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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Follow Jesus (Abiding & Intimacy with God Part 10)

  
Photo Credit: Created with WordSwag, used with permission. 

Morning Devotion: Walking in the footsteps of Jesus. He only did what He saw the Father doing; said what He heard Him speaking. 

Jesus was the most effective minister who ever walked the earth because He only did what He saw the Father doing and said what He heard the Father speaking. He understood the importance of serving and getting away to just be with the Father.  

Jesus lived out of a place of intimacy with the Father. He met with the Father because He loved Him, not to just fill His tank or get something from Him. 

Jesus was and is love manifested in the flesh, there was and is no selfishness in God. The Father and Son connected heart to heart, pure intimacy. 

Jesus was not led by the desires of the people, led by pleasing people, nor was He led by His feelings. He was primarily motivated by the love He had for the Father and the desire to do His will. Do we seek the Father’s heart and seek to know His will? Love is about partnership, not simply receiving for our personal gain.

God pursues us to love us. And as He loves us, we fall in love with Him. When we fall in love with Him, we want to be with Him, over and over with Him. As we with are with Him, His heart begins to be our heart. 

The gifts, treasures, visions, and dreams He places in us begin to rise to the surface. We become the truest version of who He created us to be-purged of deception, fear, and insecurity. We meet heart to heart and spirit to Spirit with God. These times in the hidden crevices of His heart are where true transformation occurs. He deposits seeds of His goodness, love, hope, faith, joy, wisdom, insight, and we leave that place pregnant with promise, wisdom, understanding, love, and purpose.

The statements of Jesus in John 15:4-5 are quite true. He said, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. If you remain (abide, stay connected to, cultivate intimacy with) me-you WILL bear abundant fruit.” 

The fruit of Jesus is evident not only in His words but in the way He lived. He perfectly represented the Father. He gave all of humanity the key to living like Him-abide. 

Abiding is to cease striving and operating in the flesh. Striving leads to stress and self righteousness (look at how holy I am by what I have done). No one stands before God except Jesus holy (has never sinned). We take on His righteousness by faith through the wonderful work of grace. So we can say, “I am standing and abiding in what Jesus has already done. I receive by faith and remain (abide) in Him.”  

Praying for you!! You are so deeply loved. 

Erin 

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

 

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God is Pursuing You (Saturday Devotion)

  
A deep, intimate, flourishing relationship/friendship with God is available to any person who wants one. He so loves the entire world. We have as much friendship with God as we desire. He is consistently pursuing the world, to love the world. 
God is never too busy, or too annoyed to be an incredible friend, loving Father. I have not met anyone who holds a candle to Him. God love (agape) far, far, far surpasses human love and only His (agape) love does not fail. 
Looking for love, be with God. I love people, yet they are not my source of love or security or identity or joy or confidence. God is. 
Being with God and receiving His love leads to…💛
💫Loving God (we love because He first loves us). 
💫Loving ourselves (we receive perfect love for ourselves from God, and grow to love ourselves unconditionally).
💫Loving others (we can only give what we possess and release what we carry. We love our neighbor as we love ourselves).
💫Godly confidence (it’s not about our thoughts or what we think of who we are. Who does God say we are). 
💫Peace and Joy (God’s love brings with it peace, contentment, and overflowing joy).
💫Wisdom and Understanding (His thoughts are far higher than mans. His wisdom incomparable).
💫Awe (intimacy with God evokes awe-how marvelous, majestic, wonderful, and glorious He is!!!).
💫Healing and Restoration (no one does it better than God. He gives beauty for ashes and joy for mourning).
💫Purpose and Identity (The purpose of something is known best by the One who created it).
💫Transformation (we are deeply changed not by our striving, but by abiding. Apart from Him we can do nothing). 
💫Courage and Compassion (the more intimate we are with God, the more His heart becomes our heart. His courage becomes our courage. Fear, selfishness, and pride dissipate in His presence, when we receive). 
So sweet ones, the invitation is open to all. Whosoever will let them come. God will not force Himself on anyone or into any busy schedule. He knocks on the door of the heart and says, “I love you. May I come in? I long to be with you and be known by you.” How He loves us so.

Papa God help us to respondto your  relentless pursuit! May we know You for who You are and know who we are in you. Help us to cease being busy and make time for the greatest love we could ever have. Thank You for everything. In Jesus mighty name, Amen. 

I leave you with one of my favorite worship songs: Wrap Me in Your Arms

 
 

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Proximity Is Not Intimacy (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 9)

  
Morning thoughts on intimacy: Proximity does not equal intimacy. Nor does proximity or just spending time equal friendship. 

There were people who traveled with Jesus, ate with Jesus, and considered themselves disciples or friends of Jesus. Yet those who followed Him and dined/traveled with Him many of them still did not know His heart. When you read the Gospels you will read of their doubt, unbelief, selfishness, pride, issues, and denial/betrayal of Jesus. 

Only Mary showed up at the tomb of Jesus. Only John (of His male disciples/followers) showed up at His crucifixion. On the night before He was betrayed, they went to sleep, though He begged for their prayers. 

The disciples could touch His flesh and still missed His heart. They walked with Him yet were not good friends to Him in His time of need. 

We can spend time with people, read about their life, and still miss being intimate with them. Why? How? If our focus is inward, we can be sitting right next to someone and not know them. If we are filled with unbelief we can be close (proximity) to Jesus and still miss knowing Him. If our eyes are set on, “What can I gain from this relationship, what is in it for me? What about me? How can they bless or validate me? I think, I feel…me,” we miss out on the greatest gift-knowing God. And if we are that way with people we miss out on knowing them too. Me centered living does not launch us deep. 

Even some of the relatives of Jesus did not truly know Him. Those in His community mocked Him, scorned Him, and were offended by Him. Some thought He was crazy. They were in proximity with Jesus, they were not intimate with Jesus (truly knowing and believing He was the Son of God). 

When we are truly intimate with someone we see them as they are, not as we wish them to be. We listen to their heart, and what matters to them begins to matter to us. We love them deeply for who they are not what they can do for us. We know their voice, the way they move, their heart and motivations, the intonation in their speech. We can in detail tell others about parts of their inner world. 

Intimacy is not a destination; it is a journey. A perpetual journey to know someone deeply, beyond the surface and simply stating surface facts or what we have read or heard. 

God invites us all to know Him deeply and for ourselves. Intimacy is more than reading the Bible and attending a few services. It is a laid down life of being loved and known by God, then loving and knowing God in return. It surpasses the intimacy that can be shared between a husband and wife in covenant. And this intimacy extends on past life on earth…into eternity. 

May you and I continually pursue intimacy with God and dive deeper in covenant relationships as well. May we be people of depth, moving beyond shallow or surface knowings. 

I have heard His heart cry, “Do they know Me?” Let’s be pursuers of His heart as He pursues ours. God is worth knowing. How He loves us so! He is pursuing us to love us. 

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Invest & Nurture (Weekly Devotion) 

Morning devotion: Healthy relationships require mutual investment. What we feed and nurture grows, what we starve or neglect dies. Intimacy is an ongoing mutual pursuit. 

I have plants. I had one I took to the basement once and well I forgot about the poor thing. There is minimal sunlight in the basement. It obviously was not watered. Guess what? It died. Dead. Dead. Super dead. There was no feeding, nurturing, or investment in the plant. So it died. 

I also have bank accounts, as do most people. If I pull up and try to withdraw 10 million dollars, the cashiers will send me a note, “Insufficient funds.” I have not deposited 10 million dollars, therefore I can not withdraw the amount. 

Relationships are like the plant and bank account. What we neglect, or ignore often withers and dies. It is not enough to invest in the beginning and then do nothing coasting on commitment. Intimacy will wither and fade. 

God invests richly in us and has no lack. So we are not adding to His bounty per say. God does want our love and pure devotion. When you truly love someone, how they treat you matters. We are encouraged in Scripture to love God; love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength-to love Him above a spouse, child, family, or friends. In order to deepen our friendship, I must purposefully seek Him. Our friendship grows when I seek Him to know Him. “God what is on Your heart today? I am here to love You God. Thank You God. My heart and life is Yours God. I am listening, what do You have to say?”

God so loves the world despite reciprocation of love. It does warm His heart to be loved in return. Unrequited love is no fun. Trust me I know this well. 

The same goes for relationships with people. If we never talk to them except when we need or want something, we have reduced them to being an ATM. They are a resource for us and not a person. 

I read a quote that stuck with me, “The problem with the world is people were meant to be loved and things were meant to be used. We have people being used and things being loved.” 

I had someone tell me once, “I love you Erin. You are always there for me. No matter what you are there.” This person I only saw when they needed something or did not have a boyfriend. I was completely ignored otherwise. They never asked how I was doing, never contacted me to just say hello. Guess what? The relationship died. I was a friend. They were not. I found people who treated me like a human being who is loved. 

Healthy relationships require some investment, otherwise they wither and die. 

How can we be a good friend to God and others? How can we nurture the relationships that we have? 

What we feed, nurture, pay attention to grows. What we ignore and neglect withers. May we not abuse the unconditional love of God-“He will never leave me so I will treat God however I want.” May we also not abuse the love of people. One day we may look up and they have moved on to where they are supported, honored, and love is reciprocated. 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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