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Weekend Devotion (God Wants Relationship) 

Photo: Nay Crumors 

Morning Devotion: Knowing God (intimacy with God) is the most important thing…Not church attendance, tithing, church affiliation, serving, or being entertained. God is after personal, intimate relationship. 

Being with God, knowing God, trumps doing for God. Being is to lead to doing with the motivation to love God and others. 

When intimacy with God and knowing His heart and character are removed from Christianity you end up with powerless religion. 
We can spend our lives in church, paying tithes, doing Christian stuff, having great worship, and go to hell (totally miss God). How can I say this? Well, it came straight from the mouth of Jesus. Read Matthew 7:21-29, Matthew 25:31-46. 

Religion void of relationship leads to idolatry and oppression. The Pharisees had religion not relationship with God. 

Mankind without connection to the Vine (Jesus) yields no good fruit. See John 15:4-5. There is a form of godliness in religion void of transformative power and genuine agape love. That’s why the Bible was used as an excuse to kill millions of Native born Americans (First Nations people) or enslave Africans (deny them any human rights) or abuse women and deny them equal rights. So many horrific things have been done under the mask of “Christianity,” yet Jesus made it very plain. He stated, “You will know My followers by their agape love.” See John 13:35. 

Love fulfills the law because it does no harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10). Love is holy and without any sin, including selfishness the most destructive sin. Love involves freedom and equality. Love is not rude nor full of mean sarcasm. Love builds up. Love gets low to serve not seeking to be served. Love has no prejudice. Love honors even the dishonorable. Love seeks the best interests of others. Love possesses humility (others matter). Love does not seek to dominate, control, hurt, harm, abuse, use, or harass others. 

There is a huge difference between someone who claims God and someone who knows God. The one who knows God grows to resemble God (1 John 4:8). Some of what we call Christianity is not about Jesus at all. It is traditions of men and void of God’s love, purity, and power. 

God invites us to know Him. All the other things flow out of knowing God. If I am intimate with God, I will want to give. If I am intimate with God, I will grow more loving. If I am intimate with God, I will want to fellowship with other believers. If I am intimate with God, I will want to serve. If I am intimate with God, I will want to share the Gospel. If I am intimate with God, I will humble myself and serve others. If I am intimate with God, the fragrance on my life will draw others to Him. Our strength lies in intimacy with God. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 

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Saturday Devotion (The Gospel According to Jesus)

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Weekend Devotion: The Great Falling Away, What is the Gospel, The Prodigal, and Salvation. Looking at the words of Jesus (He is perfect theology). 

I have been thinking about prodigals and those who do not know God. I have also been thinking of those who believe they know God, yet what they have is religion not relationship. I started thinking about all the people told to simply pray a prayer to be saved (Jesus never did this) or told baptism and church membership saves them, and then live independently of God. When facing God, some will have an interesting awakening. 

The revelation will come that God is better than anything created and the words, “Depart from Me I never knew you,” will sting. 

How could a loving God reject someone? 

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. The choice is set before everyone-choose life, choose the Son, follow Him, do what He says. God extends the invitation, mankind rejects God. 

I personally do not believe in once saved always saved. Why? I find scriptures that speak of those who fall away (Matthew 24:8-9), those who turn their backs on God, those who practice lawlessness and do not care for others being cast into the darkness (Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 25:31-46). 

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’~Jesus (Matthew 7:21-23). 

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he who endures until the end shall be saved~Matthew 24:12-13. 

And the longest passage comes from Matthew 25:31-46.

There is such a burning in my heart for every person to have a personal awakening and relationship with God. 

The Role of the Disciples of Jesus

The Church is to reveal to the world the heart, nature, compassion, and goodness of God. 

Jesus revealed the Father and the world came to know God. 

The Prodigal

The prodigal had to come to his senses. He thought what the world had to offer was better than the Father. He was wrong. 

The prodigal traded royalty for a pit. He gave up paradise for something far beneath his destiny. 

The devil works overtime to convince people life on earth is all there is. He shouts, “Live it up,” knowing life independent from God leads to destruction. 

The Spirit of This Age 

The spirit of this age blinds people to the truth of who God is, how good God is, and offers temporary pleasures that never, ever satisfy. They leave people empty, broken, wounded, confused and on a death march to hell with the devil. 
Even the spirit of religion blinds people to the truth of the Gospel. 

The Gospel is… 

  • God so loves the entire world (every people group, both genders, every ethnicity).
  • There is no racism or sexism or hierarchy of people/genders in God’s heart (1 John 4:8, Revelation 5:9). 
  • God empowers both men and women to have dominion on earth and do the works of Jesus (Genesis 1:28, Galations 3:28). 
  • God so loved the world He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins (John 3:16).
  • Sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). The death penalty was on us all (Romans 5). 
  • Jesus paid for all sin on that rugged cross. So whosoever shall believe on Him and follow Him will be saved (John 3:16). Jesus invited people to follow Him (relationship).
  • He (Jesus) was born of a virgin, died for all sin, and was resurrected on the third day with all power in His hands (Matthew 1:18, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 Corinthians 15:4, Matthew 28). 
  • The same power that raised Jesus from the dead came on believers at Pentecost (Acts 2). It is available to every born again believer (Acts 1:8). 
  • Repentance (changing our mind about sin), accepting Jesus by faith and making Him Lord creates radical transformation in our lives. 
  • The old is passed away and the new comes (2 Corinthians 5:17). 
  • As far as the east is from the west, that’s how far our transgressions are removed from us (Psalm 103:12). 
  • We are crucified with Christ and it is no longer we who live, it is Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

My continual question on the street, in the market place, even at church is, “Do you know (have personal, intimate relationship) with Jesus?” 

Papa help us to know you, really know you. I pray for any person reading this devotion to have an encounter with you. I ask for radical encounters of your love, peace, joy, and wisdom. I pray for any not following Jesus to have a heart that turns to you. Let not one perish. Every spiritual scale fall off their eyes. Every bondage be broken. Every lie be seized. Holy Spirit of truth come and saturate us all. Come Lord Jesus and reveal yourself to each one. Breathe on us. In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 
 

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The Promised Gift (Holy Spirit University (HSU) Series Part I)

...the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you,~Jesus (John 14:26). 
Jesus promised the disciples a gift, a gift that would abide with those who place their ultimate faith in Him. 

Holy Spirit is an incredible gift, a gift that sustains, equips, empowers, loves, comforts, intercedes, blesses, gives spiritual gifts, imparts wisdom, and helps believers in incredble ways. 

Holy Spirit University (HSU) series is about doing life with the blessed Holy Spirit. I can not overstate the importance of Holy Spirit. 

Holy Spirit is not a wind or dove or fire-though symbolized this way in scripture. Holy Spirit has emotions, a will, a mind, insight, a voice (Holy Spirit speaks and teaches), and is perfect in every way.

Yielding to the Holy Spirit is vital to living a victorious life. 

Let’s read some scripture together: 

While being together and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Of which,” He said, “you have heard Me speak. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized and empowered and united with the Holy Spirit, not long from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked Him repeatedly, “Lord, are You at this time reestablishing the kingdom and restoring it to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”-Acts 1:4-8. 
Jesus spoke of this gift from God that would empower and equip the disciples. The Holy Spirit would give them holy boldness to be His witnesses. 

What on earth does Holy Spirit do? 

Part of the role of Holy Spirit is to empower us to do what Jesus did. 

Jesus did not say, “I am going to give you this gift that will help you do nothing. Please sit and do nothing until I return or you die. Also please stay the same way I found you.” 

The Holy Spirit within is a power house. This promised gift was to love, bring comfort, to teach, to be a seal on believers that they belong to God, to give power, holy boldness, counsel, give strength, reveal the righteous nature of God, sustain, impart spiritual gifts, provide wisdom, and so much more. 

Ready or not, here comes Holy Spirit!

The disciples walked with Jesus. I am certain there was attachment. He told them it was better that He go to the Father than remain with them. The Spirit of God would come and dwell with believers and inside of Spirit baptized believers. They would have this power house within them.

God fulfilled His word at Pentacost (Acts 2:1-13):

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place, and suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed [among them], and they rested on each one of them [as each person received the Holy Spirit]. And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately].

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout and God-fearing men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound was heard, a crowd gathered, and they were bewildered because each one was hearing those in the upper room speaking in his own language or dialect. They were completely astonished, saying, “Look! Are not all of these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears in our own language or native dialect? Among us there are Parthians, Medes and Elamites, and people of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia [Minor], Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and the visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we all hear them speaking in our [native] tongues about the mighty works of God!” And they were beside themselves with amazement and were greatly perplexed, saying one to another, “What could this mean?” But others were laughing and joking and ridiculing them, saying, “They are full of sweet wine and are drunk!”
Many went on to share the Gospel of Jesus with exceptional boldness and clarity. This power house filled those in the upper room and changed their lives forever. 

The gift that produces victory!

It is impossible to live a victorious life without Holy Spirit. 

…you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)~Romans 8:9.

…the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words,~Romans 8:26. 

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God,~Romans 8:13-14. 

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,~Ephesians 1:13. 

Without the Holy Spirit our flesh or soul (human mind, will, emotions) will dictate our lives. The mind of the flesh wars against God, it cannot please God. Without the Holy Spirit, according to Romans 8:9, we do not belong to God.  We need this gift and to honor the blessing of the Holy Spirit. 

As we contunue on this study of Holy Spirit I pray we grow to have deeper intimacy with God. I pray we grow to know more about Holy Spirit and cultivate greater friendship with Him. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 
 

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Thriving with God 


Weekend Devotion: Stay connected to the Vine and thrive baby thrive. Spiritual growth is a byproduct of intimacy with God, not self effort and striving. 

I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me you will bear much fruit. Apart from Me you can do nothing,”~Jesus (from John 15:4-5). 

The miracle plants that have thrived in my house focus on their source. They grow towards the light, they respond to being watered/fed, they stay connected to their source. Any vine that disconnects, shrivels up and dies. Why? It has no source of it’s own. We each have a body. If you cut off part of your body from the blood supply, your beating heart, and your nerve ends are depleted of oxygen-guess what? That part of you will decay, die, rot, atrophy. 

Spiritual growth is similar. God is the Source. We are pretty special to God. We are not God. He is the all sufficient One. He knows exactly what is needed to grow us up into tall thriving vines. We can yield and grow or buck Him and stay the same size. 

God loves multiplication and growth. Stagnation is not His speciality. You read in the parable of the talents God likes to reproduce what has been given. Why? If we are blessed, displaying His glory, then more people can be blessed. We can pray for God to bless people, yet He empowers us to be a blessing. 

How do we grow….

1. Stay connected to God. 

One of my morning routines is, “Morning Papa, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Love You. Thank You for everything. What do You want to do today? What’s on Your heart. I invite You into my day.” It’s not every day or I feel bad. It’s a habit of letting God know He is welcome in my life. 

God is always there. He is not always invited to participate. He is sometimes relegated to the back seat. He is spoken to for needs, complaints, everyone else is busy, boredom, obligation, or never. God likes to be included. Not for control purposes, because He loves connection with humans (This I do not fully understand). 

Growth occurs through relationship. 

2. Eat 

God’s Word is food for the spirit and soul. His presence is living water. Digesting the Word with God (key word is with God) is life giving. I am not talking about obligatory reading. I am talking about inviting God in to feast on His Word together. It is great to go to a local assembly and be spoon fed the Word. It is far better to eat on a regular basis with God. You can live eating once a week, yet strength comes in daily feasts with God. “Lord here I am, speak to me through Your Word.” 

3. Listen 

God speaks. Sometimes His voice is missed due to unbelief, “God does not speak, those people are crazy.” 

The unbelieving will continue to miss God. For everything in the Kingdom works by faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Sometimes His voice is missed because we are too busy. “Lord I will be right back, I got this, I know what to do.” 

I LOVE consultations with God. Why? He sees everything. He sees the heart, motives, past, future, impact, everything. God’s view is not tainted nor one sided. He sees it all. 

Seeking God grows us up in wisdom. The counsel of God is unparalleled. I highly value godly counsel from wise Christians, yet they never trump God. I take what they say to God. “Hey Papa, what are we keeping? What are we throwing in the garbage?” 

4. Worship 

We become like the gods we worship,~Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Worship is more than singing songs. Worship is a lifestyle of adoration. Worship is love. Who or what do we love? Where is our identity rooted? Only God is worthy of worship. Why? He alone is 100% good. Worship pleasure, become an addict. Worship beauty, become vain. Worship food, become glutton. Worship money, become greedy. Worship power, become a dictator/tyrant. Worship self, become grossly selfish. Worship people, become a people pleaser. 

Worship of God takes our eyes off ourselves and places them on God. Looking inward, navel gazing, leads to self defeating behaviors and pride. We are either looking inward and seeing all that is wrong or looking inward and patting ourselves on the back for how awesome we are. The truth is we are not the source of light, God is. Our true growth comes by basking in His light, not looking for our own. 

One of the greatest tools of the enemy is getting humans to turn their gaze away from God. He will even use good things like relationships, family, ministry, serving. If he can replace activity for intimacy, then he knows eventually that person will run out of steam. 

The power and growth is not in self, it is in God. Look up. Look at Jesus. Focus on who God is. Focus on what God has done. The devil since the beginning has been trying to put a wedge between God and humanity. He knows God is good. He is also jealous of the connection between mankind and God. He wants to be worshipped, if not directly he will settle for false gods. Anything to keep people from knowing God and loving Him. 

5. Yield to pruning 

Plants need pruned. Our hearts do too. Weeds can sprout and grow…weeds such as bitterness, fear, unforgiveness, selfishness, lust, pride,…they come to choke out love. We were created by Love (God), to be loved, then to love others. 

Trials come sometimes as tools of pruning. We need more patience so God allows some challenges. Every challenge or storm is not the devil. God allows some things because we need to grow up. Let me give you an example. I am the “Let’s get this done, we have plan A, B, C. What is our contigency plan? Early is better than late. I will do what I said. Let’s be efficient, excellent,” type personality. God allows me to be connected with others who have no plan, are not organized, everything is last minute, oh I forgot-was that today, always late, no concerns about efficiency-what’s that?, just go with it…type people. At first it caused frustration. Then I learned to yield to the challenge. 

I learned to set boundaries, invite tardy people earlier than they needed to be there, cast vision, inspire planning, and go with the flow when it’s unnecessary to map it all out. I learned to love those very different from me and appreciate their personality. They are looking to have fun. I am normally seeking to build, develop strategies, multiply, and be efficient/excellent. I have fun. I also like building. 

That challenging person may be God’s way of producing greater patience or love. That season of waiting is not God is doing nothing. If we yield we see a seed is hidden in the dirt a long time before it pops through the soil. I baby is in the womb 9 months. We prefer trees over a field of seeds, and fully developed babies over fetuses. 

Yielding to correction is also a way to grow. 

The, “You can not tell me anything,” attitude leads to immaturity…it leads to a plant covered with weeds, not producing good fruit. Even correction in the wrong spirit can cause growth. Over my life I have been exposed to lots of Holy Spirit polices. They feel it is their job to police everyone and their issues. God did not give them a badge. They are self appointed officers of the law, like the Pharisees. One can be angry with the Pharisee or take their verbal lashing to God. “Is any of this true? If so, help me. If not, garbage.” 

People who buck correction fail to grow. Feedback can be such a helpful tool. Pride says, “I know it all, you cannot correct me. I do not need any help.” Humility says, “What can I learn from you?” 

God created us to be fruitful. Being fruitful is more than having children. Being fruitful is taking the seeds God has sown, the gifts, talents, skills, and putting them to use for His glory. Being fruitful is yielding to God so the fruit of the Spirit is on display for the world to see Him. Being fruitful is being faithful to whatever and whoever God placed in front of us. Being fruitful is abiding in God so we are a loving blessing. 

Lord help us to stay connected to You, to live out of Your heart, and thrive through the work of the Holy Spirit. Help us to cease trying to be our own light or looking for others to be our source. You are our Source. Deepen our connection with You in 2017. Take the focus off insignificant things. Help our gaze be fully on You! In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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God’s Love Is Deeper, Higher, and Better.

  

Photo Credit: WordSwag, used with permission. 

Midweek Devotion: The love of God (agape) is greater, higher, better, and far exceeds human love. 

God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever shall believe in Him (join in covenant with Him) would not perish but have everlasting life…adaptation of John 3:16. The Son so loved the Father and the world that He gave His life. He left Paradise and a place of no sin, sickness, or despair to become our sin. The innocent Lamb of God took on our punishment. What manner of love is this? It is agape; unconditional, radical, unselfish, generous, lavish, sacrificial, poured out love. 

Jesus told His disciples, “As I have (agape) loved you, (agape) love one another. They will know you are My disciples by your (agape) love,” (John 13:34-35). 

Agape is not about niceness (people pleasing). Agape is not eros (romantic/sexual love). It is not philia (friend love). It is above storage (family love). It is the highest form of love and it is costly. It comes from God to us, then it is to flow through us. We freely receive, then we freely give to God and others. Agape love is void of selfishness, self centeredness, and this love is transformative when fully received. 

Agape love is not codependent nor does it enable. It will speak truth in love and cease helping when the help is hurting instead of helping. It is holy, pure, true, and always good. It is the highest form of love. God is agape love and whosoever abides in Him will begin to produce this kind of love. 

When humans say I love you, I am not always certain what it means. It can mean: 

  • I like you. 
  • I value you. 
  • I like what you do. 
  • I love what you do.
  • I enjoy spending time with you. 
  • Being with you makes me feel better. 
  • I am attracted to you (from males).
  • I desire you (from males).
  • I need you (people need God, not me). 
  • I benefit from connection with you.

None of those things are agape. When I say I love you it means the following…

  • I am proactively looking for ways to bless, encourage, or give to you. 
  • I will tell you the truth, even if it cost me greatly or you hate me for being honest. 
  • I will sacrifice for you (within the boundaries of what is healthy, safe, and led by the Holy Spirit). 
  • I pray and intercede for you. 
  • If you can not eat, I will feed you. 
  • If you are naked, I will clothe you. 
  • I will forgive you, extend mercy. 
  • I will do my best to guard your reputation. 
  • I keep your secrets and confidences. 
  • I will look for the gold/treasure in you and call it out. 
  • Your name in safe in my mouth. 
  • I will set boundaries that protect others, not promote selfishness. 
  • I will look out for you. 
  • I will seek to protect your heart and what you hold dear. 
  • I will pursue kindness. 
  • I will care about you, and what matters to you. 
  • If you hurt (and I know), I will seek to comfort you. 
  • I will celebrate you, not compete with you. 
  • I will admit when I am wrong, and seek repentance. 
  • I will honor and respect you. 

Love to me looks like my Father, my Best Friend Jesus, and the sweet, glorious Holy Spirit. He is far above what I have listed. Yet the more I receive of His love, the more I love others the way He loves me. God love is higher. It is way higher! God love is better, far better! It comes from abiding in Him and His love. It is not manufactured in the flesh, for this love extends even towards His enemies. Do we love our enemies the way God loves us? 

When we say I love you, may we reflect back to the words of Jesus, the life of Jesus. May we reflect on 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. I leave you with those words. 

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love (agape) never fails.”

We are so deeply loved. God bless you today and always.
Love in Christ, 

Erin L Lamb 

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Identity Matters (Saturday Devotion)

  
Photo source: Pinterest
Morning Devotion: Identity matters. As a man or woman thinks, so are they. 

If you want to destroy a person or people group, convince them they are nothing, less than, not valuable, inferior, not intelligent, like wild animals, and not capable. Convince them to disagree with God. Convince them they are superior to others (racism/sexism). Lead them into pride (insecurity/inferiority or arrogance/superiority). That is the tactic Satan used with Eve. She was already made in God’s image, yet he sowed doubt to who she was in God. We must know who we are. 

People say Eve was targeted because she was weaker. I disagree. I believe Eve was targeted because she was the one chosen to give birth to life. Anything sown in a woman has the potential to be multiplied, bring forth life. The devil loves death. So target the one chosen to birth life and multiply what is given. If you turn the one chosen to protect life against the one chosen to birth life, you can destroy humanity. Since then women have been some of the greatest targets of abuse, sexual abuse, male violence. Every 30 seconds a woman is trafficked, every 9 seconds a woman is beaten, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined (Domestic Violence Stats Org). 

If you can convince someone they are not who God says they are, they will rise to the level of their thinking. They will act out what they believe. 

Our words are powerful. They are more powerful than we understand. Our agreement is powerful as well. When we agree with God, we empower His work in our lives. When we agree with what is not God, we empower a disempowered devil. 

I hate verbal abuse, harsh sarcasm, and put downs. Why? Because each word is sowing a seed for hell. If not rebuked, refuted, uprooted, rejected, that word places a target on that person for destruction. 

The power of life and death is in the tongue,~Proverbs 18:21. 

It is no wonder we have generations of people okay with killing, murder, hatred, slander…we were taught in school we evolved from apes. Not we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1). 

Animals are not like God (created in His image). They lack the identical capabilities for reasoning, morality, and so much more. Animals will kill to get their way, “Survival of the fittest.” They will mark their territory and attack anyone who crosses. They will (some) kill their young. We were created higher than the animals. Yet if we believe we are just like the animals at the zoo, we will behave not much better than zoo animals. 

Who do you believe you are? What voice rings the loudest? Does it align with what God says? 

When you ask most people who they are, they respond with what they do or what they have or their martial status/children? Yet we are human beings, not just human doings. 

Who we are is children of God (if we are in Christ), created in the image of God, ALL deeply loved. When we operate out of this identity our behaviors begin to look similar to our Heavenly Father. We thrive when we agree with God. 

You are deeply loved sweet friends. Praying you and I live out of who God says we are. We are nothing more and nothing less. God bless you! 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Love Yourself As God Does (Saturday Devotion)

  
Image created with Wordswag; used with permission. 

Morning devotion: Receive God’s love for yourself. Love yourself. Then love God and your neighbor as you love yourself. 

If you want to see me cringe, pull up one of those memes (word:picture) art that reads God first, others second, me last. Why do I cringe? I cringe because this method of love and living is not a full/accurate picture of what God told us in the Bible and it is not effective. Why? I have no agape love in me, without first receiving from God, to give to anyone. 

I grew up hearing people preach, “You must love God with all your might and love your neighbor. Put yourself last. Give until it hurts. Lay your life down. Be like Jesus.” What those well meaning preachers failed to mention was how much God loves me. They skipped a very important step. People who don’t know God’s love for themselves cannot and will not love others with agape love. It is impossible to give away what is not first received. 

The Father deeply loves Jesus. Jesus has always been loved, before the foundation of the earth-loved and one with the Father. Jesus knew the Father’s love for Him. His suffering for us was temporary so we could be included in the family of God (He paid 1 time for our sins). Jesus is not the slave, inferior part of the Godhead doomed to perpetual suffering. The Father gave Him the name above all names. He sits at the right hand of the Father. All authority given in His name. He is deeply loved. So are we. The Father loves us the same as He loves Jesus. 

The Bible says: 

  • We love because God FIRST loves us,~1 John 4:19. 
  • Love your neighbor AS you love yourself,~Matthew 12:31. 

I had to receive His love for me before I would ever be able to love Him back or anyone else. 

God invites us into relationship. He tells us to abide in Him, then there is good fruit (John 15:4-5). We are to abide in His love. 

I have plants. The few that have survived, they are champions. Some I call resurrection plants-dead today, rising tomorrow. 😉 If I cut off a branch or limb of the plant, it shrivels up and dies. I can scream at it to produce leaves or flowers or fruit, and it cannot. It is no longer connected to the source of life. 

I tried striving for years to love God and love people. It left me wounded, hurt, defeated, broken hearted, ashamed (I am not loving like God), self condemned. As much as I tried to live up to the standard (Love God, love people, you last) I failed. Thank the good Lord God is smart to lead us to His truth. God began leading me to passages on abiding, receiving, knowing His love. He beckoned me over and over to know Him and receive from Him. It became my passion and platform; intimacy with God and abiding in Him. For freely we RECEIVE, freely we GIVE. 

Loving people is still challenging and quite costly. It hurts sometimes. 

Sometimes what we call love is enabling, or codependency, and/or tolerating abuse God would not ask us to tolerate. 

If we abide, and love ourselves, we learn to set boundaries. Boundaries are not punishment, they are safeguards set up to do what is best for both parties, not just one person. God loves everyone. Jesus suffered temporarily so we could be saved. He is not the eternal doormat. He rebuked Peter (Mark 8:33) and the Pharisees to their faces. He stayed in the temple instead of being with His earthly parents (Luke 2:43). He had boundaries and love for Himself and the Father. When people sought to kill Him before His time, He fled those places (John 6:15). He allowed Himself to be abused for our sin. We can tolerate abuse for no reason; that is not agape love. Love protects (1 Corinthians 13:7). 

We live in a world full of people who do not know, believe, or receive God’s love for themselves. Some are outside the church, some inside. You may ask how I can say this. I do not know every person in the world. I can look around at the state of the world. And I am not looking to judge. I am seeking deeper revelations of His love too. This is not heaven, therefore there are discrepancies between a place with no sin and a place overflowing with things outside God’s will. 

Every single sin is rooted in a lack of agape love. For love fulfills the law (Romans 13:10). Abuse, murder, adultery, fornication, lying, stealing, incest/rape, racism, sexism, prejudice, bigotry, hatred, lust, self hatred, insecurity, inferiority, rebellion, gossip/slander, rudeness/mean spiritedness, bitterness, unforgiveness, grudge holding, selfishness, jealousy/envy, self pity, control/domination, pride….every single one is an outward manifestation of an internal deficit of agape (God) love. 

The Bible encourages us not to think more highly of ourselves than we are. It does not tell us to believe thoughts about ourselves that are not aligned with God. This means we agree with God and that is not arrogance or conceit, it is God esteem. 

God esteem says, “I am deeply loved by God, chosen, seated in heavenly places with Jesus, a coheir with Him. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am an outward expression of the heart of God. Unique, beautiful (handsome), gifted, created with divine purpose, and set apart for His glory.” 

When we receive God’s love and abide in His love, we can and will without striving love God and others. 

Our self effort is futile, for we cannot manufacture agape. It comes from God, to us and through us. May you and I know (believe) the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of God’s love for us. May we freely receive and then freely give.

We are SO deeply loved. Praying for you friends. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2016 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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