RSS

Monthly Archives: November 2012

What Does Love Look Like?

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,~John 15:13.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,~Romans 5:7-8.

The question that has been on my heart the past few years has been, What does love look like? The world has so many definitions of love. People say, “I love you,” quickly and easily, and the meaning behind those words is lost. God modeled love for us. The Father sent His one and only Son. Jesus came down, and gave His life as a ransom for all.

When I think of love, I see one nailed scarred hand on the left and another on the right. I see a crown of thorns. I see a body beaten beyond recognition. I see love on a rugged cross. Many people can see love there, at the foot of the cross, but it still feels or seems like blanket love. Many believe Christ died for all, so His love is not personal. Look at these verses.

What is the price of five sparrows–two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows,~Luke 12:6-7.

Every person who lives or who has ever lived has tremendous value to God. He knows everything there is to know about every person. Knowing our failures and imperfections, He still pursues us for a loving relationship. God knows how many tears you’ve cried, every memory you’ve ever had, every heartache, and the very structure of your DNA. No one invests that much time in knowing someone they don’t value or love. God’s love for you is tailored to you. It’s a love worth investing our time and energy. God is fascinating. Even though He knows what we will do or say before we do it, He still enjoys every moment with us.

When you don’t feel loved:

If you’ve read my book or testimony in previous posts, you will see my life with Jesus hasn’t been all skipping in the park with baskets of flowers. I have had seasons where I felt as though God was punishing me for something. God always loved me, but I allowed my circumstances to determine my feelings. Faith is the key to unlock the door. When we believe we are loved, we see the manifestation of love in our lives. Unbelief places these cracked glasses on us and we see the world in a manner that is distorted. The first step to receiving God’s love is to believe God loves us. Once we believe, the glasses of unbelief are replaced by a clear vision of faith.

Final Notes:

God has not prevented every bad thing from happening to me, but He has worked it for a greater good. He has given me more than what I’ve lost. He has given Himself. There is no greater gift than a relationship with Him. He saves, heals, delivers, and restores. So no matter what you’ve faced, Jesus is the solution. I encourage you to dive into the depths of His heart.

My prayer for you friends is that you know the height, the width, depth, breath, and expanse of God’s love. We will not be able to love others the way God loves us if we have yet to receive God’s love for us. What does love look like? It looks like God. It’s a love that is not dependent on the other person. It is a love that is generous and lavish in giving. It is a love that is sacrificial in nature. It is a love that places the well-being and needs of another above its own. God is LOVE!

God’s love for you will not end….tumblr image.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 25, 2012 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

Tags: , , , , ,

God Suffered (He Knows How You Feel)

You are never alone. God is with you. Tumblr Image.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed, Isaiah 53:2-5.

Those verses are used to describe Jesus. Our Jesus who lived a sinless life was persecuted, despised, abused, rejected, and betrayed by one of His own Judas. Judas sold Jesus out for some silver. Do you ever stop to think that God knows how you feel? More than you can express in words, God sees and knows how you feel. Not only did Jesus suffer, He was tempted. See verses below.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin, ~Hebrews 4:15.

The Bible tells us Jesus was not physically appealing. He would not have made it into our People’s Most Beautiful issue. Have you allowed the world to make you feel less than desirable due to media images? True beauty is found in a person’s heart. If the world says you are not beautiful, it said the same of Jesus. You are beautiful because God defines beauty and worth.

The Bible tells us that Jesus suffered. He not only suffered on the day of His crucifixion. He suffered by being rejected by His own people. He was hated without cause. When people found out He could heal the sick they followed Him, He had to escape to be alone with the Father. The disciples frequently doubted Him, fell asleep on Him on the most important night of His life, the night before the cross. He was falsely accused. Peter denied Him three times. Jesus did not enjoy the joys of having His own family. He had to leave His earthly parents and friends at the age of 33. Jesus knows the depths of pain and suffering. On the cross He felt the pain for all sin. That is a pain we can’t begin to fathom. Our God suffered for us.

So, whatever you face this week dear friends know that God understands. There is nothing we face that God is not familiar with or can’t empathize with. He is the God who knows the depths of suffering.

May God bless you with peace, comfort, love, and joy this week. Praying for you!

Love,

Erin

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

Tags: , , ,

Your Real Enemy (Part II)

I normally don’t write two posts back to back, but I hope this post will be a blessing. I recommend reading yesterday’s post, Your Real Enemy, as well. I wanted to write about people today. People have been tagged as our enemies for years. If I were to ask you who your enemies were, I bet you could name a few people. It may be a leader, family member, boss, sibling, parent, co-worker, or ex-friend/spouse. I want to tell you once again, people are not our real enemies. People can be used by God or the devil. At any given moment a person can be used to bless or curse. Even people who go to your church can be used by the evil one, if they are not walking under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Here is an example from my own life.

My first job out of college I encountered a manager who hated me for no reason. This person started out by telling me how I would not be successful. This person then spent the next 4 years sabotaging small things on my programs, bad mouthing me to our boss, trying to get me fired, yelling at me in public, and basically making life at work unbearable. I did tell this person on numerous occasions they could not treat me poorly, but they feared no consequences from management. I prayed a lot during that time. Honestly, I prayed this person would be terminated or quit for they not only harassed me, but others. Some of us banded together to speak with human resources to no avail. In my mind this person was an enemy. I did not hate this person, but I could not see past their actions. I saw an evil person instead of a person God loved who did not know how much they were loved.

As a young person who loved Jesus the only things I knew to do were 1. Pray 2. Try to never retaliate 3. Seek help from God and within our organization.

Fast forward, after extensive prayer, I was removed from under this person. There was a battle to be moved, and I lost all the programs where I had invested time and energy. I went from overseeing 9 programs to 1. I had to prove my worth and competency. At first I was angry because my clients loved me; I worked non stop. I was not doing anything wrong. I had great reviews from everyone except this one person, but this one person was able to plant a seed of doubt in my boss’s mind even with over a dozen other people complaining. Let’s get to the good part of the story. This person after years of harassment approached me one day to tell me they knew I was a Christian because I never retaliated against them. They are now a born again believer. Yeah Jesus! Forgiving them wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. We can’t hang on to the things people do to us. Holding on only leads to our detriment.

When we want to retaliate against people, the thing to remember is that the person attacking us is someone God deeply loves. When people attack, harass, slander, hurt, persecute others, are unloving; they have not fully received the fullness of God’s love. A person who is filled with the love of God normally won’t knowingly harm another person. A person walking in the Spirit normally won’t either. Does that mean a person filled with God’s love and Spirit won’t ever hurt others? No. As humans we stumble. We are not perfect. We can hurt people without even knowing it. If we’re listening, God will let us know if we have strayed from the path of love.

Also, there are times when we are hurt and others are hurt and it’s because of our sin or perceptions.

Our Role in Loving People

The goal is to point people to God. The goal is be an instrument of truth and grace. It is not unloving to tell another person they cannot speak hatefully to you, especially if it’s someone you’re connected to (friend, family, spouse, co-worker, child). The goal isn’t to be the world’s doormat, but to show the world that evil does not have to lead to evil. Good conquerors evil. If it’s someone close to you, you may have to set boundaries with them. Check out Dr. Cloud and Dr, Townsend’s books on Boundaries. We are called to point people to the truth.

I hope and pray that we can see people as God does. I am still praying this for myself. We may not be able to be the best of friends with everyone, but we are called to live at peace with everyone as far as it is up to us. We are called to pray for our enemies, bless and not curse, to not do harm to others. May we live loved and love others.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 11, 2012 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Your Real Enemy

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,~Jesus. John 10:10

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

In every story there is a hero and a villain. Our hero is Jesus Christ who took on all the sins of the world. He came to free us. He came to give us life abundantly. He came so that we could have life eternal. Sometimes in life people forget about who the villain in the story is. I dare not give him any glory as he is a defeated foe, but he is still very real. His first name was Lucifer.

Lucifer was an archangel. He was beautiful. He was quite an amazing creation. However, his heart grew proud and he decided he wanted to worshiped instead of worshiping God who created him. See verses below.

“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’ Isaiah 14:12-14.

He was thrown out of heaven and all the angels who rebelled with him. They were sent to earth. We can see his first desire was to be worshiped above God. He comes to steal worship from God. He longs for people to worship anything other than God. He hates God.

What are his main objectives?-To steal, to kill, and destroy. He is filled with hatred for all people. He cannot love, there is no love in him. He has the exact opposite nature of God. God is love. The devil is filled with hate. God forgives, heals, restores, brings truth, and brings life. The devil longs to bring death, doubt, division, deception, fighting, quarreling, strife, and death. He is not equal to God in any way. He is not all powerful, all knowing, omnipresent, and he cannot read people’s minds. Enormously big God; itty, bitty devil.

He comes to steal the word of God from people.

Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Mark 4:15.

He comes to steal joy and afflict with pain, sickness, disease, and death. See the story of Job (Job 1).

He comes to tempt people to sin. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,~Romans 6:23.

See the story of Adam and Eve.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

He even tempted Jesus.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’’ Matt 4:4-7.

He comes to lie and murder.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies, John 8:44.
He comes to convince us that people are our enemies instead of him.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, Ephesians 6:12.
He comes to bring your sins up against you leading to guilt, shame, and condemnation. He is the accuser of the brethren.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God, ~Revelation 12:10.
Essentially our real enemy is mostly unseen. He attacks us through people. He seduces us through media and by the use of people. He whispers lies to cause us to doubt God’s goodness, love, provision, and he comes to steal from us. He’s crafty, often subtle or other times bold. He does not love anyone or anything. He is a cruel, controlling, task master. He loves it when people blame God for things he’s doing. He loves to see people sick, hurt, dying, fighting, or being destroyed. The good news is, Jesus defeated him on the cross. Without the cross there would have been no hope for mankind to escape death. Jesus died and was resurrected bringing life, hope, healing, and restoration to all who believe in Him.
Satan (the devil) is not equal to God, and he is doomed to hell for eternity. He is beneath God’s foot. He cannot do anything he wants. He has limited power and will never be more powerful than God. He must bow to the name of Jesus which is above all names. There’s no need to fear he devil. The devil gains access to our lives through sin. Jesus paid for all sins. Scripture says, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, ~James 4:7.
So live loved friends. God is not your enemy. People are not your real enemy. May we know who our real enemy is and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Jesus is our hero and He already triumphed over the enemy. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross, ~Colossians 2:15.

God=Love. You are deeply loved.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

Tags: , ,

Grace (from I Thought I Knew What Love Was)

The grace of God is so beautiful, and a precious gift. I hope this excerpt from I Thought I Knew What Love Was fills your heart with hope and joy. God’s love for us is vast beyond measure. You are loved beyond comprehension. Live loved.

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God,  being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when  we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you  have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly  places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the  immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by  grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is  the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Grace

Copyright © 2011 Erin Lamb, all rights reserved.

There is something so incredible about grace;

like freshly fallen dew,

grace falls so sweetly each day,

watering,

refreshing,

and renewing the soul.

It glistens like the brightness of the sun,

reflecting back to the most luminous One.

He is the most brilliant One,

who showers us with His mercy and grace.

His grace is

the unmerited favor

that we do not deserve.

Grace is one of the most priceless gifts.

It is His empowering presence

that enables us and gives us power to do His good will

and pleasure.

It is His grace

that carries us from day to day,

and season to season.

It is His unquestionable love

that is beyond all human reason.

We cannot fathom or understand,

how someone so perfect

could have such overwhelming, lasting love for us.

God, in His act of perfect love,

offered up His Son,

His one and only Son.

He sent His love down

like rain from heaven,

to wash away our scarlet sins;

He leaves our hearts white and pure as snow.

We could not earn this gift,

so precious and priceless a gift.

In His loving-kindness

He sent His Holy Spirit,

the one we call the Helper,

to dwell with sinful man.

He sent His Spirit

to comfort,

to lead,

provide wisdom,

and to empower us with His gifts

that are heaven sent.

This precious gift of grace returns,

day after day, to shower creation

with His unconditional love and unmerited favor.

Instead of giving us what we are worthy of,

He offers us so much more.

He offers mankind

a taste of His sweetness,

a touch of His goodness,

and a vision of His glory.

Just as the dew replenishes the soil,

His grace

softens our pride;

it soothes our hurts and pains.

His grace

refreshes our weary hearts

and seeps into our most desperate place.

We are in desperate need of His grace,

for we stumble and we fall.

We need His direction and love to pave the way.

He alone has made the way,

the only way,

for all our hearts to be fully restored.

Grace sinks into the desperate heart,

a heart so willing to receive.

Grace saturates the hurting heart

that has acknowledged its deepest need;

the need for a Savior,

the need for a friend,

the need for forgiveness,

for a love that does not end.

As love pours in,

guilt and shame pour out;

forgiveness and acceptance take its place.

There is something so remarkable about grace!

We cannot earn it.

We are not worthy of it,

and nothing we can do, or fail to do, can change the status of grace.

Grace comes in the most beautiful package,

falling from heaven

like freshly falling dew,

with a beautiful embroidered message

addressed to me and you.

It reads ever so tenderly,

“I give you My grace, free of charge,

simply because of My love for you.”

Copyright © 2011 Erin Lamb. Excerpt from,  “I Thought I Knew What Love Was.”

All rights reserved. No part of the material may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, without the written permission of the Publisher, Westbow Press (www.westbowpress.com), or Author, Erin Lamb. The only exception is in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Book available: http://www.westbowpress.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com and http://www.amazon.com

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 3, 2012 in From the Book, God's Heart, Poetry

 

Tags: , , , , ,