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Weekend Devotion (God Wants Relationship) 

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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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Saturday Devotion (The Gospel According to Jesus)

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Weekend Devotion: The Great Falling Away, What is the Gospel, The Prodigal, and Salvation. Looking at the words of Jesus (He is perfect theology). 

I have been thinking about prodigals and those who do not know God. I have also been thinking of those who believe they know God, yet what they have is religion not relationship. I started thinking about all the people told to simply pray a prayer to be saved (Jesus never did this) or told baptism and church membership saves them, and then live independently of God. When facing God, some will have an interesting awakening. 

The revelation will come that God is better than anything created and the words, “Depart from Me I never knew you,” will sting. 

How could a loving God reject someone? 

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. The choice is set before everyone-choose life, choose the Son, follow Him, do what He says. God extends the invitation, mankind rejects God. 

I personally do not believe in once saved always saved. Why? I find scriptures that speak of those who fall away (Matthew 24:8-9), those who turn their backs on God, those who practice lawlessness and do not care for others being cast into the darkness (Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 25:31-46). 

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’~Jesus (Matthew 7:21-23). 

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he who endures until the end shall be saved~Matthew 24:12-13. 

And the longest passage comes from Matthew 25:31-46.

There is such a burning in my heart for every person to have a personal awakening and relationship with God. 

The Role of the Disciples of Jesus

The Church is to reveal to the world the heart, nature, compassion, and goodness of God. 

Jesus revealed the Father and the world came to know God. 

The Prodigal

The prodigal had to come to his senses. He thought what the world had to offer was better than the Father. He was wrong. 

The prodigal traded royalty for a pit. He gave up paradise for something far beneath his destiny. 

The devil works overtime to convince people life on earth is all there is. He shouts, “Live it up,” knowing life independent from God leads to destruction. 

The Spirit of This Age 

The spirit of this age blinds people to the truth of who God is, how good God is, and offers temporary pleasures that never, ever satisfy. They leave people empty, broken, wounded, confused and on a death march to hell with the devil. 
Even the spirit of religion blinds people to the truth of the Gospel. 

The Gospel is… 

  • God so loves the entire world (every people group, both genders, every ethnicity).
  • There is no racism or sexism or hierarchy of people/genders in God’s heart (1 John 4:8, Revelation 5:9). 
  • God empowers both men and women to have dominion on earth and do the works of Jesus (Genesis 1:28, Galations 3:28). 
  • God so loved the world He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins (John 3:16).
  • Sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). The death penalty was on us all (Romans 5). 
  • Jesus paid for all sin on that rugged cross. So whosoever shall believe on Him and follow Him will be saved (John 3:16). Jesus invited people to follow Him (relationship).
  • He (Jesus) was born of a virgin, died for all sin, and was resurrected on the third day with all power in His hands (Matthew 1:18, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 Corinthians 15:4, Matthew 28). 
  • The same power that raised Jesus from the dead came on believers at Pentecost (Acts 2). It is available to every born again believer (Acts 1:8). 
  • Repentance (changing our mind about sin), accepting Jesus by faith and making Him Lord creates radical transformation in our lives. 
  • The old is passed away and the new comes (2 Corinthians 5:17). 
  • As far as the east is from the west, that’s how far our transgressions are removed from us (Psalm 103:12). 
  • We are crucified with Christ and it is no longer we who live, it is Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

My continual question on the street, in the market place, even at church is, “Do you know (have personal, intimate relationship) with Jesus?” 

Papa help us to know you, really know you. I pray for any person reading this devotion to have an encounter with you. I ask for radical encounters of your love, peace, joy, and wisdom. I pray for any not following Jesus to have a heart that turns to you. Let not one perish. Every spiritual scale fall off their eyes. Every bondage be broken. Every lie be seized. Holy Spirit of truth come and saturate us all. Come Lord Jesus and reveal yourself to each one. Breathe on us. In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

 
 

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Love Everyone…Even Your Enemies

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Jesus didn’t tell me to only love those who love me. He told me to love everyone, “…love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven,”~Matt 5:44-45. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love,~1 John 4:8.

What is God like?

God is love. And I’m not talking about the Christian love we do of telling people we love them with flowery words, yet our actions do not demonstrate God like love.

How does God love you?

That’s the love He asks and commands us to give others. I’m not perfect in this area. No one other than Jesus got this right, yet throughout the Gospels God repeats Himself, “Love! Love! LOVE one another!” Jesus told the disciples the world would know we were following Him by our love for one another.

We cannot claim to love God and hate people. We cannot claim to truly be following Jesus and withhold love from people. It’s ungodly-not like Him.

What if God didn’t forgive us and wipe our slates completely clean?

What if God kept bringing up our past sins and rubbing them in our faces?

What if God was impatient and without compassion?

What if God only dealt with the people who were really good to Him and loved Him well?

What if God treated us the way we treat people?

What if God was stingy and rude?

What if God chose to one day hold grudges?

What if God completely ignored us though we were repentant or offered Him love?

What if God only showed up when love suited His best interests?

What if God never supported, encouraged, helped, or invested in us?

What if God ignored our needs because He was too busy or we were too needy?

What if God only showed up when He needed something?

What if God was like us?

The world would be HELL, far worse than it is now and billions of people would have no hope. Fortunately God doesn’t become like us. He empowers us to be like Him. He said in John 15:5, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Those who abide in me will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

We are called and empowered to love. It’s not optional for a follower of Jesus. It’s not something we bypass and slide into heaven. God is serious about love.

He doesn’t ask us to be God for people, only He can meet people’s needs completely. He does call us to reflect Him and point to Him. He does call us to obey Him.

Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say?

Many will come to me and I will say, depart from me, I never knew you. I was hungry and you didn’t feed me. Naked and you didn’t clothe me…whatever you did to the least of these, you did unto me.

How to we move forward…

We confess the sin of being unloving and disobedient and we repent (turn from it).

We forgive ourselves and others for being unloving. If we don’t forgive, we are not forgiven.

We invite the Holy Spirit to give us His eyes for people and His heart.

We abide in the Vine. If you have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there’s no way to abide in Him or have salvation.

We obey God. Obedience to God has never been optional though some teach it is. Jesus never taught that we could live as we please and somehow honor God. He states, “I’d rather you be hot or cold than lukewarm, lest I spit you out.” The Bible states obedience is better than sacrifice. We don’t obey to gain love or approval or righteousness. We obey out of love for God. If we don’t obey Him, we don’t love Him. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us.

We let God love us so we have love to give. We cannot give what we haven’t received. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. His mercy is new every morning.

Father forgive me and us for our lack of love for others. Teach us to love like you. May we be imitators of God as dearly loved children. Give us your eyes for others and ourselves. May we be known by our great love, compassion, generosity, faith, forgiveness of others, mercy, and goodness. May we overflow with good fruit. A sweet fragrance and bright light in our world. For Your glory. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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When God’s Answer Doesn’t Seem to Match Your Prayers

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For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose, Romans 8:28.

Have you ever asked God for something and His answer did not seem to match your request? I have numerous times. This year I asked God for a year free of trauma, people close to me dying, and to save more money. It’s February 2nd and in the past week, I have been a car accident where my car was totaled, my aunt died, and I have another family member in critical condition in the hospital. I would have paid off my car next week. I would have had no car payment and been eligible for overtime. Since I was off due to the accident, the overtime is gone and if you’re working you know most people are making less money this year due to the social security tax in the USA going from 4.2 to 6.2 percent. So, the saving money part isn’t going the way I would like at the moment.

Let’s get to the good part of the story. What has God done the past week? Well, I suffered minor injuries from the accident, and I could have been killed or hospitalized. I missed landing in a frozen pond by a few feet. I was able to turn to miss hitting a utility pole head on. A friend came to be with me and help me the day of. The tow was free. Everything I have needed has been provided. Every day my pain is less and less. Every day I feel God’s love in a deeper way. I have not found a car replacement, but I am trusting God to do something great. I trust God even more with my life. I had no control over what happened last Friday. I simply had to trust God. I have seen in a greater capacity what God can do when we rely fully on Him, trust Him, believe Him, and seek Him. He is good.

Losing loved ones:

I grieve for any person who leaves this world without knowing God. In my mind, that is the worst case scenario. For my family members who know Jesus and leave this world for the next, I can rejoice. They were not healed here, but they have their complete healing in eternity. No pain, no sorrow, no weeping, no hurt, and bliss in the full presence of God. It hurts to lose someone we care for. It’s challenging to see any blessing in loss. I am not here to state we should throw a party or not grieve. Mourning is part of life. What I am saying is that God has a reason for allowing certain things to happen that we may never understand in this life.

When my mum died. I worshiped through abundant tears. It hurt me deeply, and I still have moments of sorrow. I could not understand why God would take her home. Why in this case He chose to not bring complete healing this side of eternity. I recall though sitting with her the week before she died. She said to me, “I am going home.” I responded, “No that’s not true, you’re getting better.” She replied,” No, I am going home. I have done everything God called me to do and now it’s time to go home.” She had asked God to take her home when she completed what she was placed on earth to do. She asked God to take her home if she were not going to be completely healed and a burden to others. God honored her prayers not ours.

When God’s answer does not seem to match our prayers, we can trust in His infinite wisdom, His unfailing love, and His perfect will.

So, my dear friends, if God’s answer doesn’t match your prayers, trust Him. I can say that because I have to trust Him every day. I have to lean on Him as my life depends on Him. I am young person who feels like I have lived a thousand years. But I would not trade my experiences and hard times for they have taught me so much about the love, provision, care, comfort, friendship, and beauty of God. I dare not glory in hardships, I delight in God who makes all things beautiful in His time. He gives us beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and peace for turmoil. These momentary afflictions are nothing compared to His love. As long as God is here, we have a hope that will not disappoint. Hang in there! Keep seeking His face. He loves you deeply!

Lastly, I found this online and it brought great comfort.

I asked for strength,
And God gave me difficulties to make me strong;

I asked for wisdom,
And God gave me problems to learn to solve;

I asked for prosperity,
And God gave me brain and brawn to work;

I asked for courage,
And God gave me dangers to overcome;

I asked for love,
And God gave me people to help;

I asked for favors,
And God gave me opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted – I received everything I needed.
My prayer has been answered!

You are in my thoughts and prayers today friends…You are deeply loved.
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Understanding God’s Heart

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If you’ve read the back cover of I Thought I Knew What Love Was, you will see God sparked my curiosity as a child. We see in the Old Testament that God often met with and spoke to people. I was especially intrigued by His relationship with Moses. Who wouldn’t want to be close friends with the Creator of the Universe. Jesus is the key to unlocking a personal relationship with the Father. In Jesus, under the new covenant, we are as close to God as we can be and as close as we want to be. At 7 years old I gave my life to the most incredible person who ever walked the earth, Jesus. A journey began to know Him.

My prayer was to see God face to face. God’s response to me, “I meet with you heart to heart.” I could not have explained this to you years ago. The details of what God spoke made no sense to me. Over the complicated course of grief, tragedies, betrayal, loss, unrequited love, forgiving the most painful hurts, and longing to love people who could not receive my love, I found God’s heart. I know there is more to Him than what I have experienced, and I will never claim to have Him all figured out. All I can tell you is that He is real, His heart is the beautiful place I have ever ventured in to, and He feels more than we give Him credit for. Here are some examples.

Unrequited Love: I thought I would start with the part of His heart that we fail to acknowledge at times. God is perfect in love. The Father demonstrated His love by sending His only Son. The Son demonstrated His love on the cross. There is no greater representation of love. However, God is in my estimate the most rejected Being in the world. He loves; He is rejected. He loves well, and people still reject Him. I never thought about the impact to God’s heart until I was placed in the position to love people who would never love me in return. You go out of your way to love and they don’t return your love or never acknowledge your love. They don’t value it, value you, nor are they grateful. On the other end your heart is breaking for the other person to know how valuable they are to you, how much they are loved, yet they don’t want your love.

I can tell you unrequited love hurts. It cuts deep into the core of your heart and it aches. No medicine cures it. No comfort heals it. You simply hope one day that person will realize they mean the world to you. Unlike God, I have been able to move on from relationships without the longing. God, however, loves deeper. His heart longs for those He loves. He pursues relentlessly. His love is stronger than any love I could feel. I can’t imagine if the longing I felt in my heart was amplified for billions of people. Knowing that a person will reject you does not change the pain you feel when they do.

The Blame Game: God is blamed for many of the bad things that happen in the world and often not praised for the good things that happen in the world. He is Sovereign. Nothing happens without Him knowing, and He can do anything He wishes. He, however, gave humans earth and certain freedoms out of love. We have chosen to defy Him and make a mockery of the world He gave us. When things go wrong, they are a result of the sin in the world. He allowed us to choose, and we made horrible choices. I never understood the blame game until I got a bit older. I’ve been placed in situations where people blame me for their problems. It’s my fault they aren’t enjoying life; it’s my fault they have a temper; it’s my fault they are unhappy; it’s my fault they have insecurities. I asked God why I always end up being the scapegoat for people. Why, when I am minding my own business, doing my best to love people, am I the person they end up blaming. Guess what? God gets blamed for things He played no part in or authored. I can tell you being blamed is not only irritating, it’s hurts your heart.

Seeking You Only When I Need You: God is love. Any time we seek Him; He is excited. He longs to be with His children. I have noticed though that God is sought after in times of difficulty. He is often ignored in the good times. We are more enamored with what He gave us than we are with Him. We talk about our families, friends, jobs, material possessions, accomplishments, and only seek Him when it’s a crisis or we need Him. I have people who I only hear from them in times of crisis or when they are bored. I am invisible until they are in need. More than hurting my heart, it’s a nuisance. When you are expected to drop what you are doing and be attentive and loving to someone who has no time for you otherwise. On your end it’s not a real relationship, on the other person’s end it’s the perfect relationship. They never have to invest anything, give anything, or love you. You are simply there to support them. As stated, God is far more loving than I am and if I were always allowing Him to love through me I would not be annoyed. He loves unconditionally. I often wonder, “Who loves God? Who truly loves Him for who He is and not what He can do for them?” Of course He knows who loves Him, and He continues to love even those who will never love Him. I am certain His heart aches for those who will continue to reject until the end.

I’ve written quite a bit for today. We will connect again soon. My prayer is that we continue to have a revelation of God’s heart. You are deeply loved, ~Erin.

God will always love you!

God will always love you!

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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