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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Looking for Real Love…

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Love is one of the most common used words in our vocabulary. In English we have one word for love. In the Greek there are several words for love. There is philia which is described as brotherly love; love for family or friends. Eros is an intimate love; a passionate desire often used to describe affection between lovers. Agape is unconditional love used to describe God’s love for mankind, it is sacrificial love. Storge is used to describe the love a parent has for their offspring.

Outside of relationship with God many of us will encounter philia, storge, or even eros love. We will be hard pressed to find agape love. The love God has for us is agape love and it is independent of us. God gives sacrificially because of who He is, not who we are. His love is not based on our performance, or merit. Even if we reject Him, He never stops loving us. Even some parents reject their offspring. Some parents can base their love and affection for a child based on their behavior. God does not. People base their love for others on their beauty, behavior, performance, attraction, or family ties. God loves because He is love. He loves the wicked, vile, and evil.

When God says, “I Love You,” it means more than what we could imagine.  It is not something He simply does. Love is who God is. He cannot be anything other than love. Before the first humans were created, God was love. He created mankind knowing we would rebel against Him. Since, He is not limited by time or space, He knew everything there was to know about us before we were ever formed. He still made provisions to save mankind from the penalty of sin. He sent His very best to rescue us.

The world is looking for love. Looking for real love. I can say God is the best place to start. He knows everything about us and will never reject us. He cares more about us than we care about ourselves. He was willing to endure the worst pain to save those He loves.

We can spend our lives looking for love in all the wrong places, with all the wrong faces, or we can set our eyes on the One who is love. He is available 24/7 to be there for His children. He is 1 Corinthians 13 love. I replaced love with God’s name below.

God is patient. God is kind. He does not envy. He does not boast. He is not proud. God does not dishonor others. He is not self-seeking, or easily angered. God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  God never fails.

God’s love for us is not blanket love. Nor does He love us out of obligation. We are here because God allowed us to be here. He knows every hair on our heads (Luke 13:7). If we are following Him, it is because He pursued us. For no person can come to the Father unless He draws them (John 6:44).

Real love, genuine love can be found in God. It’s a love that does not fail. Don’t look for people to meet your needs. Go to the One who is love. He will change your life.

I leave you with Psalm 139. I hope it blesses you and sinks into your heart. You are deeply loved.

Psalm 139:1-18

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Hope (from the book I Thought I Knew What Love Was)

Hello dear friends,

I would love it if you check out my book, I Thought I Knew What Love Was. You can purchase right here on the site there’s a link entitled Get Your Copy or you may purchase through these wonderful sites: http://www.westbowpress.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com. and http://www.amazon.com or iTunes store.

I thought I knew what love was until I encountered the King of the Universe. This book is filled with prayers, psalms, letters to God, encouragement from God. I hope it blesses your heart. Here is an excerpt from the book.

Hope, Copyright 2011 © Erin Lamb.

 
There is a place of growth
between faith and the actualization of a promise
that I call the waiting room, or garden of hope.
Hope
is eagerly awaiting an answer to prayer;
the prayers that have seemed to linger, for years and years.
Hope
is the water for the seeds of faith,
so delicately placed in the soil of our souls.
Our souls
are the fertile places that need turned over.
Our hearts have to be infused with God’s love.
Our minds
need a reminder of His faithfulness.
Hope
keeps us alive.
Hope
keeps God’s promises for our lives alive
when we feel like giving up and dying.
Hope
requires the nurturing of our spirits and souls.
Hope
requires a renewing of our minds
that focuses on what God says, versus what our eyes may see.
In this place
there is a of tug-of-war
between God’s will and our own.
Can we see past the unseen into the realm of what could be?
Could we believe that what God has planned could,
and would, supersede
anything we could possibly dream?
Every so often fear comes
to strangle the seeds of faith,
attempting to grow weeds in the garden of our souls.
Fear seeks to devour our hopeful place.
Our skillful gardener,
our heavenly Father,
tells us not to be anxious because He is the keeper of our souls.
Hope
involves waiting;
waiting for blossoms,
and waiting for winter to turn into spring.
We are waiting for a glimpse of something better;
something more beautiful than what we could have imagined in our
wildest dreams.
Hope
is eagerly anticipating
the next chapter to unfold in God’s plan.
Hope
rests in today,
but desperately desires a peak at the complete picture of what He has
planned.
Hope
is delighting in the simple realization that God is love,
and God is in control.
God has the best plan and the best methods to achieve His plans.
Hope
is releasing our expectations
and our predisposition to settle for less than God’s best.
Hope
encourages us to soar above mediocrity.
Hope
is trusting in the unseen life force
that is His Spirit within.
He is our hope.
He is our only true hope.
We are hopeful
that we will be transformed into His image.
He is our security.
He is the truly faithful One.
He has the ability to change our hearts into His astonishing work of art.
He can take any impossibility,
at least in the eyes of man,
and turn that impossibility into reality.
He is the God who sees our impossibilities,
as His own personal opportunity
to showcase His power, His might, and His great love for those He
calls His own.
He is able to repair,
rescue,
deliver,
and save.
On that cross,
everything we required was released;
all of our spiritual promises were fulfi lled for all of eternity.
So, we cling to Him,
the One who is able to do remarkably and lavishly
more than we could request or even envision.

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.

 

 
 

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For His Glory

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The last post was about when God’s answers don’t seem to match our prayers. Today, I wanted to expand on the topic. God works all things together for His purposes on the earth. Many times we are frustrated because we are trying to get God to work all things together for our purposes. It’s, “God, my will be done on earth,” instead of, “God, Your will be done on earth.”

God is interested in every single detail of our lives. He cares about us more than we could possibly care about ourselves. He cares about it all. He, however, sees the bigger picture. He sees all, knows all, and works all things together to accomplish the greatest good. Here are some examples from scripture.

Jesus:

Our Savior came into the world as a babe. He was born into humble circumstances. He lived only 33 years before being crucified. Jesus knew why He came. He knew His life would be the atoning sacrifice for all sin. He knew He would suffer and endure hardships for us. In the garden of Gethsemane He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done,” Luke 22:42. The Father had the crucifixion of the Son in place for our redemption. He allowed it to happen knowing He would raise His Son up to glory. The pain that Jesus endured accomplished more than our minds fully fathom. It was for His glory! The Father was glorified. The Son was glorified. And we are able to partake in an abundance of promises because of God’s glorious plan.

Lazarus:

I love the story of Lazarus. He was a friend of Jesus. He was loved by Jesus. He became sick and died. Lazarus’ sisters sent for Jesus, and He did not come.

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, John 11:4-6.

It seems strange that Jesus did not immediately stop what He was doing and attend to the request to come see His friend. By the time Jesus got there, Lazarus had been dead four days.

Jesus went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” John 11:11-15.

Then Jesus proceeded to raise Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him, John 11:39:44.

The death of Lazarus resulted in the resurrection of Lazarus, and God was glorified. Many people came to believe because of Lazarus’ encounter with Jesus.

Final Notes:

In our own lives we can focus on a small part of the equation, and God is focused on the greater picture. It’s not simply about us. It’s about the greater purpose. God knows what will bring the greatest impact for His Kingdom. It isn’t that He does not care about us or He’s selfish. He is perfect in wisdom and has a plan that is beyond what we can understand, reason, or fathom. We may never fully understand what He is doing. He is not obligated to explain everything to us. He asks that we trust Him.

I told you about my car accident. I was able to share God’s love with the salesman who sold me my car. I did finally get one Friday. The man who sold me my car provided a discount that was quite generous. The car I purchased has more than I could have asked for. God has also given me opportunities to share His love with others and the testimony of His saving power, healing, and grace during a challenging time. He continues to solidify my faith that He is my Protector, Provider, and Healer. I don’t know all that He has planned, but I am certain it will be for His glory.

God is good friends. What He is preparing for those who love Him is greater than anything we could imagine. May we trust Him more and more, knowing that He is good, and He is love. God bless you. Love, Erin.

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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Special Guest Karen Baney-Best Selling Christian Author

Dear friends, I would love to introduce Karen Baney to you! She is my special guest for today. She has some great insight for authors. I hope you are as blessed as I am by her wisdom, insight, and encouragement, ~Erin.

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10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

Sales != Self Worth

Some of you understand the title of this post immediately.  Others, it is taking you a few seconds to fully understand.  Let me help.  In computer programming, we use the “!=” to mean “does not equal”.  So the title really reads “sales does not equal self-worth”.

Oh, do you realize how true this is!

If you’re an author like me (or anyone in a sales position), you may find yourself falling it to the pit of despair whenever you look at your sales.  Only one book sold this week.  Secretly that little voice in the back of your head is convincing you that this means you are not worth anything.

I know.  I understand.  It happens to me.  Even after 200,000 downloads in 2012.  Every time I release a new title, the fear of rejection grips me.  Will anyone like this new book?  Will they understand the message within its digital pages?  Will they—dare I hope—buy it and validate all of the time, effort, and energy I expended?  Can I finally be satisfied that I am worth something?

Dear author, you are already worth something.  You are precious to Jesus just the way you are.  He gave you this wonderful talent to be able to express so much through words on the screen.  He loves you deeply and unconditionally.  Take a moment to let that truth sink in.

The next time you pull up your sales report, or wait for one from your publisher, remember this:  Your worth != the number of books you’ve sold.

The truth is that no matter how much you market and how many things you do right; you can never force a single sale.  Marketing is simply using techniques to get the word out about your book.  It’s up to the reader to buy it.

Another truth:  some great books go unnoticed and some really poor books sell well.  The number of books sold is just that.  It’s a business metric, not a sign of your value or even the quality of your writing.

It’s time to take a new view of your sales figures.  Separate the emotion from the business metric.  Don’t fall into the temptation to gauge your worth or your writing by how many or how few books are purchased.

Sales != your value.

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Best-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website:  karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

 Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Contemporary: Nickels
 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Special Guest

 

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When God’s Answer Doesn’t Seem to Match Your Prayers

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For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose, Romans 8:28.

Have you ever asked God for something and His answer did not seem to match your request? I have numerous times. This year I asked God for a year free of trauma, people close to me dying, and to save more money. It’s February 2nd and in the past week, I have been a car accident where my car was totaled, my aunt died, and I have another family member in critical condition in the hospital. I would have paid off my car next week. I would have had no car payment and been eligible for overtime. Since I was off due to the accident, the overtime is gone and if you’re working you know most people are making less money this year due to the social security tax in the USA going from 4.2 to 6.2 percent. So, the saving money part isn’t going the way I would like at the moment.

Let’s get to the good part of the story. What has God done the past week? Well, I suffered minor injuries from the accident, and I could have been killed or hospitalized. I missed landing in a frozen pond by a few feet. I was able to turn to miss hitting a utility pole head on. A friend came to be with me and help me the day of. The tow was free. Everything I have needed has been provided. Every day my pain is less and less. Every day I feel God’s love in a deeper way. I have not found a car replacement, but I am trusting God to do something great. I trust God even more with my life. I had no control over what happened last Friday. I simply had to trust God. I have seen in a greater capacity what God can do when we rely fully on Him, trust Him, believe Him, and seek Him. He is good.

Losing loved ones:

I grieve for any person who leaves this world without knowing God. In my mind, that is the worst case scenario. For my family members who know Jesus and leave this world for the next, I can rejoice. They were not healed here, but they have their complete healing in eternity. No pain, no sorrow, no weeping, no hurt, and bliss in the full presence of God. It hurts to lose someone we care for. It’s challenging to see any blessing in loss. I am not here to state we should throw a party or not grieve. Mourning is part of life. What I am saying is that God has a reason for allowing certain things to happen that we may never understand in this life.

When my mum died. I worshiped through abundant tears. It hurt me deeply, and I still have moments of sorrow. I could not understand why God would take her home. Why in this case He chose to not bring complete healing this side of eternity. I recall though sitting with her the week before she died. She said to me, “I am going home.” I responded, “No that’s not true, you’re getting better.” She replied,” No, I am going home. I have done everything God called me to do and now it’s time to go home.” She had asked God to take her home when she completed what she was placed on earth to do. She asked God to take her home if she were not going to be completely healed and a burden to others. God honored her prayers not ours.

When God’s answer does not seem to match our prayers, we can trust in His infinite wisdom, His unfailing love, and His perfect will.

So, my dear friends, if God’s answer doesn’t match your prayers, trust Him. I can say that because I have to trust Him every day. I have to lean on Him as my life depends on Him. I am young person who feels like I have lived a thousand years. But I would not trade my experiences and hard times for they have taught me so much about the love, provision, care, comfort, friendship, and beauty of God. I dare not glory in hardships, I delight in God who makes all things beautiful in His time. He gives us beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and peace for turmoil. These momentary afflictions are nothing compared to His love. As long as God is here, we have a hope that will not disappoint. Hang in there! Keep seeking His face. He loves you deeply!

Lastly, I found this online and it brought great comfort.

I asked for strength,
And God gave me difficulties to make me strong;

I asked for wisdom,
And God gave me problems to learn to solve;

I asked for prosperity,
And God gave me brain and brawn to work;

I asked for courage,
And God gave me dangers to overcome;

I asked for love,
And God gave me people to help;

I asked for favors,
And God gave me opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted – I received everything I needed.
My prayer has been answered!

You are in my thoughts and prayers today friends…You are deeply loved.
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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