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Wednesday Devotion (Loving Like God)

Morning Devotion: Understanding the set up of God.

Sometimes God will allow people to cross your path who will not love you. These people are teachers and developers in the school of love.

It's easy to love the loveable and those who love us. The true test of love is when God sends you to serve those who hate you, attempt to use you, are indifferent, humiliate you, are selfish or unkind. These people reveal whether our love flows from our spirit or our flesh.

The flesh has no agape love. The flesh is disinterested in loving those who do not serve it or meet it's needs. The flesh is led by feelings, "Does this person make me feel good?" If not, then the flesh withdraws love. For it was not love at all.

The Spirit of God continually seeks to love, even when the person on the other end is hateful or unloving. Why? God is love. Those who abide in Him will love. How? God is love. Love is a fruit of abiding in the one who is love.

Agape love says, "Your behavior does not dictate my love. It is not dependent on you because the source is God." It moves us beyond, "How does this person make me feel," to "How can I reveal the heart of the Father to this person?"

Agape love moves us beyond being offended to compassion and intercession. Love sees the deficit and seeks for that person to be reconciled to God. A person disconnected from Jesus will not produce God love. We will never be able to give away what we do not possess.

Only a person connected to heart of God can display the heart of God. Only a person who is intimate with God can produce the likeness of God and character of God. Only a person who receives God's love, grace, mercy, and goodness can give that away to others. It starts with God. God is the Source, then that love must be received. We receive the love of God by faith. Once our hearts are saturated in God love, God love pours out of us onto others. It gushes out like a waterfall. It is like a firehose that is on full blast, day after day.

What can we learn from those who can behave outside their true identity…

1. There is a God love deficit. The one who abides in God loves.

2. There is an identity deficit. When we know God, we begin to manifest our true identity as a son or daughter of God.

3. There is an opportunity to reveal the heart of the Father.

4. God love wins. The consistent, steadfast, and incredible love of God wins.

5. They show you how not to behave. Some of the greatest lessons I have learned have developed from being treated poorly-do not do this to other people. You will often find me at events looking for the person no one will talk to or connect with or acknowledge. Why? I understand what is like to be absolutely ignored, treated as insignificant, or be invited places or pulled into things and then treated poorly. I choose on purpose not to do these things to others.

6. It is not about you, it's about that person and their heart. How people behave and talk is an outward manifestation of what is going on in their heart and soul. Pray for them.

7. God is with you! You are not doing this love walk alone. The Lord led me to Isaiah 53 this weekend. It talks about the challenges of Messiah. He was despised and hated by His own people. Though we paint Him beautiful, scripture says, "There was nothing about His appearance to draw us to Him." Jesus loved perfectly and was mistreated more than anyone. His own disciples betrayed Him and refused to help Him. Yet Jesus continues to love!

Papa move us beyond feelings into the realm of the Spirit. Deepen our intimacy with you so we manifest your heart. Help us to receive your incredible love. Then help us to pour out that love and not just to those who love us. What reward shall we have if we only love those who love us. Develop our character and love muscles so what the world sees when they encounter us is profound love.

You are so deeply loved!

Erin Lamb

 
 

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Weekend Devotion (God Wants Relationship) 

Photo: Nay Crumors 

Morning Devotion: Knowing God (intimacy with God) is the most important thing…Not church attendance, tithing, church affiliation, serving, or being entertained. God is after personal, intimate relationship. 

Being with God, knowing God, trumps doing for God. Being is to lead to doing with the motivation to love God and others. 

When intimacy with God and knowing His heart and character are removed from Christianity you end up with powerless religion. 
We can spend our lives in church, paying tithes, doing Christian stuff, having great worship, and go to hell (totally miss God). How can I say this? Well, it came straight from the mouth of Jesus. Read Matthew 7:21-29, Matthew 25:31-46. 

Religion void of relationship leads to idolatry and oppression. The Pharisees had religion not relationship with God. 

Mankind without connection to the Vine (Jesus) yields no good fruit. See John 15:4-5. There is a form of godliness in religion void of transformative power and genuine agape love. That’s why the Bible was used as an excuse to kill millions of Native born Americans (First Nations people) or enslave Africans (deny them any human rights) or abuse women and deny them equal rights. So many horrific things have been done under the mask of “Christianity,” yet Jesus made it very plain. He stated, “You will know My followers by their agape love.” See John 13:35. 

Love fulfills the law because it does no harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10). Love is holy and without any sin, including selfishness the most destructive sin. Love involves freedom and equality. Love is not rude nor full of mean sarcasm. Love builds up. Love gets low to serve not seeking to be served. Love has no prejudice. Love honors even the dishonorable. Love seeks the best interests of others. Love possesses humility (others matter). Love does not seek to dominate, control, hurt, harm, abuse, use, or harass others. 

There is a huge difference between someone who claims God and someone who knows God. The one who knows God grows to resemble God (1 John 4:8). Some of what we call Christianity is not about Jesus at all. It is traditions of men and void of God’s love, purity, and power. 

God invites us to know Him. All the other things flow out of knowing God. If I am intimate with God, I will want to give. If I am intimate with God, I will grow more loving. If I am intimate with God, I will want to fellowship with other believers. If I am intimate with God, I will want to serve. If I am intimate with God, I will want to share the Gospel. If I am intimate with God, I will humble myself and serve others. If I am intimate with God, the fragrance on my life will draw others to Him. Our strength lies in intimacy with God. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 

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Proximity Is Not Intimacy (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 9)

  
Morning thoughts on intimacy: Proximity does not equal intimacy. Nor does proximity or just spending time equal friendship. 

There were people who traveled with Jesus, ate with Jesus, and considered themselves disciples or friends of Jesus. Yet those who followed Him and dined/traveled with Him many of them still did not know His heart. When you read the Gospels you will read of their doubt, unbelief, selfishness, pride, issues, and denial/betrayal of Jesus. 

Only Mary showed up at the tomb of Jesus. Only John (of His male disciples/followers) showed up at His crucifixion. On the night before He was betrayed, they went to sleep, though He begged for their prayers. 

The disciples could touch His flesh and still missed His heart. They walked with Him yet were not good friends to Him in His time of need. 

We can spend time with people, read about their life, and still miss being intimate with them. Why? How? If our focus is inward, we can be sitting right next to someone and not know them. If we are filled with unbelief we can be close (proximity) to Jesus and still miss knowing Him. If our eyes are set on, “What can I gain from this relationship, what is in it for me? What about me? How can they bless or validate me? I think, I feel…me,” we miss out on the greatest gift-knowing God. And if we are that way with people we miss out on knowing them too. Me centered living does not launch us deep. 

Even some of the relatives of Jesus did not truly know Him. Those in His community mocked Him, scorned Him, and were offended by Him. Some thought He was crazy. They were in proximity with Jesus, they were not intimate with Jesus (truly knowing and believing He was the Son of God). 

When we are truly intimate with someone we see them as they are, not as we wish them to be. We listen to their heart, and what matters to them begins to matter to us. We love them deeply for who they are not what they can do for us. We know their voice, the way they move, their heart and motivations, the intonation in their speech. We can in detail tell others about parts of their inner world. 

Intimacy is not a destination; it is a journey. A perpetual journey to know someone deeply, beyond the surface and simply stating surface facts or what we have read or heard. 

God invites us all to know Him deeply and for ourselves. Intimacy is more than reading the Bible and attending a few services. It is a laid down life of being loved and known by God, then loving and knowing God in return. It surpasses the intimacy that can be shared between a husband and wife in covenant. And this intimacy extends on past life on earth…into eternity. 

May you and I continually pursue intimacy with God and dive deeper in covenant relationships as well. May we be people of depth, moving beyond shallow or surface knowings. 

I have heard His heart cry, “Do they know Me?” Let’s be pursuers of His heart as He pursues ours. God is worth knowing. How He loves us so! He is pursuing us to love us. 

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Test Every Spirit/Voice (Abiding & Intimacy with God Part 7)

  
Image created with Wordswag, used with permission. 

The Bible is very clear that we are to discern, use wisdom, and test every spirit. Everything we hear, see, and are taught is not necessarily God. 1 John 4:1 is very clear, it states, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 

Do we understand what testing involves? Do we know who God is so when people come with their messages about God we filter them through our own relationship with God?  Do we know the character of God? Do we know the word of God? God does not violate His word. He expands our understanding, He does not violate His principles. 

Over the years I have heard and seen many people led into ditches because they thought they were following God. They were led by their own   hearing/sensing/feelings/thoughts or by someone else’s. Some were led into cults. Some had relationships or ministries destroyed. Some abandoned hearing from God all together-“It is too messy. I can not hear from God. God does not speak. Too many crazies saying they hear from God!” 

God does speak. What gets people in trouble is not testing what they hear, see, think, or are taught. The devil speaks too. He pretends to be God. He will give people thoughts that start with, “I” so they believe it is their thought or feeling. The flesh also has a voice. So sometimes what people think or say is God is truly flowing from their own soul (mind, will, emotions). The soul is sometimes broken and therefore speaks out of it’s brokeness. 

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks,~Luke 6:45 (NKJV). 

Example, my earthly father has brown skin. He is a pastor and Chaplain. One day a man said to him, “You know! I am so glad colored people get to go to heaven, too bad we will be on seperate sides!” What this man was saying was there was a white’s only section in heaven. 

Lets review this word with the Bible. 

God is not white (Caucasian, European). God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). When God decided to put on flesh through His Son, Jesus came through the lineage of the Jews. He came through the tribe of Judah-one of the 12 tribes of Israel (Matthew 1:1-13). 

Jesus had no earthly father-He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and came through the womb of Mary (Matthew 1:18). 

Jesus was born in the Middle East/Africa region (Matthew 2:1). He was not European though He is painted that way. 

The Bible also tells us every tribe, nation, and tongue will be represented in heaven (Revelation 5:9), and there is no mention in all of scripture of segregation or God prefering people with paler skintones or European ancestry. You read of God’s love for all humanity and see His favor on the Jewish people (who were not European Jews) and His extention of that favor to the Gentiles. 

All the information I shared with you is in the Bible. The man who spoke this to my father claimed to be a Christian. Where did his thoughts on heaven come from? I have no clue. I will say it is very important we take the things people say, the things we hear in our own minds, things we see…to the word of God. 

My friends could not understand my outrage over the Noah movie that came out a few years ago. I love all people, yet the film was a gross misrepresentation of the heart of God, the character of God, the roles/functions of demons, and painted a horrible picture of Noah and God (called Creator). 

Lets get you going on testing things…

Let’s start with the basics. Who is God. What is He like? 

  • God is holy. He does not sin nor lead people into sin (1 Peter 1:16). 
  • God is love (unconditional, sacrificial, unselfish love) (1 John 4:8). 
  • God has a will and it is perfect (Romans 12:2, Matthew 7:21-23). 
  • God is honest, He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).
  • God comforts and encourages (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). 
  • God redeems and offers grace/mercy to the repentant (Isaiah 47:4, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Acts 3:19). 
  • God speaks and communicates with His children (John 10:27). 
  • God is after relationship/intimacy with humanity (John 17:21-23).
  • God alone is worthy of worship (Revelation 4:11). 
  • God gives hope (Romans 15:13). 

There are certainly more verses and   characteristics about God. Open the Bible and research who He is. 

When something pops up in your head, you have a thought, are given a word/prophetic word/sermon/insight/a book, what do you do with it? 

The Bible says take every thought captive and make it obedient to the word of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Get in the word. I do not just take what pastors, leaders, people say and run with it. Where is it in the Bible? Where does God say this is good? Does this draw me closer to God or to sin? Do I have hope? Is there redemption? 

Today people say sex outside a natural born man and woman in lifelong covenant is okay. Yet there is not one scripture to support it. Scriptures on sexual conduct-(Leviticus 18, 1 Corinthians 6:18, 20, Proverbs 6: 27-29, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:3-4, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Romans 1:26-27). 

The world says do what feels good to you. The Bible says, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Jesus,” (Matthew 16:24) 

Born again believers are also told to be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14-17). The Holy Spirit in a born again believer will bear witness to what is God. It still needs tested and weighed against the Word of God and character of God. 
I have heard countless people say God told them something or to do something that was not fitting the mold of His character and violated His word. 

Examples: 

A lady who told me the Holy Spirit told her to never read the Bible just listen to his voice. Wrong. Scripture says, “Study to show yourself approved,“~2 Timothy 2:15. And there are many encouragements in the Bible to read and study the words of God and His stories. 

A man who said the Holy Spirit told him to change his gender and approved of his homosexual relationship. Please go through and read all the verses on sexual conduct. There is not one and I looked, verse or passage that says, “It is good for a man to have sexual relations with a man.” The Bible states that it is not good. Nor are there any Bible verses that state the gender of a person is flexible. None that state God didn’t know what He was doing so we get to choose. Actually what it says is…”Who are you, mere human beings to argue with God? Should the thing that was created, say to the one who Created it, “Why did you make me this way?“, Romans 9:20. 

A lady who felt God had given her the wrong husband so she cheated with another married man. Wrong. God does not tell people to not commit adultery in His Word (Exodus 20:14) then say, “Oh for you, I will make an exception.” God is not double minded. 

She hurt her husband and destroyed two families, hurt her reputation as a believer, stained the views of those around her of God. God brought restoration through repentance to both families. Yet she followed a lie and did not hold up her thoughts/feelings/urges to the word of God. 

There are also far too many personal experiences I have had with people speaking things into my life or over me that were not God. 

So here are my tests for releasing  things/testing things: 

  • Does it align with Scripture? 
  • Does it align with the character or nature of God? 
  • Does it convey a message of love and holiness?
  • Is God exalted? Or the person speaking? 
  • Will this draw someone closer to the heart of God? Do I feel drawn to the heart of God by what was said or shown me? 
  • Does the Holy Spirit in me agree with this? 
  • Is this growing my knowledge or the other person’s knowledge of God?
  • How would I feel if someone said this to me? Or about me? 
  • If it is a correction word, is there redemption? Or does it simply leave the person feeling hopeless, discouraged, or depressed. 

I take things to God,”Okay God, the pastor or leader or person said this, where is this in the Word of God? What is Your truth? What are we keeping? What are we shelving? What are we tossing?”

If I have a relationship with the person or feel it’s necessary,I provide feedback so there can be growth. If I do not have relationship with that person (they are on tv, etc.), I pray. Everyone is learning, growing, and there’s mercy and grace. Lord knows I need it. I am learning too! 

I do not make a public campaign to smear the person. I do not gossip about them or put them down. We are called to test/judge words. We are called to test/discern every spirit. We are called to love people. Love prays. Love corrects to restore. 

God bless you! 

Erin Lamb 

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2016 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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Abiding (Intimacy with God Part IV)

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Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5 (Amplified Bible).

Photo credit: Pinterest

Jesus gave us the key to knowing the Father, through relationship with Him (John 14:6). He gave us the key to eternal life, repentance and faith in Him. He gave us the key to victorious life from sin, the deposit of His Holy Spirit. He also gave us the key to fruitful living, abiding in Him.

One set of my life verses are found in John 15. Intimacy with God produces fruit. The remaining, union, connection, covenant, and relationship with God produces the fruit of His likeness and divine revelation.

Have you ever noticed that best friends and especially married couples will begin to know each other so well that they can finish the other’s sentences or they begin to act in similar ways.

Intimacy (abiding) produces oneness.

God created every human being with the desire to be known and unconditionally loved. He created humans to require intimacy. He’s the only One who can fulfill this need without any flaws, perversion, or creating codependency.

When we are disconnected (not abiding) in God we are relying on our own strength, power, intellect, wisdom, and resources. Or we are relying on someone else’s. Both will fail. Human wisdom is not perfect. Humans are not perfect-infallible. According to Romans 3:23 all (but Jesus) have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

I’ve heard many people state Christians don’t behave like Jesus. Is this because they aren’t saved? I can say the following.

Sanctification (becoming like Jesus) is a process. The Holy Spirit works in us to reveal righteousness, the person of Jesus, to teach, equip, comfort, love, and empower. It’s a journey. Just as a baby learns and grows over time, so do we. Spiritual growth is a process. We learn. We make mistakes. We grow. We rely on God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Christlikeness or bearing fruit results from connection to God. His Holy Spirit produces fruit. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, there’s no Source to draw from. If you do have the Holy Spirit, you have the ability to quench or grieve Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19 and Ephesians 4:30).

God is in control in the sense nothing happens without Him knowing. He’s Sovereign. God did not make humans robots. He will not force us to obey Him, spend time with Him, love Him, love others, do what’s right, or anything else. We can say no to God. Adam and Eve are prime examples of our ability to choose what’s wrong. We can be believers who choose to sin. Yet those who choose to live independent of Him will face consequences for their actions.

Abiding is about relationship. Jesus repeated Himself: Abide in Me! Remain in Me! Stay connected to Me! We cannot abide or remain in someone we do not talk to unless it’s Sunday morning, or in times of trouble, or when we need something.

Relationships are built on quality time, communication, mutual investment, love, commitment, appreciation, and with God (doing what He asks). He said our love for Him is manifested through obedience.

Note: Many have used the word legalism to promote lawlessness. Legalism is trying to obtain righteousness or God’s love through rule keeping. Obedience to God is an act of love. We don’t obey to gain favor, love, or righteousness. Righteousness comes by faith. Favor and love are gifts from God. Obedience is a fruit of our love for Him.

So how do we abide?

1. Salvation. If you are not saved (in relationship with God through repentance and faith) you cannot abide in Him. No one comes to the Father unless they come through the Son.

2. Make God the highest priority. This doesn’t necessarily mean lock yourself on a room with a Bible 24/7. It means God is invited to be the central focus of life.

3. Cultivate relationship. Think of God as the closest family member. Talk to Him. Listen. Spend time with Him. Get to know Him. Rely on Him. Be with Him. Thank Him. Focus on Him. Worship (love, adore) Him. Ask Him to deepen your awareness of His Presence. Meditate on His word and goodness. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you.

I’m a list person, yet my relationship with God isn’t a formula. He’s my best friend. I wake up thinking about Him. I spend the day talking and listening to Him. I end the day with Him. He’s the closest to me. I take time to steal away with Him. In trouble, I look to Him. In good times, I look to Him. He has my attention and focus.

Sweet friends, there’s always more with God. God invites us into the secret places of His heart. He unites us to Himself. He doesn’t need us. He wants us. The Creator of the Universe and galaxies calls us by name. He wants to know us and be with us. He doesn’t need anything. Even the angels worship around His throne. Yet He delights in our love for Him.

May we grow in intimacy with God! He loves and adores us.

You’re continually in my thoughts and prayers.

In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Why Love?

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Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:7-8.

So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:3-4.

The title of my book is I Thought I Knew What Love Was. God’s love is so much better than anyone told or demonstrated for me. I yielded my heart to God because of His great love and pursuit. The longer I know Him, the more my life is transformed.

I never wanted to write a book. I don’t like public speaking. I could contently live as mostly a hermit with Jesus. I’m an introvert who often retreats after long periods of time of human interaction. So, ministry was never something I longed for. God deposited His heart for people, and He’s the reason I share with others.

Over the course of many years the conversations with God were often documented and many turned into psalms, poems, and prayers. You’ll find 7 years worth in the book. Some from me to Him and many His responses to me. This book was put together after friends and family kept telling me to publish them. I walked through a year or so of hesitation. I don’t care if people know who I am. I do want people to encounter Jesus and know who He is.

So why love? That’s what God asked me to talk about and share with the world. In 2008 on mission to Brazil I was asked to preach in a tiny village. This place was a secluded village off the Amazon River. I prayed and asked God what topic or passage to cover. He responded with, “Tell them I love them.” How simple, yet so profound. I asked why such a simple message. His reply, “People do not know how much I love them.” So the message was John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son so whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. People who you’d probably see on National Geographic were the target of God’s incredible love. God’s love is on full blast 24:7 towards every person on the planet. Every person matters.

I’ve met some opposition from people saying I must talk about the wrath of God. Or God is not only loving, He’s angry with our sin. He’s sending His punishment and wrath on evil sinners.

Here’s my take on God’s love with biblical backing.

Love is who God is, it’s not simply what He does. It’s His identity (1 John 4:8).

God’s discipline is a result of love. You cannot separate love from discipline. Discipline is a fruit of love (Hebrews 12:6).

God invites people into relationship and out of relationship transformation happens (John 15:5).

Obedience to God is a result of love for God (John 14:5).

We cannot love God without first receiving His love (1 John 4:19). We cannot give God love He has not first given us. We can only give what we possess.

God knows that we are weak (Psalm 103:14) and prone to sin so He gives us His Holy Spirit (John 14:15-21).

Out of love Jesus came to save the world. He knew we could not save ourselves, John 3:17.

The penalty for sin is death and for the unrepentant eternal separation from God. However, God longs for no person to perish (1 Tim 2:4). Out of love, He sent His Son.

So why love? Love is who God is. It’s not our human love. It’s not a we get to claim God and live as we please ( see the Unconditional Love vs. Unconditional Approval post).

God is not weak, and He is not unmerciful. His mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:3).

God is perfect in all His ways. He longs for none to perish. He is perfect in power, love, mercy, judgement, and He is holy.

I’ve seen the picket signs, “Turn or burn. God hates sinners.” I’ve seen people turned off from knowing God because those representing Him forsook love.

I’m thankful God is better than our understanding of Him. I’m thankful the Gospel is about redeeming sinful people. I’m thankful God didn’t offer me death, but an invitation to life. I respect, honor, and fear Him. However, I’m with Him not for fire insurance, but out of the great love He’s showed for me. If there were no hell, I’d still be pursuing His heart as He’s pursued mine. Out of love I serve and obey Him. There is no greater love! God’s love is beyond amazing.

The world needs to see and encounter God’s love, real love. Love that redeems, heals, tells the truth, corrects to restore, forgives, leads, helps, serves, honors, and empowers. Love that does not seek to dishonor, embarrass, or condemn people because those things are not really love.

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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in From the Author

 

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