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The Promised Gift (Holy Spirit University (HSU) Series Part I)

...the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you,~Jesus (John 14:26). 
Jesus promised the disciples a gift, a gift that would abide with those who place their ultimate faith in Him. 

Holy Spirit is an incredible gift, a gift that sustains, equips, empowers, loves, comforts, intercedes, blesses, gives spiritual gifts, imparts wisdom, and helps believers in incredble ways. 

Holy Spirit University (HSU) series is about doing life with the blessed Holy Spirit. I can not overstate the importance of Holy Spirit. 

Holy Spirit is not a wind or dove or fire-though symbolized this way in scripture. Holy Spirit has emotions, a will, a mind, insight, a voice (Holy Spirit speaks and teaches), and is perfect in every way.

Yielding to the Holy Spirit is vital to living a victorious life. 

Let’s read some scripture together: 

While being together and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Of which,” He said, “you have heard Me speak. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized and empowered and united with the Holy Spirit, not long from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked Him repeatedly, “Lord, are You at this time reestablishing the kingdom and restoring it to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”-Acts 1:4-8. 
Jesus spoke of this gift from God that would empower and equip the disciples. The Holy Spirit would give them holy boldness to be His witnesses. 

What on earth does Holy Spirit do? 

Part of the role of Holy Spirit is to empower us to do what Jesus did. 

Jesus did not say, “I am going to give you this gift that will help you do nothing. Please sit and do nothing until I return or you die. Also please stay the same way I found you.” 

The Holy Spirit within is a power house. This promised gift was to love, bring comfort, to teach, to be a seal on believers that they belong to God, to give power, holy boldness, counsel, give strength, reveal the righteous nature of God, sustain, impart spiritual gifts, provide wisdom, and so much more. 

Ready or not, here comes Holy Spirit!

The disciples walked with Jesus. I am certain there was attachment. He told them it was better that He go to the Father than remain with them. The Spirit of God would come and dwell with believers and inside of Spirit baptized believers. They would have this power house within them.

God fulfilled His word at Pentacost (Acts 2:1-13):

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place, and suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed [among them], and they rested on each one of them [as each person received the Holy Spirit]. And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately].

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout and God-fearing men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound was heard, a crowd gathered, and they were bewildered because each one was hearing those in the upper room speaking in his own language or dialect. They were completely astonished, saying, “Look! Are not all of these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears in our own language or native dialect? Among us there are Parthians, Medes and Elamites, and people of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia [Minor], Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and the visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we all hear them speaking in our [native] tongues about the mighty works of God!” And they were beside themselves with amazement and were greatly perplexed, saying one to another, “What could this mean?” But others were laughing and joking and ridiculing them, saying, “They are full of sweet wine and are drunk!”
Many went on to share the Gospel of Jesus with exceptional boldness and clarity. This power house filled those in the upper room and changed their lives forever. 

The gift that produces victory!

It is impossible to live a victorious life without Holy Spirit. 

…you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)~Romans 8:9.

…the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words,~Romans 8:26. 

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God,~Romans 8:13-14. 

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,~Ephesians 1:13. 

Without the Holy Spirit our flesh or soul (human mind, will, emotions) will dictate our lives. The mind of the flesh wars against God, it cannot please God. Without the Holy Spirit, according to Romans 8:9, we do not belong to God.  We need this gift and to honor the blessing of the Holy Spirit. 

As we contunue on this study of Holy Spirit I pray we grow to have deeper intimacy with God. I pray we grow to know more about Holy Spirit and cultivate greater friendship with Him. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 
 

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Glory to Glory (Manifesting Sonship Series Part V)

  
Photo credit: Pinterest 

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit,~2 Corinthians 3:18 (Amplified).

God’s glory is the external manifestation of His being. God’s glory is something that appears ( Exod 16:10), is revealed (Isa 40:5), or can be seen (Num 14:22)-source BibleStudyTools.

Holy Spirit is glorious! He is fully God and marks/seals believers as belonging to God (2 Corinthians 1:22). He works within us to reveal Jesus, righteousness, and to take us from glory to glory. 

I’ve heard some preach that since we are saved by faith and God loves us as we are, that means we are to stay as we are when God encountered us. This isn’t what the Bible teaches. It neglects the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.  When God encountered Paul (formerly Saul), he was persecuting and killing Christians. After his radical encounter with God, Paul became one of the most radical preachers of the Gospel. We see a murder and persecutor completely transformed.  

We worship a God who makes all things new. 

We too are called to transformation. It’s not transformation that is the result of striving. It’s a result of beholding Him and abiding (remaining) in Him (John 15:5).  

Our spirit is made new at conversion. Our soul (mind, will, emotions) and character are being transformed/sanctified. 

The Road to Tranformation…

Faith: It starts with believing God. My thoughts about God will determine what I become. If I believe God is harsh or critical, it will manifest in my behavior and response to Him. 

Believing the revelations of God’s word, nature, and character brings transformation. 

Truths I’d love for us to digest and meditate on today: 

  • God is love. It’s who He is, not simply what He does. It’s not based on our merit, behavior, or performance. 
  • God is truth. He cannot lie! Every word He speaks is truth. Every promise in Him is yes and amen. 
  • God is good. Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of Lights who does not change like shifting shadows. 
  • God is holy. There’s no sin in God, and He will never lead you down a path of sin. We were born into sin; He paid the price to free us from sin. 
  • God is perfect in patience. God has infinite patience. He is not like humans who may toss you aside if you fail. Think of the prodigal son story. The Father was looking for the son! He ran out for his wayward son. If everyone else gives up on you, God will take you back. Come running…if you move an inch He will run miles. 
  • God cares for every detail of our lives. What matters to you, matters to Him. He knows every hair on our heads, every tear we have shed. He knows our thoughts, dreams, desires. He cares more than anyone else.  

His Word: I truly believe we are to be people of His Word. He gave it to us as food and a blueprint. We read, study, and seek Him with the Holy Spirit. I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me. 

Worship: Loving God, honoring God, celebrating God, and putting Him first in all things leads to such encounters. He inhabits the praises of His people. It takes the focus off who we are, what’s happening around us, and places the focus on Him. 

Intimacy with God: God invites us into relationship with Him. A deep, pure, growing relationship that’s life giving. It’s more than a Sunday morning activity. It’s a daily love relationship, more intimate than marriage.  

Obedience: Scripture tells us we are a slave to whoever we obey (Romans 6:16). We are either obeying God or the evil one. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father. I’m not suggesting perfectionism or striving. I’m stating there’s blessing in obeying God. If we miss the mark, we go to our Father and say sorry. He’s so eager to forgive. No shame and no condemnation (sentencing). 

What If What We See Isn’t Jesus? 

It’s a process. So the focus is God. If I sit down and look at the character of Jesus and my character, I have so far to go. He’s perfect. I am not. The objective isn’t a self help program or to try to make myself like Jesus. The objective is to remain in Him, let Him love me, and keep my eyes on Him. 

It’s not what we see. It’s what God sees and who He says we are. We are His image bearers in the earth!   
Photo credit Pinterest. 

You are so deeply loved friends! Lifting you up. God bless you. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2015 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Image Bearers (Intimacy with God Part III)

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…you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit,~Ephesians 2:19-22.

God invites us into relationship with Him. It is a covenant relationship. His connection with us is Spirit to spirit. He imparts Himself to us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. It’s not simply a visitation with God on Sunday mornings. It’s intended to be a habitation.

What is a habitation? (Source Dictionary.com)

1. The act of inhabiting or the state of being inhabited.
2. A natural environment or locality.
3. A residence.

God abides in born again believers. The purpose of habitation is not simply to get us into heaven. It’s so we are transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus. The Holy Spirit resides in us and continually points to truth, righteousness, and reveals Jesus. Day by day, moment by moment, He’s revealing the Son and we (if we are submitted to God) are being transformed into His likeness. This is a powerful work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot strive to be like God. Our attempts will fail.

Our outward expressions will always manifest our internal reality. Just as an apple tree continues to produce apples. You can chop off the fruit, but it will continue to produce fruit.

We are called to have the fruit of God’s Spirit and be His image bearers in the earth. It brings Him glory when we act like Him, that is the truest form of who we are. Genesis 1 states in His image God created them. We were created by Him, in His image, to represent Him.

How do we become like Jesus?

1. It starts with relationship (see previous post Intimacy with God Part II). If you’re not saved, you will not become like Jesus because the Holy Spirit is not in you. Human efforts are futile.

2. We abide.

I will talk more about abiding in the next post.

Jesus stated in John 15:5, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in Me will bear much fruit. Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”

3. We submit.

Submission sounds horrible when we are self willed and do not understand how much God loves us.

Submission is beautiful when you realize the One you are saying yes to has your best interests at heart. God wants the best for us. So when He says, “Don’t go there. Don’t do this. This is a bad idea. You should go this way,” it’s because He can see all things and knows that the penalty for doing things sinful is death.

We do not become like Jesus by being rebellious, stubborn, disobedient, and living life our own way.

Jesus was obedient even to the cross. What if He decided He was not going to do the Father’s will? You and I would be in a bad place as He’s the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Lastly, God didn’t just save us so we could ride off into the sunset just as broken and messed up as He found us. He saved us out of love. He restores broken things and makes them brand new. He loves us as we are, yet out of that great love-never intends to leave us the way He found us. No parent would want their adult child wearing diapers. He loves us as is, yet the Holy Spirit works in us to grow us up in love, truth, maturity, and wisdom.

Our response to that great love is submission. We are transformed into our true identity.

As we become like Him in character, we become the greatest blessing to the world. We are salt and light. We reflect Him and bring His beautiful fragrance to the world. We will not impact the world by acting like the world. Our lives are meant to be beacons of light!

We reflect the nature, character, and goodness of God. We represent Him and heaven.

I want to stay connected to God and submitted to Him so when people encounter me, they encounter Him. I desire the pure essence of Jesus to be manifest in my life, for His glory.

Will you join me on this quest to know Him intimately?

I hope so!

Praying you are overwhelmed by His goodness, grace, love, and mercy! You are deeply loved.

Love,

Erin Lamb

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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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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