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Weekend Devotion (God Wants Relationship) 

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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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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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Image Bearers (Intimacy with God Part III)

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…you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit,~Ephesians 2:19-22.

God invites us into relationship with Him. It is a covenant relationship. His connection with us is Spirit to spirit. He imparts Himself to us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. It’s not simply a visitation with God on Sunday mornings. It’s intended to be a habitation.

What is a habitation? (Source Dictionary.com)

1. The act of inhabiting or the state of being inhabited.
2. A natural environment or locality.
3. A residence.

God abides in born again believers. The purpose of habitation is not simply to get us into heaven. It’s so we are transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus. The Holy Spirit resides in us and continually points to truth, righteousness, and reveals Jesus. Day by day, moment by moment, He’s revealing the Son and we (if we are submitted to God) are being transformed into His likeness. This is a powerful work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot strive to be like God. Our attempts will fail.

Our outward expressions will always manifest our internal reality. Just as an apple tree continues to produce apples. You can chop off the fruit, but it will continue to produce fruit.

We are called to have the fruit of God’s Spirit and be His image bearers in the earth. It brings Him glory when we act like Him, that is the truest form of who we are. Genesis 1 states in His image God created them. We were created by Him, in His image, to represent Him.

How do we become like Jesus?

1. It starts with relationship (see previous post Intimacy with God Part II). If you’re not saved, you will not become like Jesus because the Holy Spirit is not in you. Human efforts are futile.

2. We abide.

I will talk more about abiding in the next post.

Jesus stated in John 15:5, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in Me will bear much fruit. Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”

3. We submit.

Submission sounds horrible when we are self willed and do not understand how much God loves us.

Submission is beautiful when you realize the One you are saying yes to has your best interests at heart. God wants the best for us. So when He says, “Don’t go there. Don’t do this. This is a bad idea. You should go this way,” it’s because He can see all things and knows that the penalty for doing things sinful is death.

We do not become like Jesus by being rebellious, stubborn, disobedient, and living life our own way.

Jesus was obedient even to the cross. What if He decided He was not going to do the Father’s will? You and I would be in a bad place as He’s the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Lastly, God didn’t just save us so we could ride off into the sunset just as broken and messed up as He found us. He saved us out of love. He restores broken things and makes them brand new. He loves us as we are, yet out of that great love-never intends to leave us the way He found us. No parent would want their adult child wearing diapers. He loves us as is, yet the Holy Spirit works in us to grow us up in love, truth, maturity, and wisdom.

Our response to that great love is submission. We are transformed into our true identity.

As we become like Him in character, we become the greatest blessing to the world. We are salt and light. We reflect Him and bring His beautiful fragrance to the world. We will not impact the world by acting like the world. Our lives are meant to be beacons of light!

We reflect the nature, character, and goodness of God. We represent Him and heaven.

I want to stay connected to God and submitted to Him so when people encounter me, they encounter Him. I desire the pure essence of Jesus to be manifest in my life, for His glory.

Will you join me on this quest to know Him intimately?

I hope so!

Praying you are overwhelmed by His goodness, grace, love, and mercy! You are deeply loved.

Love,

Erin Lamb

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Love Everyone…Even Your Enemies

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Jesus didn’t tell me to only love those who love me. He told me to love everyone, “…love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven,”~Matt 5:44-45. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love,~1 John 4:8.

What is God like?

God is love. And I’m not talking about the Christian love we do of telling people we love them with flowery words, yet our actions do not demonstrate God like love.

How does God love you?

That’s the love He asks and commands us to give others. I’m not perfect in this area. No one other than Jesus got this right, yet throughout the Gospels God repeats Himself, “Love! Love! LOVE one another!” Jesus told the disciples the world would know we were following Him by our love for one another.

We cannot claim to love God and hate people. We cannot claim to truly be following Jesus and withhold love from people. It’s ungodly-not like Him.

What if God didn’t forgive us and wipe our slates completely clean?

What if God kept bringing up our past sins and rubbing them in our faces?

What if God was impatient and without compassion?

What if God only dealt with the people who were really good to Him and loved Him well?

What if God treated us the way we treat people?

What if God was stingy and rude?

What if God chose to one day hold grudges?

What if God completely ignored us though we were repentant or offered Him love?

What if God only showed up when love suited His best interests?

What if God never supported, encouraged, helped, or invested in us?

What if God ignored our needs because He was too busy or we were too needy?

What if God only showed up when He needed something?

What if God was like us?

The world would be HELL, far worse than it is now and billions of people would have no hope. Fortunately God doesn’t become like us. He empowers us to be like Him. He said in John 15:5, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Those who abide in me will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

We are called and empowered to love. It’s not optional for a follower of Jesus. It’s not something we bypass and slide into heaven. God is serious about love.

He doesn’t ask us to be God for people, only He can meet people’s needs completely. He does call us to reflect Him and point to Him. He does call us to obey Him.

Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say?

Many will come to me and I will say, depart from me, I never knew you. I was hungry and you didn’t feed me. Naked and you didn’t clothe me…whatever you did to the least of these, you did unto me.

How to we move forward…

We confess the sin of being unloving and disobedient and we repent (turn from it).

We forgive ourselves and others for being unloving. If we don’t forgive, we are not forgiven.

We invite the Holy Spirit to give us His eyes for people and His heart.

We abide in the Vine. If you have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there’s no way to abide in Him or have salvation.

We obey God. Obedience to God has never been optional though some teach it is. Jesus never taught that we could live as we please and somehow honor God. He states, “I’d rather you be hot or cold than lukewarm, lest I spit you out.” The Bible states obedience is better than sacrifice. We don’t obey to gain love or approval or righteousness. We obey out of love for God. If we don’t obey Him, we don’t love Him. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us.

We let God love us so we have love to give. We cannot give what we haven’t received. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. His mercy is new every morning.

Father forgive me and us for our lack of love for others. Teach us to love like you. May we be imitators of God as dearly loved children. Give us your eyes for others and ourselves. May we be known by our great love, compassion, generosity, faith, forgiveness of others, mercy, and goodness. May we overflow with good fruit. A sweet fragrance and bright light in our world. For Your glory. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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