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

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Pursue Jesus and Use Wisdom (Single & Following Jesus Series Part VIII)

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.

“Get [skillful and godly] wisdom! Acquire understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation]!

Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not turn away from her (Wisdom) and she will guard and protect you;

Love her, and she will watch over you,”~Proverbs 4:5-6.

Wisdom is so vital in all of life.

Believers are encouraged to follow Jesus and acquire wisdom. The pursuit of wisdom is not for demonic wisdom; the wisdom of this age is not always in alignment with God.

Godly wisdom is pure, full of truth, love, and has the best interests of everyone involved considered. Godly wisdom is holy; it is without sin.

Our culture promotes immorality and sensuality. It is ungodly. The movies and tv promote immorality without ever truly showing the depths of the consequences for immoral choices.

Our culture also promotes the lie that sex or marriage will complete a person.

As stated last post, casual sex is promoted. Not only is casual sex promoted so is love at first sight, magical/mystical/over romanced/over sexualized relationships. Many of these relationships disregard wisdom, true God love, or God’s truths. They sound good, may look good, yet they do not hold onto goodness as you fast forward to when reality sets into the picture.

Ex: Henry and Julie who fell in love find out a year later after the honeymoon period is over that they have nothing in common that’s not physical, they the thrill is gone, they fight over money, they hate each other’s families, and they are miserable. This scenario rarely makes it to the big screen. Henry and Julie maybe pursued lust/feelings over wisdom and love. Then we see them break up (if unmarried) or divorce.

Follow Jesus:

Jesus is love, therefore pursuing God is pursuing love. God helps us to love ourselves and others. When God is first, the voids in our lives are filled by God. We then make decisions out of unselfish, sacrificial love not lust (which is about pleasing self), selfishness, desperation, or loneliness. God fills all the empty places so we enter relationships prepared to give, not with our hands out to receive or be made whole by an imperfect human. Only God can completely fill the voids of the soul and spirit. God solidifies identity, not a mate.

When God is first, He can bring in an equal complement/companion. Otherwise there may be a temptation to pursue a match that is less that God’s best. There are no perfect people, there are God matches that are better together than apart.

Wisdom says, “Will the relationship add value for both people? Is God at the center? Can we grow together? Is there mutual effort? Are we headed the same direction? How does this person handle life, conflict, money? Would God or my close friends/family choose this person for me? Is this person even interested in a lifelong partnership with me? Can we be allies? Are we friends?

If things do not work out, are we leaving the person in better shape than they were before they met us? Or are they in need of deep inner healing after connecting to us? Seriously think about what you bring to the table. Is it good? Does it add value?

The people who engage in sex outside of marriage are robbing a future spouse of intimacy with that person and their own future spouse. The one who engages in pornography is robbing themselves of deep intimacy and understanding of what God intended with sex. His design was always about love; unselfish, committed, holy, powerful, intimate, sacrificial love. The devil invites people to cheapen the most intimate act between a man and woman.

Love is willing to slow down and pray. Love is willing to evaluate the situation and relationship with God. Love wants to keep God in first place. Love pursues purity. Love is willing to set boundaries that offer protection of both people. Love is who God is.

Pursue Wisdom:

Let’s venture into another part of process, pursuing wisdom. I have met many people hurt because they forsook wisdom.

Ex: Susie likes John so she starts having dreams that he is the one. Obviously God speaks in dreams, so she should grab ahold to that dream and start planning their wedding in her head (not wisdom). Hit the mega pause button. I have seen women do this and ignore the actions of John. John is a jerk and mistreats everyone, yet there is this dream/prophetic word-so Susie holds on for dear life only to find out later John never wanted to marry her, or worse they get married and he’s an abuser.

Red Alert: Every dream, vision, prophetic word needs tested. Every single one. Do not just run with a “word” or “impression” or “dream” without testing it to see if it’s truly God. I do not care who the prophet was who gave that word, it needs tested and confirmed. The devil speaks and can invade dreams, impressions, visions.

If you think you heard from God about someone, pray and put that word on the shelf. I recommend praying, “God show me who this person really is,” and watching them. How do they treat you? Do you always initiate contact? Do they invest in you at all? How does being with this person impact your life? Are you constantly confused about where you stand with that person? Are they controlling, mean, unloving? Do they treat you with love, respect, honor?

Too many times people fall for who they want someone to be instead of who they really are. Would you let your best friend marry someone like the person you are interested in? If not, why are you in that relationship?

I have seen women chase men like they are Jesus then end up disappointed they are rejected. Relationships are not mean to be like the animal kingdom; chase, pursue, conquer. They are supposed to be about love. Love involves mutual pursuit.

Evaluate your relationship:

Is your relationship life giving? Or are you in tears or upset most of the time? God wants His very best for you, for everyone. God ordained matchups still have challenges, they should not be loaded with confusion, uncertainty, abuse, pain, and suffering.

I have also seen both men and women cling to the idea that someone loves them or is interested in them who will not commit to them nor express their intentions.

Ex: Karla has been into Jerry for years. Jerry flirts and is nice yet has never asked her on a date, never expressed interest, and does nothing to initiate contact or getting to know each other. Karla is convinced his flirting when he sees her is more than it is.

I work in a predominately male environment and they have told me, “We flirt because it’s fun. It makes us feel good.” Therefore there is no intention of a relationship. For the unsaved person there may be an intention of a hook up, but not marriage or a serious relationship.

Get Wisdom! Ask for discernment.

“Discernment is more than the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. It is the ability to differentiate between right and almost right.”

Wisdom looks at the future as well as the present. Wisdom prays and seeks godly counsel. Wisdom is a life preserver. Wisdom says, “Where is God in this situation? Are we are good match? Spiritually are we on the same page? Can we grow together? Is this someone God would choose for me? Are my God expectations on this person when they should be on God? How does this person treat people, including me? Does this person demonstrate any of the fruit of the Spirit?”

Papa God I pray every unmarried person pursues Jesus and wisdom. I bind any spirits of impatience, deception, selfishness, lust, false dreams/false prophecies, and declare soul health. Come Lord Jesus and fill every soul with your love, peace, joy, and purity. Fill every person to overflowing. Impart godly wisdom and truth. Help each person make wise decisions about relationships. Prepare each person for what you have for them. Heal all past relational wounding, in Jesus powerful name. Amen.

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

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

Which God Are You Worshiping (Worship Series Part 14)

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Photo credit: Pinterest

We are being transformed by who and what we worship (love, adore, commit our time to, devote ourselves to). I started thinking the other day, what if we believe we are worshiping God and we are simply worshiping a god created in our own image?

The Bible gives us many descriptions of God. What if we just pick the ones that we like and worship that God. The God who looks like us, who appeals to us, who makes us feel good…

God is the most loving, truthful, & generous Being in the Universe. However, I often wonder if the God we worship is the God created in our own image. He is a caricature that we can identify with. He’s pleasant, but not powerful or holy. He’s good, but not so good. He loves us, so that means He must agree with us and what we do. You see, we begin to imitate who we worship. If we are worshipping a god created in our own image we become more selfish, self centered, and unlike Him at all. We equate love with feeling good instead of choosing to do what’s right. We pick love that’s comfortable, instead love that is costly. We miss the opportunity for true transformation into His likeness because we are worshipping a god we created, not the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob.

My favorite passages in the Bible are either about Jesus or where Jesus is speaking. I study Him. I meditate on what He said & how He lived. I fix my eyes on Him, the resurrected King. He is the center of the Gospel. Jesus wasn’t interested in people pleasing. He did only what He saw the Father doing. He offended many. This God of love said, “Pick up your cross, deny yourself, & follow Me. If you love anyone more than Me, you’re not worthy to be My disciple. Go and sin no more. You are either for Me or against Me. I’d rather you be hot or cold, not lukewarm lest I spit you out. Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father. Many will say have I not done these great things in Your name and I will say, ‘depart from Me, I never knew you.’ If you do not forgive, you are not forgiven” in doing so He perfectly represented the love of the Father. Part of love is righteousness. God’s love is not like our human love. This is the Jesus we worship.

How can a loving God say such things, that some will not enter heaven or I’d rather spit you out? Because God’s definition of love is not the same as ours. We can equate love with feeling good. God likes to do things that make us feel good. Yet He also disciplines those He loves, and He is holy. If we forget these attributes of God it leads to trouble.

Earthly parents teach, train, empower, love, and discipline their children. It’s part of love. Any parent who tells their child, “Do whatever you want, no consequences,” does not love their child.

If we want to know who God is, we pick up the Bible and read it. We see a God who loves passionately, yet corrects and disciplines His children. We see a God who is righteous, just, merciful, and also brings judgment on those who do not repent. We see a God who empowers and encourages, yet also rebukes. We see a God who helps the weak, and opposes the proud. We see a God who values repentance-heaven rejoices when one person repents. We see a God who values the sinner, yet says, “Go and sin no more.”

May we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. May we devour the Word of God with the Holy Spirit. May we grow to know God for who He really is. And worship Him in Spirit and in truth. He’s worthy.

Love,

Erin

Spiritual GPS (Holy Spirit Series Part 9)

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1 Corinthians 2:12-14

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually perceived.

The Holy Spirit has many roles and functions in our lives. One of the most profound ones is providing wisdom. God is perfect in wisdom. He tells us that those who lack wisdom should ask Him. God sees all and knows all. Why wouldn’t we want His insight, help, and wisdom?

Self guided or Spirit led?

Life teaches us that the choices we make have consequences. So, learning to be led by God’s Spirit is crucial for peace and the abundant life.

Some of the things I’ve learned, and am learning from life with the Holy Spirit.

1. If it Doesn’t Seem Right or There’s an Absence of Peace-Wait.

There are things God will ask us to do that fill us with uncertainty. Those things do not violate His Word. He may ask you to reach out to a neighbor, pray for a stranger, or get out of your comfort zone. It takes discernment to know what’s our fear, and what’s a stop or check in our spirit that we should wait or not move forward. He is willing to provide confirmation.

Lessons Learned:
God has been stretching my faith by asking me to pour into strangers. How do you speak into someone’s life and not come off pushy, weird, or like a stalker? So, I held onto many prophetic words or visions. Finally when I had the courage to share, the people responded the timing was perfect. God had the waiting (my hesitation) already built into the equation.

2. Pay Attention to Red Lights and Warnings.

When you get a red light, “Don’t go there. Watch what you’re saying or how you’re treating this person. This isn’t a good plan,” listen. You may not hear Him speak directly to you, yet it won’t feel right. He will even use others to point to truth. God not only speaks to us, but through others.

Lessons Learned:
There was this man who was pursuing me for a relationship. I always pray in relationships, “God show me who this person truly is.” Gosh, it’s a prayer He always answers. The Lord spoke to me that the man wasn’t who he appeared to be. I did not listen because he was so kind. Eventually I saw he was not following Jesus. He said all the right things. He talked about God. The more I prayed, the shadier his behavior became. I could have saved time and headache by listening to God. Don’t ignore the red lights. God says no because He loves us.

3. Get the Word of God in You.

I have heard people say they don’t need or read the Bible. They rely on the Spirit.

Friends, we need the Bible.

I had an interaction with a person on social media once. They stated the Holy Spirit told them they did not need to read the Bible. Many things the person said violated Scripture. They believed everyone went to heaven, and hell was just a ploy to scare people. They believed evil people weren’t really humans, but demons imitating people.

The Holy Spirit will not violate the Word of God. He cannot lie or betray Himself. He does expand our understanding, but His revelation does not violate the nature of God. If we don’t know the Word, we can just go by what we think and feel which is dangerous. God will not tell us to lie, steal, cheat, be unfaithful, gossip, lust, covet, etc…

4. Everyday Decisions and Life Choices.

I’ve not had God tell me to brush my teeth or go to work or what to wear. He gave us a functional brain. If you’ve used GPS, you know it normally only provides instructions when they are needed…Turn here….Go Left…Recalculating! The Holy Spirit is smarter than a GPS, thank goodness. He will alert you when a direction needs to change, when a behavior needs to change, when you need to turn around. Otherwise, keep going! Unless you have do not have the Holy Spirit, you’ve hardened your heart or seared your conscience, you’ll get a tug when you’re headed the wrong way. And if you’re not listening, He will send someone to correct you. God corrects those He calls a son or daughter.

What to Choose?:
My first mission trip I had two choices-Costa Rica or Brazil. I wanted both places. I already speak Spanish, so I felt a tug to CR. The Brazil team needed a worship leader and I had just picked up a guitar. God did not point to a map and say, “Go to this place.” I’m not saying He couldn’t or wouldn’t. He didn’t. I chose Brazil. It was an amazing choice. I made lifelong friends and fell head over hills with love for Brazil. Would CR have been the same? I don’t know. I do know I followed my heart and was blessed. It set me on course to be a worship leader. CR already had worship leaders. Brazil was my first time leading and it was stretching. When I returned to Brazil years later I was able to preach for the first time. Brazil holds my heart!

Life Altering Choices:
I believe in asking God for guidance on things that will impact our lives and cannot be easily changed, like marriage or moving across the country.

Marriage (til death do you part):
I had a man tell me recently that as long as two people love God they can make a marriage work. I’ve seen numerous Christian marriages fail and they both loved God when they got married. It takes more than love for Jesus to make a relationship work. There’s compatibility, friendship, communication, attraction, and many other factors that come into play. I sent him on his way to find his wife.

Wisdom says, “You don’t have to accept everything that’s offered to you.” God knows us better than we know ourselves, and He wants the best for us.

May you and I rely on God’s wisdom! He knows the plans God has for us and they are GOOD (Jeremiah 29:11).

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Tearing Down Strongholds

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Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,”~John 8:31-32.

We demolish arguments (vain imaginations) and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,~2 Cor 10:5.

It is not simply the truth that sets you free. It’s believing the truth that sets you free. There is also the element of tearing down and renouncing lies.

The first step to deliverance isn’t a power encounter, it’s a truth encounter.

Deception is one of the enemies favorite tools. He has power. He has no authority. Jesus stripped the devil of the authority he gained through the sin of Adam and Eve (Col 2:15). Now the enemy needs people to come into agreement with him to accomplish his will in the earth. He wants us to believe his lies. He needs people to do his bidding in the world.

You may be saying, “I’m not evil. The devil is not using me.”

Maybe you’re not doing “evil”, but agreement with lies may be preventing you from fully experiencing the love, joy, peace, confidence, hope, and goodness of God. If the devil can’t get you to do evil. He will try to limit you from doing good or experiencing the goodness of God. He will try to prevent you from having and living the abundant life Jesus paid for (John 10:10).

Common lies (some I’ve believed and some I’ve heard):

God doesn’t love me.
God is always angry and out to get people.
God doesn’t have great plans for my life.
I’m a failure.
No one loves or accepts me.
I can’t do this, even with God’s help.
I’m stuck.
I must change in order to be worthy of love.
God delights in my suffering.
God dislikes me.
I cannot live like Jesus lived, even though I have the Holy Spirit.
I’m not beautiful, handsome, or valuable.
God doesn’t work miracles anymore.
God doesn’t want to heal or restore me or this other person.
God doesn’t want to bless me.
God doesn’t care about what I care about.
I’m not enough.
My dreams can never come true.
This is hopeless.
I will always be this way.
God is not good.
God is withholding something good from me.
My value or worth comes from someplace other than identity in Christ.
I cannot love or forgive this person.
They have more to offer or are more loved by God than me.
I will never get….(fill in the blank).
I will never have….(fill in the blank).
I can never be free.
This will always hurt.
I can’t have bliss/joy this side of heaven.
God doesn’t want to help me.
God is limited in this situation.
I’m too old, young, unqualified to do this, even with God’s help.
What Jesus paid for is for someone else.
God is solely focused on my sin or failures.
God can’t make me new.
God doesn’t want me to enjoy life.
It’s a man thing, I can’t be different.
It’s a woman thing, I can’t be different.
This is just the way I am, there’s no hope for change.
What I feel is truth.
All my passions and desires are truth.
God wants to use only certain people in powerful ways.
My role in God’s body is not as important as someone else’s.
My assessment of myself is 100 percent truth.
God’s love isn’t tailored for me.
My circumstances are bad because God is punishing me.
I can live how I want with no consequences.
Grace gives me permission to sin.
God can’t help me or this other person.
I can’t hear from God for myself.
This situation or person can never change, even with divine intervention.

Truth is without God, nothing is possible. With Him, the possibilities are endless. He’s empowered and is empowering us to live life to the fullest. All these lies have scripture to counter them.

Lies need to be renounced because what we believe, we empower. The Bible says, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Our actions manifest what we believe. The first sin was rooted in the lie that God withholds good things from us. By believing lies we empower strongholds in our lives.

When the ship is sinking, check what you’re thinking. What we believe, we empower.

Father, I ask the Holy Spirit to hover over us and reveal any lies we have come into agreement with. As they are highlighted, help us to renounce them. Replace lies with Your truth. Help us to cling to Your Word and be led by Your Spirit. Help us to repent of speaking negative words and vows over ourselves and others. Cancel all negative effects of all ill spoken words and beliefs. Help us to believe and speak Your truth. Help us to believe ALL things are possible with You (Luke 1:37). In Jesus most powerful name, amen.

The Comforter (Holy Spirit Series Part 8)

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God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted,~Matthew 5:4.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;~John 14:16.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed,~Isaiah 61:1.

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. It’s one of the most beautiful attributes of His character. He fulfills this role so well.

God knew we would need comforting. Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but take heart I have already overcome the world.”

One of the beautiful things about a relationship with God is knowing He promises to meet every need, including our need to be comforted. He’s not distant, cold, unfeeling, or without concern for the things that concern us. What matters to us, touches His heart. He bottles our tears.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book,~Psalm 56:8.

God is emotional. He’s emotional about you.

I had an adult I respected tell me when I was a young adult, “God isn’t moved by your tears, He’s moved by your faith.” During that period of my life, I cried quite a bit. Being a preteen was challenging for many reasons. This adult taught me not to feel. I got to a point I couldn’t cry. I felt happy or angry. Nothing else. I learned to be very tough.

It wasn’t until I hit my twenties that I could cry. I just didn’t feel sorrow. During that time my mum died. I’ve never cried more in my life. During that time, waves of worship would invade my heart. I would just worship for hours. God brought a deep comfort I cannot explain. Though I had friends and family, none of them could reach the places God could. When everyone else went back to life, God was there 24/7.

I grew to know God in profound ways during that season. When I look back over my life, or rehearse the stories, etc…I could cry for days. Then there’s God. He’s standing in the midst of every loss, betrayal, pain, seasons of sickness, near death experience,…

What is troubling or grieving you this week?

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His comfort. Surrender every burden to Him. You may cry! He’s not offended or put off by your tears.

God is able my friends to sustain you through the most horrific pain. He’s strong enough! I promise He’s strong enough.

Lastly I will say, God promises to turn your mourning into dancing. He promises to give you joy for pain and sorrow!!! I can say with 100% confidence He keeps His promises. After spending many years suffering-I have overwhelming joy. I wake up some days dancing! I enjoy God. I enjoy being with Him. I enjoy knowing Him. He’s my Lord. He’s also my closest friend.

I have had people call my joy facade, or it annoys them. God is joy. Joy is part of the fruit of His Spirt. There’s plenty to be thankful for. God has blessed me with tremendous joy! Something I never thought possible. I’m young, yet feel I’ve lived 100 years. And through it all I can say, “It is well with my soul.

My friends, I’m praying God floods you with comfort and joy! No matter what you face, God is able. Your Comforter will never leave or forsake you.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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No One Counterfeits What Has No Value (Holy Spirit Series Part 6)

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Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves, by their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
~Matthew 7:15-16.

This is part 6 in the series. Funny because 6 is the number of man. Human beings are incomplete without God. Seven (7) is the number for perfection. This post isn’t about numbers. It’s about how there are people who don’t believe God speaks, performs miracles, or the gifts of the Spirit are at work today due to the abuse they’ve seen or lack of evidence they’ve seen or simply because of unbelief.

We will address two issues:

1. False prophets, those abusing the gifts, and counterfeit gifts.

A. The Bible tells us there will be people who can do miraculous things that would not be of God. Just read the book of Revelation (the antiChrist will be able to perform miracles) or how the magicians and sorcerers mimicked the miracles God performed through Moses (they could not do them all-but they could do some).

The Bible tells us to be alert, not dismiss the power of God. God has not ceased being powerful because we don’t think He is. God said, “You will know if someone is representing me by their fruit.” What is being manifest in their lives. Is it pointing to Jesus? Is it glorifying God? Is it fueled by Godly love and compassion? Is it drawing people into closer fellowship with God? Or is it drawing people away from God and to worship someone other than Jesus? There is one Savior. Only God is worthy of worship. We don’t worship the gifts or the people He uses, we worship God alone.

No one counterfeits what’s fake or not valuable. We have companies that make tons of money selling fake diamonds, fake Rolex watches, fake Gucci and Coach bags, etc…why? Because the original has tremendous value or worth. God is Spirit. He is the Creator of all things. The devil can’t be God; he can try to imitate him. God is all powerful. The devil is not. God gave His Spirit to partakers of salvation so we could live as Jesus lived: submitted and empowered.

Just look at the movies. Many are focused focused on the spirit realm-something many churches ignore or shy away from. As the Body of Christ, we serve and are empowered by a Superior Kingdom. Darkness is not more powerful than Light. Jesus is the Light of the world and His Spirit lives in every born again believer.

2. Unbelief.

B. Even Jesus was impacted by the lack of faith of the people around Him. Unbelief is the greatest sin because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). I’m almost convinced we don’t see the power of God as fully because we don’t believe or we are relying on ourselves.

When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief,~Matthew 13: 53-58.

There are many unbelieving Christians. It’s acceptable to believe God can save someone from eternal damnation and raise them from the dead for eternal life (a miracle), yet for some to believe that same God will speak to them, heal the sick through them, or do great and mighty things is not acceptable. God has not changed. We may not ever see a parting of a sea like Moses did, but that doesn’t mean God can’t. And then again we don’t know what God will do. He’s not limited to our expectations. He’s God. He can do what He wants.

Restating the Purpose:

Jesus was moved by compassion and love to heal the sick, share the Gospel, and speak for the Father. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to bless people.

My dad keeps a book of all the miracles he’s seen in his life: cancers healed, deformed children healed, brain deformities healed, miraculous provision, blind eyes opened, reproductive problems healed, even God raising his son from the dead.

My own life has been blessed by the miracle working power of God. I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for God. Doctors told my mom she would never have kids due to cancer. My birth was traumatic, I could have died. I’ve had multiple issues God has completely healed me of. He’s saved my life so many times. The most profound was being trapped in a car under water and I couldn’t get out. 911 never came. My last phone call was to my mom and she said, “We are going to pray.” The engine had already flooded. The pressure of the water outside and inside making it impossible to open the door. I told her, “It’s no use, I’m going to die. I just called to say goodbye.” She prayed. She said, “Try the engine again!” I needed to get the window down, since the doors would not open. I had already tried. But I tried one more time. The engine turned over for roughly 60 seconds and I was able to get out. That’s no fluke. That’s a miracle. Once your engine floods and stalls, that’s it.

So sweet friends, believe God can do anything! Pick up your Bible and read all the things He has done. Think about salvation and the resurrection! Repent for unbelief. And remember, no one counterfeits what is fake or has no value. The Holy Spirit is the real deal. He is fully God and all powerful. If you’re a born again believer, He’s living in you. You are empowered!

God bless you!

Love in Christ,

Erin

Know, Speak, Do (Holy Spirit Series Part 5)

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I know we took a week off from the Holy Spirit Series. I want to jump back in to talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We talked about what they are a few posts ago. I want to encourage you not to limit God to a list. The Holy Spirit is fully God and can manifest His Presence in ways we may not understand.

Scriptures are filled with stories of ordinary people encountering an extraordinary God. Has God changed or have our expectations of what He will do changed? I truly believe we don’t expect much from God anymore. Since we in the Western world have so many options, it’s easy to bypass God. We rely on ourselves, others, intellect, or our abundant resources.

On missions we’ve seen more people giving their hearts to God, healed of sickness and diseases, and encountering God in powerful ways.

What’s the purpose of all these gifts of the Spirit?

To build up the body of Christ. To demonstrate the love of Christ. Love and power combine to bring heaven to earth.

Let’s look at the gifts coupled with the fruit of the Spirit.

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The attributes of God are manifest through the gifts.

Knowing Gifts:
Words of Wisdom:

This is a revelation gift.

…this gift involves having a sense of divine direction, being led by the Holy Spirit to act appropriately in a given set of circumstances, and rightly applying knowlege.

The gift of wisdom is the wisdom of God. It is the supernatural impartation of facts; it is not natural. You can’t earn it. It is received from God through prayer (Ephesians 1:17).

Words of Knowledge:

A word of knowledge is a definite conviction, impression, or knowing that comes to you in a similitude (a mental picture), a dream, through a vision, or by a Scripture that is quickened to you. It is supernatural insight or understanding of circumstances, situations, problems, or a body of facts by revelation; that is, without assistance by any human resource but solely by divine aid.

Discerning of Spirits:

Discerning of spirits is the supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to perceive the source of a spiritual manifestation and determine whether it is of God (Acts 10:30-35), of the devil (Acts 16:16-18), of man (Acts 8:18-23), or of the world. It is not mind reading, psychic phenomena, or the ability to criticize and find fault.

Discernment will also enable you to recognize the Holy Spirit in another person.

Speaking Gifts:
Tongues:

Supernatural utterance in languages not known to the speaker; these languages may be existent in the world, revived from some past culture, or “unknown” in the sense that they are a means of communication inspired by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 28:11; Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4, 10:44-48, 19:1-7; I Corinthians 12:10, 13:1-3, 14:2, 4-22, 26-32).

The spiritual gift involving ability to speak in foreign language(s) not previously studied or to respond to experience of the Holy Spirit by uttering sounds which those without the gift of interpretation could not understand. At Pentecost the church received the gift to communicate the gospel in foreign languages (Acts 2). God gave His Spirit to all His people to empower them to witness and prophesy. In Corinth some members of the church uttered sounds the rest of the congregation did not understand (I Corinthians 12-14). This led to controversy and division. Paul tried to unite the church, assuring the church that there are different gifts but only one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:4-11).

Interpretation of Tongues:

Interpretation of tongues is a supernatural verbalization and subsequent interpretation to reveal the meaning of a diverse tongue. This gift operates out of the mind of the Spirit rather than out of the mind of man.

Prophecy:

Prophesy is speaking God’s words and agenda for the building up of the Body and others. It is to encourage, edify, warn, and correct. Paul tells us about prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14:1.

Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives–especially the ability to prophesy,~1 Corinthians 14:1.

All prophecy is to be tested. Meaning we take what’s said and weigh it against God’s word and character.

Prophecy is divinely inspired and anointed utterance; a supernatural proclamation in a known language. It is the manifestation of the Spirit of God – not of intellect (I Corinthians 12:7), and it may be possessed and operated by all who have the infilling of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 14:31).

Doing Gifts:
Faith for Miracles (Gift of Faith):

The gift of faith is the supernatural ability to believe God without doubt, combat unbelief, and visualize what God wants to accomplish. It is not only an inner conviction impelled by an urgent and higher calling, but also a supernatural ability to meet adverse circumstances with trust in God’s words and messages.

Healing:

The gift of healings refers to supernatural healing; it is a special gift to pray for specific diseases.

Healing can come through the touch of faith (James 5:14-15); by speaking the word of faith (Luke 7:1-10); or by the presence of God being manifested (Mark 6:56; Acts 19:11-12).

Miracles:

The greatest miracle is salvation.

A miracle is the performance of something which is against the laws of nature; it is a supernatural power to intervene and counteract earthly and evil forces. The word miracles comes from the Greek word dunamis which means “power and might that multiplies itself.” The gift of miracles operates closely with the power gifts of faith and healings to bring authority over Satan, sickness, sin, and the binding forces of this age.

Miracles can also be defined as supernatural intercessions of God. God exhorts us with energy to do something that is not natural or normal to us. Just as the ministry gift of miracles is the expression of prayer, so is the function of the Holy Spirit to direct our prayers (Romans 8:26).

Italasized text from Christcenteredmall.

The gifts of the Spirit are available to all believers. Some believe if a gift isn’t apparent in their life, then that’s it. Paul encouraged people to desire and ask God for the gifts. Gifts as stated before are not signs of spiritual maturity or to be used to abuse people. They are to be led by the Holy Spirit and measured by the fruit of the Spirit.

Father, I ask we would fully believe the Holy Spirit is capable of all things. He is fully God. He can do all things. Help us to rely fully on Him. In Jesus powerful name, amen.