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Thriving with God 


Weekend Devotion: Stay connected to the Vine and thrive baby thrive. Spiritual growth is a byproduct of intimacy with God, not self effort and striving. 

I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me you will bear much fruit. Apart from Me you can do nothing,”~Jesus (from John 15:4-5). 

The miracle plants that have thrived in my house focus on their source. They grow towards the light, they respond to being watered/fed, they stay connected to their source. Any vine that disconnects, shrivels up and dies. Why? It has no source of it’s own. We each have a body. If you cut off part of your body from the blood supply, your beating heart, and your nerve ends are depleted of oxygen-guess what? That part of you will decay, die, rot, atrophy. 

Spiritual growth is similar. God is the Source. We are pretty special to God. We are not God. He is the all sufficient One. He knows exactly what is needed to grow us up into tall thriving vines. We can yield and grow or buck Him and stay the same size. 

God loves multiplication and growth. Stagnation is not His speciality. You read in the parable of the talents God likes to reproduce what has been given. Why? If we are blessed, displaying His glory, then more people can be blessed. We can pray for God to bless people, yet He empowers us to be a blessing. 

How do we grow….

1. Stay connected to God. 

One of my morning routines is, “Morning Papa, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Love You. Thank You for everything. What do You want to do today? What’s on Your heart. I invite You into my day.” It’s not every day or I feel bad. It’s a habit of letting God know He is welcome in my life. 

God is always there. He is not always invited to participate. He is sometimes relegated to the back seat. He is spoken to for needs, complaints, everyone else is busy, boredom, obligation, or never. God likes to be included. Not for control purposes, because He loves connection with humans (This I do not fully understand). 

Growth occurs through relationship. 

2. Eat 

God’s Word is food for the spirit and soul. His presence is living water. Digesting the Word with God (key word is with God) is life giving. I am not talking about obligatory reading. I am talking about inviting God in to feast on His Word together. It is great to go to a local assembly and be spoon fed the Word. It is far better to eat on a regular basis with God. You can live eating once a week, yet strength comes in daily feasts with God. “Lord here I am, speak to me through Your Word.” 

3. Listen 

God speaks. Sometimes His voice is missed due to unbelief, “God does not speak, those people are crazy.” 

The unbelieving will continue to miss God. For everything in the Kingdom works by faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Sometimes His voice is missed because we are too busy. “Lord I will be right back, I got this, I know what to do.” 

I LOVE consultations with God. Why? He sees everything. He sees the heart, motives, past, future, impact, everything. God’s view is not tainted nor one sided. He sees it all. 

Seeking God grows us up in wisdom. The counsel of God is unparalleled. I highly value godly counsel from wise Christians, yet they never trump God. I take what they say to God. “Hey Papa, what are we keeping? What are we throwing in the garbage?” 

4. Worship 

We become like the gods we worship,~Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Worship is more than singing songs. Worship is a lifestyle of adoration. Worship is love. Who or what do we love? Where is our identity rooted? Only God is worthy of worship. Why? He alone is 100% good. Worship pleasure, become an addict. Worship beauty, become vain. Worship food, become glutton. Worship money, become greedy. Worship power, become a dictator/tyrant. Worship self, become grossly selfish. Worship people, become a people pleaser. 

Worship of God takes our eyes off ourselves and places them on God. Looking inward, navel gazing, leads to self defeating behaviors and pride. We are either looking inward and seeing all that is wrong or looking inward and patting ourselves on the back for how awesome we are. The truth is we are not the source of light, God is. Our true growth comes by basking in His light, not looking for our own. 

One of the greatest tools of the enemy is getting humans to turn their gaze away from God. He will even use good things like relationships, family, ministry, serving. If he can replace activity for intimacy, then he knows eventually that person will run out of steam. 

The power and growth is not in self, it is in God. Look up. Look at Jesus. Focus on who God is. Focus on what God has done. The devil since the beginning has been trying to put a wedge between God and humanity. He knows God is good. He is also jealous of the connection between mankind and God. He wants to be worshipped, if not directly he will settle for false gods. Anything to keep people from knowing God and loving Him. 

5. Yield to pruning 

Plants need pruned. Our hearts do too. Weeds can sprout and grow…weeds such as bitterness, fear, unforgiveness, selfishness, lust, pride,…they come to choke out love. We were created by Love (God), to be loved, then to love others. 

Trials come sometimes as tools of pruning. We need more patience so God allows some challenges. Every challenge or storm is not the devil. God allows some things because we need to grow up. Let me give you an example. I am the “Let’s get this done, we have plan A, B, C. What is our contigency plan? Early is better than late. I will do what I said. Let’s be efficient, excellent,” type personality. God allows me to be connected with others who have no plan, are not organized, everything is last minute, oh I forgot-was that today, always late, no concerns about efficiency-what’s that?, just go with it…type people. At first it caused frustration. Then I learned to yield to the challenge. 

I learned to set boundaries, invite tardy people earlier than they needed to be there, cast vision, inspire planning, and go with the flow when it’s unnecessary to map it all out. I learned to love those very different from me and appreciate their personality. They are looking to have fun. I am normally seeking to build, develop strategies, multiply, and be efficient/excellent. I have fun. I also like building. 

That challenging person may be God’s way of producing greater patience or love. That season of waiting is not God is doing nothing. If we yield we see a seed is hidden in the dirt a long time before it pops through the soil. I baby is in the womb 9 months. We prefer trees over a field of seeds, and fully developed babies over fetuses. 

Yielding to correction is also a way to grow. 

The, “You can not tell me anything,” attitude leads to immaturity…it leads to a plant covered with weeds, not producing good fruit. Even correction in the wrong spirit can cause growth. Over my life I have been exposed to lots of Holy Spirit polices. They feel it is their job to police everyone and their issues. God did not give them a badge. They are self appointed officers of the law, like the Pharisees. One can be angry with the Pharisee or take their verbal lashing to God. “Is any of this true? If so, help me. If not, garbage.” 

People who buck correction fail to grow. Feedback can be such a helpful tool. Pride says, “I know it all, you cannot correct me. I do not need any help.” Humility says, “What can I learn from you?” 

God created us to be fruitful. Being fruitful is more than having children. Being fruitful is taking the seeds God has sown, the gifts, talents, skills, and putting them to use for His glory. Being fruitful is yielding to God so the fruit of the Spirit is on display for the world to see Him. Being fruitful is being faithful to whatever and whoever God placed in front of us. Being fruitful is abiding in God so we are a loving blessing. 

Lord help us to stay connected to You, to live out of Your heart, and thrive through the work of the Holy Spirit. Help us to cease trying to be our own light or looking for others to be our source. You are our Source. Deepen our connection with You in 2017. Take the focus off insignificant things. Help our gaze be fully on You! In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Follow Jesus (Abiding & Intimacy with God Part 10)

  
Photo Credit: Created with WordSwag, used with permission. 

Morning Devotion: Walking in the footsteps of Jesus. He only did what He saw the Father doing; said what He heard Him speaking. 

Jesus was the most effective minister who ever walked the earth because He only did what He saw the Father doing and said what He heard the Father speaking. He understood the importance of serving and getting away to just be with the Father.  

Jesus lived out of a place of intimacy with the Father. He met with the Father because He loved Him, not to just fill His tank or get something from Him. 

Jesus was and is love manifested in the flesh, there was and is no selfishness in God. The Father and Son connected heart to heart, pure intimacy. 

Jesus was not led by the desires of the people, led by pleasing people, nor was He led by His feelings. He was primarily motivated by the love He had for the Father and the desire to do His will. Do we seek the Father’s heart and seek to know His will? Love is about partnership, not simply receiving for our personal gain.

God pursues us to love us. And as He loves us, we fall in love with Him. When we fall in love with Him, we want to be with Him, over and over with Him. As we with are with Him, His heart begins to be our heart. 

The gifts, treasures, visions, and dreams He places in us begin to rise to the surface. We become the truest version of who He created us to be-purged of deception, fear, and insecurity. We meet heart to heart and spirit to Spirit with God. These times in the hidden crevices of His heart are where true transformation occurs. He deposits seeds of His goodness, love, hope, faith, joy, wisdom, insight, and we leave that place pregnant with promise, wisdom, understanding, love, and purpose.

The statements of Jesus in John 15:4-5 are quite true. He said, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. If you remain (abide, stay connected to, cultivate intimacy with) me-you WILL bear abundant fruit.” 

The fruit of Jesus is evident not only in His words but in the way He lived. He perfectly represented the Father. He gave all of humanity the key to living like Him-abide. 

Abiding is to cease striving and operating in the flesh. Striving leads to stress and self righteousness (look at how holy I am by what I have done). No one stands before God except Jesus holy (has never sinned). We take on His righteousness by faith through the wonderful work of grace. So we can say, “I am standing and abiding in what Jesus has already done. I receive by faith and remain (abide) in Him.”  

Praying for you!! You are so deeply loved. 

Erin 

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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The Secret Place (Abiding & Intimacy with God Part 3)

  
…the news about Him (Jesus) was spreading farther, and large crowds kept gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their illnesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray [in seclusion],~Luke 5:15-16 (Amplified). 

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,~Psalm 91:1 (King James Version). 

I love Jesus. I love who He is. He modeled for us how to live in flourishing relationship with the Father. Jesus demonstrated for all of humanity what one person in constant communion and fellowship with the Father could accomplish. 

Jesus modeled the life of a Son. He modeled a life of authority and victory. He modeled a life of unwavering submission to the Father. He also demonstrated the fruitfulness that flows from abiding. 

One of my favorite disciplines of Jesus is stealing away to the secret place with the Father. We do not have insight into their conversations. We do not know what happened when they were alone together. 

We do know that the connection between the Father and the Son was so strong that during His crucifixion part of Jesus’s agony was the momentary separation from the Father. He became sin for us. 

If we see Jesus doing something, it’s important. He retreated, away from people and the crowds, to be with the Father. He cultivated intimacy with the Father. 

The Scripture says Jesus retreated often to pray. Prayer is more than asking of God. We know, from the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught the disciples to begin in worship. 

“Pray, then, in this way:

Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment].

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]“~Jesus (Matthew 6:9-13)-(Amplified). 

God invites us into the secret place with Him. There are no distractions in the secret place. It is a time to meet with God, to love God. It’s also a time to be raw with God. It is a time to listen to what He has to say. 

The secret place with God is where we grow to know Him on an even deeper level. There’s no band playing or preacher preaching. There’s us and God. 

Jesus retreated often. We don’t read of Him running on empty, or being stressed beyond reason. He lived out of a place of rest and peace. He knew His Source and lived out of His Source. Since He lived out of a place of intimacy, rest, peace, and His identity as God’s Son we see Him doing what He saw the Father doing and saying what He heard the Father speaking. 

We must know someone intimately to represent them well. Jesus perfectly represented the Father. 

Jesus continued to meet with the Father over and over in the secret place. He knew intimacy (connection with the Father) was His source. 

Jesus remained full and was always able to release what He carried. Peace was in Him, so He spoke peace to the storms. Love was in Him, so He could love the unloveable. Healing was in Him, so He could heal the sick. Jesus lived in constant communion with Father God. 

If we are to thrive, instead of simply survive our Christian life, we need the secret place with God. If we are to represent the Father well, we need the secret place. If we are to remain full, we need the secret place. We need time to shut out the world and tune into God. We need to be with Him. 

God also longs to spend quality time with us more than we could ever want to be with Him. He loves us more than we can imagine. 

I’m all for gathering with other believers and ministry. It does not replace my time alone with God. He gets more of my free time than anyone. I need my time with Him. It’s not so I can feel good, get a word, or drop my requests on Him. Our time is about knowing Him, loving Him, and often learning from Him. There are times we laugh or the focus is worship or intercession. My primary focus is deepening our connection. I’m not there to take. I’m there to love Him. 

My prayer is you and I go deeper than we’ve been before with God. I pray we carve out space in our lives for just God. I pray our time is spent loving Him and allowing Him to love us. 

Papa God thank You that salvation is an invitation into relationship. Thank You for sending Your Son to pay for full access to You. Help us to steal away with You and retreat to the secret place. Deepen our intimacy and love for You. Remove any hinderances from growing to know and love You more. In Jesus powerful name, amen. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Receiving and Abiding in Love (Intimacy with God Part IX)

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Our greatest strength comes from abiding (remaining) in God.

John 15: 1, 4-17.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…Remain in me, as I also 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.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

Culture vs. the Kingdom of Heaven

Our culture promotes self. If you want something, you go for it in your own strength. You make it happen. You persist. You press harder or push harder. The central character is us, the created ones. Our culture celebrates the “self-made” person.

The Bible teaches us that we can do nothing apart from God. Nothing means no thing. He is the Source of human life, even for the wicked and unbelieving. We exist because of Him. The central character of God’s story is God. The Kingdom of heaven celebrates the person dependent on God.

It hurts the pride and bruises the ego to realize that God is above all. He is above us. We are not God or demigods, though some teach this. God doesn’t force us to obey Him or comply, He’s still God and there are consequences for our choices. We are never truly independent from His Sovereignty.

If we are in Christ, then it’s good to recall that we are to rely on His strength. Our striving produces stress. Abiding produces abundant fruit. He is the Source of love, peace, joy, hope, faith, goodness, life, patience, meekness, gentleness, and self control. He’s the Vine. If we remain in Him, there’s flourishing life.

Example from Gardening…

I had a plant with vines. I noticed it would grow towards the light. Any parts of the vine that fell off, died. It was disconnected from its life source. The root system of that plant was supplying nutrients. The branches produced no life on their own. If I forgot to water or fertilize the soil, it died.

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We need intimacy (relationship) with God more than anything else. We need the Light (God). We need water (His Spirit). We need fertilizer and food (His Word). When we place other things in front of Him, we suffer. God doesn’t cease loving us, we cease producing fruit.

Fruit is the result of fellowship and intimacy (abiding, remaining). We will always see fruit of our fellowship. If we fellowship with fear, the fruits are worry, anxiety, insecurity, suspicion, unhealthy stress, people pleasing, jealousy…

God knew and knows that we will suffer if He’s not first. We can’t produce Light and His Love without Him. He is Light; He is love.

Our first step in intimacy with God is salvation. The second is abiding. We receive first, then we give.

The highest priority isn’t doing for God, it’s being with God.

So beautiful friends, may we seek Him first. May we meet with Him, talk with Him, listen to Him…

What is God doing? What is He saying? What does His word say? What is God teaching us at this moment?

May we soak in His Presence and allow God to heal, restore, saturate us, and minister to us. God can do more in a moment than we can in a lifetime. He contains solutions to all the world’s problems.

Father, Abba Pai, help us to first receive from You and abide in You as Jesus did. Teach us to rest in Your love and the finished work of the Cross. May we have a deeper revelation of what’s already been paid for in Your Son. May we know heart, mind, and spirit the height, depth, and vast expanse of Your love for us. May we rely on Your strength and Your Spirit. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

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

Erin

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Photo credit: Pinterest

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Solitude and Conversations with God (Intimacy with God Part VI)

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Jesus often retreated from the people to pray. Passage from Luke 5:12-16.

Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

The passage from Luke does not tell us that Jesus sometimes withdrew to lonely places and prayed. It says He did it often. I truly believe if we read of Jesus doing something, we should pay attention because He only did what was in alignment with the Father.

Prayer is simply communication with God. If you’re in a relationship with someone, that relationship requires communication. The foundation for intimacy (into-me-see) is built on fellowship, experience, and communication. Without communication, the other pillars of the relationship begin to crumble. They tumble to the ground.

God invites us to know Him. He offers the invitation for intimacy.

Why do we talk to God?

Because we want to build a relationship with Him. He already knows us. Do we know Him?

Because we love God. We talk to people we love.

Because God enters situations He’s invited into. If we don’t pray, He’s not invited.

Because we need God. He said apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Why do we retreat to lonely places to pray?

So we can hear God more clearly and be free of distractions. Alone time together is more intimate. You can give the other person your undivided attention. Hopefully, they also have yours.

We talk to God and listen to God because we love Him, respect Him, value Him, cherish Him, and we want to know His thoughts.

When was the last time you asked God, “What is your perspective on this situation? God will you give me heaven’s vantage point? God will you show me how to love this person? Will you give me insight into solutions to this world problem? God how do you view me? ”

When we don’t pray (talk to God), we are often leaning on our own understanding. We are worrying and fretting, filled with fear. We are powerless in areas of our lives because we have not yielded to the wisdom of God. We are anxious and insecure. We are not abiding, we are striving.

Effective ways to pray:

Talk to God. He’s listening. You have His undivided attention. The Creator of the Universe has given you His undivided attention. Whoah! That’s enough to pause and say, ” Wow.” He’s more important than any earthly president, King or Queen, or celebrity. He’s our loving Father. You don’t have to have a long, rehearsed prayer. Talk to your Papa.

Listen. One of the ways God speaks is through His word. A verse may pop into your mind or a portion of a sermon. Don’t dismiss it. Ask God for wisdom, insight, and to speak to your heart. Then listen.

Pray God’s word. I’ve been doing this a very long time and was encouraged at a conference last weekend when both teachers encouraged praying God’s word. You can find scripture prayers at the top of this website. God’s word does not return void. It accomplishes all it’s sent out to do (Isaiah 55:11). Seeds of His word are spread to the world as you pray His word. They are watered by Him and bring forth a harvest.

Thank God. Have you ever had a relationship with an ungrateful person? They just continually have their hand out and complain to you with their problems. If so, you know it doesn’t feel good. God likes to be thanked. Yes He does. He is not fond of complaining. Yes, we can air our concerns to God…yet the Bible tells us to continually give thanks.

Intercession. Pray (ask God to help) for other believers all over the world. Talk to God about things outside your realm of influence. Talk to Him about everything.

Jesus told the disciples how to pray with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6). It’s a great prayer. We are invited into relationship. My prayers may sound different than yours. One of my frequent prayers is, “God what are you saying? Who do you want to bless today? What’s on your heart ?” Another one is “Thank you Papa.”

May we seek God for He is glorious! He is outstanding. And He loves to be with His children. He adores you. He wants the best for you.

Papa God, may we know our inheritance in Christ and come boldly before you. Fill us to overflowing with your wisdom and give us an unquenchable desire for Jesus. May we steal away and grow to know you even more. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

 
 

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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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Intimacy with God

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,~Matthew 11:28-30.

God invites us to know Him. It’s the most beautiful and glorious invitation. The Creator of the Universe, who calls all the stars by name, invites us to enter into the deep places of His heart. Jesus paid the highest price so we could have unhindered fellowship with the Father.

In the old covenant only the priests could enter the holy of holies. People died if they approached God the wrong way. He’s holy and there’s no sin in Him. In the new covenant, through Christ, we can go boldly before the throne of God!

So, why do so many linger outside the gate?

Why are there so many who don’t know God personally?

Why are there many who have no personal relationship with God, yet attend church Sunday after Sunday?

Why has God been reduced to an enforcer of the rules instead of a loving Father who wants the best for His children?

Why are some of our church services void of love, passion, joy, and excitement?

I truly believe it’s because we don’t seek God for who He is. We seek God made in our own image, shaped by our worldview, and what we’ve been taught.

I am a firm believer and advocate of reading the Bible. It’s a blueprint. God does not violate His Word. I’m also an advocate of knowing the Author and knowing the Holy Spirit. I know many people who know the Bible like a text book and they know about God, yet they have no experiences with God.

The Bible is meant to lead us into an encounter with God. It’s not a text book to simply memorize to show others how much we know. The goal is relationship. It’s quite helpful to have relationship when you run across passages that seem to contradict each other.

I truly believe some pray a prayer instead of responding to an invitation for relationship. Following Jesus is making Him Lord over every part of our lives. We are not just praying a prayer and then living like the devil for the rest of our lives. That’s not true repentance or conversion. Jesus invited people to follow Him. Demons believe and tremble. They do not have a personal relationship with God, they are not saved, nor following Jesus.

I truly believe many come to God for fire insurance. If we are only with God to bypass hell, we are missing the point. God wants to be known and loved. He’s not boring. He’s not cruel. He’s not controlling. He’s the best thing in this world.

I truly believe many people don’t know how much God loves them. I know I didn’t. I’m still experiencing as Paul stated, “the height, depths, width, and vast expanse of God’s great love!” I don’t have Him or His love all figured out. It’s a journey to the deepest parts of His heart.

Until we receive and know His love, we will struggle with identity, lack of peace, fear, insecurity, lack of joy, lack of love for others…you see, we can’t even love God well until we first receive His love for us. We will obey Him out of obligation and fear instead of love. The more I experience His love, the more love I have for Him, for others, and my concern isn’t breaking “the rules” it’s breaking His heart. He’s the love of my life.

We need to know the God we are worshipping. It’s more than a Sunday morning worship experience. It’s a daily communion with God. It’s living life loving God.

Will you join me on this journey into His heart?

Sweet friends, He longs for us to know Him!

I didn’t want to write a book. As an introvert, I’m quite comfy with people not knowing who I am. God prompted me saying, “My children don’t know how much I love them. Teach them My ways.” So, when people say I talk about God’s love too much…well it’s needed.

Loved people show you their best. Scared people show you their worst,~Danny Silk.

Yes, there will be those who are loved deeply and still reject God. We are not responsible for those people. We are to receive and freely give. We are called to love.

Let’s go deeper!

Deeper into God’s magnificent heart!

How He loves us so.

Love,

Erin

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

 

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