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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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Supernatural Love (Miracle Series)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,~John 15:13. 

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,~John 13:34-35. 
 
If you assessed my life story or fully understood my personality, I’d be one of the most unlikely to be used by God to love His kids. I’m highly introverted. As a kid my mum said I spent most of my time under the dining room table with my notes, tools, and sketch pad. I can spend days to weeks with just God. I get lost in thoughts, theories, and creating. I’m also, according to Myers Briggs, INTJ (introverted, intuition, thinking, judging). We are not known as the sentimental types. We are primarily thinkers, not feelers. We ask, “Does this work?” We get lost in logic. We solve problems, hence my pursuit of a career in engineering and science. 
 
I tell you this because God is able to love through anyone who’s willing. I prayed long ago for God to teach me to love like Him. I had no clue what it would cost. I had no clue how deep, vast, profound, rich, generous, compassionate, and sacrificial God’s love truly was. I am still learning.
One person other than Jesus I could pinpoint as an example of supernatural love is Apostle Paul. He was, before His encounter with Jesus, a persecutor of Christians. After His encounter with Jesus, Paul became one of the most radical lovers of God, the Gospel, and wrote Corinthians 13 the chapter on love.
The love of God is supernatural, it’s beyond human ability. Humans naturally want to put themselves first. Agape love is sacrificial, selfless, pure, unconditional, holy, honoring, and out of this world. It’s the love Jesus has for us and tells us to have for others.
How do we get this love, God’s love in us? It starts with relationship, intimacy with God. We must first receive before we can ever give. We also abide in Him (John 15:5). The more I’m with God, the more I love people. This love is still challenged. Trust me! Yet with the passing moments of oneness…His heart invades mine. He has imprinted His great love on my heart.
Supernatural Love Stories: 
I’ve pondered how to share stories while honoring others, so there’s a summarizing and exclusion of names. I’m in the process of writing three more books, they will include more life stories as there’s space for them. Here are a few brief stories that may fuel your faith.
I have a person that caused great pain in my life. More pain than anyone else. They treated me poorly in so many ways. When I went through my health crisis, they were not supportive or compassionate. They would say things like, “You’re not really sick. If you were stronger, you’d get up from there…” Well, I was sick. My hair fell out in places, I was on beta blockers for my heart, seeing specialists,…I was a mini train wreck. Yet God has healed me. Praise pause 🙌. Thank YOU Jesus! 👏.
This person later begin to face their own life challenges, health problems,  and God gave me the opportunity to love. Love wasn’t met with appreciation. It was met with excessive complaining, ingratitude, sometimes anger or hostility, and there were many days I’d sit with God thinking, “Why am I being punished? Why am I in this situation? I’m too young for this! Why do I have to love? This person doesn’t even appreciate love.” 
I’d love to tell you prayer led to warm, fuzzy, and loving feelings. I didn’t. There were days where I’d just sob and call out to God for help. Days I wished I could join the witness protection program and run away from my life. Crisis after crisis wore me down emotionally, mentally, physically, etc…I was really young and overwhelmed. While other kids were enjoying their lives, I was trying to juggle chaos. Yet God is stronger. He didn’t deliver me from. He delivered me through. That person grew to slowly change. I didn’t change them, God did something. It was the most painful and challenging season of my life. Yet God’s love is a sustaining power.
Fast forward and my first real opportunity to do discipleship ministry. Like Jesus there were 12 women and me. I gave my life, heart, time, energy, home, and all for those I was leading/discipling. I gave my all for 3 years. I helped people move, opened my home, cooked meals, hosted parties, wiped tears, prayed, played/sang at weddings, was a friend…I’m a 100% type of person. If I commit to someone or something, I’m giving it my all. The people I gave my life to, well several of them turned on me, gossiped about me, lied on me, one even cursed me out in public, one created so much drama people from out of the state were emailing me at work about it, and well…God never gave me permission to walk in unforgiveness or try to avenge myself. I sat in silence while being cussed out (He supernaturally closed my mouth. My natural bend would’ve been to rebuke that woman). It was so painful. It was challenging. There are absolutely no words to express the level of grief it caused. If I had sinned, I’d accept it as my consequences. Yet my issues came from teaching the Gospel as it’s written, pointing to Jesus, being who God created me to be, and not promoting people to leadership roles because God had not released me to do so. Some of those relationships were never fully repaired, yet a few were. There’s forgiveness for everyone, yet not everyone repented or even acknowledged their sin. And God gave me the opportunity again to forgive and love. Supernatural love when I only felt numb inside. Supernatural love to try again with ministry, though I didn’t want to love again sacrificially after those experiences. Christians became my frenemies so it took God to get me back into ministering to other believers. Some may say, that’s no big deal, grow up. Yet until you’ve laid down your life for people who betray you, there’s no place to reference from. Only Jesus knows fully what it’s like and even He experienced great grief facing the cross.
I found through those years of heart wrenching how much love cost Jesus. I was not nailed to a rugged cross, but my heart was. And “I’m sorry,” never healed nor took away any of the pain. Only God can and does.
I sometimes think we (humans) think our sin, rebellion, or rejection of God doesn’t affect Him. It does. And though we say sorry and repent, our behavior does impact His heart. God has feelings…He loves more than we can comprehend. I can’t imagine since He loves more than me how deep it cuts His heart to see His children destroy themselves and others.
If I loved others by experiences with loving people, I would only love a few people or not love at all. This area of my life has been hit with the most opposition and pain. Yet God doesn’t call us to love a few people. He calls us to love everyone, even our enemies. 
Challenging love situations, they teach you so much about God. I don’t love perfectly, God does. Even though He loves perfectly, He’s rejected, used, verbally abused, neglected, hated, ignored, forgotten about, sought after only in crisis, sinned against, and much more.
I used to think going through challenging experiences with love was some form of punishment. Yet God was answering my prayer, “Teach me to love like You.” God teaches by giving us opportunities.
As of the past few years we have moved from love boot camp, to God supernaturally downloading His heart for people into mine. It makes it a bit easier, yet doesn’t change the response of others to me. I still meet rejection, people who attempt to attach themselves to me for their benefit, misunderstandings (why is she being so nice to me?), and I have a few that are oh so challenging to love. I rely fully on God for love, another lesson learned from these experiences. People can’t fill your love tank.
God’s love for you is beyond describable, yet I will try…
God thinks of you continually. He cares about EVERY single detail of your life. He wants you to maintain your freedom to choose (He’s no control freak or manipulator), He’s not absent minded (He keeps log of all your desires and dreams), He celebrates you, He knows all your flaws and still longs to be with you, He sets up opportunities to bless you, Jesus lives to intercede for you, He moves mountains for you, He corrects to restore you, He enjoys every moment you spend with Him, and He desires so much to be with you!!! This love, His love, is life changing. If you want to see your life changed or change the world, receive this love…God’s unfailing & radical love!
You see one of the greatest miracles of all is the Creator of the Universe loving humanity
God bless you! Next time we will talk about divine intelligence, when God gives you His wisdom and intelligence. Praying for you! You are SO deeply loved.
Erin
 
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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Finding JOY in Giving

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Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,~Luke 6:38.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too,~Phil 2:4.

One of the major causes of depression is selfishness. You might think, “No way!” Yes way. When our focus is always ourselves we will not be happy or have joy. Why? Because God did not create us to be self centered.

We were created to connect first to God, then others. The God sized void can only be filled by Him. Once He fills us up, He intends for us to pour out. If we don’t, we implode.

Have you ever had a plant that grew wildly? I have. I have a set of plants that once they grow to a certain size they stop because they are root bound. They need split or repotted to keep growing. If I over water or over feed them, they die.

God intends for us to grow, to help others grow, & to enlarge His Kingdom.

We don’t give to earn God’s favor. We don’t give to primarily get from God-though He rewards givers with pure motives. We don’t give so people think well of us. We give because God’s love causes us to become generous. We give for His glory, His fame, and His goodness to be shed abroad.

It’s not about us or them. It’s about Him. It’s about the world encountering Christ in us. He’s what the world needs.

There’s joy in seeing other people encounter God. There’s always someone in a worse situation. That’s not to say God ignores where we are. He doesn’t. I do think at times He whispers to us, “Go help this other person. I will handle your problem.

Introspection, self pity, self focus, what about me?, look how bad it is for me, poor me,…has never solved anything. Jesus is the one we focus our eyes on and entrust with our burdens.

I can say this because I used to have pity parties. I’d even invite Jesus to come. “Jesus, don’t you see how bad this is…why me?” I love how God handles His children. His response, “Do you want my help? Or do you want to have a tantrum or pout? I will let you choose. I love you. I will be here when you are done.

God has brought great comfort in dark seasons of my life. In loss, tragedy, betrayal, sickness, etc…He never refuses comfort. He does not, however, enter into pity with me. He brings hope. Do you want help? If not, then I still love you, but I can’t force help on you.

Which leads to my last point. It’s incredible to help other people and love them. It’s a trap to aimlessly pour out. Some people don’t want help. Some people are in the situation they are in because they created it and trying to get them out will hurt them-they won’t learn from their choices. Some people want others to do for them what they need to get directly from God or for themselves. Some people are users and look for anyone they can drain dry. Some people will take what you give and throw it in the garbage. Giving, like anything else, requires wisdom.

When we do street ministry, we feed people, provide necessities, etc…we do not give cash. Many of the people, through their own confessions, have substance abuse problems. We love them. We don’t enable them. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s naked, clothe him. Unless God prompts you to, I wouldn’t empty my bank account to some random person and say I’m generous. God intends for seeds sown to produce a harvest for Him. God is generous and wise. Just read about the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). God intends for us to do something with what He gives. Freely you receive, freely give,~Jesus.

If you have a million dollars and you give 1 dollar to a million people, have you helped them? Versus splitting it between 10 people. God knows where you should sow to yield the greatest harvest for His Kingdom.

I’ve spent years pouring into people and situations that yielded nothing but frustration. Why? It wasn’t my field of harvest. The people I targeted to love and pour into were chosen by me, not God. And since I was raised to be a giver, I chose to give 100% to everyone. That dear friends leads to burnout and being used and abused.

Jesus had 12 disciples and chose 3 of them to be closest to Him. We think God is out fixing everyone’s messes, but He’s not. That’s not good parenting. He allows us sometimes to face the earthly consequences of what we’ve done. If we repent we are forgiven in heaven, yet there are some consequences on earth.

Where’s the joy in giving?

You see heaven invade earth!

You see God move radically in the lives of others.

You invest in a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

You imitate Jesus who came to serve, not just be served. You re-present Him to the world.

You demonstrate to the world who God is: generous, kind, compassionate, and loving.

When you partner with God there’s joy.

What we do primarily for ourselves dies with us. What we do for His Kingdom remains eternal. What can we do to partner with Jesus so He gets the greatest reward? Where does God want us to sow? How can we fix our eyes on Him and eternity not the temporary things of this world? There is joy in being a blessing to Jesus by investing in His Kingdom.

May our eyes be upward then outward. Someone needs what we carry. May we be led by the Spirit to bring Jesus the greatest reward!!!

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Love is Never Wasted

Be imitators of God as dearly loved children.

Love one another as I have loved you.

Build each other up. Encourage one another daily.

Don’t just look out for your own interests, look out for the interests of others.

Do nothing out of selfish motives or vain conceit.

Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the greatest commandment.

The words above are from the Bible. Many are from Jesus. I’d love to tell you that I always think love is a good idea. I don’t. Sometimes the logical response for me is to choose isolation from people and forgo loving anyone but God. As an introvert, loving people is sometimes exhausting. Sometimes, honestly, love feels like a waste of time. Just keeping it real…yet part of loving God is loving people, not just in word but through actions.

When you really love people, you are vulnerable to them. They have the power to hurt you in ways you never thought possible. Sometimes they do it and blame you. Sometimes they are ambivalent or indifferent. Sometimes people are cruel or unkind. Sometimes the people you’d give your life for are the ones nailing you to a rugged cross. My heart has some pretty interesting scars. 🙂

Guess what? No one bears more scars than Jesus. We cannot fully comprehend the pain our sins caused Him. He was marred beyond recognition. His friends denied Him, forsook Him, and betrayed Him. Love cost Jesus everything. He felt the weight, shame, and pain of every sin.

This same Jesus says to us, “Love as I love.” He gave us His Spirit to help us to love. He doesn’t ask us to do anything He has not done or will not empower us to do.

So what are we to do? Do we throw in the towel on this love thing?

We could, but we would be living a life in disobedience to God. God never gives us permission to stop loving people. He never gives us permission to hold grudges or withhold forgiveness. If we don’t forgive, we are not forgiven. God never stops loving. He said the world will know we are His by our love for one another. If we don’t love, we don’t know God.

You see the point of life is to be loved by God, love God, love people, do as Jesus does, & become like Him; not by striving, but by abiding in Him.

We are transformed by relationship with God. We are being transformed by what we love and worship. Hence God saying, “Love Me most! Love Me first. Have no other gods before Me!” We are slaves to who and what we worship and obey.

We are God’s Ambassadors on earth. We show and demonstrate to the world what He’s like.

Do you know anyone who reminds you of Jesus?

Do you know anyone who represents Him well?

Does the person you see in the mirror continue to grow into His likeness?

Sanctification (the process of growing more Christlike) is part of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. We can quench Him, resist Him, ignore Him, and offend Him. Yet He’s trying to work in us so we represent the Father well and become our truest selves.

Our world needs Christians who look, behave, and sound like Jesus. They’ve heard our sermons and worship, listened to our political agenda, but have they encountered Jesus? Have they seen Christ in us?

I ask these questions of myself. Am I becoming more like Jesus or more selfish and like the world? Am I loving people or harming them? Am I giving/serving or asking to be served? Is my life a reflection of His love and power? When God reveals weaknesses (which I have plenty of), am I asking Him to help me or making excuses for them?

Lastly, though I feel it at times, love is never wasted. People are not our audience, judge, or jury. We love and live for an audience of One. Every person will give an account for their lives. We are called to care more about what God thinks than people’s responses to us or their opinions. It’s for His Glory, not our own.

May we choose love. May we abide in the One who is love so we have love to give away. May we be known for looking, acting, sounding, and behaving like Jesus. He said those who abide (remain) in Him will bear MUCH fruit (John 15:5). I don’t know about you, but I desperately need Jesus to love people, including myself. Without God I am nothing and have nothing.

Have a blessed week! Be a blessing to others. The world needs what you’re carrying…Christ in you, the hope of glory.

You’re in my thoughts and continual prayers…

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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