2/26/11 - The End of the Story

>> Saturday, February 26, 2011

The end of the story: I come up from the wilderness, leaning on my beloved.
His love never fails. Nothing can conquer it. He will always love me with the same passion, the same jealousy. His love cannot be bought, and it cannot be earned.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy as fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7

I have found peace in the blood of Jesus. His blood is costly, and in return for his loving sacrifice, I give him my life, my everything. I eagerly await the day of his return!
Make haste, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.
Song of Solomon 8:14

Father,
thank you for the abundant love you have for me. The love that never dies; even when I run away, your love never fails. Thank you for seeking me out when I was a stranger. Thank you for calling my name, giving me the grace to trust in the blood of Jesus (the blood that covers sin!), and for forgiving me. Thank you for anointing me with the Holy Spirit. I tend to put you in a box. You don't fit in boxes, though. You're too big. Thank you for teaching me that I don't have to keep asking for the Holy Spirit. Thank you that I already have him! Now I ask you for the grace to live by the Spirit. I don't want to box you up in the church building or in music. I want to raise the dead and heal the sick. I want to love the unloved. I want to clearly demonstrate you. Make yourself evident through the way I live. Give me the grace to live by the Spirit. Grow my faith. I love you.
Amen

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2/25/11 - Present Perfect Tense

>> Friday, February 25, 2011

Christ thinks I'm beautiful, and he loves me no matter what. That's the theme of this week, and it's the theme of my life, too. In Song of Solomon 7, the husband continues describing the beauty of his bride. christ is captivated by the beauty he created in me and in the church. He wants me to be fruitful and to demonstrate the Holy Spirit in my life and in my words.

I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. It goes down smoothly for my beloved, [causing the lips of sleepers to speak].
Song of Solomon 7:8-9
I long to be undistracted from my husband. I give myself completely and exclusively to him.

~~~~
Today I also studied Jeremiah 31. I am taken by all of the statements made in the present perfect tense:
"I have loved you."
"I have been faithful."
"I have ransomed."
"I have redeemed."

He has already given us what we need.
He is a father.
There is a reward.
He does remember us.
He does love us.
At the end of Jeremiah 31, God promises Israel a new covenant: the covenant he has fulfilled through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit in us.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Jeremiah 31:33-34
He has fulfilled this. I am full of the Holy Spirit. My sin is remembered no more. I don't need to ask God to give me the Holy Spirit, because when I trusted in him, he gave it to me.
I already have him.
My prayer is no longer, "Give me the Holy Spirit, pour him down on me like rain," because that does nothing. I already have the Holy Spirit. My new prayer is this, "Make yourself seen in my life. Let the Holy Spirit flow out of me. Let people see you in me."

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2/24/11 - Unfailing Love

>> Thursday, February 24, 2011

In Song of Solomon 5, the bride separates herself from the husband, looking for him only at her own convenience. In chapter 6, Christ reveals himself once again to his bride! She runs to him and gives herself to him. "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." Just like before! Christ again professes his love. Verses 5-7 are taken word for word from verses in chapter 4, before the bride ran away.

Your hair is like a flock of goats
leaping down the slopes of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
that have come up from the washing;
all of them bear twins;
not one among them has lost its young.
Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate
behind your veil.
Song of Solomon 6:5-7
This repetition affirms that, no matter how wayward I am, Christ's love for me remains. He calls me precious. NOTHING I do can stop his love! When I run away, Christ calls, saying, "return, return, Oh my Bride, return, return," perfecting the expression of his desire for me, for my return.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

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2/23/11 - Exile

>> Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Here's my summary of Song of Solomon 5:

Jesus came to me and delighted in the beauty he created in me, and invited me to fill myself up with his love and his Spirit. My heart continues to love him, but my mind goes to sleep. I get slow and apathetic and feel as if everything is alright when it really isn't. Jesus calls my name and I am slow to respond, thinking it would be too much trouble. I try to fix things on my own, but by the time I remember how much I need him, my Love is no longer within reach, so I call to him. I tell him how worthy he is, and how beautiful, and he hears my cry, and he returns to me.

In Jeremiah 29, God tells all the Israelite exiles to
Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Jeremiah 29:5-7

Basically, he tells them to continue living life as usual, because they’re going to be there for 70 years.
For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Jeremiah 29:10-14
As believers, there will be times when we feel far away, exiled, or even completely cut off from God. Just like the Israelites, the best thing we can do is to keep living life. Keep studying the Word, keep serving and loving people, keep searching for God in everything. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters (#8) that, as humans, bound by time, everything we do, we do with a cycle of ups and downs… especially our relationship with God. We can’t be constant because “to be in time means to change.” Lewis also wrote that God often uses the low points more than he uses the high points. The low points are like exile, where God distances himself from us, but all the while he is growing us up into the ‘Little Christs’ we ought to be. God has a plan for me: a plan to bring me welfare, not to harm me. The best thing to do is to remain faithful in every situation. “I will seek him and find him, when I seek him with all my heart.” And, after a time, God will restore me to the place of joy from which he sent me into exile.

He’s faithful to the end.

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2/22/11 - Selfishness Cheapens Grace

Song of Solomon 4 is probably my favorite chapter of the Bible right now. It's spoken from the perspective of "HE," which in my interpretation is Christ speaking to his bride, the church, and to me as part of the church. Reading this chapter is so beautiful, because He is telling me how in love he is with me.

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you
Song of Solomon 4:7
You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!
Song of Solomon 4:9-10
But really, he's not in love with ME, he's in love with the beauty HIS blood created in me. He only calls me flawless because he sees himself in me. He made me beautiful and flawless, and he is pleased with his work. The miracle of Christ in me is what is so beautiful.
The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.
Psalm 45:11
I studied Jude for a while. There are people who call themselves Christians but have nothing of the Holy Spirit in them. They pervert God's grace and make it mean what they want it to mean, an excuse to sin... or exclusive to certain people... Don't pay any attention to their lies! Walk in the Word, and stay in God's love, and speak the truth through the Holy Spirit.

Father, I come to you, the one who won't let me fall, and I ask you for wisdom and more of the Holy Spirit. Make me, your garden, fruitful. Build up my most holy faith. Give me a hunger for you. Pour out your gifts on me. You're beautiful. THank you for making me beautiful through Jesus. Amen

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2/21/11 - The more I seek you

1On my bed by night
I sought him whom my soul loves;
I sought him, but found him not.
2I will rise now and go about the city,
in the streets and in the squares;
I will seek him whom my soul loves.
I sought him, but found him not.
3The watchmen found me
as they went about in the city.
"Have you seen him whom my soul loves?"
4Scarcely had I passed them
when I found him whom my soul loves.
I held him, and would not let him go
until I had brought him into my mother’s house,
and into the chamber of her who conceived me.
5 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.

Song of Solomon 3:1-5

There will be times when I can't seem to see Christ. I'll look for him in myself, in crowds, in the wisdom of others, but I won't find him. He IS with me always, though. The more I seek him, the more I will find him, and when I find him, I'll hold fast to him.

6What is that coming up from the wilderness
like columns of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
with all the fragrant powders of a merchant?
7Behold, it is the litter of Solomon!
Around it are sixty mighty men,
some of the mighty men of Israel,
8all of them wearing swords
and expert in war,
each with his sword at his thigh,
against terror by night.
9King Solomon made himself a carriage
from the wood of Lebanon.
10He made its posts of silver,
its back of gold, its seat of purple;
its interior was inlaid with love
by the daughters of Jerusalem.
11Go out, O daughters of Zion,
and look upon King Solomon,
with the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
on the day of the gladness of his heart.

Song of Solomon 3:6-11

My Love, my King, comes in power, he equips the believers for battle, and he provides rest under the cover of his blood and in the seat of his love. He is glad on the day he married me, the day I became his, and he is the King. How beautiful it is that the King delights in me :)

Song of Solomon 3 reminds me of this Kari Jobe song:


The More I Seek You

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2/20/11 - Further clothed

For the fast, I decided to make Song of Solomon my main scripture, since this week is about re-kindling my romance with Jesus.


I read SoS 1 and 2, since I didn't read a chapter on Saturday

HE: "Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves. (Song of Solomon 2:15)"

A few days ago, I read a commentary on Song of Solomon. Some of the things in this book make no sense to me, since I'm not from the time period when the book was written and I don't know the colloquial terms of endearment. The commentary said that the 'doves' are a symbol of innocence.... the verse would effectively be saying, "your eyes are full of innocence." If this is so, and "HE" (Jesus) is saying this about his bride, he's talking about ME. I am innocent in his eyes. I'm innocent because his blood covers me, and his blood makes me pure.

I'm sick with love ♥
He has made me beautiful.

~~~~~
The other scripture I studied Sunday morning was 2 Corinthians 5
For we know that if the tent (body) that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 Corinthians 5:1
2 Cor 5:4 says that here on earth we groan, longing for our heavenly home. We don't want to be unclothed by death, but further clothed, "so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

C.S. Lewis had a good allegory of this in The Great Divorce. When the ghosts visited Heaven, everything was more solid, more real than it was in Hell, and also much, much bigger. Heaven's garments are likewise more real than anything from this world.
We are of good courage, and would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we must make it our aim to please him.
2 Corinthians 5:8-9
My home is in heaven. I'm merely visiting this house, this tent, this body. My soul longs to be at home with my Creator, my Husband... But even while I'm away, it should be my goal to please him, just like any faithful, lovesick bride would do.
If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.
~C.S. Lewis

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2/19/11 - Make me want what you want.

Background: I went on an International Commission mission trip to Nicaragua with my Grandpa. The Lord used the trip immensely in my relationship with him, by taking away any sliver of control I had over the trip and forcing me to begin learning to really trust him. Over the course of the week, I went door to door and evangelized, sometimes without a translator, so I had to trust God to give me the words to say. He did, and in total, by speaking through all of the people who came with IC on this mission trip (hundreds, from all over North and Central America), over 4,000 people prayed the Sinner's Prayer.

While I was in Nicaragua, God allowed me to meet, get to know, and fall slightly in love with a young man named Freddy, and since I've gotten home, we've continued to talk over the internet, but this week, we're fasting from each other to re-focus on God and his Love and his Word.

Without further ado... here is my first journal entry for the week:

Why do I take something good and change its purpose? Before this fast I wanted to talk a big long talk with Freddy, or at least to pray with him, but I didn't get that chance. There's nothing wrong with wanting to talk to him... except that I was making it more important than the original purpose of this fast, which is to forget about what I feel for Freddy and focus on what I feel for my First Love, my Husband, my Jesus.

When I walk away, God pleads for me to come back, just like he pleaded for the Israelites, when they walked away. He loves me so, so, so, so much! "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, [for that is what he is and] he cannot deny himself. (2. Tim 2:13)" He's always ready to receive his prodigal child. I'm nothing without him! "Behold, you are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
My beautiful love thinks I'm flawless!
I'm only flawless because he made me so.

Here I am, returning once again to my first love. Stir my heart, my King!

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

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