grossly disappointed with reality.

Reality is until that person says, “I do,” they are not your spouse. In your head you can paint a wild, vivid fantasy that amounts to nothing. Why? Until they say, “I do,” they can still choose to walk away from the situation.

Reality is what that person shows you is what you are dealing with and have to take home. People are not projects. I have heard so many women say they will change their husband only to find out they (their spouse) has zero desire to change. They envisioned John the romantic. The reality is they got John the couch potato. In their fantasy they would marry John and make him like the Señor Suave in their head. Reality was John had zero desire to be what the fantasy was so he refused. I still tell people to pray God shows you before you say, “I do,” what you are dealing with in a partner.

Reality is marriage requires work. It as painted as an every day, all day love fest. Yet get some couples as friends who have been married awhile. They will tell you that it requires some work. Get more than just your parents who may withhold some of the deep challenges.

Reality is treating that other person like a brother or sister in the Lord or friend until their is a level of commitment. Giving yourself away, being too available/vulnerable, not setting great boundaries (including emotional/physical), and treating someone not your spouse like a spouse is the set up for heartache. We were not intended to bond with dozens of people then break up. God set up bonding and intimacy so we could form life long bonds. If you take two pieces of paper and glue them together then rip them apart, there is tearing. Neither piece remains whole.

Reality is being single is not a curse nor indication of being inferior/rejected. Jesus had no earthly wife. Paul had no wife. Mother Teresa had no husband. I would not say any of these people were cursed, without purpose, nor inferior beings. They went about doing the will of the Father. Desiring marriage is not a bad thing. Thinking it somehow improves your worth is a bad thing.

I do not know the exact map of my life nor the map of others. I do know God is good. Time can be wasted worrying or stressing over what is not happening verses enjoying who God is. In the presence of God is fullness of joy. I do know fantasy robs us of experiencing the joy of the Lord.

Papa God, for anyone who reads this that is caught up in fantasy instead of reality, I ask for your Holy Spirit to wash over them from the tops of their heads to the soles of their feet. I bind any and all seducing spirits and spirits of lust. I ask you would loose your love, peace, joy, and power. Reveal every lie they have come into agreement with that is blocking freedom. Every idol come crashing down. Holy Spirit of truth permeate every part of their being. Every addiction be bound. I ask you Lord for total freedom, inner healing, and deliverance by the power of your anointing. I decree and declare freedom from living outside Godly reality. In Jesus powerful name. Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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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!

Believe, Know, Listen, & Follow (Intimacy with God)

This is from my book website ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com. I posted it this morning. I try not to post the same thing on both sites but felt led to. There are different followers on each site. I hope this encourages you to plunge the depths of God’s heart. He loves you!

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Photo credit: Son of God movie

John 10:25-30.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

I recommend reading all of John 10. In this passage Jesus refers to Himself as the good Shepherd. Shepherds were overseers of flocks. Sheep are not the brightest animals. They will fall into ditches, see another sheep in a ditch and fall in…they can wonder off and be destroyed because they are not wise. Shepherds protected their sheep. They were invested in keeping them safe. They’d lay at the gate to prevent them from escaping. They spent time with the sheep. They rescued wayward sheep.

Jesus is the good Shepherd. We are like the sheep. He’s responsible to care for us, reveal who He is to us, and we are to know and follow Him. We are not an obligation to God. We are His dearly loved children.

In the verses above Jesus is responding to the questions of the Pharisees about who He is. Is He the Christ? I love His responses. He stated, “You do not believe, therefore you are not my sheep. My sheep know and follow me.

Intimacy with God starts with faith. It starts with belief.

Do you believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?
It is not enough to simply believe there is a God or Jesus is the Son of God. Even the demons believe and tremble. (James 2:19), yet they are not saved. There’s no salvation for them. There is for humanity.

If you’re reading this and you’ve never confessed your sins before God, repented (made a decision to turn from sinning and turn to God), asked God to cleanse you of your sins, placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the appropriation for your sins, and asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, I invite you do so. There’s no salvation apart from Him. There’s no entrance to heaven without going through the Son. We can’t do enough good works to earn holiness or righteousness. Jesus did it for us. We by faith, receive what He’s done and accept His righteousness as our own.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith,~Romans 3:23-25a.

If you invited God into your life, I would love to hear from you and provide more information to you.

The second step in intimacy with God is being with Him.

Sheep spent their time with the shepherd. They learned his voice, his smell, his mannerisms. It’s impossible to have intimacy (knowing) with someone and you never spend any time. If Sunday morning is the only time you spend with God, well your level of intimacy is not going to be high.

I am not stating you attend worship services all week, lock yourself in a room to pray and read the Bible all day. I am saying we can commune with God every day, as much as we’d like. One of my morning activities is to start the day with worship and thanksgiving. “Good morning God! I love you. Thank you for who you are and all you’ve done. I invite you to be a part of my day. What do you want to do? Who do you want to bless?” And there are days where I’m just listening. What is God doing? What is He saying? It’s not a ritual, it’s relationship.

Intimacy with God involves listening and knowing His voice.

The Bible says God speaks. There are some who teach He doesn’t and that does not align with scripture. God speaks to His children. If you had children and wrote an instruction manual for them, would you then say, “I refuse to speak to you. Go read the book I gave you.” That would seem insane. Yet some teach God only speaks to us through the Bible. God spoke to people in the Bible through dreams, visions, directly, through prophets, even through a donkey. Before you get too excited, let’s lay down some ground rules.

1. When God speaks He will not tell you to sin or violate His already written word.

I had someone tell me once the Holy Spirit told her not to read the Bible ever and only to listen to the voice she was hearing. That’s wrong and violates scripture.

I heard someone say God told them to leave their spouse for someone else. That’s wrong. It violates many scriptures.

Our culture says do whatever feels good for you and if it’s “love” or feels good, God must approve of it. That’s wrong. If there’s no place in scripture where God is condoning a behavior, you can’t condone it either and claim it’s God. There are some verses that seem to contradict each other which is why God gave His Holy Spirit to teach us.

We can’t toss out the Bible and rely on feelings, human wisdom, angelic visitations, or voices we believe are God.

2. All prophecy (speaking God’s word) is to be tested. Meaning the following:

Does it align with God’s word? Example, there are many false prophecies about when the world will end. Well, the Bible states the following:

“No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows,”~Matthew 24:36.

Does the prophecy fit the character of God?

I’ve had destructive words spoken over me. There was no life in them. God does give warnings. He also provides redemption. Those who repent can find hope and life in Him. Jesus came to save, not destroy. If people are destroyed, it will be because they refused the gift He offered and refused repentance.

Finally intimacy with God involves following Him.

We are called to obey God. It’s not a popular teaching, yet Jesus taught it often. Christianity is not simply praying a prayer, it’s following a person. That person is Jesus. We cannot claim to love God and live a life where we refuse to do what He says. He gives us grace and His Spirit to enable us to do His will. If we cease to obey, we will eventually cease to hear from Him. If He continues to speak, we are held accountable for what we know. So if you feel super disconnected from God, one thing to ask is , “Has He told me to do something I have not done?”

I will continue this series because I truly believe we perish for lack of knowledge of who God is. We are called to know Him, to be loved by Him, to love Him, and enjoy Him. God is not boring, cold, stern, a kill joy, or mean spirited. He is good, holy, exciting, adventurous, overflowing with love and joy. He’s beyond amazing. He’s generous, faithful, merciful, and forgiving. The evil one doesn’t want the world to know who God is and how good He is. Once you know Him, it’s almost impossible to resist Him.

Will you join me on this relentless pursuit of God’s heart? I hope so.

You’re continually in my thoughts, prayers, and you are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Love,

Erin

God Can Be Trusted

God Can Be Trusted

By Erin Lamb

Matthew 6:30-33

The Message (MSG)

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

These verses were my meditation last week and I was brought back to them today. I think worry is just one of the things that saps the joy right out of us. In the morning I listen to the birds sometimes. They are carefree. They are singing God a love song. They are not worried about anything. So much of my life has been plagued with the what if’s. What if this happens or that happens? What if something else goes wrong? The “What if’s” take us back to a place of doubting God’s goodness. God is good. Everything He does is for our good. Even the bad things that happen in life, He will use for our good if we let Him.  God wants us to ask and trust. Here are some reflections on His answers and what causes us to doubt His goodness.

The No’s:

I have learned that anything God says no to in my life is because it would either draw me away from Him, it would destroy me, it was not the right timing, it was not good for me or another person, or He had a better plan. He is the perfect parent and withholds nothing good from us. That’s hard to believe when bad things happen or a prayer isn’t answered the way we would like, but His plan is always good. That’s where faith comes in. I am thankful for the no’s, maybe not at the time, but when we pray His will be done, we can trust He will do what is best.

The Not Yet:

Sometimes we worry because of what we are waiting for. Will God forget me? Maybe He has favorites, and He is good to one person, but that isn’t for me. Very untrue. What God does for one person, He is more than willing to do for another. He says to ask, seek, and knock. In the process if we are seeking His perfect will, we must trust His perfect timing. I am not the world’s most patient person; I admit it. I also ask God for things that I don’t need nor am I prepared for. For example, for a year I was asking God for a horse, specifically a pony. Why? Just for fun and I like horses. God’s response, “Do you need a horse? Where would you put a horse?” Way to go God being all logical and practical. ☺ That didn’t stop me from asking. Well, eventually after numerous conversations with Him I said, “Fine if I can’t have a real horse, I will take a fake one.” Basically the entire exercise was me asking God for something I felt was outside the realm of what He would give me. Well, finally my horse arrived. Yes, it’s plastic and blue with pink hair, but God gave me what I asked for.

So, whatever you are asking God for He hears you. He longs to give you good things. You may not be ready for it, it may still be in the making, but don’t give up!!! 

The Storms of Life:

Life presents challenges. It’s the beauty of living on this side of heaven. There will be trials. Bad things will happen. There will be conflict. In the middle of storms it’s difficult to see Jesus. It is difficult to remember that even the winds and the waves must obey Him. It is in those moments that the flesh (our human nature) jumps in with questions. Sometimes God allows the storms to show us where our security lies. Is it in Him? The all sufficient God. Or is it rooted in our abilities, assets, what we know, who we know, our families or friends, our bank account? The truth is,

He is the only sure foundation. And also calm seas don’t make skillful sailors. We learn in the storms. The shakings in life shows us what is in us, what we rely on, and what our trust is in. The storms reveal the impurities in our hearts and souls, and exposes whether our foundation is solid. God comes in during those times to strengthen our foundation, if we let Him.

So my beautiful friends, Don’t worry, Be HAPPY! I am saying the same thing to myself in the mornings, “God is with me. God is for me. God has great, no amazing plans for my life. God will use the bad to create something good. God can be trusted with everything. The gifts God has for me, have my name on them. God loves me more than I could ever love myself and more than any person ever could. God never fails.”

Closing prayer: 

“Abba, thank you for Your love, Your provision, Your presence, Your word, and Your friendship. Pour out Your love on us until we are saturated to overflow. May we cast all our cares on You because you care for us. Not only do You care for us, You love us with an everlasting love. Help us to rest in Your love. Help us to seek Your face knowing You will withhold nothing good from us. Thank You for the gift of Jesus and Your Holy Spirit. Bless us. Keep us. Shine Your face brightly on us. In Jesus’ most powerful name, Amen.” 

P.S the best is yet to come…. 🙂

Book blog (God=Love): http://ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com