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Weekend Devotion: God is Our Peace

Weekend Devotion: Peace in the storm. Navigating through extreme challenges with God. Prayer at the end. 

How many of you have had a wilderness experience with God? How many have had a series of challenges that seemed overwhelmingly hard? I have. 

I lived in the wilderness. I had a tent there, a water pail, a tear stained pillow, and it got to the point where I would not answer the phone because it was simply bad news after bad news. If people knew my story, they would understand why God is my best friend, why being with God trumps being with them, why worship and intercession are crucial parts of my life, why intimacy with God is the highest priority, and they would understand the intensity of my current joy. 

I would love to tell you God immediately takes away every challenge, pain, trial, or Judas experience. This is false. Every warrior, including Jesus, I have studied in the Bible went through a series of tests and challenges. James, who’s real name was Jacob, tell us the following…

Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing,~James 1:2-4 (AMP). 

Before you want to slap Jacob. I want you to change vantage points. Can you take a moment to look not from earth’s point of view, but heaven’s point of view? 

Earth is a temporary place. Heaven is eternal, forever, does not change, has no pain or suffering. We may live 100 years on earth. There is no end to heaven. 

Our loved ones who leave us far too soon, we will grieve. This I have walked through. The pain some days was almost unbearable. Yet I know for those in Christ, I will see them again. And we will be together forever, without end. Oh praise Jesus. 

Our hearts that end up broken by those who are void of God love, they can heal. This too I know all too well. God reminds me over and over, “The love you receive from people is directly proportional to the love they have received from me. They can not give what they do not possess.” So you pray as Paul prayed that people would know the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of God’s love. You forgive and allow God to love you to wholeness. 

Our disappointments are nothing compared to the glory of God. God withholds nothing good. Our idea of good often varies from God’s. God sees what is coming. We see today. We see earth, the physical realm. We do not see fully what God sees. Maybe that relationship or job would have brought hell on earth. Maybe that friendship ended to protect someone. Maybe destiny was on the line. Maybe something better is coming. Maybe that person left earth because they wanted to go home to Jesus. We do not see all. Therefore, our best bet is to climb up into the arms of God. 

No matter what happens, God is so good He can bring something good from the situation for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes and plans. 

What did I learn from the wilderness I could impart to you: 

1. It is temporary. 

Life in the wilderness is not the intention of God. Our mindset, murmuring, or complaining can prolong a short stay into a long one (read about the Israelites). 

2. It is often a call to intimacy or spiritual bootcamp. 

I am not saying God causes bad things to happen to get our attention. I am saying God does not prevent every challenge. Sometimes God does not immediately deliver us from, we are delivered through. I see prime examples of this in the life of Daniel, Jesus. God did not prevent all adversity. He did bring forth Kingdom advancement through adversity. 

3. We can learn more about God and our own beliefs in the wilderness. 

It’s easy to proclaim God is good when life is skipping through rose gardens, and every person prayed for is healed, when there is breakthrough after breakthrough. Is God still good when life feels like a massive storm? 

Our faith is revealed in the wilderness. Unbelief is exposed. Our true ideas of God are put on display. If we take our thoughts, pain, and disappointments to God, we can grow! Oh my, we can grow stronger in faith. 

4. We gather testimony of overcoming! There is power in being an overcomer. 

I love the quote, “Smooth seas do not produce skilled sailors.” If I were placed on the front lines of battle, I would not want my commander to be someone afraid or unable to withstand adversity. You want someone who has overcome and keeps on overcoming. There is power in facing adversity and refusing to let the storm kill you! 

We have authority in the storm where we maintain peace. Peace, dear ones, is a weapon. Tenacity and refusal to succumb to circumstances is powerful. It’s hard to beat someone who will not move or give up or give up ground. 

5. Our character is refined in trials and challenges, if we yield to God. 

The weakest person is the one who refuses to face challenges. They do not grow. They never allow their faith to be stretched. They shrink back, retreating from the next spiritual promotion. 

Character matters. Jesus was promoted (grew in favor with God and man) by overcoming tests. What if Jesus just threw in the towel? What if He said yes to Satan just like Adam? We would all be lost. He overcame. He turns to us and says, “In the world you will have trouble. Take heart, I have already overcome the world!” He overcame demonstrating we can overcome! Jesus maintained peace in storms because He knew the heart of the Father and the intentions of God are always good. Always! Not sometimes, always. Even when we do not see it or feel it or understand, God is good. 

Papa God, I thank you that these momentary afflictions are nothing compared to your glory which will be revealed within us. Change our vantage point so we live from heaven down. Help us to abide in your truth even when what we see is vastly different from your truth. You are always good. I declare peace into every storm. I ask for the anointing of your peace to flood every heart, soul, spirit, body of each reader. Take us higher, above the storms. You are greater. We can trust you. You will work it all for a greater good, even if we do not see it until heaven. We are going from glory to glory! May our faith not fail. In Jesus powerful name.

Love, 

Erin L. Lamb

 
 

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Finding JOY in Suffering

Hebrews 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Joy and suffering don’t seem to fit together. They evoke different reactions. If you ask people if they’d like to sign up for a lifetime of joy, most would say yes. If you offered suffering, many would run in the other direction.

I will be forthright with you. I hate suffering. I endure, I don’t delight in suffering. Jesus for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. I’m guessing, but I don’t believe He was laughing, singing, and having a party on the cross. The Bible tells us He was in pain.

Our sin was a heavy burden, a tremendous weight. His body was tired, worn out, beaten, bruised, and His flesh torn off His body. He heard the mockers. He saw those He came for and loved yelling, “Crucify Him!” People He walked with, taught, and served, abandoned Him in His hour of need.

The movies don’t do the crucifixion justice, we couldn’t stomach the true image of what sin cost Jesus. It cost Him not only physically, but relationally.

The only disciple present when He took His last breath was John. Where were the others?

Jesus suffered greatly.

If that were the end of the story, it’d just be sad.

That’s not the end of the story!

Jesus rose with all power in His hands. One mans sin cost the world greatly. The Son of God paid greatly to set things right. The gain far surpassed the suffering.

I’m in no way stating sickness, death, loss, tradgedy, and horrific events are to be celebrated. No way. None of the experiences I’ve had with sickness, loss, betrayal, burying loved ones, traumas, accidents….evoked celebration.

Here’s what I have learned.

1. God never abandons us during seasons of suffering. Never does He leave or forsake. He’s close to the broken hearted!

2. God’s comfort surpasses understanding.

The day we buried my mum, I felt a peace I can’t explain. I held my dad’s hand and felt concern for his heart. He’d loved the same woman for most of his life. He knew her longer than I had been alive. God gave me grace and peace. Losing a parent is awful. I lost my best friend. Yet, Jesus stepped right in to fill voids on my heart and life. I’m not a big crier, yet this season produced so many tears. Tears I know God bottled. During many days and nights of sorrow, God was there.

3. You develop empathy for others who are suffering or struggling.

4. You learn to lean on God in deeper ways.

5. God promises to bring good things out of bad situations. It’s not always immediate. Some things take years to heal (trust me I know). Yet the healing power of Jesus far exceeds our pain.

6. God gives us grace to get through and soar above the storms.

I’ve annoyed many people in life by maintaining joy in some pretty horrific situations. I’ve been called Pollyanna, fake, phony…I’ve learned that God works things for good. So, I don’t have to remain depressed or oppressed. I know from experience what it’s like to wallow in sorrow. I prefer the opposite, continual seeking of God’s face. I can draw from the well of His joy.

Jesus rose! I too can rise. So can you!

7. God will keep in perfect peace those who’s minds are stayed on Him.

It’s one of my favorite verses. I know when I feel overwhelmed, if I can get to a place of focusing on Jesus there’s a peace that comes. He gives beauty for ashes and joy for mourning.

Father, in seasons of intense suffering or pain, help us to see You. You are our comfort, peace, joy, hope, and love. You don’t delight in our suffering; I pray we see You want the best for us. I ask for abounding blessings, in Jesus mighty name.

 
 

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A Greater Yes

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Last post I wrote about when God says no. It’s easy with Christianity to focus on what God says no to instead of what He says yes to. If we entered into a relationship with God only to be given a list of rules, it would not be a blessing. So, today I want to talk about the blessings that come from being with God.

Redemption in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him, Ephesians 1:3-10.

The Blessings of God

Forgiveness. God gives us forgiveness of sins. All of our sins have been paid for on the cross. Jesus paid the penalty for all sin. Why is this a blessing? It’s a blessing because the wages of sin is death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 6:23. If we are not forgiven, we are not saved from eternal separation from God. We cannot save ourselves. We need God and His forgiveness.

God is not like us. We forgive and cannot forget. God removes the stains of sin forever. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us, Psalm 103:12. I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more, Isaiah 43:25. God gives us a clean slate. Not only does God forgive us our sins, He gives us freedom from being slaves to sin. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness, Romans 6:18.

Relationship. God is after a relationship, not our rule keeping. He invites us to have a fruitful and blessed relationship with Him. Jesus paid the price so we could have full access to God.

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

In Him (Jesus) and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence, Ephesians 3:12.

Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me, John 15:4.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need, Hebrews 4:16.

This relationship comes with so many benefits. God is our Provider, Advocate, Helper, Healer, Wise Counsel, Wisdom, Redeemer, Friend, and so much more. We have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  Also all the things He asks us to do, He gives us His Holy Spirit to enable us to do those things. He only asks us to do things that will lead to blessing. He invites us to know Him. He is the greatest reward. We don’t have to go through a bunch of rituals to get to Him. We can go boldly to Him with confidence.

Eternal Life: God offers us life eternal in paradise. This life is just a blip on the screen of life. Eternity is so big and vast beyond measure. Our minds cannot fully fathom what awaits. Heaven awaits. There will be no sickness, death, evil, fatigue, pain, suffering, poverty, no bad news, and we will reign with Christ forever and ever. For God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16.

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

The only alternative is life apart from God in eternal damnation. God invites every person to bypass hell which was created for the devil and the angels who rebelled with him. He says, “Come to Me and find life.”

Spiritual gifts: God gives us His Spirit and the Holy Spirit has numerous roles in our lives. He is at work to transform us into the image of Jesus. He also is at work so that we can operate in the gifts of the Spirit and have the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other, Galatians 5:22-26.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

This post does not even begin to capture all the benefits of saying yes to God and His will. He withholds nothing good from us. The world has many things to offer, but saying yes to anything outside of God’s will leads to bondage and death. God is good. Everything He does is good! If He says no it’s because He has a greater yes.

Bless you friends. You’re in my thoughts and prayers, Love Erin.

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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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The Healing Father

Today I wanted to write to you about one of my favorite characteristics of God, a compassionate Healer.

We tend to think of God as our Savior, Redeemer, and Judge. We sometimes forget that He is the God who not only saves, He heals and delivers.

When Jesus saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick,~ Matt 14:14.

God forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, ~Psalm 103:3.

He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chatisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed,~ Isaiah 53:5.

My dad, Papa W is a chaplin. He goes all over the city praying for the sick. He keeps a log of answered prayers and those God has touched with healing from physical, emotional, or spiritual sickness. Growing up reading about healing in the Bible, watching my dad pray for the sick, hearing the stories, seeing the stories, solidified the belief for me that God still heals people. He is the Healer.

Some believe God doesn’t heal anymore. Some believe God only heals certain people or through special people. Well, if you search out the scriptures you will find that God is the Healer, and He used ordinary people to heal the sick. Jesus commissioned the disciples to go and heal the sick and pray for the oppressed. These are the same disciples who fought over who would be the greatest, who denied Him, fell asleep when He needed their prayers, and were often filled with doubt and unbelief. These were regular people called by God to do great things. If you are a follower of Jesus, you’re an ordinary person called to do extraordinary things for God.

If you don’t believe God still heals people, I can say I’m a living testimony that He does. I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the power of prayer. I am a child my mother never thought she’d have due to sickness. She was healed and along came me. She was also blessed to have more children.

I am the person who almost died from an allergic reaction to medication, who lived and now lives a healthy life. I remember the doctor telling me after my surgery that they didn’t know what exactly went wrong, why I couldn’t breathe on my own and my resting pulse was in the 150s. I remember being a frightened teen wondering if I’d be normal again. I went from healthy to sick in one day. I recall crying out to God for relief because taking 8-10 pills a day wasn’t how I wanted to live. Many prayers were prayed, and I’m happy to be healthy today. I don’t have a story of some special person coming to pray for me. Most of my encounters with the miraculous have come from prayers to God.

One of the most powerful encounters I had with Abba came after being trapped in a car under water. See previous posts (Me & Abba or My Hero). That accident left me fearful of confined spaces. If I were stuck in traffic, I’d have a sense of dread that I would be trapped in my car. Seems unreasonable, but once you’ve been under water in a car thinking that’s your last moment on earth, you just don’t know how your body will respond. I tried to pray fear away, to no avail. I even went to a pastor and asked for prayer. He told me to seek a counselor. That wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to talk through my fear. I wanted delivered from my fear. I left church that Sunday and began to talk with God. I said something along these lines, “I know you can fix this problem. You died for my freedom. I don’t want to live another day afraid. God fix me.” In that moment, God did something for me that no person could. I was overwhelmed by His presence and His love. I never had another panic attack or fear of being trapped. I knew God healed. I knew He delivered. When you’re the person needing help you sometimes forget all Jesus paid for.

Dear friends, Jesus didn’t just pay to forgive you of sins. He paid for healing. He paid for freedom. He paid for deliverance. He paid so that you and I could have life abundantly. There is no sickness in God’s presence, there is no fear, or torment, or pain. Jesus paid for life, peace, and joy.

Looking back it’s good to recall what He’s done. I’m an ordinary person and since that day I’ve seen God heal other people.

In 2008 I was on a mission trip in Brazil and a lady came up for prayer with a disfigured hand. She told the interpreter that she had never been able to fully use her hand. I was hesitant to pray for her as I saw her desperation, and I wanted so desperately for her to be healed. We (another lady and I) laid hands on her and watched as God took a crooked hand and made it whole. I was more shocked than she was! She ran through the church telling others what had happened and they wanted prayer for ailments as well. I saw God’s love in an even deeper way that day. This ladies dream became a reality because someone prayed, and God heals.

My dear friends, God heals. He’s still in the healing business. I have not seen every person with physical sickness prayed for get healed of sickness, but I’ve seen enough to keep me seeking Him for the healing of the sick in the world. Jesus paid for healing. I have seen those oppressed set free, and the spiritual sick restored. It’s by God’s love, and compassion. God is the Healer. And He loves you. He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things!

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in From the Author

 

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This Too Shall Pass

This Too Shall Pass

Erin Lamb, all rights reserved.

Have you ever been through a rough storm? In the natural you wonder when the lightening will cease, when the winds will stop blowing, and when the thunder will end? In our lives we wonder, when will the person we are praying for encounter Jesus, when will each day not seem like it saps energy and joy, when will the storms pass over? Maybe you have been in your storm for a week, maybe a month, maybe a year, maybe years, maybe a decade or decades. The word God spoke to my heart today was, “This too shall pass.” No matter the storm, it will one day end.

I am encouraged by people who lived through wars and the Great Depression. They truly understood the storms of life. Or those who lived through segregation, not being able to vote, and were treated like animals instead of human beings. I admire those who did not lose faith during the Holocaust, those that survived and still believed in a loving God.  I look back to those who suffered and say, “This too shall pass.” My heart is encouraged that no matter what it looks like today, tomorrow is a new day.

Are you facing sickness, this too shall pass…

Are you facing depression, despair, or discouragement, this too shall pass…

Are you facing relational problems or even loneliness, this too shall pass…

Are you facing what seems like a steep mountain to climb, this too shall pass…

Are you wondering how you will make ends meet, this too shall pass…

The words I wrote to you, are the words God speaks to me. God will not leave you where you are. God will always make a way. I can’t always see it when the winds are crashing against the shore, but I hear my Savior crying out, “I still walk on the water. I command the winds and waves to obey. This too shall pass.”

In the storms of life, cry out to Jesus. He loves you more than you can imagine. He is the peace in the storms. He heals, He restores, He gives joy, and He is a comforter.

My dear friends, the sun will come out again. The Son is shining on you right now! He never stops shining. May the peace of God rule in your hearts. More than being able, God is willing to do exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ask or imagine. He’s the God who loves us.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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