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Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Parable of the Bride

The Parable of the Bride

The wealthiest king in the Province wanted a Bride. His intention was for someone to love, to cherish, to add significant value to her life. He and His Father were willing to take a commoner, someone not of Royal blood and graft her into their lineage. She would have access to His entire kingdom, her name written on the royal register, her every need would be taken care of, and she would be fully loved forever.

His family was the most prominent family on the earth. She would join the Royal guardians and have her name engraved on His crest.

The Bride once found, was playing in the dirt. She was not noble. She had boyfriends who led her into bondage. She was wounded. She was broken. She was not anyone who would be considered nobility.

The Groom said to her, “I want you. I choose you. I have so many incredible thoughts about you. Will you marry me? Will you forsake all others and join me?” She pondered the offer of the Groom. His eyes were filled with pure love. He did not come to consume as others had done. He came to invest and sow into her life. She fell for His love and said yes to His proposal.

With one yes, the Groom offered her a ring and new Royal garment signifying of her new identity. She was now part of the Royal family. Her name was added to the register of nobles. The Groom even offered to acquire her family and friends if they wanted to be a part of His kingdom.

The Bride was elated. She went from poverty to royalty with one yes. She was cared for, loved, accepted, given Royal authority and assignments (all the nobles had royal assignments including the Groom), her old identity was transformed, she was given a room with the Groom in the royal palace. She even had full access to the courts and the Royal Judge. She could go before the courts pleading the cause of the poor, oppressed, and even her own causes. She had access to the treasury. She was no longer poor.

The Bride at first enjoyed her luxury, yet her love for the Groom grew cold. Though she had everything she needed, she began to sneak out of the royal palace to seek out the old boyfriends. She knew the Groom would never betray His vows so she partied in the dark streets most of the week and visits the Groom for an hour or so on Sundays. Sundays were festival days in the kingdom. She found hobbies and friends that took up all her time and spent less and less time with the Groom. She did make time when she needed something. She would bake the Groom bread or give Him gifts with lists of things she wanted attatched to them. She mostly gave to the Groom with an expectation that He would give even more back to her.

Anytime the Groom asked for her partnership on a palace project, to join on a project of the nobles, or to help Him love the orphans or misfortunate near the kingdom, the Bride said no, “That’s not my duty. Please ask someone else. I am too busy to be a part of your projects.”

The Groom loved the Bride. He paid the highest price to include her in His lineage. He listened to her long lists of desires, He worked to make her life blessed. He was generous, loving, kind, pure, and the most respected and honored Kings of all time. Yet the Bride was more interested in what she could gain, than loving the Groom. She lived part time in the kingdom and part time in the land of the dead.

She and some others even built their own mini kingdom with the Groom’s name on it, yet their focus was primarily what they wanted to do. Sometimes they would give the Groom their agenda and tell Him to get on board with their plans.

They used the Groom’s name to manipulate others in the Province to gather funds to build their own towers, gardens, and villas. They robbed the poor and refused to feed the poor or care for others in the kingdom. They built their own celebrity circle and would perform for the commoners yet not allow the commoners to get close to them. They spent hours trying to build their kingdom, when everything they needed was in the Royal kingdom. The commoners worshipped the mini deities not realizing they were not truly representing the Groom’s heart for the people.

The Groom’s heart was grieved. He and his Father were grieved. They did not have a Bride who loved the King and his Kingdom. They had a Bride who loved herself, the world she came from, and her mini kingdom. The King tore His robe and wept. He loved the Bride. She knew His love was unwavering so she treated Him poorly knowing He would not abandon her. The heart of the Groom kept pursuing good hoping the Bride would reciprocate His incredible love.

The Groom is Jesus. The Bride is His church. Though this parable does not reflect all of the Bride, it is a picture to hopefully bring us into greater understanding of what God is offering and asking of us. He gave His life for love. If we look at the ways we love God, would we want to be loved that way? If we had a spouse who treated us that way, would we enjoy it?

God is after our hearts, all of our hearts. Jesus is not returning for a girlfriend, sleeping beauty, or a Bride with all her other lovers. Even a human spouse or family are not to take priority over God. He is not our genie in a bottle, slot machine, or cuddly Santa. God is the King of the Universe. The invitation has always been, “forsake all others and follow Me.” God wants it all. He desires our full devotion.

Papa God, thank you for offering us your righteousness for our wickedness. Thank you for offering us nobility, royalty, a kingdom, new garments, priestly robes, royal assignments, and most of all the King. Thank you! Help us to receive your love. Help us to return that love. Help us to be a Bride who loves the King more than anything. Forgive us for loving anything and anyone more than you. Forgive us for forsaking our heavenly assignments for our earthly ones. Forgive us for mistreating you. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin L. Lamb

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Sustaining Power to Overcome (Holy Spirit University (HSU) Series Part III)

Photo credit: Word of the Day

Holy Spirit is sustaining power if we abide. Our world is full of things that are not like God; pain, sin, death, destruction, rudeness, cruelty, abuse, and so much more. How do we overcome? We abide in the one who has overcome. Jesus suffered and died. He did not stay dead, He rose with all power in His hands. He says to born again believers, “I overcame, you can overcome. The same power, the same Spirit that raised Me, it abides in you.”

Since the Spirit of God lives in me, I can (so can you if you are a Spirit filled follower of Jesus), give thanks for adversity, opposition, and persecution.

Before you think I have lost my marbles or gone wackado…heres why?

Adversity, opposition, and persecution are opportunities for growth, refinement, and deeper intimacy with God.

Adversity reveals the authencity of what we proclaim to believe. Without adversity we can claim to trust God, claim to have faith, yet the fire of affliction reveals what is in us. If there is unbelief, it rises to the surface in panic in moments of adversity. If there is pride, it rises to the surface. Adversity reveals what we believe and exposes any flaws in our character or identity that need refined.

Opposition is an opportunity to rely on the Spirit of God and not our flesh. Can we love like God when we are being opposed, sabatoged, mistreated, and persecuted? It’s easy to be kind when life is peachy. Can we be kind when hell is going on around us? Can we stay in a place of honor, even when dishonored? Can we represent Jesus well even when hated without cause? Opposition reveals our love walk.

Persecution, if yielded to God, brings forth the oil of His glory or bitterness. An olive is pressed to bring forth more oil. If we let hurt or offense in, the stench of bitterness arises and the fragrance of hatred flows from us. If we yield to God, more and more of the character of God is manifested in our lives.

Persecution can also deepen our intimacy with God. “God here I am. What do I do? Help me to love those who hate me. Help me to love and honor those who mistreat me. Forgive them God for they know not what they do. Invade their hearts with your love. Help me to abide in you and not respond in my flesh. May you be glorified.”

The Psalmist stated, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees,”~Psalm 119:71.

It is so tempting to run from Gethsemane, yet nothing crucifies the flesh or exposes our blind spots like testing, trials, adversity, opposition, and persecution.

If you are in the fire today or your faith or love walk is being tested, my prayer is, “Don’t jump out of the fire ahead of time. Some things we are delivered from and some through. The only thing consumed in the fire (if we are linked to God) is what limits us, the dross, the stuff unlike God.”

It is not by our strength or power, it is by His strength and power. God is able to sustain us and help us thrive in the midst of the worst adversity, opposition, trials, and persecution.

Disclaimer: this does not apply to abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, or spiritual abuse); get out, get help. If you physically or emotionally sick, Jesus wants you healed.

Papa God, for those weary in well doing I ask for a wave of your goodness and glory to wash over them. For those beaten down and afflicted, I ask for a raising of a standard against the enemy, let not our faith fail. For those persecuted, I pray comfort, healing, and your sustaining power. Help us to lean on you and not ourselves. Increase our awareness of your love, peace, goodness, and joy. Take us deeper into intimacy with you. Holy Spirit come and saturate our body, soul, and spirit with Shalom. In the mighty name of Jesus amen.

You are so deeply loved! You are prayed for too on a regular basis.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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God is Not Punishing the World; Sin Brings Destruction

Morning Devotion: God is not punishing the world; sin brings torment, death, and destruction. Jesus came to save the world. Prayer of repentance at the end.

The thief (the devil) 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]. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His [own] life for the sheep,~Jesus (John 10:10-11).

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance,~2 Peter 3:9.

With almost every disaster you get the people who rise up declaring God is punishing someone. It is a misunderstanding of God’s heart and how natural order works.

Jesus did not come to destroy the world. He came to save the world. Sin on the other hand is partnership with Satan and brings forth death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,”~Romans 6:23.

People do not always believe this, Adam and Eve did not believe God, yet it’s true. How can I say this? Well, look at earth today. It only takes a few minutes of watching the news to see that sin brings destruction. Person A gets angry at person B and decides to run them over with their car. Person B dies because person A has a rage problem, lack of self control, and a pride problem. We can also look at the consequences of the choices of Adam and Eve. Death, destruction, decay, immorality, and trauma entered humanity when they surrendered their will to the devil.

All of creation suffered because of their choices and we still suffer today. Jesus came to empower humanity to have life to its fullest.

Sin entraps an individual into thinking, “It’s just about me. My choice. It does not impact anyone else.” This is false. Sin is like a hurricane, it impacts everything around it and the course is death and devastation.

It does not mean if you suffer persecution, trauma, tragedy, etc…that you personally have gross sin in your life. Jesus suffered at the hands of other’s sins. Sin hurts someone. Sin lead humanity to nail an innocent man to the cross. God is not the one trying to kill, steal, or destroy…those are the devil’s job descriptions.

Life example. I used to have Sunday school with my family. We had one cousin who would try to get others in trouble. Once he got everyone laughing, he would slip into the background. We (those laughing) would get in trouble. The devil works the same way. He convinces people “God is not good, look at what you don’t have, do what is best for you, you need to get your needs met, do what feels good, don’t think about consequences, nothing bad is going to happen to you, this feels good-do it, it’s your life“…then he slips into the background and watches the drama unfold. Once the consequence for sin is set in motion, someone must be blamed, “Oh let’s blame God. If God loved the world bad things would not happen.” Yet humanity consistently partners with the devil then gets angry when that partnership goes foul.

I have heard people say, “If God loved the world, there would be no sin or hungry people or disasters.” Well, God gave humans dominion on earth and the ability to choose. Evil exists because of the abuse of free will. We have starving children on this planet because of thievery and greed. Africa was robbed of her natural treasures (diamonds, minerals, resources) and her people left to die. Millions of dollars come into churches each year tax exempt and some do nothing to help the poor.

The sins of people are the reason our world is a hot mess. We were also called to be stewards of this planet, yet we pollute it to gain profits and have more money and then complain when the earth decays, “Why did God let this happen?” Why did we let it happen?

The blame game started in the Garden of Eden and has never fixed anything. Repentance does help heal the land. Repentance is agreeing with God.

“God we release our judgement against any person and forgive them. We release them to you, along with all bitterness, malice, and resentment. Reduce us to love like Jesus. God we are sorry for our sins; our pride, hatred, apathy, mistreating people and this planet, lack of love, misplaced priorities, idolatry, valuing things more than people, valuing politics more than people, racism and sexism, thinking more highly of ourselves than we should, cursing, cursing others, putting things or people above you, self righteousness, passivity, disobedience, rebellion, lust, perversion, murder, killing the innocent, siding with injustice, not caring for the poor, for not adhering to sound doctrine, for selfishness, greed, and everything not of you. Please forgive us and have mercy on us. We break our partnership with the devil. We renounce any covenant with darkness. We appropriate the blood of Jesus to our sins. Restore our hearts, heal our souls, cleanse our land. Thank you for mercy. In Jesus powerful name amen.”

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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