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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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Jesus is the Solution (Weekend Devotion)

Photo source: Pinterest

Morning Devotion: The only solution, Jesus.

My spirit has been grieved this week over our world. We have tried protests, policies, judgements, for some Facebook/Social Media rants, division, petitions, etc…yet none of these things deal with the root. They may temporaily deal with fruit, yet they do not remove the root.

The root resides deep inside the soul and spirit. Unless there is an encounter with Jesus in those places, there will continue to be fruit that does not look Jesus.

Striving and self help are not our ultimate friends. We can not will ourselves to be like Jesus nor love like Jesus. It comes straight from the mouth of Jesus, “If you abide (remain, stay connected to) in Me, you will bear much fruit (from John 15:4-5).”

Abiding in Jesus is the key to love, peace, joy, and the ability to have compassion even for those who hurt you, persecute you, or hate you.

Sometimes I have to just drop into the arms of Jesus. “Here I am, I do not know what to do. My heart needs you. I need you.” Jesus responds every single time.

God is good and loves us all. Our world needs Jesus.

  • In a world full of craziness, the solution is Jesus.
  • In a world full of hatred, the solution is Jesus.
  • In a world full of gross selfishness, the solution is Jesus.
  • In a world full of identity crisis, the solution is Jesus.
  • In a world full of deception, the solution is Jesus.
  • In a world full of messes, the solution is Jesus.
  • In a world full of misplaced priorities, the solution is Jesus.
  • In a world full of dishonor/disrespect, the solution is Jesus.
  • In a world full of insecurity, the solution is Jesus.

Yeshua come… ישו באה

So my prayer today is our world encounters Jesus…truly encounters Jesus…not the Jesus painted in the image of mankind (our ideas), the real Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father.

Sometimes chaos is brought to the surface so we can seek God and heal…not leaders, politicians, etc…Jesus. We need God. Apart from God there is no agape love (perfect, sacrificial, unselfish love).

Lord, help us to surrender to your Lordship in every area of our lives. We need you! Our world needs you. Help those of us who claim you to abide in you and help others encounter you. Bring revival at the heart level that brings about transformation of cities and Nations. We need radical change on the heart level. Heal and restore us from the crazy of the world. In Jesus powerful name. Amen.

You are so deeply loved and prayed for too!

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Wednesday Devotion (Loving Like God)

Morning Devotion: Understanding the set up of God.

Sometimes God will allow people to cross your path who will not love you. These people are teachers and developers in the school of love.

It's easy to love the loveable and those who love us. The true test of love is when God sends you to serve those who hate you, attempt to use you, are indifferent, humiliate you, are selfish or unkind. These people reveal whether our love flows from our spirit or our flesh.

The flesh has no agape love. The flesh is disinterested in loving those who do not serve it or meet it's needs. The flesh is led by feelings, "Does this person make me feel good?" If not, then the flesh withdraws love. For it was not love at all.

The Spirit of God continually seeks to love, even when the person on the other end is hateful or unloving. Why? God is love. Those who abide in Him will love. How? God is love. Love is a fruit of abiding in the one who is love.

Agape love says, "Your behavior does not dictate my love. It is not dependent on you because the source is God." It moves us beyond, "How does this person make me feel," to "How can I reveal the heart of the Father to this person?"

Agape love moves us beyond being offended to compassion and intercession. Love sees the deficit and seeks for that person to be reconciled to God. A person disconnected from Jesus will not produce God love. We will never be able to give away what we do not possess.

Only a person connected to heart of God can display the heart of God. Only a person who is intimate with God can produce the likeness of God and character of God. Only a person who receives God's love, grace, mercy, and goodness can give that away to others. It starts with God. God is the Source, then that love must be received. We receive the love of God by faith. Once our hearts are saturated in God love, God love pours out of us onto others. It gushes out like a waterfall. It is like a firehose that is on full blast, day after day.

What can we learn from those who can behave outside their true identity…

1. There is a God love deficit. The one who abides in God loves.

2. There is an identity deficit. When we know God, we begin to manifest our true identity as a son or daughter of God.

3. There is an opportunity to reveal the heart of the Father.

4. God love wins. The consistent, steadfast, and incredible love of God wins.

5. They show you how not to behave. Some of the greatest lessons I have learned have developed from being treated poorly-do not do this to other people. You will often find me at events looking for the person no one will talk to or connect with or acknowledge. Why? I understand what is like to be absolutely ignored, treated as insignificant, or be invited places or pulled into things and then treated poorly. I choose on purpose not to do these things to others.

6. It is not about you, it's about that person and their heart. How people behave and talk is an outward manifestation of what is going on in their heart and soul. Pray for them.

7. God is with you! You are not doing this love walk alone. The Lord led me to Isaiah 53 this weekend. It talks about the challenges of Messiah. He was despised and hated by His own people. Though we paint Him beautiful, scripture says, "There was nothing about His appearance to draw us to Him." Jesus loved perfectly and was mistreated more than anyone. His own disciples betrayed Him and refused to help Him. Yet Jesus continues to love!

Papa move us beyond feelings into the realm of the Spirit. Deepen our intimacy with you so we manifest your heart. Help us to receive your incredible love. Then help us to pour out that love and not just to those who love us. What reward shall we have if we only love those who love us. Develop our character and love muscles so what the world sees when they encounter us is profound love.

You are so deeply loved!

Erin Lamb

 
 

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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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Thriving in the Wilderness (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 11) 

  
Photo Source: Christi Gee

We can thrive in any season if we surrender to God and seek to understand the process and His timing. The wilderness is a call to intimacy (deeper knowing of God). 

Moses spent 40 years in the desert, unseen by many before he was called by God to return to free his people. Jesus did not enter ministry full-time until He was 30 years old. David was hidden, overlooked, and even rejected by his earthly father before he became king. 

Our culture seeks to bypass process. There are things we can only learn about God in the secret place, the hidden place, the wilderness. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by the devil for 40 days (Matthew 4:1). The attempt to bypass all testing, trials, challenges is a invitation to perpetual immaturity, and limited authority. We gain authority over what we have overcome. 

Attempting to shortcut the process is an invitation to bypass character development, and intimacy with God. Character is important. Anointing and gifting will take a person places their character can not stand under. Self promotion and self acceleration is a sure fire way to eventually crash and burn. 

God develops our trust in Him alone in the wilderness and unsupported season. 

I used to be discouraged when I could not get any support. People were concerned with their lives. I spent a period of life sad that I was walking through the seven levels of hell while others were frolicking in the promised land. I watched them acquire everything I was praying for and I had to press on with God. 

They had no wilderness, no fierce trials, no Goliath. I on the other hand was walking through 7 years of real persecution, loss, tragedy, near death experiences, periods of physical illness, betrayal, being lied on/slandered, on one occasion left to die (people drove on by), and meeting Goliath after Goliath. As a young person, it certainly was not how I wanted to spend my life. 

I learned some very valuable things. 

1. God + Nothing=Everything. 

These profound lessons are not learned if you go from one red carpet to another. They are not learned if everyone is holding your arms up all the time. It is not learned in the seasons of roses and skipping along the water path. 

Many great lessons are learned in the Garden of Gethsemane. They are learned when no one will help you, they ignore your need, pretend they do not see you. They are learned when God allows you to be placed in the battle with Goliath then ties your arms behind your back and the battle rages on longer than you think your flesh can stand, for me years. You learn God as Best Friend, Victor, Healer, Provider, Strength, Strong Tower…Everything. 

2. Your frailty, weaknesses, and unbelief is exposed and dealt with by the One who is strong in your weakness. 

It is easy to believe God when everything is going your way. When everyone is applauding! When it is good. In the wilderness, times of pressing, persecution, trials what we truly believe is exposed. Do we believe God is good when life is in turmoil? God works out deep faith in the seasons no one sees if we stay connected to Him. 

3. You have chances to fail without casualty. 

I never asked God for a platform or influence. I asked to know Him, be one of His best friends, and to have the character of Jesus. I specifically asked to be held back from any influence that would not bring Him glory. 

In the process, hidden seasons you have the chance to try things, step out in faith, and not have it negatively impact many people. So many people want a platform, yet their character is not developed. They end up hurting people or leading people into mass deception. They bucked correction, accountability, and character development. They know of God, read of God, yet have not experienced Him in every season. They have not been to battle, they have not had their faith tested by fire, and therefore what they offer is not always based on encounter. It is based on what has been read, or heard. 

4. You learn to pray with authority, abide in God. If you do not, you die. 

When God is your Primary, the violent waves and winds are crashing against your boat…well you learn to pray. You learn to cling. You learn His voice. My goodness you learn. Your identity becomes solidified in Him alone. 

5. You let God open and close doors and shift seasons. Who God promotes, no person can demote. 

Seeking the approval of man is futile. Mankind can love you today and hate you tomorrow. Just as they did with Jesus. Trying to push open a door is wasted time. Anyone who pushes their way in front of God in their flesh will need to operate in the flesh to stay there. Who God calls, He equips. God promotes. God demotes. God’s timing is perfect. When God opens a door, you are fully equipped to walk through that door. 

Sweet friends, no matter your season, God is there. The most important question is, “Is God here?” Staying connected to God is the way to thrive in every season. Therefore, we bear fruit in every season. The objective is not to see our names in lights. It is to know God, love God, and establish more of His Kingdom on earth. 

If you are in the wilderness, a season of testing and challenges…please know it is not permanent. Relief does come. May your faith and heart not fail. You are so deeply loved and if you are in Christ, the Spirit of an Overcomer lives in you! Lifting you up before our King in love. 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 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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