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Merry Christmas (Celebrating a King!)

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Photo credit: Pinterest

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever,~Isaiah 9:6-7.

Merry Christmas to you and your families. Christmas is a time to reflect on the greatest gift ever given to humanity, Jesus. A King left Paradise to come and save a sinful world. He humbled Himself to take the lowest place, that of a babe. A child is dependent on others for care, protection, and provision. A babe cannot speak and is helpless in many ways.

The King of the Universe came into the world to bless the world. He wasn’t born into wealth. He left the riches of heaven for the poverty of earth.

Jesus is the gift who continues to give to the world. He’s continuing to bless the world. This glorious King is alive and pursuing the hearts of His people.

If you do not know Him personally, I invite you to get to know Jesus. Relationship with Him begins with the Father drawing us, acknowledging a need for Him, confessing our sins, repenting, and believing that He is the Son of God. He came for love. He came for you! God pursues to love!

If this season brings you stress, strain, pain, or grief, know that Jesus lives to intercede for you. He loves you! You are so deeply loved. Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” My prayers are with you as well.

Sweet friends, God loves you. He SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so whosoever will believe in Him will have everlasting life!

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Erin

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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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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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Encountering the Perfect Father in a Dark World

“I have told you these things so that in Me you would have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world,” ~Jesus. John 16:33.

Written by Erin Lamb, all rights reserved.

The photo above was taken the day my friend David died. David was the type of person you wanted to know. David was the first person to show up when someone needed help, and he was willing to sacrifice his life for others. He radiated God’s love. He loved, served, and helped so many. He gave his life working on the restoration of Haiti. He was murdered this February while serving orphans in Haiti. In the midst of building an orphanage He was robbed and shot. His death tore my heart in many places.  I wept and wept. Why do I share this with you? We live in a world that is filled with pain, suffering, wrongful death, sickness, disease, hatred, abuse, abandonment, and sorrow. In the midst of it all you may wonder how someone can say that God is good. How can we say God is love? If He is so good and loving, then why is our world filled with so much darkness.

It all started with one man, Adam. God made man in His image. He placed man on earth and said, “This is your dominion, rule and reign,” Genesis 1. Adam had everything he needed. God gave him beautiful landscape, all the food he could eat, a lovely wife, and complete communion with Him. He also gave Adam the ability to choose for himself what he wanted to do. Fast forward. Eve is deceived by the crafty serpent and Adam sinned. This is where death, destruction, sickness, and darkness entered our world, Genesis 3. Not only that, Adam surrendered authority and dominion to the devil. If you believe in God, you must believe in the devil. Evil exists and he propagates it. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy, John 10:10. He hates people. He hates love. He loves it when people blame God for his activities. He sows hatred, division, strife, death, and evil in our world.

Did God leave us helpless? Absolutely not. Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and died on a cross to restore us to right relationship with God and take back the authority Adam gave to evil. Jesus fixed the problem, we don’t always see the evidence of His work. He took back authority and dominion for those who believe in Him. Jesus provides hope and healing for those who lean on Him, and He cheated our worst enemy, death. Those who believe in Him will inherit everlasting life, John 3: 16. He handed over the authority He took back to every believer. He paid for it all. Jesus is the solution.

So, why doesn’t God rid the world of all evil? Loaded question. I will give you my understanding, but recommend you ask Him yourself. I believe that love involves freedom. God gives us the freedom to choose Him. If He was the only option, then there would be no choice. I believe God is already victorious and though our world looks dark, He continues to work through His children to bring peace, love, joy, healing, and heaven to earth. I believe and know He will make all the wrongs right. I believe that if we trust God we will see that the end of the story is better than any of the suffering we have witnessed. I believe that God is good and though He is blamed for evil, nothing in His nature is evil. I have seen Him turn tragedy into triumph, victims into victors, and the worst of situations into something beautiful. We (humans) still have the ability to choose evil. God won’t force us to love. So, when you fill a planet with people who can choose evil, there will be evil.

How do I deal? Good question. Prayer is powerful. Since God gave people dominion on this planet, He moves when we pray and ask for help. I hate to admit it but until heaven, there will be evil in the world. I’ve found no greater solution than prayer. I pray. You pray. We pray, and we ask God for help.

Final thoughts. I’m not a person typing to you who hasn’t suffered. One day maybe I will share my story in its entirety. I know what it’s like to endure physical and great emotional pain. I have had more than one near death experience. I have seen God do amazing things because someone prayed. I have seen Him heal the sick, bring life to dead situations, and so much more….You are loved my friends. No matter what you have faced in life or will face, God LOVES you! He is your best advocate. Praying you are blessed this week, beyond measure.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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You’re My Favorite

What I’ve learned about God through painting

By Erin Lamb, all rights reserved.

I am by no means a professional artist. However, I love to paint. I have loved painting since I was a child. Every painting is a treasure because it was birthed from my imagination. I think of the vast imagination of God. He is the most ingenious being in the Universe. If you look around, you will see His greatness painted on this canvas called earth. Every person was birthed in His mind before the foundations of the earth. He pulled out His living paint brush and began to create. Every pink sunrise and vivid sunset is a reminder of His creative genius. He took great care in creating the most sophisticated things in the world. Everything was made by Him and for Him.

So what about you? You are one of His favorites. You might say that is a little bold and God doesn’t have favorites. Well, you are His favorite you. He only made one of you and therefore you are His favorite you.

I have been obsessed with painting trees or butterflies the past few months. Every painting has trees or butterflies, but no painting looks exactly the same. Even though they are all paintings that contain trees or butterflies, each one is my favorite. Each one has tremendous value. Others may look at the rows of paintings and say, “I like the lean trees, they are prettier.” Or someone else might say “I like the richness of the larger trees and the beauty in the diversity of the bark.” Or they may say, “I love the colors of this butterfly.” The truth is I am the artist. All the paintings have the same value to me. I hate to part with any of them. I hate to choose which one I like the best. They are each the best to me. They are mine. I created them. They are all fine-looking to me. If someone asked me which painting was my favorite I would say, “They are all my favorites. I love them all.”

God is the finest artist. He looks over the earth and smiles on what He has made. Since every living creature originated from His mind first, each creature has immense value. He says to you,I love you. I knew you before you were a thought in your parent’s minds. You were made by Me and for Me. You have tremendous value. No one can take your place. I breathed life into My imagination to make you. The way you look, the way you sound, and your capabilities were designed by Me.”

There is freedom when we recognize that we all have immeasurable value. We are not a mistake. The great artist says “You’re My favorite you.” It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, or even what you think of yourself. You are valuable. You are a gift. You are priceless. Listen to the words of the One who loves you more than anyone ever could. He loves you. God loves you, and to Him you were an excellent idea.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Love Parable

Love Parable

By Erin Lamb ©, all rights reserved.

I love that Jesus told stories. Stories seem to stay with us. Instead of dumping facts on us, they makes us think and dig deeper.

The Rich Mansion Owner:

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

There was an extremely wealthy man who had a multi-billion dollar home. Oh, did I mention it overlooked the beach, miles and miles of beaches. There were tennis courts, basketball courts, feasts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There were heated pools and every luxury imaginable. He provided everything. He made sure the home was clean, spotless even. He asks you to accept his invitation to be with him and be a part of his family. Yes, there were some house rules but he offered to be the one to help you keep them. He asked that he was called if there were any problems. There were to be no worries about things getting broken or messed up; he would clean it up.

It was the most beautiful mansion in the neighborhood. The house was filled with laughter, joy, peace, and sometimes dancing. It was almost effortless to live with him because he was good, kind, loving, affectionate, considerate, and compassionate. Every day the man would prepare a favorite meal and spend time preparing something special for every person in the house. He asked that you live there with him as family and not behave as a guest. It was your house too. Everything in the house belonged to you. You had full access to the fridge, the activities, and whatever the man did, you could do. He even gave you access to his bank account. All his money was yours too. He let you carry his credit cards and everyone in the town was to know you were his beloved. He smiled at you daily and encouraged you to be the best you, you could be. He loved spending time with you, sharing his thoughts and wanting to hear yours. If you made a mistake, he quickly forgave you and kept loving you.

One day a stranger shows up at the door. He’s a nice looking guy. He tells you, “You should leave this house. This man (home owner) is trying to keep good things from you.” The stranger says, “He doesn’t love you. He just wants to control you. I mean why do you need to stay on this property when you can strike it out on your own. Wouldn’t it be nice to do your own thing? Wouldn’t it be nice to not be under the watchful eye of this man.”

You think about what the stranger says. You begin to wonder what else is out there.  Can you really trust the man who opened the door to his mansion. Does he really love you? You start to think, “I can do life on my own. There has to be something better out there.”  You leave with the stranger. As the stranger drives away you recognize that the beauty of home is fading behind you.

The stranger takes you to a shack on the edge of town. It is run down and polluted. It stinks. It’s dark. There are other people chained inside. He throws you in a room, locks you in, and laughs at you. He spends day and night telling you how awful you are and how stupid you are for leaving paradise. Day and night you are tormented because this isn’t home. You find yourself alone and hopeless.

Meanwhile the owner of the mansion is looking for you. He can’t live happily without you. He loves you. He drives and drives until he pulls up to the shack. He calls your name. “Come to me,” he yells. “I want you back. I love you,” he exclaims. The stranger doesn’t want to let you go, but he has no power stronger than love. As you realize what you had and how much you’re loved, the shackles release you. The door opens, and you run into the arms of the one who loves you. He loved you before and he loves you now. He rejoices because his beloved is coming home. You see, he wasn’t withholding something from you, he was protecting you.

God loves you. Anytime God says no to something it’s because of love. He always has something better in mind. Anytime God convicts of sin or tells us to repent it’s because He loves us. He loves us. Let that sink in. What God has for us is far greater than anything we can give ourselves or what anyone else can do for us.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with God, it comes through faith and acceptance of His Son Jesus. Jesus died for all our sins, so we could be reconciled with the Father. We believe, we confess our sins and need for a Savior, and we invite God into our lives. If you don’t know Him, your missing out on the most amazing relationship you’ll ever have. He is amazing.

Photos from Microsoft Clip art

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Devotions, From the Author

 

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