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Invest & Nurture (Weekly Devotion) 

Morning devotion: Healthy relationships require mutual investment. What we feed and nurture grows, what we starve or neglect dies. Intimacy is an ongoing mutual pursuit. 

I have plants. I had one I took to the basement once and well I forgot about the poor thing. There is minimal sunlight in the basement. It obviously was not watered. Guess what? It died. Dead. Dead. Super dead. There was no feeding, nurturing, or investment in the plant. So it died. 

I also have bank accounts, as do most people. If I pull up and try to withdraw 10 million dollars, the cashiers will send me a note, “Insufficient funds.” I have not deposited 10 million dollars, therefore I can not withdraw the amount. 

Relationships are like the plant and bank account. What we neglect, or ignore often withers and dies. It is not enough to invest in the beginning and then do nothing coasting on commitment. Intimacy will wither and fade. 

God invests richly in us and has no lack. So we are not adding to His bounty per say. God does want our love and pure devotion. When you truly love someone, how they treat you matters. We are encouraged in Scripture to love God; love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength-to love Him above a spouse, child, family, or friends. In order to deepen our friendship, I must purposefully seek Him. Our friendship grows when I seek Him to know Him. “God what is on Your heart today? I am here to love You God. Thank You God. My heart and life is Yours God. I am listening, what do You have to say?”

God so loves the world despite reciprocation of love. It does warm His heart to be loved in return. Unrequited love is no fun. Trust me I know this well. 

The same goes for relationships with people. If we never talk to them except when we need or want something, we have reduced them to being an ATM. They are a resource for us and not a person. 

I read a quote that stuck with me, “The problem with the world is people were meant to be loved and things were meant to be used. We have people being used and things being loved.” 

I had someone tell me once, “I love you Erin. You are always there for me. No matter what you are there.” This person I only saw when they needed something or did not have a boyfriend. I was completely ignored otherwise. They never asked how I was doing, never contacted me to just say hello. Guess what? The relationship died. I was a friend. They were not. I found people who treated me like a human being who is loved. 

Healthy relationships require some investment, otherwise they wither and die. 

How can we be a good friend to God and others? How can we nurture the relationships that we have? 

What we feed, nurture, pay attention to grows. What we ignore and neglect withers. May we not abuse the unconditional love of God-“He will never leave me so I will treat God however I want.” May we also not abuse the love of people. One day we may look up and they have moved on to where they are supported, honored, and love is reciprocated. 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Glory to Glory (Manifesting Sonship Series Part V)

  
Photo credit: Pinterest 

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit,~2 Corinthians 3:18 (Amplified).

God’s glory is the external manifestation of His being. God’s glory is something that appears ( Exod 16:10), is revealed (Isa 40:5), or can be seen (Num 14:22)-source BibleStudyTools.

Holy Spirit is glorious! He is fully God and marks/seals believers as belonging to God (2 Corinthians 1:22). He works within us to reveal Jesus, righteousness, and to take us from glory to glory. 

I’ve heard some preach that since we are saved by faith and God loves us as we are, that means we are to stay as we are when God encountered us. This isn’t what the Bible teaches. It neglects the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.  When God encountered Paul (formerly Saul), he was persecuting and killing Christians. After his radical encounter with God, Paul became one of the most radical preachers of the Gospel. We see a murder and persecutor completely transformed.  

We worship a God who makes all things new. 

We too are called to transformation. It’s not transformation that is the result of striving. It’s a result of beholding Him and abiding (remaining) in Him (John 15:5).  

Our spirit is made new at conversion. Our soul (mind, will, emotions) and character are being transformed/sanctified. 

The Road to Tranformation…

Faith: It starts with believing God. My thoughts about God will determine what I become. If I believe God is harsh or critical, it will manifest in my behavior and response to Him. 

Believing the revelations of God’s word, nature, and character brings transformation. 

Truths I’d love for us to digest and meditate on today: 

  • God is love. It’s who He is, not simply what He does. It’s not based on our merit, behavior, or performance. 
  • God is truth. He cannot lie! Every word He speaks is truth. Every promise in Him is yes and amen. 
  • God is good. Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of Lights who does not change like shifting shadows. 
  • God is holy. There’s no sin in God, and He will never lead you down a path of sin. We were born into sin; He paid the price to free us from sin. 
  • God is perfect in patience. God has infinite patience. He is not like humans who may toss you aside if you fail. Think of the prodigal son story. The Father was looking for the son! He ran out for his wayward son. If everyone else gives up on you, God will take you back. Come running…if you move an inch He will run miles. 
  • God cares for every detail of our lives. What matters to you, matters to Him. He knows every hair on our heads, every tear we have shed. He knows our thoughts, dreams, desires. He cares more than anyone else.  

His Word: I truly believe we are to be people of His Word. He gave it to us as food and a blueprint. We read, study, and seek Him with the Holy Spirit. I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me. 

Worship: Loving God, honoring God, celebrating God, and putting Him first in all things leads to such encounters. He inhabits the praises of His people. It takes the focus off who we are, what’s happening around us, and places the focus on Him. 

Intimacy with God: God invites us into relationship with Him. A deep, pure, growing relationship that’s life giving. It’s more than a Sunday morning activity. It’s a daily love relationship, more intimate than marriage.  

Obedience: Scripture tells us we are a slave to whoever we obey (Romans 6:16). We are either obeying God or the evil one. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father. I’m not suggesting perfectionism or striving. I’m stating there’s blessing in obeying God. If we miss the mark, we go to our Father and say sorry. He’s so eager to forgive. No shame and no condemnation (sentencing). 

What If What We See Isn’t Jesus? 

It’s a process. So the focus is God. If I sit down and look at the character of Jesus and my character, I have so far to go. He’s perfect. I am not. The objective isn’t a self help program or to try to make myself like Jesus. The objective is to remain in Him, let Him love me, and keep my eyes on Him. 

It’s not what we see. It’s what God sees and who He says we are. We are His image bearers in the earth!   
Photo credit Pinterest. 

You are so deeply loved friends! Lifting you up. God bless you. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2015 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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God Cares How We Treat Him (Heart of God Series Part II)

  

God is overflowing with love for you! He thinks of you every moment. He has the ability to give each child His undivided attention. Only God can love each person with full intensity and never miss a beat. 

Have you ever been in love? Head over heels in love with someone? I have. The experience of loving people has taught me so much about God. 

When we’re in love we seek to protect the relationship, and the connection. This journey with God is not about rule keeping, it’s about relationship. You see, when I fell in love with God, my greatest concern became protecting our connection, His heart. I believe that’s why Jesus said, “If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments.” 

Love is the best motivator. It becomes, “How do I love God well, not how to keep the rules.” When I’m loving God, I’m keeping His commandments because my focus is loving Him.

The Bible is filled with stories of God’s emotional responses to the way people treated Him. Just read about His interactions with the Israelites. 

I did not fully understand that my behavior impacted God deeply until I began to receive the same treatment from others or experienced deep love for others. 

I realized it wasn’t so great being blamed for things that weren’t my doing. 

It wasn’t so great to only be sought out when people had a crisis or needed something. 

It wasn’t so great for people to profess their great love for me, yet their actions demonstrated nothing loving or they would never intiate love.

It wasn’t so great to be pursued for what I do instead of who I am. 

It wasn’t so great to have to beg people to do things that I would do willingly.

It didn’t feel great to be ignored. 

It didn’t feel great to receive from people who were giving out of obligation and not the motivation of love. 

It wasn’t so great to listen to complaining, murmuring, and grumbling when I knew the plan I had for the team or group would eventually bring success. 

I truly believe God not only created humans to procreate to fill the planet with more humans, He gives parents the opportunity to know Him through experiences with their own children. How does it feel when your children don’t listen, blame you for their problems, rebel, etc…

God is perfect in patience. He knows we are not perfect and He’s not beating us up for our shortcomings. This isn’t a message to bring guilt or shame. I apologize to God when I realize I’m treating Him as less than He deserves. It’s about honoring and loving Him above all. 

I do believe God cares how we treat Him. He wants to be first in our lives. He wants to be loved for who He is, not just what He does. God doesn’t want the scraps off the table.   

I heard someone say once, “God doesn’t care if I yell at Him and curse Him.” I thought, “How do you feel when people yell at you and curse you?” 

God loves us more than we can love anyone or anything. It’s a love He was willing to die for. A love that great is moved by how we treat Him. He doesn’t stop loving us. No way. He’s patient with us and overflowing with compassion. Yet He wants our love in return. So He pours out love on us so we can give it back to Him. 

Sweet friends, may we receive God’s great love, love God, exalt God, adore God, abide in God, respect God, trust God (it’s s process), give thanks to God, and place Him above all things. 

You are deeply loved (John 3:16). Praying for you! 

Erin 

 

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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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What’s it Gonna Cost (Following Jesus)

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The Bible says a wise person counts the cost (Luke 14:28-32). What does it cost to follow Jesus? It will cost you everything. God wants your heart, your time, your talents, your mind, your relationships, your pure devotion. It’s not about beating ourselves into submission to His will. It’s about falling in love with the One who loved us first and allowing that love to catapult us into reckless abandon.

All of this life, for the believer, centers around God.

Walking with Jesus might cost you relationships or friendships. The Bible is very clear about not being unequally yoked (spiritually incompatible in marriage) or hanging with people who are pulling you away from God.

Walking with Jesus might cost you time, energy…to serve those around you. Will we do it even if they don’t appreciate it? Will we do it when it’s inconvenient or painful for us? Will we do it out of love, to put someone else first? Will we do it when no one sees and there’s zero credit given to us? Will we serve those who have hurt, abused, neglected, or betrayed us?

Walking with Jesus will lead you to purity…denying fleshly desires to pursue holiness.

Walking with Jesus will cost you popularity. Not everyone loved Jesus. And if everyone loves what we have to say, we might not be preaching the Gospel. The disciples and Jesus were fiercely persecuted for their faith.

Walking with Jesus will cause you to be misunderstood. There are people who will be offended, hurt, angered, and feel rejected by your love for Jesus.

Walking with Jesus even in Christian community can be lonely. You will often have to rely heavily on the Holy Spirit because He never grows weary or tired. He never sleeps or slumbers. He is the source, everything and everyone else a resource.

Walking with Jesus may cost you your dreams. What if what God has for you is better than what you’ve dreamed up or thought of? What if God’s answer doesn’t match your prayers? God does exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ask or imagine. His will is perfect, even when we don’t understand it.

Walking with Jesus will cost you your pride…to give, forgive, sacrifice, and take the role of a servant.

Walking with Jesus will cost you comfort. He never promised a life without trouble. Life hurts at times. Sometimes it’s excruciatingly painful and disappointing. He did promise to never leave or forsake us. He did promise to work things for good. Even if it doesn’t happen here and now. We will see Him face to face in all His glory. No pain. No sorrow! Just joy!!!!

It’s gonna cost us everything to truly follow Jesus! I can say this with great confidence, He’s worth it ALL! I’ve found no greater love, friend, encourager, or Savior!

I have days where I need to hear Him say, “You and I will be together forever in paradise.” And I long for heaven with an intensity I can’t explain. There have been days, nights, and sometimes weeks of just grieving with God. So I can say with great confidence…no matter what you face or how bad it hurts…GOD is fighting for you, praying for you, and nothing you suffer will be wasted if you place everything in His hands. No matter what you lose, He’s willing to offer you all of Himself. It won’t remove all pain from loss, but it will infuse you with strength to continue on.

Give it all friends! Jesus is the greatest reward and how He loves us so!!!

Love in Christ,

Erin

You are loved. You’re in my heart and prayers.

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

 

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Unrequited Love

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Sometimes we forget God is passionately pursuing our hearts. Day after day He’s pouring out love. Here’s a poem written from the vantage point of the One who is love.

Unrequited Love
By Erin Lamb

Waiting,
waiting for you to respond to the pursuit of My heart for all of you.
I do not seek partial love
or part time affection.
I desire the fullness of your heart and your pure undivided devotion.
I sacrificed all that I am to save you.
The nails in My hands,
the thorns on My head,
the lashes that tore My flesh,
the pain that seared through My chest,
it paid for your freedom.
I died and rose again so you could live.
My love was poured out as a painful offering of love.
You are the object of My affection and for love I suffered loss and scorn.
Every moment of every day My heart is eager,
longing to be with you.
Day after day,
I patiently wait.
Standing in the present with passion bursting forth from My chest.
You are the one I love,
and the one I adore.
No one can or ever will love you more.
My heart aches.
My heart anticipates.
My voice cries out, “I chose you. Won’t you choose Me? I am the only one who can meet your deepest needs.”
I watch as you choose other loves that will only wound your fragile heart.
They promise you the world,
but leave you emptier than the start.
I watch you chase dreams, ambitions, and set your own life course.
I stand with abundant life for you,
having done all that was needed so you would not be lost.
If only you knew you were forfeiting paradise.
What I have for you far exceeds what you could imagine in your wildest dreams.
You trade a palace for cabin.
Trade beauty for what will be consumed or turned into ashes.
You take counterfeit love instead of everlasting love.
My heart aches
for I know what I created you for.
You were created by Me and for Me.
Without Me,
you will not know who you are or all that you could be.
You were created to find fulfillment in Me.
No matter how many times you walk away or even refuse My love,
I will still be love.
My love for you is here to stay.
When and if you turn to Me,
I will come running with delay!
I can live without you,
but I’d rather have you here with Me.
I created you to love you!
In the center of your life and heart is where I want to be.

We can say we love God and still have other loves, something or someone who takes higher priority than Him in our lives. Truth is He belongs in first place. May we receive His great love and pour it back on Him first, then others. There’s no greater love than God’s love. Blessings friends, you are deeply loved.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in From the Author, Poetry

 

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Alabaster (From the book I Thought I Knew What Love Was)

Alabaster Box

Alabaster Box

Beautiful friends, here is an excerpt from I Thought I Knew What Love Was. It was written during a time of worship and contemplation on all God has done. He is so worthy of our love and pure devotion. I hope you are encouraged and inspired. God bless you. You are deeply loved.

Alabaster, Copyright 2011 © Erin Lamb.
Written August 11, 2010
“Love Letter to Abba.”

I hear the sound of Your footsteps,
in the corridor of my soul.
You can see through the walls,
knowing what my hands hold.
It is there that I gather
all that I have
and all that I am;
placing aspirations,
dreams,
and fragments of any good,
into a box of alabaster to be poured out for You.
I feel the wind of Your presence
and with its gentle touch,
single tear drops are whisked away,
for Your love means so much.
My heart is hurried,
so as not to miss one second with You.
One moment in Your presence
and this heart is renewed.
You move me.
You stir my soul,
and it begins to dance.
I know You.
We have met here before.
You walked through the shadows,
stepped over the broken glass,
moved past the walls I built,
and You offered a love that would last.
It was You, alone, who heard my silent cries
while the world continued to pass and walk on by.
The anguish that they did not see,
You felt deep inside.
In compassion,
You met me where I was
with love and mercy in Your eyes.
It was there I met You,
so long ago,
with baskets of shattered wishes
and sighs of desperation.
We met in the hallways of my broken dreams,
surrounded by what seemed to be nothing.
You sought to fill every empty place.
As love was poured out
there at your feet;
Your love was returned,
and healing took place.
It was You, who saw me,
in the midst of the storm.
It was Your arm
that reached down to rescue me;
with tender care You said, “My love, I will carry you on.”
What can I offer?
What can I give?
All that I have
and all that I am;
I lay it here.
I lay down all that I have,
in its entirety,
poured out and
emptied
from this alabaster box.
I lay my life here at Your feet.
I am humbled by Your extravagant grace
that flows like a waterfall
over an undeserving soul.
Oh how my heart has loved You
because You first loved me.
We walk this path,
hand in hand.
It is You that my heart longs for;
a fire kindles in my heart for more knowledge of You.
Oh, the wonder,
and the mystery in Your eyes!
To know You,
to love You;
what an honor,
and what a joy.
You have filled this once broken vessel
with an expectation of something more.
You have painted Your murals of unfailing love
on the walls,
in the halls,
and have draped Your righteousness over the windows of this soul.
You rebuilt my crumbled devastated foundation
and sealed every empty space with Your love.
This heart is Your home.
What else can I desire,
but to dwell with You in this place?
In the darkness, You were my light.
In my hurting, it was Your arms that held me tight.
In my joyfulness,
it was You who danced
and sang songs of praise.
It was You who said You’d love me for all of my days.
In my times of crisis, it was You who refused to let go.
In my fear and isolation,
it was You who reached down into my valley.
You cleared out the debris and the dust,
and You breathed life into every part.
It was You;
it has always been You.
Here,
in this moment,
with tears of gratitude,
I pour out
all that I have,
to say that I love You,
and to say that I need You.
I am here saying, “There is no one who can take Your place.”
They may not understand
why, when I think of Your love,
the wellspring of tears seems to flow and flow.
But they weren’t there when You saw and came to my rescue.
They don’t know how much it cost
for You to stand in my place;
as Redeemer,
as Savior,
as Healer,
and as friend.
As You have laid down Your life,
let my offering to You be a pleasing sacrifice
and a fragrant aroma of love.
Let my love be
a symbol of my appreciation,
for a life Your love did spare.
May my love for You grow and grow.
May my passion for You never grow cold.

All rights reserved. No part of the material may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, without the written permission of the Publisher, Westbow Press (www.westbowpress.com), or Author, Erin Lamb. The only exception is in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

You can purchase right here on the site there’s a link entitled Get Your Copy or you may purchase through these wonderful sites: http://www.westbowpress.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com. and http://www.amazon.com or iTunes store.

I Thought I Knew What Love Was

 

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