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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Friendship with God (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 4) 

  
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God,~James 2:23. 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,~John 15:13. 
You are my friends if you do what I command,~Jesus (John 15:14). 

There are several people in the Bible who were considered friends of God. They walked with God. Moses, Abraham, Enoch, Mary-gave birth to Jesus, Mary/Martha/Lazarus (friends of Jesus), and more. 

There’s an invitation God sends out to humanity, “Come and know Me. Come be loved. Come be known and valued. Come be honored and respected. You and Me, let’s be close friends.” 

It’s a shame salvation is seen, at times, as a ticket into heaven instead of an invitation into the closest and best relationship ever. Friendship with God is eternal. Covenant with God is eternal if we repent, believe, and place our faith in the Son of God. 

So why then is friendship with God sometimes placed at the bottom of the priority list? 

The Creator of the Universe wants to have deep, close fellowship with humanity. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I look at humanity, I am wondering, “Really God? You want to connect with us? Did you read this news this morning? We are all sorts of messed up!” 

What I’ve learned and am learning about God is this: 

  • God knows the depravity of humanity. 
  • God knows He is the only cure. 
  • God sees who He created.
  • God can see past the brokenness, sin, and issues. 
  • God is love. 
  • Love is not simply what God does; it’s who He is. 
  • We are not transformed by our self effort. 
  • We are transformed through relationship with God (abiding and intimacy). 
  • We are not God’s fixer upper projects; we are objects of His affection. 

I’ve been pursuing friendship with God for a long time. I wanted Him to be able to say, “She’s one of My very best friends. I trust her. We can talk about anything. She keeps My secrets. She seeks to do My will. She spends time with Me just because of who I am.” 

God is glorious. He’s lavish in love. He leaves me awe. Sometimes I have no words (yes, it’s true). He gives good gifts. 

As I grow to know more and more about God, I find I just love who He is. He doesn’t need to do anything. He’s my best friend. 

Over the years He’s shown me He’s more than the One to go to in crisis. He’s more than a song we sing about on the weekend. He’s more than what we do for Him. God is more than the things He does for us. 

God is worthy of reciprocated love and genuine friendship. 

Have you ever had “friends” you only heard from when they were in crisis? They only called or texted you when they bored or needed something? They were never there for you, but were angry if you missed being at their immediate disposal? They invested nothing and expected you to do everything? They rattled off for you their lists of prayer needs and went on their way? They spent time with you to feel good, then you didn’t see them again until they felt bad? They were there to take. They felt no matter how badly they treated you, if you loved them, you better be there? 

I have known and do know people who fit the paragraph above. If you ask them, they will tell you that we are great friends. I have more people calling me their best friend than are actually someone I would call a friend. 

Do we treat God like a best friend? Are we His friend? Do we love Him for who He is, not simply what He does for us or how He makes us feel? If there was no heaven, would we worship God? Do we do what He asks? Are we learning more about Him? Do we spend time just being with Him, not just asking for things? 

How do we grow in friendship with God? 

Friendship with God starts with salvation. 

1. Salvation (Come on into the Kingdom of God! We are family.). 

See the link at the top of this webpage if you don’t know Jesus. The post talks about how to know Jesus. No one comes to the Father except through the Son (John 14:6). 

2. Seek God for who He is. 

I started praying, “God show me who You truly are. I want to know You. I want to be a best friend to You.” 

I set aside date days or times with God. God and I would have nature days, to explore nature together. We’d have worship dance parties. We’d have listening times, He talked and I listen or vice versa. We’d have study the Bible times. I asked Holy Spirit to teach me the Word of God. We’d laugh. We’d write music. Well, I wrote music. I’d ask Him what made Him happy, brought Him joy. I’d ask Him how I could love Him. 

You don’t have to do what I did. Each person has their own walk and relationship with God. Yet I encourage seeking God for who He is. 

3. Do what God says. Become a person of integrity and trustworthiness. 

God’s love for us is unconditional. The level of trust He imparts to us is not unconditional. Say what?  Jesus grew in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). The trustworthiness, obedience, faith, integrity, and love of Jesus was tested. He was obedient even into death (Phillipians 2:8).  We too are tested (1 Peter 1:7). If we are faithful over little, more is given (Luke 16:10). 

What about us who are still growing in faith, love, and integrity? 

You and I are operating under the glorious umbrella of grace. Those who are in Christ operate out of what God has already done through Jesus. 

God tells us to believe, receive, abide, submit, and there will be good fruit. Just like earthly friendships, they grow and flourish over time and proximity/intimacy. Trust also develops over time. 

God is kind. If He continues to pour out truth we refuse to obey, we are held accountable for what we know. God also values people. For Him to entrust people to us or their brokenness or secrets means He wants that stewarded with love. 

We are not to use things God gave us to pray about to slander people. I rarely ever use people’s real names in sharing testimonies (I ask if I can share), and I don’t seek tell things given in confidence nor do I seek to manipulate people. 

People’s personal business is not mine to disclose. I’m also prayerful about what God shares with me. His secrets are safe with me.

Closing thoughts: 

As we seek God for who He is and desire friendship with God we will enjoy one of the greatest gifts; God. He’s worth knowing. It’s a journey and process. I’m still learning. Each day I’m learning new things about God. I hope you are too! We will have eternity to know Him; that’s exciting. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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The Secret Place (Abiding & Intimacy with God Part 3)

  
…the news about Him (Jesus) was spreading farther, and large crowds kept gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their illnesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray [in seclusion],~Luke 5:15-16 (Amplified). 

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,~Psalm 91:1 (King James Version). 

I love Jesus. I love who He is. He modeled for us how to live in flourishing relationship with the Father. Jesus demonstrated for all of humanity what one person in constant communion and fellowship with the Father could accomplish. 

Jesus modeled the life of a Son. He modeled a life of authority and victory. He modeled a life of unwavering submission to the Father. He also demonstrated the fruitfulness that flows from abiding. 

One of my favorite disciplines of Jesus is stealing away to the secret place with the Father. We do not have insight into their conversations. We do not know what happened when they were alone together. 

We do know that the connection between the Father and the Son was so strong that during His crucifixion part of Jesus’s agony was the momentary separation from the Father. He became sin for us. 

If we see Jesus doing something, it’s important. He retreated, away from people and the crowds, to be with the Father. He cultivated intimacy with the Father. 

The Scripture says Jesus retreated often to pray. Prayer is more than asking of God. We know, from the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught the disciples to begin in worship. 

“Pray, then, in this way:

Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment].

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]“~Jesus (Matthew 6:9-13)-(Amplified). 

God invites us into the secret place with Him. There are no distractions in the secret place. It is a time to meet with God, to love God. It’s also a time to be raw with God. It is a time to listen to what He has to say. 

The secret place with God is where we grow to know Him on an even deeper level. There’s no band playing or preacher preaching. There’s us and God. 

Jesus retreated often. We don’t read of Him running on empty, or being stressed beyond reason. He lived out of a place of rest and peace. He knew His Source and lived out of His Source. Since He lived out of a place of intimacy, rest, peace, and His identity as God’s Son we see Him doing what He saw the Father doing and saying what He heard the Father speaking. 

We must know someone intimately to represent them well. Jesus perfectly represented the Father. 

Jesus continued to meet with the Father over and over in the secret place. He knew intimacy (connection with the Father) was His source. 

Jesus remained full and was always able to release what He carried. Peace was in Him, so He spoke peace to the storms. Love was in Him, so He could love the unloveable. Healing was in Him, so He could heal the sick. Jesus lived in constant communion with Father God. 

If we are to thrive, instead of simply survive our Christian life, we need the secret place with God. If we are to represent the Father well, we need the secret place. If we are to remain full, we need the secret place. We need time to shut out the world and tune into God. We need to be with Him. 

God also longs to spend quality time with us more than we could ever want to be with Him. He loves us more than we can imagine. 

I’m all for gathering with other believers and ministry. It does not replace my time alone with God. He gets more of my free time than anyone. I need my time with Him. It’s not so I can feel good, get a word, or drop my requests on Him. Our time is about knowing Him, loving Him, and often learning from Him. There are times we laugh or the focus is worship or intercession. My primary focus is deepening our connection. I’m not there to take. I’m there to love Him. 

My prayer is you and I go deeper than we’ve been before with God. I pray we carve out space in our lives for just God. I pray our time is spent loving Him and allowing Him to love us. 

Papa God thank You that salvation is an invitation into relationship. Thank You for sending Your Son to pay for full access to You. Help us to steal away with You and retreat to the secret place. Deepen our intimacy and love for You. Remove any hinderances from growing to know and love You more. In Jesus powerful name, amen. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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