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Draw Near to God in Trials (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 8)

  
Image created by Wordswag, used with permission. 

I have been thinking of you. I have been thinking of the world. If you turn on the news it is quite easy to become unsettled, fearful, or to experience great sorrow. 

I asked the Lord what to share and His response was, “Share a message of hope. My children need hope.” 

What message could possibly be shared to lighten the load of mother’s losing their children, children losing their parents, bombings, shootings, terrorist attacks, viruses, and the sorrow that is repeated on the news? What about hope in the midst of our own challenges?

Last week I sat in a funeral watching my friend, his children, and our mutual friends grieve a great loss. What do I say to two young children who lost their mother? What do I say to my friend who I know loved his wife deeply. We had so many conversations about the healing power of God. What could I say through his tears and my own? I wept for a very long time. My heart ached deeply. Yet life had to go on right? I spent the night before the funeral trying to clear up other issues. I could not even grieve. 

Those around me did not feel or know the pain. It was not their pain. Some did not even acknowledge I had any grief. God, however, did. He did what He does best. He stepped in as a best friend, and brought His unfailing comfort. 

Last week and the past month have   presented some deep challenges and awesome truimphs. Such is life, right? I found hope, love, help, joy, and comfort in the place I know best, the heart and arms of God. 

So, in thinking of what message I could share of hope, I can only think of one thing-God is our sure hope. I only know of one message that can bring hope to a hurting world. The message is Jesus. Hope has a name and it is Jesus. There is no greater name and no greater love or power than the love and power of God. 

If we are to place our trust in anyone or anything, let it be God. 

Some things we are delivered through…

There are so many things in life we are called to walk through. There is no, “Beam me up Scotty,” and we are transported to a place away from trials. God promises to walk with us  through every single challenge; I know no better friend or comforter. 

The Bible tells us there will be tests, trials, and tribulations as a result of the fall of humanity and persecution for living a godly life. The Bible says the godly WILL face persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). 

God did not leave us without hope. He gave the world His Son, His Spirit, His Presence, His promises, angelic help, and His Word. He also gave believers every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). 

Let’s take a look at His word. I love Psalm 23. Here is an excerpt. 

Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with meYour rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me,~Psalm 23:4. 

As stated, there are challenging situations we are called to walk through with God. God does not always deliver us from evil. He sometimes delivers us through evil. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. He was not consumed. 

We see the uncompromising, supernatural strength and power of God in challenging seasons if we lean on Him. We may be weak or challenged; His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 

In a world that says there is no hope, God says: 

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows],~John 10:10 (AMP).

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.],~John 16:33 (AMP).

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character],

Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation],~Isaiah 26:3. 

These verses give us keys to living in victory. 

  • Focus on God.
  • Trust God.
  • Take refuge in God.
  • Set the mind on God.
  • Be courageous, confident, filled with joy.
  • Fear no evil (from Psalm 23).

Abiding in God and deep friendship/connection with Him brings peace in the midst of trials, challenges, and storms. He is the Source of peace, agape love, joy, and hope. 

What are we hoping for, expecting from God? 

  1. God to keep His word! He cannot lie. If God said it, you can expect it to come to pass (1 Thess 5:24, Deut 7:9).
  2. God to work all things together for the eventual good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). 
  3. God to hear our prayers. The answer may not come exactly the way we think, yet God answers our prayers that align with His will (Matt 21:22, Job 22:27, 1 John 5:14-15). 
  4. God to bring comfort and deliverance (2 Cor 1:4, Psalm 34:19, Psalm 50:15). 
  5. God to empower us to destroy the works of the devil (Acts 1:8). If we have the Holy Spirit, we are already empowered! 
  6. God to help us overcome because He has overcome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith,~1 John 5:4. 
  7. God to turn our sorrow into JOY, our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). 
  8. God to avenge the wrongs (Romans 12:19). 
  9. God to reward those who stand strong until the end and every person according to what they have done (Romans 2:6, Revelation 22:12). 
  10. Jesus to return and reign on the earth (Matthew 24:29-31). 

No matter what we face, we have a sure hope in God. I will share this last story and end in prayer for you. 

Part of Operation God is Love ministry is praying for the sick at the free clinic. Last Tuesday, I was on the schedule to go. My heart was already heavy from a loss and some relational issues going on in my circle. I had not slept well in days. Yet, I went and gave thanks. 

One of the first ladies prayed for was going  through some of the same things that I was either dealing with or had walked through in my life. I wept with her. Almost every time I start to feel a tinge of discouragement, God sends along someone going through the same things I have walked through in life. 

This woman left with tremendous hope. Her situation was far more dire than mine, yet to have someone to hold her while she cried and to mourn with her brought some healing. She stated she was over Christian counselors who offered scripture yet had no real experience with victory over pain. 

Your (our) challenge is not wasted. God wastes nothing. We can walk out of the fire and stand boldly with someone in their fire. We can be an instrument of hope for someone else.

Our friendship with God is also deepened in trials if we draw near to Him. God is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). 

May you and I draw near to God in every season. 

Papa God, I ask for every hurting soul to be bathed in Your comfort tonight. I speak peace over torment, pain, chaos, any strife, worry, or relational troubles. I speak life over every dead situation that You want to live. I speak comfort to every place that hurts. May each of us find hope in You alone. You do not fail! In Jesus mighty name, Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin <3

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Test Every Spirit/Voice (Abiding & Intimacy with God Part 7)

  
Image created with Wordswag, used with permission. 

The Bible is very clear that we are to discern, use wisdom, and test every spirit. Everything we hear, see, and are taught is not necessarily God. 1 John 4:1 is very clear, it states, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 

Do we understand what testing involves? Do we know who God is so when people come with their messages about God we filter them through our own relationship with God?  Do we know the character of God? Do we know the word of God? God does not violate His word. He expands our understanding, He does not violate His principles. 

Over the years I have heard and seen many people led into ditches because they thought they were following God. They were led by their own   hearing/sensing/feelings/thoughts or by someone else’s. Some were led into cults. Some had relationships or ministries destroyed. Some abandoned hearing from God all together-“It is too messy. I can not hear from God. God does not speak. Too many crazies saying they hear from God!” 

God does speak. What gets people in trouble is not testing what they hear, see, think, or are taught. The devil speaks too. He pretends to be God. He will give people thoughts that start with, “I” so they believe it is their thought or feeling. The flesh also has a voice. So sometimes what people think or say is God is truly flowing from their own soul (mind, will, emotions). The soul is sometimes broken and therefore speaks out of it’s brokeness. 

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks,~Luke 6:45 (NKJV). 

Example, my earthly father has brown skin. He is a pastor and Chaplain. One day a man said to him, “You know! I am so glad colored people get to go to heaven, too bad we will be on seperate sides!” What this man was saying was there was a white’s only section in heaven. 

Lets review this word with the Bible. 

God is not white (Caucasian, European). God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). When God decided to put on flesh through His Son, Jesus came through the lineage of the Jews. He came through the tribe of Judah-one of the 12 tribes of Israel (Matthew 1:1-13). 

Jesus had no earthly father-He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and came through the womb of Mary (Matthew 1:18). 

Jesus was born in the Middle East/Africa region (Matthew 2:1). He was not European though He is painted that way. 

The Bible also tells us every tribe, nation, and tongue will be represented in heaven (Revelation 5:9), and there is no mention in all of scripture of segregation or God prefering people with paler skintones or European ancestry. You read of God’s love for all humanity and see His favor on the Jewish people (who were not European Jews) and His extention of that favor to the Gentiles. 

All the information I shared with you is in the Bible. The man who spoke this to my father claimed to be a Christian. Where did his thoughts on heaven come from? I have no clue. I will say it is very important we take the things people say, the things we hear in our own minds, things we see…to the word of God. 

My friends could not understand my outrage over the Noah movie that came out a few years ago. I love all people, yet the film was a gross misrepresentation of the heart of God, the character of God, the roles/functions of demons, and painted a horrible picture of Noah and God (called Creator). 

Lets get you going on testing things…

Let’s start with the basics. Who is God. What is He like? 

  • God is holy. He does not sin nor lead people into sin (1 Peter 1:16). 
  • God is love (unconditional, sacrificial, unselfish love) (1 John 4:8). 
  • God has a will and it is perfect (Romans 12:2, Matthew 7:21-23). 
  • God is honest, He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).
  • God comforts and encourages (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). 
  • God redeems and offers grace/mercy to the repentant (Isaiah 47:4, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Acts 3:19). 
  • God speaks and communicates with His children (John 10:27). 
  • God is after relationship/intimacy with humanity (John 17:21-23).
  • God alone is worthy of worship (Revelation 4:11). 
  • God gives hope (Romans 15:13). 

There are certainly more verses and   characteristics about God. Open the Bible and research who He is. 

When something pops up in your head, you have a thought, are given a word/prophetic word/sermon/insight/a book, what do you do with it? 

The Bible says take every thought captive and make it obedient to the word of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Get in the word. I do not just take what pastors, leaders, people say and run with it. Where is it in the Bible? Where does God say this is good? Does this draw me closer to God or to sin? Do I have hope? Is there redemption? 

Today people say sex outside a natural born man and woman in lifelong covenant is okay. Yet there is not one scripture to support it. Scriptures on sexual conduct-(Leviticus 18, 1 Corinthians 6:18, 20, Proverbs 6: 27-29, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:3-4, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Romans 1:26-27). 

The world says do what feels good to you. The Bible says, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Jesus,” (Matthew 16:24) 

Born again believers are also told to be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14-17). The Holy Spirit in a born again believer will bear witness to what is God. It still needs tested and weighed against the Word of God and character of God. 
I have heard countless people say God told them something or to do something that was not fitting the mold of His character and violated His word. 

Examples: 

A lady who told me the Holy Spirit told her to never read the Bible just listen to his voice. Wrong. Scripture says, “Study to show yourself approved,“~2 Timothy 2:15. And there are many encouragements in the Bible to read and study the words of God and His stories. 

A man who said the Holy Spirit told him to change his gender and approved of his homosexual relationship. Please go through and read all the verses on sexual conduct. There is not one and I looked, verse or passage that says, “It is good for a man to have sexual relations with a man.” The Bible states that it is not good. Nor are there any Bible verses that state the gender of a person is flexible. None that state God didn’t know what He was doing so we get to choose. Actually what it says is…”Who are you, mere human beings to argue with God? Should the thing that was created, say to the one who Created it, “Why did you make me this way?“, Romans 9:20. 

A lady who felt God had given her the wrong husband so she cheated with another married man. Wrong. God does not tell people to not commit adultery in His Word (Exodus 20:14) then say, “Oh for you, I will make an exception.” God is not double minded. 

She hurt her husband and destroyed two families, hurt her reputation as a believer, stained the views of those around her of God. God brought restoration through repentance to both families. Yet she followed a lie and did not hold up her thoughts/feelings/urges to the word of God. 

There are also far too many personal experiences I have had with people speaking things into my life or over me that were not God. 

So here are my tests for releasing  things/testing things: 

  • Does it align with Scripture? 
  • Does it align with the character or nature of God? 
  • Does it convey a message of love and holiness?
  • Is God exalted? Or the person speaking? 
  • Will this draw someone closer to the heart of God? Do I feel drawn to the heart of God by what was said or shown me? 
  • Does the Holy Spirit in me agree with this? 
  • Is this growing my knowledge or the other person’s knowledge of God?
  • How would I feel if someone said this to me? Or about me? 
  • If it is a correction word, is there redemption? Or does it simply leave the person feeling hopeless, discouraged, or depressed. 

I take things to God,”Okay God, the pastor or leader or person said this, where is this in the Word of God? What is Your truth? What are we keeping? What are we shelving? What are we tossing?”

If I have a relationship with the person or feel it’s necessary,I provide feedback so there can be growth. If I do not have relationship with that person (they are on tv, etc.), I pray. Everyone is learning, growing, and there’s mercy and grace. Lord knows I need it. I am learning too! 

I do not make a public campaign to smear the person. I do not gossip about them or put them down. We are called to test/judge words. We are called to test/discern every spirit. We are called to love people. Love prays. Love corrects to restore. 

God bless you! 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Becoming like Jesus (weekend devotion)

Morning Devotion:

Sanctification is a process (becoming more like Jesus in our soul-the mind, will, emotions). 

I have a friend who believes there is no God. Interesting relationship, eh? I love God deeply. I care about my friend too. We have had some interesting dialogue about Christianity. Sharing some with you. 

Only Jesus perfectly represented the Father in human form. I have met Christians who claim no flaws, yet those around them can testify this is so false. 

We never know when we meet someone how close their walk is with Jesus, how much of their life is submitted to Him, their heart, their experiences. Therefore it is best to look to Jesus to know what the Father is like. 

The church has not arrived at reflecting Him with no flaws (this includes me). We are all in process-those who abide in Him going from glory to glory. And there are some who do not abide and can behave just like the devil. Pray for them and know becoming like Jesus in character is a process, a journey. It requires abiding and intimacy with Him (John 15:4-5). Grace baby grace…

Being a “Christian” is hard. Following and being with Jesus is so much easier. “Christian” can come with labels, ideas, boxes, traditions of man, cultural things, and conditions I do not always meet. 

Jesus accepts me through my faith and relationship in Him. He did not give me 10,000 firery hoops to jump through. He did not give me a packet that said, “Look this way, sound this way, go to this church, you must be married-have lots of children, homeschool them, be quiet, you have too much passion-dial that down, sing softer, you vote this way, and no you cannot do anything except children’s ministry.” 

I am not against marriage, children, or children’s ministry. I am making a point that following Jesus is about relationship with Jesus-not the things people call “Christian”. 

Jesus never tried to force me into anything. He came and loved. He came and He forgave. He comes and reveals truth. He leads in sacrificial love and gently. He said, “Come as you are. Believe in Me. Lay your past mishaps before Me. Let Me change you from the inside out.” 

Yes, there are guidelines outlined in His word. He does not try to shame or guilt me into doing them. He loves so deeply and models how His way leads to tremendous blessing. You fall in love with Jesus, He loves you back intensely, then you realize He only wants the very best for you and He is pointing to what brings life-so you yield out of love. Sometimes you do not wish to or feel like it, but love motivates you to keep on following. 

Jesus does not spend each day telling me how awful I am, criticizing my weaknesses, looking at my past, nor trying to mold me into cookie cutter image of Suzy Super Christian. He and the Holy Spirit continually reveal who they are, who the Father is and their righteousness, holiness, and virtues.

I am changing by His love, by being with Him, through intimacy, and submitting to Him. And I am not like everyone else. He never told me to be like anyone else. He repeats over and over, “Look at Me.” As I behold Him I am changing into who He created me to be, His idea, His workmanship, and one to reflect His heart. 

So in summary, look at Jesus. Stay connected to Jesus. By no other name can anyone be saved (Acts 4:12). Sanctification is a process so give yourself and others lots of love, compassion, mercy, and grace. The world is challenging enough. We do not need more people beating us up for our imperfections. Only God is perfect. Everyone else is a WIP-work in progress. May we continually abide in Him and bear good fruit. 🍑🍐🍇🍏🍌🍎

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Be with God (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 6)

   
Image created with WordSwag, used with permission. 

Hello beautiful people. I have been off my phone, and social media for over a week. It has been a sweet time of listening, and so much more with God that I will keep in my heart. I do want to share what I drafted this weekend. 

Weekend notes: 

God promises to supply ALL our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil 4:19). It is not about what we have or do not have. It is about who He is. He is the God who raises dead things to life (John 11:25) and multiplied the fish and the loaves (Mark 6:30-44). 

It’s not about our circumstances. It is not about who we are or who we are not. It’s about who He is.

Who is God to you? 

Do we believe God is who He says He is? Do we believe nothing is impossible for Him?

Unbelief blocks so many blessings as does poor speech (poor word confessions). Our words are seeds. What do we want to see grow? 

The Bible says the power of life and death is in our tongues (Prov 18:21). So the gossip, complaining, grumbling, put downs, “I can’t do this. This will never work!! My life sucks! I only attract this kind of person. Woah is me. Bad things happen to me. Nobody loves me…,” are toxic to the body, spirit, and soul.

These poor or negative confessions attract demonic spirits. The devil is super negative. They attract negative situations. 

How about saying, “I am who God says I am. I am blessed and highly favored of the Lord. I am healed by the stripes of Jesus. Good things happen in my life. I am delivered. 

God is working all things for good. I have more than enough. My Daddy is King!! I am stepping into greater breakthrough. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I am the head and not the tail…Above and not beneath! 

I attract the right people at the right time, in the right seasons. No good thing does God withhold from me. I have an inheritance that is secure. I am wealthy in Christ Jesus. 

God opens doors for me that no man can shut. I have favor on my life.  

I choose to receive all Jesus paid for and believe/agree with God. Greater is He who is in me than in the world! I am more than a conqueror through Christ. 

I have the authority to heal the sick, cast out devils, and take territory in Jesus name!

I learned in self defense classes you never want to fight your enemy on the ground, on his level. You rise above him and disable him from above. 

God said He placed the enemy under our feet. Therefore, we fight from victory knowing the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but MIGHTY for the pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor 10:4). 

If you listen to the enemy’s chatter in your ear, you will find he’s nasty, critical, condemning, looking for the worst, sowing fear, pointing out all that is wrong. He is hateful. 

Jesus is above poverty, above lack, above sickness, above anxiety or depression, above family drama, above all the works of the devil. Jesus says to us…”Live from My vantage point, of what I have already done! Stay here in your place in Me. Know that I have already won.”

God says, “Come up here!” Meaning, get away from the noise, chaos, confusion, and just be with Me. Just be with Me. 

God is the Source of all good. Being with Him leads to a greater knowing of who He is and who we are. 

We live from heaven down. If we have accepted  Jesus as Lord, we are seated in heavenly places with Him (Eph 2:6).  

Journey with God…

People see me smile, laugh, and encourage them. They do not see the warfare that sometimes happens behind the scenes. The devil hates love, hates joy, hates truth, and hates people. If you are his opposition, he will oppose you. Oh my yes. Every battle is an oppprtunity for advancement.  Recall the devil is so defeated. He needs reminding of his loser status from time to time.:)

God said in His word, “No weapon formed against you will prevail.” It will be formed. 

Our greatest weapons against the devil are peace, rest, joy, love, hope, worship, abiding in Jesus, and the word of God. When the devil attacked Jesus He responded, “It is written!” 

God is good and has done so many great things. He loves us. He fights for us. See Psalm 91 for encouragement. 

God has reinforced for me the super importance of rest! Jesus operated out of rest. He would remove Himself from the crowds. He would get alone with the Father (Luke 5:16). Are we better than Jesus? The answer is no. If we see Him doing something, it is important. 

What is God speaking? Above every  other voice we need to hear Him. 

We can not hear Him if we are busy doing for Him instead of listening to Him or we are continually speaking or we are being pulled in 10,000 directions by people around us, “Help me! Do for me. Listen to me!

I have learned God is God. I am not. Thank the good Lord! He can meet everyone’s needs and requests. I am to follow the assignments given by God, and to do what I see Him doing. I am not all things to all people. I am His beloved child. Mostly people need Him not me. I do what the Holy Spirit leads me to do. When I step outside His leading it can lead to stress. 

My greatest encouragement is be with God. He is the Source of all good. Intimacy is cultivated by being alone together. He loves us more than anyone and longs for our undivided attention. 

My second encouragement is use the word of God as your weapon. Feast on His word. It is written. Pray it, speak it, and proclaim it! 

My third encouragement is rest! Oh my, rest and play. God likes to have fun. One of my favorite things is laughing with God. I become downright childlike and ridiculous. 

My fourth encouragement is ask God to send you fellow warriors on the frontlines willing to do all God called them to do to stand with you (Not one sided, mutual support). 

Who is your support system aside from God? 

He created us for community. 
God first, then He sends us people. Fellow warriors who say, “If you are on the frontlines, I am too. I am praying for you as you pray for me. I am going to speak life into you as you speak life into me. You are not alone!! I am standing right here with Jesus and you. I am not letting you fall into a ditch. Not on my watch.” 

My fifth encouragement is speak life. Even when the odds seem stacked against you, speak life. Even when it feels horrible, speak life. Speak the very words of God to that mountain.

My sixth encouragement is befriend likeminded on fire, faith filled people. They say we become like the people we are closest to. Who are you connected to that you would say, “I would love to see some of those same character traits in my life?” If everyone around you is depressed, oppressed, and possessed…guess what? You may struggle to walk in faith, love, hope, and joy. I am not saying ditch everyone not on the mountain top. I am saying if you’re in a ditch, find someone who’s not or got out of one and learn from them. 

If you need a starting point for speaking life…I love prayingscriptures.com. They have taken Bible verses and made them into prayers. There are also scripture prayers at the top of this website. 

God’s word does not return void. It accomplishes every single thing it is sent out to do. 

You are so deeply loved, prayed for, and the best is yet to come!

Love,

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Weekend Devotion: Killing Insecurity 

  

Image created with wordswag, used with permission. 

Weekend Devotion: Insecurity is not humility. Humility is a right assessment of oneself in relation to God. Let’s explore pride. 

Pride is preoccupation with self whether positive or negative. Pride refuses help-I don’t need or want assistance even if it is greatly needed. Pride fuels unbelief (not agreeing with God), bickering (I know better than you), jealousy (I deserve that attention), competition (I deserve to be first), put downs, mean sarcasm/excessive criticism, racism and sexism (someone must be inferior for me to feel superior), rebellion, self pity, insecurity, clamors to be promoted (give me a title, put me in charge), unwilling to serve/sacrifice for others. And a host of other things…
I did not feel bad about myself until I stepped into ministry. It is okay. God has healed the damage done by well meaning Christians. 

When I entered ministry I was told feeling like dirt was humility. I needed to pretend to be bad at things to give God glory. Not sure how that works? “Oh God, I am ugly, untalented, have nothing to offer, horrible“,. God responds, “Ummm I made you, so you are saying as a Creator/Artist I am not very skilled?” 

He is the Artist, we are His artwork. Insulting the artwork is insulting the Artist. 

I noticed people who ascribed to worm theology (some not all) struggled with loving others. Why? Because they thought so low of themselves. We can only give away the love we have first received. If I feel like dirt, how am I going to love, empower others? If I feel like dirt, I will most likely struggle with jealousy/comparison, and cut others down to feel better. 

I also realized worm theology and “I am dirt” is just the flip coin of pride. It is saying, “My opinion of me is more important than God’s. I know better than God. Me! Me! Me! Woah is me. I am but a wretched worm.” 
I love what Pastor Bill Johnson says, “I can not afford to have a thought in my head that God doesn’t have in His.” 

How do earthly parents feel about their kids? Just look at Social Media and you can see it. They brag on their kids all day, every day. God loves infinitely more. He is not looking to suppress what He has given or created. 

God is proud of His kids. He cheers for His kids. He believes in His kids. He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He, through Jesus, seated us in heavenly places and made us joint heirs with Jesus. We are His workmanship created for His glory. We are highly valued by God. Jesus paid for our lives with His. God doesn’t make junk. 

We are not God. We are not to be worshipped, elevated to His equal or above Him. We are though to honor what He created. It brings Him glory. 

How did Jesus walk out humility? I never read of Him having perpetual pity parties or insulting Himself, nor pretending He wasn’t who the Father said He was. 

Jesus served. He did not demand others serve Him. Humility is willing to serve, even without credit/glamor. 

Jesus forgives. Pride holds onto grudges. 

Jesus empowers others. He believed in the disciples, gave them chances before they proved themselves, and knowing sometimes they would fail. 

Jesus accepted help from others. Pride doesn’t want help. Jesus invited the disciples to pray for Him. 

Jesus sacrificially loved. Pride is “me focused”-serve me, love me, bless me. Me! Me! Me! 

Jesus acknowledged His dependence on the Father. 

Jesus had a right assessment of Himself in relation to the Father. 

Jesus gave others chances to shine/step into their destiny. After He multiplied the fish and loaves, He invites the disciples to do the same. 

Jesus associated with the weak, broken, outcasts of society. He wasn’t too good to be with the least of them. 

He did not look down His nose on others. 

Jesus empowered women and treated them with respect, honor, dignity. 

Jesus did not have to send out business cards “Messiah”, or walk in the room and say, “I am here, bow to Me peasants.” He walked in agape love and power; it drew people to Him and the Father. 

Jesus washed feet. He served those who would later betray Him. 

Jesus said, “When you see Me, you have seen the Father.” He invites us to abide in Him so other’s see the Father. 

Jesus submitted His entire life to the Father. Out of love He submitted. Pride hates to come into agreement with others. It demands it’s own way. 

Good news, if we have pride there is forgiveness and mercy. I am not immune from pride. I have found when I disagree with God, that’s pride. When I focus too much on me, pride. When I overshare out of excitement and forget to listen or to consider my audience, pride. God says, “Come be loved by Me.” 

Pride melts away in His Presence. He doesn’t beat me up. He loves me to life. Being with Him and agreeing with Him leads to transformation. He, as the Masterful Surgeon, prunes away in love. We are all in process, being transformed from glory to glory. 
So may you and I abide in His love, stay connected to the Vine, agree with God, and love ourselves as He does. The love we receive can be poured out on Him. Then we can love our neighbor as ourselves.

You are SO deeply loved. You are also prayed for. I would love to hear your thoughts on pride and humility. Leave a comment below! 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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The Father’s Heart (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 5)

  
If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him,~Matthew 7:11 (Amplified). 

God loves His children more than an earthly parent loves their child. I do not have children, yet I have a niece I deeply love. She is pure joy. God has shown me through interactions with her an even deeper revelation of His love for humanity. 

When I have the opportunity to spend time with my niece, I enjoy every moment. I play the games she wants to play. I laugh with her. I watch her figure things out and smile. I celebrate her. I tell my close friends the things she does that are so great. I show off her pictures, drawings. I am impressed by even the little things she does. 

Sometimes she has tantrums, she is a toddler. I do not beat her, scold her, scream at her, nor criticize her. The goal is to help her understand if possible and love her. 

For some strange reason God has been reduced below an earthly parent. He is portrayed as fault finding, critical, full of Himself, cold, stoic, mean spirited, scolding, condemning, and He certainly does not want you celebrated or honored. It is His glory. He must be given all the attention and we are His minions. 

God is a loving Father. He does not wish for us to worship anything other than Him because He alone is worthy; the worship of false gods leads to bondage. He is not a narcissist. He celebrates His children. 

He took us while we were yet sinners and invited us into deep fellowship with Him. He chose us, without merit, to become joint heirs with His Son. He clothed us in His righteousness and heaven rejoiced when we repented. 

God did not say, “You are nothing. You are worthless. I pitied you, so kneel peasants.” He said, “Come join My family.” 

I was talking to a close friend last evening and I gave her a compliment. She replied, “All glory to God.” It is a Christian thing to deflect everything that brings honor to us. I heard Pastor Bill Johnson say something that stuck with me. He said, “God said He would not give His glory to another. You are not another, you are His child.” So we thank people for choosing to honor us and then praise God for the gifts or whatever they gave us because of Him. 

I taught my niece a dance. When she began to do the dance, people liked the dance. It was cute what she did. I loved the smile on her face as she noticed people admiring her dance. I did not jump in to say, “Don’t applaud her. I taught her that dance. All glory to me.” I simply smiled. I loved that she was having fun. 

God said apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:4-5). We are to thank Him and praise Him. Yet He delights in celebrating His children. He does not have an ego problem. Jesus perfectly represented the Father; He empowered others. He got low to wash feet. He served. 

God models leadership through sacrificial love and service. 

I listen to parents brag on their children often. It is all over social media. Yet for some reason God only celebrates Himself. Untrue. He loves, honors, cherishes, delights in, sees the best in, encourages, and gently leads His children. He is a far better parent than an earthly parent. He loves infinitely more. 

Oh to know His heart. 

My niece does not love vegetables. If she eats one, there is a celebration. Sometimes there is creativity for getting her to eat some. There is not a scolding, “You never eat vegetables. If you ate more we wouldnt have to do this!” It is, “Yeah you ate one!!!” There is a celebration of progress. 

God celebrates the small steps, the progress. He celebrates the work of His hands, us. He speaks life. 

I truly long for false humility,hyper  criticism, and religious antics to be thrown out of Christian community. Someone says, “You are a gifted painter,” and the reply is , “Oh no it was Jesus!” Was it? He is perfect, I would expect a painting with no flaws. Or is the truth Jesus provided the gift, the person had to pick up a paint brush?

There is such fear of accepting what God says is true. Low self esteem and low self worth is celebrated as humility when it is reality the sin of unbelief. We are called to agree with God, that is faith and humility. 

God loves us and longs for our deep understanding of His heart. He loves so powerfully! 

God bless, 

Erin Lamb 

 
 

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Stories from the Street

  
Hello beautiful friends! I have not forgotten about you. May was a busy month. We will reconvene the series on Abiding and Intimacy with God soon. 

I wanted to chat with you today about Operation God is Love. This is the third year of taking God’s love to the streets. My primary area is the arts district, and the surrounding areas. There are not churches in this area, with the exception of one Orthodox church. There are numerous bars, gay bars, shops, new age shops, and art galleries. 

There is also a large homeless population that gathers there to beg or look for food, supplies. 

I felt a pull in my spirit to this area. What better place to go than the area where there is minimal light. 

People have told me the most effective evangelism is relational, that it is a waste of time to go out monthly to love on people. I have been told as a women it is just not safe for me. God has not told me not to go. I also believe anywhere we take the Light of Jesus is making some impact for the Kingdom of God. So, I have included some stories from the street. I hope they inspire you to follow Jesus wherever He may go. 

Sebastian (name changed for privacy): 

We were looking for someone with a blue sweatshirt that day. We had prayed God would highlight someone who needed His love. I got the impression “Blue Sweatshirt”. As we walked the streets of the city it did not take long to find him. He was right there eager to know us. We were tied up with another man named John (name changed). I thought, “God let us find this man again,” and we did. 

Hours later while walking and praying we saw Sebastian sitting on a ledge with his head downcast. We asked about his life. He told us a very sad story that involved being kicked out of his house. He made the decision that day to kill himself. We asked him if we could pray for him. He responded yes. As we prayed, I bound the spirit of suicide and of death and commanded them to lift off him. You could see his countenance change. He stated he wanted to live. 

You can change a life by listening to God. 

Becky (name changed for privacy): 

As we were walking the streets and praying we came across Becky. Becky was selling newspapers to support the homeless. We asked about her life and once again tears began to flow. The Lord provided words of comfort, hope, healing that spoke right into her situation. She was blessed to be seen, loved, encouraged. 

Not every person you meet with a smile is smiling on the inside. Deposit hope wherever you go! 

John (name changed for privacy): 

John had a story that woukd break your heart. This was a 30 something man without any hope. We stopped for him and took him for pizza. He could not believe someone wanted to eat with him and be seen with him. He carried a heavy cloak of shame. Life had done a number on him. One of his statements stuck with me. He said, “You have no idea how many people look down on me. How many keep on walking by me. How many do not see me at all.” John cried. I still have his face burned into my memory. 

We can make a difference by acknowledging a life. It takes only a moment to smile and say, “God loves you,” or “Hello.” 

You and I have this awesome privilege of being Ambassadors for Jesus! We do not know if that person is suicidal or oppressed or what they truly need from God. We do know that God called us to love! 

Love looks like something,~Heidi Baker. 

Trisha (name changed for privacy): 

Sometimes I drive through this area and just worship/pray. One day I was driving and saw a lady begging on the corner. I normally give food, gift cards, not cash. I finally found a way to park and get to her. A meeting with one person led to a group gathering to talk about God’s love, His provision, and healing. 

One of the ladies who came could barely walk. I asked if I could pray over her. She said yes. I prayed a simple prayer commanding her body to come into alignment with heaven. She was able to walk away. God is the Healer. 

We can save a life! We can partner with Jesus to heal the brokenhearted. We can stand with God for the freedom of the oppressed. We can see God heal the sick. 

Today I go out again! I go with His love. I go expecting God to bless people. I am only one person, yet God only needs one. My team is small. What matters is following Jesus and allowing Him to love through us. You and I can partner with God to see lives transformed. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb

 

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