Which God Are You Worshiping (Worship Series Part 14)

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Photo credit: Pinterest

We are being transformed by who and what we worship (love, adore, commit our time to, devote ourselves to). I started thinking the other day, what if we believe we are worshiping God and we are simply worshiping a god created in our own image?

The Bible gives us many descriptions of God. What if we just pick the ones that we like and worship that God. The God who looks like us, who appeals to us, who makes us feel good…

God is the most loving, truthful, & generous Being in the Universe. However, I often wonder if the God we worship is the God created in our own image. He is a caricature that we can identify with. He’s pleasant, but not powerful or holy. He’s good, but not so good. He loves us, so that means He must agree with us and what we do. You see, we begin to imitate who we worship. If we are worshipping a god created in our own image we become more selfish, self centered, and unlike Him at all. We equate love with feeling good instead of choosing to do what’s right. We pick love that’s comfortable, instead love that is costly. We miss the opportunity for true transformation into His likeness because we are worshipping a god we created, not the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob.

My favorite passages in the Bible are either about Jesus or where Jesus is speaking. I study Him. I meditate on what He said & how He lived. I fix my eyes on Him, the resurrected King. He is the center of the Gospel. Jesus wasn’t interested in people pleasing. He did only what He saw the Father doing. He offended many. This God of love said, “Pick up your cross, deny yourself, & follow Me. If you love anyone more than Me, you’re not worthy to be My disciple. Go and sin no more. You are either for Me or against Me. I’d rather you be hot or cold, not lukewarm lest I spit you out. Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father. Many will say have I not done these great things in Your name and I will say, ‘depart from Me, I never knew you.’ If you do not forgive, you are not forgiven” in doing so He perfectly represented the love of the Father. Part of love is righteousness. God’s love is not like our human love. This is the Jesus we worship.

How can a loving God say such things, that some will not enter heaven or I’d rather spit you out? Because God’s definition of love is not the same as ours. We can equate love with feeling good. God likes to do things that make us feel good. Yet He also disciplines those He loves, and He is holy. If we forget these attributes of God it leads to trouble.

Earthly parents teach, train, empower, love, and discipline their children. It’s part of love. Any parent who tells their child, “Do whatever you want, no consequences,” does not love their child.

If we want to know who God is, we pick up the Bible and read it. We see a God who loves passionately, yet corrects and disciplines His children. We see a God who is righteous, just, merciful, and also brings judgment on those who do not repent. We see a God who empowers and encourages, yet also rebukes. We see a God who helps the weak, and opposes the proud. We see a God who values repentance-heaven rejoices when one person repents. We see a God who values the sinner, yet says, “Go and sin no more.”

May we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. May we devour the Word of God with the Holy Spirit. May we grow to know God for who He really is. And worship Him in Spirit and in truth. He’s worthy.

Love,

Erin

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Do You Know Him? (Worship Series Part 12)

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God is multifaceted. Meaning He is not one dimensional. As soon as we place Him in a box and say, “This is how He will respond,” He often turns and allows us to see another part of His character or nature.

I am not stating God is flakey or shifty or unreliable. I am stating He can be mysterious. He longs for us to know Him personally and not simply through second hand knowledge.

Who is God to you? How do you define Him? Here are some of my responses…

He is truth. He is life. He is holy. He is pure. He is love. He is good. He is faithful. He is wise. He is righteous. He is just. He is mercy. He is compassionate. He is glorious. He is the beginning and the end. He is the everlasting God. No one stands above Him. He is Sovereign. He is Redeemer. He is Healer. He is creative. He is wonderful. He corrects those He loves. He is amazing!

He is my Heavenly Father. Jesus is my best friend. The Holy Spirit is my Comforter, Teacher, Guide, and fills me with gifts and love. He is attentive. He speaks words of life. He asks challenging questions to get to the heart of matters. He sings. He laughs. He speaks my love language. He sets up divine alignments and appointments. He wows me. He brings freedom. He saves and delivers. He forgives completely. He is kind. He encourages. He knows me. He cares for me. He is good to me even when I don’t see it. He sees something good in His kids. He cares more for His children than any earthly parent could. He’s misrepresented and often misunderstood. He doesn’t need, but wants our love. He loves when we say thanks. He loves when we selflessly love others. He is concerned with why we do what we do. Knowing Him is so worth it.

We become like the One we worship. Jesus said, “Abide and remain in me and you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing,” John 15:5. The world will know we are His by our fruit (character).

How does this all fit together? Good question.

1. God invites us to know Him. This starts with relationship with His Son Jesus. No one can come to The Father except through the Son.

2. He tells us to abide and remain in Him.

If we do not know Him and are not abiding in Him, we will not truly be worshipping Him but the God created in our own image or imagination. Without the Spirit of God and relationship with Him we are relying on our flesh and what others tell us about Him.

Worship is intimacy. How awkward is it to be vulnerable with someone you don’t know? To love someone we don’t know?

God reveals Himself to use in this beautiful way. He sends out a loving invitation, “I want to be with you.” Our response to this invitation is an eternal covenant. It’s far more intimate and serious than a marriage covenant. Marriage is on earth only. The covenant with God is eternal. We become one with God. He dwells in us through His Holy Spirit. That is 24/7 habitation. Married people aren’t together 24/7. Nor do spouses know everything about each other. God knows everything. He invites us to know Him.

Lastly…

God doesn’t need our worship, we need Him. Our worship (love, adoration, devotion) changes who we are for the better. Worship takes our eyes off ourselves, our problems, our desires, and places them on Him. When He’s the highest priority, life flourishes.

Father help us to know you, truly know you. May our hearts be knit tightly into yours. May we seek first the Kingdom of God and all your righteousness. May we develop a deeper knowing of who you are. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

It Starts With Love (Worship Series Part 11)

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Photo Credit: online, original source unknown.

We worship what we love. We were made by Love, to be loved, to give love. When we worship something or someone, we are expressing our love for that person or object or ourselves. When we are worshipping something or someone other than God, I am convinced it’s because we don’t realize how much God loves us.

Money can’t save us.
Parents, spouses, or children can’t save us.
Being beautiful or fit cannot save us.
Physical pleasure cannot save us.
Having the biggest, most influential church or ministry cannot save us.
Food cannot save us.
Having the most material possessions cannot save us.
We cannot save ourselves.

You see no one other than Jesus saves. If we don’t obtain relationship with Him, in this life, we are doomed for all eternity.

God gave His best to the world out of love. For God SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…John 3:16. He would’ve entered the world if you were the only person who needed salvation. He would’ve given His life for one. God’s love isn’t a blanket love that just covers the world. It’s individualized love. He knows every hair on your head, every tear you’ve cried, every pain you’ve suffered, your dreams written on His heart, He knows you and loves you. Psalm 139 says, “Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you!” What matters to you, matters to Him. He’s the Universe’s best Father.

God demonstrated His love for humanity on the cross. Jesus was innocent, yet marred beyond recognition to pay for our sins. He did not look human when they were done beating Him and ripping His flesh from His body. It’s graphic, yet I am so thankful someone loved us enough to die for us while we were still guilty.

No boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, parent, child, friend, job, pile of money, or anything else cares enough for us to endure what He did. There’s nothing and no one holy enough to be worshipped above God.

When we realize how much God loves us, worship of Him is the response.

Our idols reveal who and what we love. And though we don’t often admit it, we believe those idols love us or benefit us more than God.

Our world problems can be traced back to one thing; the absence of Godly love. People who don’t love who they are cannot love God, you, or anyone else. We can only give what we have first received. A naked person cannot give you a shirt. God continually pours out perfect love, yet it must be received. A gift still belongs to the giver if the recipient will not accept it. It’s only when we know God and abide in His love that we are able to love ourselves then others and worship Him fully. We tell people to love God & others & miss the most important step, receive love first from God. Those who do not love, have missed step 1.

The order of love: 1. receive God’s love, 2. Love God, 3. love yourself, 4. love your neighbor as yourself.

Where there’s an absence of love, there’s hatred, indifference, racism, sexism, bigotry, prejudice, murder, lust, greed, pride, selfishness, oppression, insecurity, control, manipulation, jealousy, envy, strife, lawlessness, perversion, idolatry, war, gluttony, casting off restraints, vanity, immorality, & chaos…

Sweet friends, as Paul prayed, may we know the height, the depth, the width, and the vast expanse of God’s love for us! On the heart level, not just the head level. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

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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Be Still (Worship Series Part 10)

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

Be still and KNOW that I am God…

The words of God permeate my heart and mind when I’m still.

We live in a world that is busy. People are so busy that they sometimes cannot make time to simply be with God.

I will say if we are too busy to be with God, we are too busy.

One of my favorite verses is John 15:5. It contains the words of Jesus. He says, “I am the Vine. You are the branches. Abide in Me and you will bear abundant fruit. Apart from Me you can do nothing.”

The words echo in my spirit…”Apart from Me you can do nothing!”

Jesus plants this seed of wisdom for us so we know our striving produces nothing. Our busyness not rooted in His leading produces nothing. Our efforts are futile at accomplishing anything great if it’s apart from Him.

How do we navigate a life of pure worship and adoration of the King of Kings?

It’s more than singing songs and gathering on weekends in corporate worship. God is worthy of more than a song. He’s worthy of it all.

I truly believe an important part of worship is being still and meditating on the truth that He is God.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who formed the world and Universe by My words. I spoke and it was.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who created Adam from the earth and breathed My life into him.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who fashioned Eve from the rib of Adam and breathed My life into her.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who redeems you, cleanses you from unrighteousness and sin, sets you apart as a people of My very own.

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who raises dead things to life! I rose with all power in My hands!

Be still and know that I AM…

The God who is undefeated!

Be still and know that I AM…

The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I was not created and have no limitations!

Be still and know that I AM…

With you, for you, loving you, pursuing you, looking out for you, and fighting for you!

Be still and know that I AM faithful!

Sweet friends, this week I pray there are many moments to be still and listen to the whispers of heaven. May we know the God we worship and rest in Him.

God bless you. Praying for you!

For more on knowing God. Feel free to join the intimacy with God series on my book website http ://ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com. Hope it blesses you.

Love,

Erin Lamb

Believe, Know, Listen, & Follow (Intimacy with God)

This is from my book website ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com. I posted it this morning. I try not to post the same thing on both sites but felt led to. There are different followers on each site. I hope this encourages you to plunge the depths of God’s heart. He loves you!

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Photo credit: Son of God movie

John 10:25-30.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

I recommend reading all of John 10. In this passage Jesus refers to Himself as the good Shepherd. Shepherds were overseers of flocks. Sheep are not the brightest animals. They will fall into ditches, see another sheep in a ditch and fall in…they can wonder off and be destroyed because they are not wise. Shepherds protected their sheep. They were invested in keeping them safe. They’d lay at the gate to prevent them from escaping. They spent time with the sheep. They rescued wayward sheep.

Jesus is the good Shepherd. We are like the sheep. He’s responsible to care for us, reveal who He is to us, and we are to know and follow Him. We are not an obligation to God. We are His dearly loved children.

In the verses above Jesus is responding to the questions of the Pharisees about who He is. Is He the Christ? I love His responses. He stated, “You do not believe, therefore you are not my sheep. My sheep know and follow me.

Intimacy with God starts with faith. It starts with belief.

Do you believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?
It is not enough to simply believe there is a God or Jesus is the Son of God. Even the demons believe and tremble. (James 2:19), yet they are not saved. There’s no salvation for them. There is for humanity.

If you’re reading this and you’ve never confessed your sins before God, repented (made a decision to turn from sinning and turn to God), asked God to cleanse you of your sins, placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the appropriation for your sins, and asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, I invite you do so. There’s no salvation apart from Him. There’s no entrance to heaven without going through the Son. We can’t do enough good works to earn holiness or righteousness. Jesus did it for us. We by faith, receive what He’s done and accept His righteousness as our own.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith,~Romans 3:23-25a.

If you invited God into your life, I would love to hear from you and provide more information to you.

The second step in intimacy with God is being with Him.

Sheep spent their time with the shepherd. They learned his voice, his smell, his mannerisms. It’s impossible to have intimacy (knowing) with someone and you never spend any time. If Sunday morning is the only time you spend with God, well your level of intimacy is not going to be high.

I am not stating you attend worship services all week, lock yourself in a room to pray and read the Bible all day. I am saying we can commune with God every day, as much as we’d like. One of my morning activities is to start the day with worship and thanksgiving. “Good morning God! I love you. Thank you for who you are and all you’ve done. I invite you to be a part of my day. What do you want to do? Who do you want to bless?” And there are days where I’m just listening. What is God doing? What is He saying? It’s not a ritual, it’s relationship.

Intimacy with God involves listening and knowing His voice.

The Bible says God speaks. There are some who teach He doesn’t and that does not align with scripture. God speaks to His children. If you had children and wrote an instruction manual for them, would you then say, “I refuse to speak to you. Go read the book I gave you.” That would seem insane. Yet some teach God only speaks to us through the Bible. God spoke to people in the Bible through dreams, visions, directly, through prophets, even through a donkey. Before you get too excited, let’s lay down some ground rules.

1. When God speaks He will not tell you to sin or violate His already written word.

I had someone tell me once the Holy Spirit told her not to read the Bible ever and only to listen to the voice she was hearing. That’s wrong and violates scripture.

I heard someone say God told them to leave their spouse for someone else. That’s wrong. It violates many scriptures.

Our culture says do whatever feels good for you and if it’s “love” or feels good, God must approve of it. That’s wrong. If there’s no place in scripture where God is condoning a behavior, you can’t condone it either and claim it’s God. There are some verses that seem to contradict each other which is why God gave His Holy Spirit to teach us.

We can’t toss out the Bible and rely on feelings, human wisdom, angelic visitations, or voices we believe are God.

2. All prophecy (speaking God’s word) is to be tested. Meaning the following:

Does it align with God’s word? Example, there are many false prophecies about when the world will end. Well, the Bible states the following:

“No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows,”~Matthew 24:36.

Does the prophecy fit the character of God?

I’ve had destructive words spoken over me. There was no life in them. God does give warnings. He also provides redemption. Those who repent can find hope and life in Him. Jesus came to save, not destroy. If people are destroyed, it will be because they refused the gift He offered and refused repentance.

Finally intimacy with God involves following Him.

We are called to obey God. It’s not a popular teaching, yet Jesus taught it often. Christianity is not simply praying a prayer, it’s following a person. That person is Jesus. We cannot claim to love God and live a life where we refuse to do what He says. He gives us grace and His Spirit to enable us to do His will. If we cease to obey, we will eventually cease to hear from Him. If He continues to speak, we are held accountable for what we know. So if you feel super disconnected from God, one thing to ask is , “Has He told me to do something I have not done?”

I will continue this series because I truly believe we perish for lack of knowledge of who God is. We are called to know Him, to be loved by Him, to love Him, and enjoy Him. God is not boring, cold, stern, a kill joy, or mean spirited. He is good, holy, exciting, adventurous, overflowing with love and joy. He’s beyond amazing. He’s generous, faithful, merciful, and forgiving. The evil one doesn’t want the world to know who God is and how good He is. Once you know Him, it’s almost impossible to resist Him.

Will you join me on this relentless pursuit of God’s heart? I hope so.

You’re continually in my thoughts, prayers, and you are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Love,

Erin

The Idol of Serving God (Worship Series Part 8)

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You might think this post is strange. Aren’t we supposed to serve God? Yes we are! Like anything in this world it can become an idol or source of identity.

The picture at the top of this post was my status for today. Many people don’t realize I’m internally motivated. I’m not driven to do things based on outside influence. God has helped my heart for serving Him to remain pure by placing me to serve where there’s been no love, honor, reciprocation, appreciation, or validation. I’m not talking short seasons either. I’m talking years. And sometimes love was met with persecution. What I learned is that God never wanted serving to be an idol or source of identity. I love loving on people and blessing them. Love, love, love! However, service met with opposition or apathy forces us to rely fully on God for identity. If my motives for serving were to be loved by people, I would’ve stopped when they didn’t reciprocate or even say thanks.

God is interested in our hearts, why we do what we do. Is it out of love or fear or selfishness?

My life is about loving God and knowing Him. Our relationship isn’t built only on serving… It’s Father to daughter. It’s love. Out of relationship flows service. I don’t serve to gain relationship or love. I worship God, not what I can do for Him or others. Often we are just hanging out together, talking, and listening. I journal what He speaks. He’s my Father. Being with Him is more important than doing for Him. Though being with Him causes me to grow to love people more and to serve.

Our true identity is child of God. It’s not about the other titles that come along with serving God. God doesn’t love a pastor more than a lay member. They may have different things they do for God, yet the love He has for them is the same.

Truth : there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more or less.

You can serve all day every day and not earn more love.

Not only is love not earned, neither is righteousness.

We are not to serve to gain the applause of people or to win their love or approval, that’s a selfish motive.

Our service to God and others is a response to His great love for us. If we are serving Him to try to win His love or approval it’s pointless. Approval is given through relationship with Jesus Christ. He’s the only way we obtain righteousness (right standing with God).

Does this mean we don’t have to serve God or others? Does this mean we only serve when we feel loving towards God or people? No.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. If God calls us to do something we submit to His Lordship. Love is not simply a feeling, it’s also a choice.

We don’t make serving our source of identity, security, a means to feel good about ourselves, or for selfish gain.

Sweet friends, it’s great to serve. Yet God invites us into His family. We are no longer slaves, but friends. He’s not bossing us around. He invites us to know Him, to love Him, and to enjoy Him! May God alone be the center of our worship. He’s worthy. May our satisfaction be in Him, not what we do for Him. May being with Him be the highest priority!

Love in Christ,

Erin