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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Tree and It's Fruit

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

My core values are:

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

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

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

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

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Love’s Gonna Cost You

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not
proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no
record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there
are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Love is a gift. Those are the words that ring in my mind when I think of love. It’s a gift. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our freedom and it was/is the greatest gift we could ever receive. He also gave us a great gift, the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you, John 16:7. We cannot love like God without the help of the Holy Spirit. It’s impossible. This Helper (the Holy Spirit) is a person. A person who will help us to love one another.

When you read the verses about love it’s challenging. It’s perfect love. It’s God’s love. It’s available to us 24/7 when we walk in the Spirit. He loves perfectly all the time.

I confess I struggle with love even with the Holy Spirit. I often ask God why? Since the Holy Spirit lives in me, and He’s the most powerful Being in the Universe, why is love so hard? Answer: Love costs us dearly. We are still living in these fleshly bodies that don’t want to continually sacrifice. It costs us pride to serve, love, and forgive. It cost us time to invest in people. It costs us energy to carry another person’s burden. It costs us resources to help a person in need. It costs us dearly to put another person’s needs above our own. Love’s gonna cost you. And if you really step out to love the way God loves, you open yourself up to be extremely vulnerable. Jesus was vulnerable to people. You will be vulnerable as well if you love deeply, and purely as He loves.

The good news. Real love is the most powerful force in the Universe. God is love, and when you love you are imitating Him. Love doesn’t always feel good. It doesn’t always make us warm and fuzzy inside. However, it is an indicator of who our Father is. If we abide in Him, than love abides in us.

My prayer for you this week is that God floods your heart with an abundance of His love and you tap into His love for you and others. You are loved more than you can imagine!

The Order of Love

The Order of Love
By Erin Lamb

Jesus replied:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” Matthew 22: 39-40.

The context of these verses are that the Pharisees and Sadducees were trying to trap Jesus by asking what is the greatest commandment. He had just put their questions to rest about the resurrection. Jesus always has the perfect answer, see verses from Matthew 22 above. Fast forward to us, modern day Christians. We are no longer under the law, but under grace. We don’t serve God to win His approval or love others to win His approval. Everything needed was already given in Christ. Through relationship with Him we are made righteous, not by works or living under the law, but by faith and relationship with Jesus. That’s good news, that we are invited into a deep love relationship with God Himself. 

There is however a principle to this verse (something we can learn from it). God is a God of order. He is perfect in His ways. The engineer in me loves this about Him. He does things in order. He is not messy, sloppy, nor does He half do anything. The order of love was designed by Him. It goes as follows.

The Order of Love:

1.      Receive love from God. If we do not first receive His love for us, we have nothing to give Him back. We have nothing to give ourselves or others. The first step is always receiving His love by faith and trusting in His unfailing love for us. If we refuse to believe that God loves us, there is a breakdown in the flow of love. We will not be able to love Him, ourselves, or anyone else the way He intended. If we have not received His mercy, grace, acceptance, and love, it will not flow out of us.

2.      Love God. If we put anything ahead of God it will destroy us. Money, relationships, ministry, image, spouse, significant other, work…anything we place ahead of devotion to Him becomes an idol. We are called to love Him back with the love He gives us. As the vertical (God) relationship is worked out, the horizontal (others) relationship get better and better.

3.      Love Yourself. I have heard way too many people say that humility is hating yourself, picking yourself apart, and debasing yourself. That is not scriptural and is a false form of pride. Jesus didn’t do it, therefore it is not humility. He was perfect in humility, yet He loved Himself and was confident in who God made Him to be. If we do not love and accept ourselves we cannot love others. You cannot give away what you do not have. The way you judge yourself, is how you will judge others.

4.      Love Others. Many times we try to love people first without going in the order of love. It fails. It fails because God’s ways are perfect. We cannot love people the way He wants them loved in our strength, in our own power, and with our human love. It will fail. His love however, never fails. It is perfect. If we love in the order He planned for it go, then there will be fruit. It will be love that is patient, kind, long suffering, gentle, forgiving, truthful, humble, not envious or jealous, giving, serving, filled with compassion, and self controlled. 

Lastly, one of the things that popped into my head this week was that we say, “I love you,” all the time to people. But what does that mean? Sometimes I want to ask people, “What does that mean to you?” We attribute love to kindness, spending time, and superficial things. However, love is more than that. Here are my definitions of love. Love means I will correct you in love if you are wrong. Love means I will suffer with you. Love means I will pray for you. Love means I will sacrifice for you. Love means I will put your best interests, and God’s best interests for you at the forefront of my mind. Love means I will feed you if you’re hungry, clothe you if you are naked, encourage you, be there to help you, be a good steward of your heart, time, and anything connected to you. Love means I will treat all things connected to you with love and respect. Love means I will give you the benefit of the doubt until you prove otherwise. Love means I will forgive you and seek to give you the very best of me. Love means I will be honest, transparent, hopeful, merciful, and seek God for the source of love for you. Love means I will be kind to you to the best of my ability and seek God for more of His love for you.

Sometimes people love us with all that they have, but if God is not the source of that love, then it will fall short. If you encounter someone who doesn’t love you well, pray that the order of love come into alignment into their lives. Also check your heart and see if your expectations are reasonable, people were never intended to replace God. Only God can give a love that does not fail. However, by praying for the person, there is hope for change. Only God can change a person from the inside out, we cannot. We can love them, but only He can change the person so they can receive love and grow in love.
 

My prayer this year is that the order of love in lives comes into alignment. We are in this together, all learning from an awesome God!

“Abba, thank You for Your mercy, love, forgiveness, grace, and all that You have done for us. Fill us to overflow with Your love. Help us to receive Your love, Your mercy, Your grace, Your acceptance. Help us to love and accept ourselves and then love others. Fill the gaps. Heal anything that hinders us from receiving Your love. Teach us your ways. Thank You! Thank You for Jesus. May He increase in us and may we be beacons of light for all the world to see. In Jesus mighty name, Amen.”