I do not know the Jesus who does not care about the poor, injustice, the immigrant. That Jesus is not in the Bible.
I do not know racist/white supremacist Jesus because He is not in the Bible nor was Jesus white. He was brown, a middle eastern Jew.
I do not know political Jesus, who was pushing politics on people and in the ear of the political elite. Jesus focused on the Kingdom of heaven, an eternal Kingdom. Political Jesus is also not found in the Bible.
I do not know greedy Jesus who sought for people to give Him all their money and exploited the people. He came to serve, not be served.
I do not know dictator Jesus, nor law & order Jesus (the way humans portray law and order). Jesus sacrificed Himself to save us. He fulfilled the law and invited us into relationship to therefore help us gain righteousness with God through faith. When the Pharisees wanted to stone people, Jesus wanted to offer redemption.
I do not know snobbish Jesus who separated Himself from those society hated. That Jesus is not in the Bible.
I do not know bully or rude Jesus. His harshest words were for the self righteous religious people.
I do not know hypocrite Jesus who let the disciples get away with gross sin while chastising the world. Jesus was fair.
I do not know Jesus who lacked compassion and only cared about Himself and those who agreed with Him. He met with the most sinful and hated of society and offered them life.
I do not know sexist Jesus who mistreated, looked down upon, or displaced women. Sexist Jesus is not biblical. Jesus of the Bible was radical in His love, support, and protection of women.
I do not know the Jesus only interested in filling buildings or seeking to gain a fan club. That Jesus cannot be found in the Bible. Jesus went out to the people. He fed them spiritually and naturally. He preached repentance, and how to have everlasting life. He healed the sick, delivered the oppressed, and demonstrated how to have a relationship with the Father.
I do not know “Christian” Jesus. Jesus was a Jew. He was not Catholic nor Protestant. He was a Jew.
I do not know this Jesus that so many claim to follow. I do know Jesus of Nazareth. He is not like cultural Christianity Jesus at all. My encouragement is open a Bible and get to know the real Jesus.
The Parable of the 4 Sons (What we see depends on where we are standing)
There were 4 sons who lived on a farm with their dad. They each loved to play and could get quite rowdy at times. They loved adventure, climbing trees, and throwing rocks down by the creek. Sometimes they would get dirty and their clothing would demonstrate how elaborate their adventure was for the day.
They would come home at days with dirt filled grins. Their father was a firm believer in cleanliness. He would stop them at the door and demand they take off their mud marked shoes before entering the house.
The one son he would brush the dirt off his face, give him at atta boy for being his son, offer him extra soap and towels and send to the shower.
The second son he send to the shower with no praise, no affection, and no extra soap.
The third son he completely ignored. That son was accustombed to simply following his brothers and showering after them.
The fourth son he took out back and beat him, called him names, and then sent him to shower.
Over the years the boys noticed that their joy in play diminished. Two of the brothers (the ones mistreated) did not enjoy their adventures as much any more. The fourth son seemed stressed, depressed, and had been slipping at school. He eventually skipped out on play all together to go be alone. He knew his punishment for play would be severe. He would slip into the house unnoticed. He simply wanted to survive his childhood.
As time moved on the boys grew up and left home. The fourth son was eager to leave. His body and his heart still had scars from the abuse he suffered as a child. He found there were safe places out in the world, yet there was still trauma in his soul.
He met a young lady who was a writer at university. She explained to him that writing was therapeutic. She encouraged writing his story. The fourth son knew his story would paint his father in a bad light. He pondered for months what to do. He decided telling the truth was the way to go. He wrote his book A Fractured Lens and it became a national best seller.
His family became enraged! How could he do such a thing. His father worked so hard to provide for them!! His father was an upstanding Christian man!!! His other brothers had no complaints. He had to be making it up and just venegful and ungrateful. If his father did whip him, he must have deserved it. The town turned on the fourth son and told him to never return. The first and second son came to their father’s defense. They said their father was the kindest man they knew. They tried to find stories to discredit their brother. The third son remained quiet. While he did not know the benevolent father the other two sons knew, he also did not know the extreme abuse the fourth son knew. So, he slid into his corner to bypass any confrontation.
Fortunately for the fourth son one neighbor saw his brutal whippings. She would sneak out of her home to tend to him with first aid. She saw the rage, the anger, the pain the fourth son suffered. She stood as an ally for him. The fourth son still had marks on his body from the abuse.
Teachers in the town after reading the book felt great sorrow because they failed to see the writing on the wall. The fourth son lost interest in play, constantly looked down, came to school sometimes bruised/looking defeated, and never liked going home. They could not fathom just one of four being abused and the father was so charming with everyone else. They did nothing to help.
The father read the book, knew what he had done, yet wanted to have the story removed from every bookstore. He should be forgiven and not have his dirty laundry out there. He wanted stories told of how he treated his other sons, the ones he loved. He wanted his church attendance on record. He wanted to be painted as a hero.
The fourth son refused to remove his book from shelves. He received countless letters from people with similar experiences finding healing in the book. They were too afraid to tell their stories, yet the fourth son told his. He began to fight against abuse of children.
When asked if he regretted telling his story, he replied, “No. I suffered greatly as a child and bearing my untold story has caused greater suffering. I am healing. Others are healing too because they recognize they are not alone.”
My take/why I wrote this:
The moral of the story is people can live in the same house or the same country and have different experiences. It is challenging to see a different perspective. I meet people who cannot see nor refuse to listen to someone else’s experiences. Especially if those experiences paint their beloved ideals or a person/place they love in a bad light.
Our vantage point and experiences matter. The neighbor who helped the fourth son saw the violence, she had a different response/perspective. The first and second brothers did not see the violence and because they were treated far better they were upset for any complaints. The father knew he was abusive, yet wanted to hide his sins instead of confess them and address them. The fourth son carried the story, scars, and the trauma. The third son did not see the abuse, yet knew his father treated the first and second son better than him. He remained silent.
I meet with clients who have been severely abused by people others put on a pedestal. They go to church and abuse their family. They have great jobs and abuse their family. You cannot tell an abuser just by looking at them and looking at how often they go to church.
There are people in America who are treated differently based on whether they are poor or rich, black or white, belong to certain groups or not. When I meet with the homeless, they are treated FAR worse than other people.
Pointing out issues in an area also does not mean that all is bad. It means there can be improvement. The neighbor could have reported the abuse, the father got help, and the family healed. The father could have read the book, confessed his sins, and reconciled with his son. He refused due to pride. The third son could have stepped up to say, “I am not an eye witness for abuse, yet my dad did not treat me well either.”
It’s hard to walk in another person’s shoes. It’s an honor if God gives us the opportunity to do so.
2020 has pushed me even further away from cultural Chrisianity, yet deeper into Jesus. I do not fit in the religious/political crowd that cares little to nothing about the poor, and more about things than people. I do not fit into the grid that ignores suffering, while judging experiences that they do not have to live. I do not fit there. I do not belong there. While I love people, we are not on the same page.
I see Jesus out in the world meeting with people some church people have said, “I do not agree with that, so I want no part of ‘those’ people.” Well, Jesus came to the world that was totally out of alignment with God. They thought they were righteous. They were clueless and on their way to hell. Jesus called the religious/political crowd white washed tombs. They looked good on the outside; they were mess on the inside. What if He said, “I do not agree with ‘those’ people, I refuse to go hang on a cross for them.”
Jesus speaks to the Pharisees (Matthew 23: 23-28)
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and pretenders! For you are obsessed with peripheral issues, like insisting on paying meticulous tithes on the smallest herbs that grow in your gardens. These matters are fine, yet you ignore the most important duty of all: to walk in the love of God, to display mercy to others, and to live with integrity. Readjust your values and place first things first. What blind guides! Nitpickers! You will spoon out a gnat from your drink, yet at the same time you’ve gulped down a camel without realizing it!
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are like one who will only wipe clean the outside of a cup or bowl, leaving the inside filthy. You are foolish to ignore the greed and self-indulgence that live like germs within you. You are blind and deaf to your evil. Shouldn’t the one who cleans the outside also be concerned with cleaning the inside? You need to have more than clean dishes; you need clean hearts!
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption. Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
I do not know where I fit in the grand scheme of what people call Christianity. I do know I love Jesus and want to follow Him, not the crowd. Maybe I will tap into my Jewish roots (it’s part of my ethnic identity) and choose to identify as a Messianic Jew. All I know for sure at this moment is I love Jesus, Jesus is Lord, Jesus cares about the poor/hurting/marginalized/outcasts of society/justice, and I want to follow Him.
I believe this can be the global churches finest hour to rise up and demonstrate to the world who God is. God is love.
We can go love our neighbors. If we cannot leave the house, we can reach out online. If we can go to the grocery store/pharmacy, we can leave care packages on porches. We can be kind. We can refuse to hoard because God is our provider. We can check in on people. “How are you? I heard you were laid off, do you need anything?” We can pray for the sick. My dad cannot go in hospitals or nursing homes right now as a Chaplain so he has been going to the parking lot to pray. We can pray over businesses and if we have money get gift cards from them. We can share Jesus online and gather people to worship through technology. If we have enough, we can share. We can cease spreading negativity and look for ways to lift others up!! We can look for ways to be a blessing in word and deed.
God is love. Love looks like something. It looks like someone-Jesus.
I find no where in the Bible where it tells me to think only of myself and go sit down idle waiting on Jesus to return. I find passages that encourage me to GO be light, GO love my neighbor, GO be a blessing, GO share the Gospel, GO be an example. We lead by example. Our sermons may make people feel good, yet the way we demonstrate what we believe leaves a lasting impression on people.
I told my brother last night that loving Jesus, following Jesus transforms the way we live. We begin to care about who and what God cares about. God cares that people are hungry, scared, uncertain, in great need. If I claim to love Him, what moves Him moves me. We are united in love.
Yesterday for We Will Rise worship gathering we did reverse offerings. They received money, not me. I do not take up offerings for me for teaching the Gospel. What good am I taking money from people who may not be able to eat when I have enough? Blessing them was the priority. It warmed my heart they nominated others in the community instead of just themselves. Love is looking out for others.
Arise and shine! Arise and shine!! Arise and shine!!!
We cannot do everything; we can do something!
If you have a grocery need, or know someone in need, the giveaway is this evening. My not for profit is giving away up to 200 dollars of free groceries! Go to http://www.OperationGodisLove.org.
Peace is not the absence of a storm or adversity. Peace comes in the presence of Christ. He is the one the winds and waves still obey. If He does not calm the storms around us, He calms the storms within us.
An encouragement I sensed from Jesus for the world. Certainly weigh it, test it against the word of God and character of God. Shalom.
“Beloved, I have come that you may have peace. Peace that surpasses your understanding. It will fill your heart and mind as you trust in Me. I love you and I am not unprepared nor unqualified to care for you in any and all circumstances. I am the Alpha and Omega. I have stood with My people through plagues, severe persecutions, wars, and turmoil since they began. I am the one who has the superior wisdom and all power.
I am the one who is speaking above the storms. The media cannot be your source. Sink into My word, My words, and surrender your fears at My feet. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. I disarmed every principality and power, spirits of wickedness in high places. I hold all authority. The Father and I still hold ALL power! We have never been defeated.
Do not allow the evil one to rob you of the peace and joy I paid to give you. Listen, listen, listen…turn your ears to heaven. Lift your voices to heaven. Turn your heart to worship. Worship is war song. It reminds the evil one that he has been defeated. When you worship in spirit and in truth it recalibrates your atmosphere, your soul, and body. We do not encourage worship out of ego. The Father and I know that worship releases heaven in your realm. There is no sickness, death, fear, or sorrow in heaven.
The Lord your God is all powerful. You do not need beg for help. Those who are united with Me through faith come BOLDLY before our throne of grace in times of need. It is your inheritance. I AM your provider. I AM your healer. I AM your peace. I AM your joy. I AM the all sufficient one. I AM your Deliverer.
Break your agreement with the spirits of fear and anxiety and command that spirit to FLEE! Your inheritance is peace despite the circumstances.
Those united with Me will bear fruit in every season. You are not defeated nor backed into a corner unless you come into agreement with the defeated one. I defeated him. I defeated death, hell, and the grave.
Lay down the idols that cannot save you. Place your trust in Me. Some trust in their bank accounts, their leaders, themselves, their spouse, their pastors, their military, yet behold only those who place fully in God will see themselves rise above the storm instead of sink into despair and poverty.
I have the power to take what you have and multiply it! I still have the power to send provision from heaven and call it from the sea. We are still working miracles.
Break up any seeds planted of unbelief. Your faith opens up a realm of the supernatural. Let your faith rise above the storm. Speak what heaven is speaking. Do not come into agreement with the reports of mankind. Mankind sees in part and knows in part. I SEE all, KNOW all, and stand ABOVE it all.
We have listened to mankind cry out for revival, yet leaned on their own strengths and agendas. We will do it our way. We will pour out glory over neighborhoods and communities. We will transform hearts and not a single person will hold the glory. Idols will fall. Demonic systems will fall. Religious systems not built on the foundation of My Kingdom will fall. My Kingdom will remain.
Those who worship in spirit and truth will see things in their day they could not even imagine. The trumpet has been blasting for years to turn, ‘Turn back to God.’ Mankind in their rebellion built monuments and idols to worship. Those idols cannot save!!! They cannot save.
I sent spokesmen and spokeswomen to blast the trumpet, ‘Turn from these idols. They seek to destroy you.’ Many were ignored. The earth began to shake and quake under the demonic idols of the land. For the evil one seeks to devour your world. He has been after worship since pride entered his heart. Mankind’s agreement gave him authority. I took back that authority and gave it to the sons and daughters of God.
I am not punishing the world. The demons beyond the idols are exercising the rights they have been given through human worship and human agreement to attack the world. When times are good, many sons and daughters of Adam turn their faces from us, ‘Who needs God?’ They blatantly sin and mock the precepts of God. Oh yet when crisis falls upon the earth, the same some ones cry out, ‘Where is God? Why did God allow this? Help us God!’
We are merciful. We hate to see the world suffer. Creation is groaning and crying out for the sons and daughters of God to arise to be light, to shine our light into the darkness. I tap on the shoulders and hearts of My friends and children of God to participate in My agenda for the world. Some ignore Me. Some buck the words of the Father in pursuit of self comfort and selfish ambition. My heart cries out ‘Wake up!!! A storm is coming. Wake up! The world needs what we placed inside you. Do not go to sleep.’ Some hear Me. Some ignore Me. Yet I stand in truth, love, mercy, and justice seeking whomever will listen and turn.
Turn to Me, I love you. Bring your heart to Me, I love you. Lay down your idols, your busyness, your selfish ambition, and listen. Seek first the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is advancing. Come into agreement and alignment with heaven. Heaven is speaking. Heaven is pursuing you. I am pursuing you. Look at Me! Will you listen and turn your heart to Me? Turn, turn, turn! My heart is here looking for your full heart. Come to Me!! COME!”
May you and I turn to God and surrender. God is speaking to turn. There can be idols in Christian culture. The things and people that are clung to and trusted more than God. Let’s turn. God alone saves. Turn from idols of busyness, self, selfish ambition, comfort, pleasure, people, politics, worship of ministry/ministers/church/family, entertainment, and anything else. May the reverence for the Lord return to us.
God you alone are God. May we find our identity, security, and comfort in you! Please forgive us for choosing any other god. They cannot save. Jesus is LORD! And His Kingdom will reign for ever and ever!!
I have seen panic and terror in the eyes of people on the streets. My not for profit has still been out serving the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing those sleeping outdoors, and praying for the sick at the Free Clinic. People need hope. You and I need to remain calm.
Tonight I am sharing an email blog post from my business website written in response to the coronavirus. I hope it blesses you!
How do we navigate through the challenging seasons of life without breaking down or completely losing it?
I believe it requires some focus and intentionality to maintain peace, hope, and even joy in the midst of uncertainty.
Our world is responding to a global crisis. Due to the easy access to information, people are inundated with bad news, negative reports, and are not being provided much hope (an expectation of good). My desire is to provide you with some hope and tools to navigate through the season.
An acronym for hope can be, “Hold On Pain Ends.” I want you to note that just as the seasons in nature change, so do seasons in our lives. There can be seasons that feel like a winter and others that feel like a spring or summer.
In the beginning and middle of hard times, it can be challenging to have a vision of better times or an expectation of good. As stated before it requires some focus and intentionality.
I want to share with you some tips that helped me during a 17-month long challenging season. It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life and just ended last summer. We expect the current global crisis with coronavirus to be much shorter. 🙂
These are some tips that helped me tremendously.
Tip 1: Limit exposure to negativity.
What we feed grows, what we starve dies. Find something positive to read, listen to, and positive people to talk to about your thoughts. In this current situation, you may need to avoid watching the news. We were not created to take in so much negativity and bad reports. If you are a person of faith, focus on meditating on the promises of God.
Tip 2: Start a gratitude journal.
One thing that I believe helped me keep my mind right during my 17-month challenging season was taking time to document things I was thankful for each day. Gratitude helps our brain produce feel-good hormones. Start by thinking of 3-6 things daily. Anything good that occurs, write it down. Focus on the good. It could be 1. I have clean water. 2. I have food. 3. I have a friend. 4. Someone cares about me. Be intentional about gratitude/giving thanks.
“A National Institutes of Health study found that when you express kindness or feel gratitude, your hypothalamus floods your brain with dopamine. This gives you a natural high, motivating you to do good and express gratitude even more.”
Tip 3: Practice kindness.
Just as stated above about gratitude, expressing kindness releases dopamine (feel-good hormones) in the brain. Not only does expressing kindness help the brain get out of stress hormone mode (fight or flight, cortisol, and immune system suppressing hormones), but it also helps get the focus off self and off things that cannot be controlled.
Many of us are working from home, some have been laid off, or the business is suffering. There is minimal to no control over what is occurring externally. We can exercise our will to be kind to others. We do not have control over every event. We do have control over how we respond.
Some ideas: Find someone to reach out to and ask them how they are doing, if they are okay, be kind at the grocery store, share, cease hoarding (operating with a scarcity/poverty mindset), be a blessing, ask neighbors if they need anything.
Tip 4: Write out your thoughts and feelings.
Thoughts and feelings trapped inside the head can lead to less than rational realities and behaviors. People are panicked, therefore they are not using logic or rational thought. It does not make sense for me to purchase 20 gallons of milk that will spoil or 500 rolls of toilet paper. Scared people show you their worst and operate under a “me-first mentality.”
When the thoughts and feelings are written out, it helps significantly. Once you write it out, read it. What is the story you are telling yourself? Process your thoughts and feelings. Before you react, press pause, and get your mind right. Just because others are panicked does not mean you or I need to panic.
Tip 5: GO outside! Fresh air helps.
Even though many events and venues are closed, the sidewalks are not, the backyard is not, and the freeways are not. It was such a blessing today to go outside. I saw people riding bikes, taking walks, and walking their dogs. It is good for the mind and body to get moving. Exercise, talk a walk, go for a drive.
“...taking a walk outside will help the brain produce endorphins, which are neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood. Both being outside and walking can work together to create positive changes in the overall state of mind.“-Advanced Neurotherapy.
None of us will bypass all adversity. The key is to learn how to navigate well through adversity. We may have an array of thoughts and feelings regarding the situations, that is human and normal. We process those thoughts and emotions. We seek solutions and look for what we can do.
The other key is to learn to manage our responses to adversity, challenges, and hard times. We do not have to allow others to pull us into their storm. We can pull them into our peace.
This too shall pass.
Hold on pain ends.
Keep your mind healthy by focusing on positive things.
Focus on anything that is going right.
Focus on what can be done.
Look for ways to help and bless others.
Process your thoughts and feelings. Write it out.
Get some fresh air.
Get moving if you can.
Take time to rest.
Continuing to keep you and your families in my prayers. We will get through this together!
P.S If you know someone suffering a hardship/food crisis, check out the grocery giveaway through my not for profit Operation God is Love. USA residents are eligible.
From moments with Jesus discussing his heart for a hurting world.
Written by Erin Lamb on 3/13/2020
The world may be quaking & shaking, yet I know a man who speaks peace into storms, raises the dead to life, is still opening deaf ears/blind eyes, still loving the world, still working miracles, still saving the lost, delivering the oppressed. He is Jesus!
Jesus said, “Go love them the way I love you. With love that is lavish, generous, forgiving, sacrificial, and focused on their benefit and my glory.” I will tell you nothing has been more misunderstood in my life that the commandment to love like Jesus. God love is not Christian nice, where we simply smile at people on Sunday and could care less what is happening in their lives.
God love is full, pure, lavish, exceptional, engaged, connected, Ephesians 3:20, kind, generous, hopeful, affirming, unselfish, encouraging, invested, a continual blessing. It is a love that makes your heart turn to look and see what is different. It is not selfish or one sided. It is the highest of all loves and not based on feelings.
The motive behind agape love is to bring the highest glory to the Father.
When Jesus stopped for the Samaritan woman at the well, He was not looking for a girlfriend. He was acting in great love to see heaven invade a heart. Our culture is fixated on eros (feeling/romantic) love or even lust. Or even fixated on brotherly love (philia) or storage (family love). Yet there is a love FAR higher that says, “I was willing to go to the cross even for my enemies.”
If we abide in God, agape love becomes the fruit that we bear. It’s foreign to so many people I meet. I have heard, “How can you love me and not know me?” Because God loves you and God lives in me. My role is to allow God to love through me.
It is a love that some do not understand so they spend copious amounts of time trying to force agape into eros, storage, or philia love. It will not fit there.
Love (Jesus) came down and took nails for us. While still sinners, Christ died for us. That is agape. When we don’t get God’s love and our behavior is far below our potential, God stands in perfect love. Love is who God is.
If we get the agape part right, I believe more people would run to Jesus. If we who claim Him do not love the world, why on earth would they seek to join our family? May you and I know God intimately. We will smell like where we have been and imitate the God we know. God is pure agape love.