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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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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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The Fire, Den of Lions, & Deep Waters (Intimacy with God Series Part VIII)

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

Isaiah 43:2 Amplified Bible (AMP)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.

I’ve met people who believe that if you live Godly then nothing bad will ever happen. This isn’t what Jesus taught. It’s not what we read in our Bibles. Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.”

Sometimes God delivers us from and other times He delivers us through.

Lion’s Den:

Daniel was delivered through. He stood in the lion’s den and God didn’t allow him to be consumed (Daniel 6). He sent angels to shut the mouths of the lions. It was a said of Daniel, “They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent,”~Daniel 6:4b. Daniel was obedient to God, yet he was still thrown into the lion’s den. God did not prevent the incident, He showed Himself strong in the midst of Daniel’s circumstances.

The Fire:

“Is it true . . . that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?” Nebuchadnezzar asked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:14). Shadrach, Mechech, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to worship an idol. They were thrown in bound. The fire was so hot it consumed the guards who took them into the fire. Yet when they looked at the men in the fire, they saw another man in the fire and they were not consumed. They were unbound and walking around. When they came out they did not even smell like smoke (Daniel 3).

Deep Waters:

When the Israelites where fleeing Egypt with Moses the Lord parted the Red Sea for them. The power of God parted the deep waters. Once His people were on dry ground, the Lord then allowed those waters to drown Pharaoh’s army (Exodus 14). The Lord said to Moses, “My people will know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten the glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and horseman,”~Exodus 3:18.

These are just three stories in the Bible where God delivered His people through the challenge or obstacle. He didn’t remove the obstacle, the challenge, or adversity. He stood in the fire. He closed the mouth of the lion. He parted the Red Sea. Sometimes God will allow you to be challenged so He can show Himself strong on your behalf. Without a problem, there’s no need for a miracle. The Spirit of God is one of an overcomer.

There are things we can only learn about God when He’s the only One who can help us. There’s an intimacy (knowing) that occurs in the challenging seasons of life. You learn to pray. You learn the intensity of God’s love. The power of His healing and comfort. You learn the very heartbeat of God as you cry out to Him in the midnight hours. The closeness of God forged in those seasons cannot be snatched from you.

I walked through a 10 year season of what I would call the 7 levels of hell. But God! In my life I’ve had 7 near death experiences, including being trapped in my car under water. 911 never came for me, yet God performed such a miracle to allow an already flooded engine to turn over for 60 seconds to get me out. Others left me to die, but God didn’t. I watched my mum suffer for 7 years; surgery after surgery…we lost the house, car, so much. But God made a way out of no way. Not one day was spent hungry. I watched both my parents battle cancer. One healed. One died. I endured 4 years under intense persecution from my manager. Human resources did not help me. God stepped in and she eventually gave her life to Jesus. I’ve been sick and healed by God. Lost friends, been lied on, gossiped about, betrayed, but God intensified my friendship with Him. He fortified my identity as His daughter and friend. I’ve been placed in many situations where no human could or would help. Been left to die, but God!

You see, I’d never know His power without those encounters. You learn the comfort of God in the seasons where your heart is wrenched with grief and no human is willing to wipe a tear. People are great yet they do not trump God. You learn to lean. You learn His voice. You learn the power of God to sustain you and keep your mind. God becomes your best friend. He is my best friend.

Sweet friends, no matter what you’re facing…I want you to insert the words, “But God.” He makes a way out of no way. He is the resurrection and the life. He is the alpha and the omega! He is the everlasting God. He speaks and the world must respond to Him. Heaven is His throne and the earth His footstool. He can do more in a moment than we can in a lifetime. Is anything too hard for Him? The answer is no.

So, I say to you what He says to me, “Come to Me all who are heavy and laden and I will give you rest. You can trust Me. I will work this for good. Abide in Me. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” And sometimes all He says is, “I love you.” His love is like no other. He longs to be known by us in every season; to be our source.

God loves you more than anyone ever could. If you’re in the fire, the lion’s den, the deep waters, God will not forsake you. This too shall pass. He gave Job double for his trouble. God is a restorer of ruins. He takes ashes and makes them beautiful.

Praying for you. May your intimacy (knowing) of God go deeper than it ever has before! You are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Love in Christ,

Erin

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Believe, Know, Listen, & Follow-Intimacy with God (Part II)

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Photo credit: Son of God movie

John 10:25-30.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

I recommend reading all of John 10. In this passage Jesus refers to Himself as the good Shepherd. Shepherds were overseers of flocks. Sheep are not the brightest animals. They will fall into ditches, see another sheep in a ditch and fall in…they can wonder off and be destroyed because they are not wise. Shepherds protected their sheep. They were invested in keeping them safe. They’d lay at the gate to prevent them from escaping. They spent time with the sheep. They rescued wayward sheep.

Jesus is the good Shepherd. We are like the sheep. He’s responsible to care for us, reveal who He is to us, and we are to know and follow Him. We are not an obligation to God. We are His dearly loved children.

In the verses above Jesus is responding to the questions of the Pharisees about who He is. Is He the Christ? I love His responses. He stated, “You do not believe, therefore you are not my sheep. My sheep know and follow me.

Intimacy with God starts with faith. It starts with belief.

Do you believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?
It is not enough to simply believe there is a God or Jesus is the Son of God. Even the demons believe and tremble. (James 2:19), yet they are not saved. There’s no salvation for them. There is for humanity.

If you’re reading this and you’ve never confessed your sins before God, repented (made a decision to turn from sinning and turn to God), asked God to cleanse you of your sins, placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the appropriation for your sins, and asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, I invite you do so. There’s no salvation apart from Him. There’s no entrance to heaven without going through the Son. We can’t do enough good works to earn holiness or righteousness. Jesus did it for us. We by faith, receive what He’s done and accept His righteousness as our own.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith,~Romans 3:23-25a.

If you invited God into your life, I would love to hear from you and provide more information to you.

The second step in intimacy with God is being with Him.

Sheep spent their time with the shepherd. They learned his voice, his smell, his mannerisms. It’s impossible to have intimacy (knowing) with someone and you never spend any time. If Sunday morning is the only time you spend with God, well your level of intimacy is not going to be high.

I am not stating you attend worship services all week, lock yourself in a room to pray and read the Bible all day. I am saying we can commune with God every day, as much as we’d like. One of my morning activities is to start the day with worship and thanksgiving. “Good morning God! I love you. Thank you for who you are and all you’ve done. I invite you to be a part of my day. What do you want to do? Who do you want to bless?” And there are days where I’m just listening. What is God doing? What is He saying? It’s not a ritual, it’s relationship.

Intimacy with God involves listening and knowing His voice.

The Bible says God speaks. There are some who teach He doesn’t and that does not align with scripture. God speaks to His children. If you had children and wrote an instruction manual for them, would you then say, “I refuse to speak to you. Go read the book I gave you.” That would seem insane. Yet some teach God only speaks to us through the Bible. God spoke to people in the Bible through dreams, visions, directly, through prophets, even through a donkey. Before you get too excited, let’s lay down some ground rules.

1. When God speaks He will not tell you to sin or violate His already written word.

I had someone tell me once the Holy Spirit told her not to read the Bible ever and only to listen to the voice she was hearing. That’s wrong and violates scripture.

I heard someone say God told them to leave their spouse for someone else. That’s wrong. It violates many scriptures.

Our culture says do whatever feels good for you and if it’s “love” or feels good, God must approve of it. That’s wrong. If there’s no place in scripture where God is condoning a behavior, you can’t condone it either and claim it’s God. There are some verses that seem to contradict each other which is why God gave His Holy Spirit to teach us.

We can’t toss out the Bible and rely on feelings, human wisdom, angelic visitations, or voices we believe are God.

2. All prophecy (speaking God’s word) is to be tested. Meaning the following:

Does it align with God’s word? Example, there are many false prophecies about when the world will end. Well, the Bible states the following:

“No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows,”~Matthew 24:36.

Does the prophecy fit the character of God?

I’ve had destructive words spoken over me. There was no life in them. God does give warnings. He also provides redemption. Those who repent can find hope and life in Him. Jesus came to save, not destroy. If people are destroyed, it will be because they refused the gift He offered and refused repentance.

Finally intimacy with God involves following Him.

We are called to obey God. It’s not a popular teaching, yet Jesus taught it often. Christianity is not simply praying a prayer, it’s following a person. That person is Jesus. We cannot claim to love God and live a life where we refuse to do what He says. He gives us grace and His Spirit to enable us to do His will. If we cease to obey, we will eventually cease to hear from Him. If He continues to speak, we are held accountable for what we know. So if you feel super disconnected from God, one thing to ask is , “Has He told me to do something I have not done?”

I will continue this series because I truly believe we perish for lack of knowledge of who God is. We are called to know Him, to be loved by Him, to love Him, and enjoy Him. God is not boring, cold, stern, a kill joy, or mean spirited. He is good, holy, exciting, adventurous, overflowing with love and joy. He’s beyond amazing. He’s generous, faithful, merciful, and forgiving. The evil one doesn’t want the world to know who God is and how good He is. Once you know Him, it’s almost impossible to resist Him.

Will you join me on this relentless pursuit of God’s heart? I hope so.

You’re continually in my thoughts, prayers, and you are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Love,

Erin

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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EnJOYing God

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Photo Credit: Pinterest (text added with Over app)

In God’s presence is the fullness of joy! We may not feel joyful, yet being with God elevates our spirits to joy.

I had a conversation with my cousin this past week and she asked me, “Why are so many Christians miserable when God is so good?” I am not the spokesperson for all Christians nor do I want to be. Every person has a different journey.

I do know the Bible tells us over and over to rejoice!

Rejoice that your sins are forgiven.

Rejoice your names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Rejoice that you are God’s child.

Rejoice that you can come boldly before God’s throne of grace!

Rejoice that you are invited into a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Rejoice that heaven is your home.

Rejoice that you have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Rejoice in tribulations that produce patience, character, and endurance in your life!

Rejoice because God loves you and invites you into relationship with Him.

Rejoice that you’ve been given the Holy Spirit; He’s fully God and empowering your life.

Rejoice that you don’t get what you deserve (death) and you receive what Jesus deserved (honor, a seat in heavenly places).

Rejoice that you are no longer under the law but under grace.

Rejoice that God is with you and for you!

Rejoice that Jesus defeated every enemy on the cross and rose with all power in His hands.

Part of the Christian walk is enjoying God; finding joy in who God is and cultivating relationship with Him.

Life is hard. Life can be overwhelming, painful, and tiring. The refreshment and joy comes from God. Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden; I will give you rest!

Daily God is handing out His peace for our turmoil, His rest for our weariness, and His joy for our sorrow.

There are two of His promises in particular that bring great joy:

1. Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you!

2. Nothing can separate you from My love.

In the worst seasons of my life, God has been there. When no one else could be or wanted to be, God was there. We have had moments of laughter together. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to my life. He’s faithful, generous, kind, truthful, creative, encouraging, compassionate, hopeful, and good! He’s the best listener and encourager. As I grow older with Him I’m even thankful for His correction. Being with God has brought more joy than anything in this world. I enjoy God; not what He gives, who He is. He is beyond amazing.

In the seasons of my life where I haven’t enjoyed God it’s been due to a lie I believed about Him, my lack of spending time with Him, my focus on myself or circumstances, and my striving (I must do x,y, z). The sweetest thing is simply to abide in Him.

My prayer for us:

Father I pray we’d enjoy being in relationship with You. Help us to rest in You, abide in You. May all the distractions of life be removed and joy flood our hearts. We are Your beloved! That’s worth celebrating. Help us to recall all Jesus paid for and seek first Your face. You are abounding joy. In Jesus powerful name, Amen!

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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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