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Growing in Love (Holy Spirit University (HSU) Series Part V)

Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. Once He dwells in us, Holy Spirit seeks to develop godly character in our lives.

One of the greatest works of Holy Spirit is to reveal the love of God to us and the nature of God. God is love.

Agape love is pure, sacrificial, unselfish. It thinks of what is best for others, not just self. It is the love God has for the world (John 3:16).

There is no selfishness in God; His love is pure. His love is sacrificial.

Love came down and invaded a sinful world. Love left paradise and was born in humble circumstances.

Love laid His life down for sinful humanity. He gave His very best for humanity; He is God with us. He is Emmanuel. Love has a name; Jesus. The Father revealed His steadfast love for humanity through His Son. What an act of pure, unselfish love.

This is the same love Jesus tells us will mark His followers. “They will know you are my followers by your agape (unselfish, sacrificial) love,”~Jesus (John 13:35).

Though culture may say being a Christian is simply a cultural or political marker, a profession of faith, a church attendance card…Jesus marked His followers with great love. “You will know who follows Me by their pure, unselfish, sacrificial love.

This love flows from the Vine to us. He (Jesus) is the Vine and we are the branches. If we abide in Him (remain, are intimate with Him), there will be abundant fruit. The greatest fruit that flows from the Vine is love. The fruit of God’s Spirit is love.

…the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law,~Galatians 5:22-23.

Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love,~1 Corinthians 13:13.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing,~1 Corinthians 13:2.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,~Jesus (John 13:34-35).

Love is a marker of one who knows God, abides in God, and follows Jesus (1 John 4:8). It is not like the love of the world that only loves those who love in return. It is not like the love of the world that focuses on pleasing self. It is a laid down life of honoring God, loving God, and loving others. One receives God’s love, basks in His love, then what flows out is God love.

We can not give away love we have not received. A bankrupt person cannot love like God. One must be rooted in the Vine and yielded to God. One may be saved and unyielded. God still allows us to choose sin after being saved.

Love involves choice. We can buck Holy Spirit and simply live to love ourselves. Holy Spirit will allow certain situations and circumstances to teach us to love like God.

Sometimes what we call an annoyance or annoying person is a love lesson. That family member that does not love us, that fellow believer who disappoints us, that coworker who behaves in ungodly ways…they are often tools to teach us how to love like God.

Love matters greatly to God. Revealing to us the love of God is vital. We thrive when we know we are loved well. We, as stated before, will not love others if we do not first receive love from God. We will not love ourselves if we do not first receive love from God. It all starts with God. We love because He first loves us (1 John 4:19) and Holy Spirit reveals the love of God to and through us.

May you and I learn from the one who is love. The courses on love are lifetime courses. God fully intends to return for a Bride (body of believers in Jesus) who love like Jesus. Love is paramount. It is not just so we can love Him. God longs for the entire world to know Him and our love shows them who He is.

Christians are some of the greatest causes for the world rejecting Jesus-our behavior and lifestyles demonstrate what we truly believe. Why follow a God who produces disciples that are nothing like Jesus?

Our lives are no longer our own, they were purchased with His life. Therefore, may our lives be marked with radical love. May the world see Jesus in us. May our love lessons teach us the deep love of God and may that love be seen in us.

Papa God, deepen our love walk and help us to love by your Holy Spirit. Help us to submit and yield to your love lessons. Help us to be vessels of profound love and show the world who you truly are. Enhance our love walk and increase our capacity to love. May we know the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of your great love! Thank you for your great love. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Happy Holidays!

Erin L. Lamb

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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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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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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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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Holy Spirit the Teacher (Holy Spirit University (HSU) Series Part II)

When they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities, do not be worried about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”~Luke 12:11-12.

But 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).

I love Holy Spirit. Though depicted as a dove, fire, or wind, Holy Spirit has a mind, will, emotions, intellect, and personality.

Holy Spirit is fully God, and the greatest teacher of mankind.

Holy Spirit is the promised gift given by God to bless humanity.

Holy Spirit leads and guides us into God’s truth, wisdom, knowledge, and continually reveals Jesus.

Custom Learning:

One of the things I love about HSU-Holy Spirit University is the curriculum is tailored to the student. You and I may have completely different seasons and syllabi. Yet the objective for all of humanity is to continually reveal the nature of God and the person of Jesus.

What God is teaching me at the present moment may differ from what God is teaching you. God knows where we are spiritually, and emotionally. The path mapped out for each of us is custom.

In every season we can ask God, “What are you teaching me? What are you revealing about Jesus to me in this season, trial, challenge, and situation?”

Do Overs/Welcome to Graceland:

Lessons taught by Holy Spirit are not only custom, you get many chances to learn. If you fail love 101, no worries…you get to take it again.

Have you ever faced something and it felt so familiar? It seemed as though you had been through it before? Have you encountered the same scenario over and over? I have. In those moments either we did not learn from the first situation or God is giving us a chance to demonstrate what we have learned again.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect,~Jesus (Matthew 5:43-48).

Love is something God wants us to learn and demonstrate. God gives us numerous opportunities to learn to love. Many times it comes in the form of an unloveable person. That person who drives you crazy is an opportunity to grow in God love. It’s fairly easy to love the loveable. It requires God to love the hateful, unkind, spiteful, and nastiful (my made up word for full of nasty).

We can cry, scream, and ask for relief from the nastiful, yet they will be present this side of heaven and teach us the most about God love.

Are we always the most pleasant to be around? Are we always easy to love? How do we treat God? Our experiences with other people can teach us so much about how to love God and others.

Growing Up in God:

Who wants to be an infant forever? I hope the resounding answer is, “Not me!”

God loves to see us grow and learn just like natural parents love to see their kids grow and learn. Staying in the same place has never been the plan or design of God. The plan has always been for fruitfulness, growth, maturity, Godly character, and Christlikeness.

…become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father];~Ephesians 5:1.

Jesus is the role model and standard. I am not pushing striving or trying in our own strength to be like Jesus. I am a proponent of abiding (remaining, staying connected to, and intimacy with God).

As we yield to Holy Spirit there is a manifestation of His character and fruit put on display. God is the Source of goodness. Abiding in Him produces Christlikeness in our lives.

We are told to yield to Holy Spirit and not quench the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our lives are rooted in life in God, not striving to be like God. We yield, abide, and grow!!

Studying the Bible:

I cannot think of anyone more beneficial to learn the scriptures from than God. I highly recommend inviting God into study times, “Lord come and reveal your truth through your written word. I want to know you and what you intended with these verses. Teach me your truth.” There is something powerful that opens up with study with Holy Spirit.

Papa God, thank you for the precious Holy Spirit who teaches us and reveals His truth. Thank you for the wisdom imparted by Holy Spirit! What a gift!! Help us to yield to Holy Spirit and grow in Christlikeness. You are so good. Grow us up in love! In Jesus powerful name. Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2017 in 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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