Saturday, July 20, 2013

Song of Solomon 1:14 “My Beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of En Gedi”

Henna is a shrub or small tree, but when cultivated henna can be grown in rows like small hedges. Because of its thorny branches, these cultivated hedges were often used to surround a vineyard to protect crops from wild prey.  The bride in the Song of Solomon likens her Beloved to the henna in the vineyards; that is to say He is like One who surrounds, protects and defends her from harm.  The Lord often referred to His people as His vineyard; and it is He who watches over us, His cherished bride, to protect and defend us. 

Another aspect of the henna shrub is its clusters of beautiful and fragrant flowers. Henna blossoms contain an essential oil used to make perfume, and is also used to make cosmetics to enhance beauty.  The fragrance of Jesus is intoxicating to those who love His presence! A cluster expresses the abundance and diversity of the Beloved’s beauty, grace, mercy, and love. Songs 5:16 says, “He is altogether beautiful…” There is none that compare to our Lord!

En Gedi is an oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea.  There are many springs around the Dead Sea, but most of them have a high salt content. En Gedi is one of only two sites located on the western shore where fresh water springs are found. It is a desert oasis with waterfalls, springs of water, botanical gardens, and thriving date palms.

The bride not only likens her Beloved to the intoxicating fragrance of the henna blossom with the protective qualities of the hedge, but the setting she describes is an oasis in the desert. The Lord draws us with His fragrant love and promises to be our keeper, defender, and protector. He desires that we lean upon Him for our every need (Songs 8:5) and sustains and refreshes those who abide in Him, our everlasting spring of Life. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

I believe it was significant that En Gedi was one of the main places of refuge for David as he fled from Saul. 1 Sam 23:29 tells us that “David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.” David often referred to the Lord as his “stronghold” throughout the Psalms. Our Beloved delights for us to run to Him as our stronghold and place of refuge from our adversaries.

As a closing thought, it is interesting that the lowest point on land on earth is at the Dead Sea, which lies at 1,312 feet below sea level. While I don’t believe the Shulamite in the Song of Solomon had this in mind when she thought of En Gedi as the place where she encounters the beauty and fragrance of her Beloved, I can’t help but to think of how low Jesus went as He humbled Himself (Philippians 2:6-8) to redeem us as His cherished bride for all eternity.  It is from this lowest place that His extravagant beauty and fragrant love are revealed!

Devotional Prayer
Jesus, how intoxicating is the fragrance of Your beauty and love! The diversity of Your attributes is unsearchable. I thank You, Lord, that You delight to tend to Your vineyard, Your bride, and You nourish and protect me. You are the pursuer in our relationship and You draw me closer by Your fragrant love. Your love and presence refresh me like one who drinks from a pure spring; You are the sustainer of all life! Help me to run to You for refuge in the heat of the day, for You alone are my shelter, defender, protector, and provider. May I always be found leaning into You, my Beloved!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Song of Solomon 1:13 “My Beloved is to me a bundle of myrrh that lies all night between my breast”

Myrrh is an aromatic resin that was used in making perfumes, the holy anointing oil, and in preparing a body for burial. The Hebrew word for myrrh, Mowr, comes from the root word Marar which means bitterness. Because myrrh was used in the embalming or anointing of the dead, it came to represent mortality, suffering, and sorrow. During biblical times myrrh was very costly and used in expensive perfumes. It was used in powdered form to perfume garments and beds and to make sachets which were worn between the breasts.

Here in the Song of Solomon, the Bride likens Jesus to a bundle of myrrh that lay on her heart through the night. Jesus’ death on the Cross is an extravagant and costly gift to His Bride and reveals the depths of His love for us. The Cross is the moment when the love of God is displayed like no other; it is the abandonment of His own life in pursuit to redeem His cherished Bride. We were created in the image of God to be His eternal companion forever, a perfect Bride for His Son. Jesus didn’t sacrifice His life to redeem fallen angels, but actually took on the form of man in flesh to demonstrate His passionate, fiery, jealous love and redeem us from sin and the consequence of eternal separation. One of Jesus’ last prayers was, “Father, I desire that they be with Me where I am” (Jn. 17:24). We were made for love – the objects of God’s affections!  I don’t think we will ever fully comprehend the mystery and wonder of the uncreated God wanting to join Himself to humanity in Jesus. Ephesians 5:30 states, “We are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” The union we now experience with Jesus and our future destiny as His Bride for all eternity is only made possible because of the cleansing blood that Jesus shed on the Cross. “O precious is the flow that makes us white as snow…” We will never tire of mediating on the wonders of His love and the power of redemption that was accomplished on the Cross.

The night often speaks of times of temptations and trials and refers to the time of our Beloved’s absence.  In the night season one can feel weak in faith and abandoned by God; He often feels distant in these seasons which leaves us asking if He really hears, sees, and knows our difficulties. But as we mediate on the Cross (symbolic of myrrh between the breast, or over the heart) and His endless love for us demonstrated through His suffering, our faith becomes anchored in truth and we find confidence to trust that nothing can separate us from His unfailing love. Songs 7:10 says “I am my Beloved’s and His desire is for me.” Even in our failures and weakness, God demonstrated His own love for us as Jesus died on the cross, (Rom. 5:8)

The work of Calvary is vast and we will never exhaust the depths of all that was provided through this single act of love wrought by the Lover of our souls.  It should be a constant meditation upon our heart as it is our constant reminder and assurance of His desire for union with us.

Devotional Prayer
Father, thank You for Your perfect love with which You love me, even to the extent that You did not withhold Your only Son in order to redeem me and restore my relationship with You. Jesus, thank You that You were willing to leave Your throne of glory to take on the form of man in flesh, that I might become Your pure, spotless Bride and enjoy You forever without end! Thank You for the cleansing power of Your blood shed on the Cross and that Your Spirit now lives in me so that there is never a moment when You are not with me. May I keep the mediation of Your love displayed on the Cross always upon my heart until that moment when I see You face to face and we are together forever.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Song of Solomon 1:12  “While the King was at His table my spikenard gave forth its fragrance”

Jesus is not only our holy Bridegroom, but He is the King of all kings. It is almost incomprehensible that we have been invited to sup with the Sovereign Ruler of the universe and that He calls us to sit with Him at His table. Through the cross where He gave His life for us He has made every provision to make us clean, pure, holy, spotless and blameless so we can commune with Him at His table.

It is at this table that He feeds our spirits with the revelation of who He is and what He did to redeem us to Himself. At His table we freely partake of the gift of our salvation and the amazing heritage He has called us to. What riches have been bestowed upon us!  He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises that we may be partakers of the divine nature, (2 Peter 1:4) We have been raised up and made to sit in heavenly places in Him, (Ephesians 2:6) We are chosen, a royal priesthood, holy, His own special people, (1 Peter 2:9) He has crowned us with lovingkindness and mercy and satisfies us with good things, (Psalm 103) and Romans 8:32 tells us, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” I don’t think we can begin to conceive the depths of God’s desire and intimacy for us or the honor and glory in which we are created.

As we sit as His table and meditate on the depths of His love and the truths related to our salvation, our hearts are stirred to extravagant worship.  True worship comes from seeing God; one glace upon His beauty and glory will ruin us for anything else in life. Our worship is a sweet fragrance, like spikenard, that ascends before our Beloved.The Lord enjoys the aroma and fragrance that emanates from our spirit when we focus on His provisions. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 says we are the fragrance of Christ to God. Jesus' life , death, and resurection is a fragrant aroma to God the Father, but like spikenard it came with a great cost. The bride chose spikenad to symolically speak of our worship, love, and affections that acend to the Beloved because meditating on His incarnation, redemptive work of the cross, and our eternal inheratance invokes an extravagant worship from our hear. This type of abandoned worship seems rare and costly in the world today, but for the pleasure it brings to His heart it's worth every moment spent in His presence!

Devotional Prayer,
Jesus, You have created us with so much honor; the wonder of being created as Your bride is beyond comprehension!  Thank You for the demonstration of Your love and affections by becoming like us, taking on the form of man, in order to redeem us from our fallen nature. For all eternity we will gaze on Your beauty and never exhaust searching out the depths of Your love for us! Help us to never lose the awe of our salvation and the love You displayed at the cross. Holy Spirit, give us greater revelation into these truths and anoint our hearts to worship from the dephts of our being. May our lives be a fragrant aroma to You that the Lamb who was slain may receive the reward of His suffering. Thank You that You take pleasure in our lives to the extent that You have placed Your own Spirit within us that we will never be apart! In every season of our lives You prepare a table before us, even in the presence of our enemies, that we can partake and commune with You.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Song of Solomon 1:11 We will make for you ornaments of gold with beads of silver

Ornaments of gold speak of divine character. The Lord does not merely give us “ornaments of gold” or divine character, but He makes our nature to be like Him. Genesis 1:27 says that God created man in His own image; the word used for created is "Bara" it implies an initiation of something, an entirely new production, an activity that can only be performed by God. But in Song of Solomon 1:11 the word used for "make" is the word "Asah" which has an emphasis on fashioning the created thing and deals with refinement.  We are created and made by God not only in a general way in which all things are formed by Him, but also in an intimate way; we are His workmanship - His poem  (Eph 2:10). He is fashioning us to be His Bride for all eternity. Jesus nourishes and cherishes us because we are members of His body, as we read in Ephesians 5:29 – 32, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church." We are one flesh with Jesus; how much more intimate can one get!

 But it is not just the Bridegroom's commitment to perfect His nature and godly character in His bride, but the "We" represents the Holy Trinity; the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit’s promise to accomplish the work in our nature. It is the workmanship of the Holy Spirit that impresses the image of Jesus upon the soul: we are partakers of the divine nature, pure, spotless, blameless, and the temple of the Living God! From Genesis to Revelation we read of God's tender affections and affirmation of those who have surrendered their heart to Him. He has so cleansed us by the power of His blood that He says to His bride, "you are altogether beautiful, My love, and there is no blemish in you" (Song of Solomon 4:7). And Psalm 45:13 says, "The King's daughter is all glorious within; Her clothing is interwoven with gold."

As we grow in the revelation and knowledge of the depths of God's love for us we can stand against the accusations the enemy brings that cause us to doubt the goodness of God and the intimacy we were created for. It is God who is at work in us and He desires that we run to Him when we see areas of weakness in our lives – not run from Him out of fear or shame. We are not failures when we stumble; we are learning to walk out our salvation in a manner that is pleasing to God.

The “Beads of Silver” referred to in this verse speaks of redemption; the Bride will be equipped to bring salvation and deliverance to others. God promises to complete His work in us. He will make us into a person who is Christ-like in character and empowered to deliver others.

Devotional Prayer
Lord, I thank You that those who are joined to You are one with You. I am Your poem and You are fashioning me to be Your Bride. You live in me and beckon me to abide continually in You; oh, sweet union! You are the Bridegroom and the pursuer in this relationship. I trust in Your jealous love for me to keep me close to You.  You are the seal of fire upon my heart and I live to know You more and more and that You may be glorified through my life

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Song of Solomon 1:10 …Your neck (is lovely) with chains of gold.

The neck speaks symbolically of the will; the neck is what turns the head as it chooses which way to go. The Lord sees every movement of our heart and our desire to pursue Him in intimacy. He acknowledges the acts of our will that move us toward Him and calls us lovely. We should not dismiss even the smallest of willful choices we make to pursue God, for He not only sees and acknowledges our choices but His heart is moved and ravished by the "yes" in our spirit.   Remember what the Lord said to Samuel when he was sent to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king of Israel; Samuel was ready to anoint Eliab as king because of his outward appearance but God said, "do not look at his appearance... because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." God selected David as king over His chosen people because David was a man after God's heart. God saw every movement of David’s heart when as a young Sheppard boy he worshiped the Lord with all his heart while out in the pasture and no one else was around. David set his will to obey the Lord and waited on God to establish him. He would not violate God's ways to promote himself. David said in Psalm 40:8, "I delight to do Your will, O my God."  God took note of his steadfast devotion and rewarded David beyond measure 

The neck also conjoins the head with the body. Jesus is the head of the Church, His body, and it is our surrendered will to His leadership that allows us to be united to Him. In Song of Solomon 7:4 the Bridegroom likens the Bride's neck, her will, to a tower of Ivory. Ivory is rare and costly, and therefore a tower of beauty to the Lord. Often our obedience and our resolve to walk according to God's Word are costly. Even setting time aside everyday to read the Word and spend intimate time face-to-face with the Lord can be costly. Life is filled with demands for our time surrounding us with a barrage of things that compete for our attention and affections. Entertainment can strangle our devotion to the Lord if we are not careful to guard our time. With the increase of social media it is incredibly easy to spend countless hours on the internet, or our phones for that matter! But every act of the will that moves us toward God is a victory over the flesh and remembered before God. 

The Bridegroom gives high praises to his beloved as He calls her lovely. The spiritual gifts and graces which He bestows on every true believer are described by “ornaments” or “chains of gold.” Some translations interpret the verse as “chains of gold” which was rare and costly in those days. Few could afford a chain of gold, therefore it speaks of royalty.  The gifts Jesus has given us were costly for Him; and through His death and life we are now royalty to rule and reign with Him.

Devotional Prayer
Lord, I thank You that you see the “Yes” in my heart, and even when I fall short at times You still see the “yes” and call me lovely. Holy Spirit, I ask You for greater revelation to believe that You acknowledge even the smallest acts of my will to walk in obedience to Your Word and to give myself to You. Help me to guard my devotional time with You, to give You first place in all things, to honor You with the hours of my day. I know You see every movement of my heart toward You and You view these acts of my will as costly, like a tower of ivory.  The very fact that You call me Your bride demonstrates You don’t evaluate with the same measures I use; to ponder being joined to You as Your Bride for all eternity is almost inconceivable to the human reason!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Song of Solomon 1:10 – Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments...

The cheeks, as referenced in the Song of Solomon, speak of our emotions. What we are experiencing inwardly, such as joy, love, sadness, anger, stress, etc… can be seen through our emotions and is reflected in our countenance. There are an array of emotion, both good and bad, that can lead to a change in our mental and physiological state, like our heart rate and breathing. These emotions can also have an effect on our physical appearance. Here in the Song of the Bridegroom, He affirms the loveliness of the bride’s cheeks which reflect her inward state of lovesickness for her Beloved. She has experienced the kisses of His affections, the pleasing fragrance of His emotions, and brought into His chambers where she has encountered Him in deep intimacy. He alone nourishes, sustains and satisfies her. The bride is confident in His love for her, which has caused her to cease from striving. The Bridegroom is pleased with His bride’s confidence in His love; her countenance radiates with the joy and delight she experiences in Him. Our emotions are attractive to God!

When we know and experience the love that God has lavished upon us, our spirit is revived, our soul is restored, and our mind is renewed. The inward manifestation of His love as it touches our being is expressed through our cheeks. The Bridegroom also states that her cheeks are lovely with ornaments. Ornaments are created by the skillful work of an artist to beautify its objects. These ornaments are the spiritual gifts and graces which Jesus imparts to His beloved ones. We are made beautiful through God’s splendor which He bestows upon us, He says we are exceeding in beauty and advanced to royalty, (Ezek.16:13-14). We are His workmanship, a new creation, and partakers of the divine nature, holy and beloved!

Throughout the New Testament we are exhorted to rejoice always, and Paul says the Kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (Rom.14:17). It is interesting how many times the book of Acts states that the disciples where continually filled with joy, yet as we read of their lives they were also under constant persecution. When we experience the deep love and affections of our Beloved we will overflow with a joy that will be evident through our countenance, even in the midst of our daily trials. Our emotions will reflect the inner communion of His Spirit within us, and these emotions beautify us as we reflect His glory.

Devotional Prayer
Thank You Lord, that You look upon me and see beauty! I thank You that You have adorned me with Your splendor, glory and beauty. It is Your touch upon my heart that has ravished me, and enflames my heart to love you more and more every day. Your love touches every part of my being causing my emotions to reflect Your goodness, mercies, and kindness. You have made me lovely in Your sight; O how You delight in me to call me Your bride!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Song of Solomon 1:9 To me, my darling, you are like My mare among the chariots of Pharaoh

Many translations of this verse use the word filly or horse instead of a mare, but I believe the Hebrew word is most accurately translated as mare. The word is significant because a mare is a mature female horse, over the age of three, where a filly would imply a younger horse. The Beloved compares His bride to a mare; He sees our heart to be completely His and though we are not walking in full maturity in our relationship with Him right now, He does not call us weak and immature as we are progressing in love. Also, mares were used in preference both for riding and for chariots in the East. They are much swifter, stronger, endure more hardship, and will go longer without food, than either the stallion or the gelding. Our Beloved compares us to the mare because of her strength; He acknowledges our victories over sin and He sees every offering and sacrifice we make to conquer the flesh. But He does not compare us to just any mare, but to those among Pharaoh’s chariots. These horses were the finest in the entire world; they were a select company, costly, and well taken care of. They were trained for war and trained to carry the King himself!

Previously in verse 6, the Bride stated that she had not taken care of her own vineyard; she felt weak and realized she had left the place of her first love. Now the Beloved is affirming her calling her “My darling” or “My love.” He speaks with love to her heart, affirming that He sees her differently than she sees herself. Our Beloved sees the desire in our heart to love Him, and even though we stumble at times He sees the “yes” in our heart. He does not call us immature and weak, but instead He speaks to us according to what He sees we are becoming. He sees our sincere and strong desire to follow Him. It is the Lord himself who compares us; it does not matter what men think or even how we feel about ourselves, but when we are affirmed by the Lover of our soul it has a powerful effect on our heart and causes us to rise in strength and walk as His beautiful bride. It is the passion of His love for us that gives us strength, boldness, and courage as we learn to run on the mountains with Him. It is the passion of His love that has caused individuals through the centuries to stand unwavering in their faith, singing songs of praise, while being persecuted and martyred. Love is as strong as death!

When you are feeling discouraged in your walk with the Lord and when the enemy reminds you of your shortcomings, failures, weakness, and immaturity, remember the words He speaks over you. He speaks to you with affection, calling you His love. He sees the sincere desires of your heart to know and follow Him. He knows you are becoming a mature, faithful Bride who will be His companion for all eternity. He calls you strong, costly, chosen, trained for war, and trained in righteousness to carry His presence. His very Spirit lives within you!

Devotional Prayer
Lord, I love the way You love me! Your love sets me free to love You more and more. Your love sets me free from judgments and opinions of other; Your opinion is really all that matters. Your love sets me free from self condemnation when I feel like a failure; You don’t see me as weak, immature and a failure, but You see me as what I will be – Your glorious Bride! Thank You that You know the desire in my heart to be completely Yours, and that my desire for You has captured Your heart!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Song of Solomon 1:6 My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me caretaker of the vineyards, but I have not taken care of my own vineyard.

Throughout the Song the Bride’s mother speaks of the Church; her mother’s sons then are her brothers. The sons were angry at her zeal and passion she displays for her Beloved. This speaks symbolically of spiritually dull leaders who don’t embrace fervent believers. People on-fire for God bring conviction to those who are apathetic in their walk with the Lord. A person who hungers for more of God and demonstrates passion in their worship and devotion challenges other believers who may be stagnant and complacent in their walk. Not only does a lovesick believer‘s life bring conviction to those who are lukewarm, but often these hungry, fiery lovers of God are full of zeal yet lack wisdom and humility, thus provoking even more anger.

Often in the life of a believer who is on-fire and lovesick, their desire to please the Lord causes them to engage in any and every ministry they can be involved in. They have an exuberance to serve their Beloved by serving others. Unfortunately, undiscerning or “angry” leaders will take advantage of the enthusiasm of these fiery ones, giving them many responsibilities in different “vineyards.” But if one is not first tending to their own vineyard, it does not take long to burn-out. So we find in the Church those who started their ministries with passion and zeal but somehow have become more focused on the serving than on their First Love. They allow the pressures and demands for their time to replace the intimate times of devotion that initiated the burning with passion.

Have you ever seen a leader in the Church advise someone who is on-fire and lovesick just to stay in the secret place for a season and continue to develop their intimacy with the Lord? Has anyone ever encouraged you to be “so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good” – I don’t suppose they mean so transformed in mind that you can actually bring the Kingdom of God into life’s circumstances and change the atmosphere around you! What is “earthy good” anyway? Aren’t we called to be separated, strangers and aliens in this world? Isn’t our citizenship in Heaven? Didn’t God say that friendship with the world was adultery with Him? I love the way the Lord defended Mary when her sister brought charges against her saying to Jesus “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?” Jesus replied “only a few things are necessary, really only one…” (Luke 10:38-42) Let us represent the heart of Jesus and encourage one another into deeper places of prayer and intimacy.

Our first commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength. With all the demands that life places on our time, let us be careful to not neglect our own “vineyard.” Our ministry should be an overflow of our intimacy with the Lord as we spend time listening to His heart beat and letting Him place His love and compassion in our heart.

Devotional Prayer
Lord, I thank you that I was created to be Your bride, and you long for intimacy in our relationship. Holy Spirit, search my heart to reveal areas in my life where I have wrongly given priority of my time and have neglected to cultivate my relationship with You. Give me the boldness to guard our time together even if it means saying no to friends, family, and ministries that press me for time. Let my heart beat as one with Yours so that I may overflow with Your love to those around me. I want to be a fiery, passionate, lover of God all the days of my life!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Song of Solomon 1:6 Do not stare at me because I am black, for the sun has burned me.

In the bride’s progression of her spiritual journey she cried out for intimacy with her Beloved, to which He responded by bringing her into His chambers. It is in the chambers where she enjoys and experiences Him in deep spiritual union, but being close to His glory and light also exposes the darkness inside of her. She acknowledges her weaknesses and failures but is ashamed and does not want others to stare at the darkness within her.

This is true for all believers who posture themselves before the light of the Lord’s presence. In His holy presence we are confronted with those areas of our lives where we are still walking contrary to His Word. We are aware of how our old nature has blackened us and feel ashamed when others look at our failures. Most of us try to hide and conceal these areas of our lives, not wanting others to see our weaknesses and old sinful nature. And for fear of judgment from those who would look at the darkness of our lives, we often put on masks and live hoping no one sees who we really are.

Have you ever had a stigma placed on you by someone who could never see where you had matured beyond their first perception? I see this often in both the corporate world and in the church. A person fails to handle a situation in a way that meets everyone’s expectations and the negative behavior is forever retained as the image of who that person is. That person may mature in their character and emotions but still will be overlooked for promotions because they just can’t get free from the stigma. People usually respond in one of two ways to these types of situations; they either begin to see themselves as a loser who will never amount to anything, and give up their pursuits, always living under the perception of other people’s opinions, or they learn to “act” according to the expectations of others. But often in the “acting” they take on yokes that they were not created to carry. They try to become someone they are not while living under the pressure that someone might find out who they really are.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 says “Therefore, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” I relate this to the Song of Songs verse in two ways. The first is the challange to view other believers as a new creation; to look beyond their weaknesses and areas where they are still maturing and to love them even as Jesus loves all of us… even in our weakness. We need to search our hearts to see if there are those whom we have placed a stigma upon and have not seen their recent growth and their full potential in the Lord. We need to come along side one another and encourage each other on to greater things in the Kingdom, even though we all fail at times. We need to create an environment in the church where people don’t have to wear a mask for fear of judgment as they are learning to walk out their salvation.

The other application of this verse to our lives is the reality that when sin is exposed in our lives, it is just proof that we are growing in the light! We can take courage that though others may see the un-renewed areas of our lives and those places that have been marred as the consequence of living in a fallen world, but the Lover of our soul sees us as beautiful and lovely. He calls us His own!

Devotional Prayer
Lord, I thank You that you have created me for Yourself, for Your pleasure. You have made me to be Your bride! Thank You that I don’t have to wear a mask any longer, but Your love has set me free from living under the yoke of man’s opinions. You don’t view me through my fallen nature but have made me new. Holy Spirit, I want to walk in Your love and see others according to their new nature so they don’t have to wear a mask around me. Let me see others as You see them!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Song of Solomon 5:1 I am dark but lovely

I love this statement, “I am dark but lovely” This verse has helped me stay steady as I pursue deeper intimacy with the Lord. It has given me confidence to continue to press in to His heart and not shrink back when I am confronted with the weakness of my flesh. It gives me the assurance that God delights in me and calls me lovely, His dove, His perfect one, as I mature in my relationship with Him, even when I stumble!

Most of us could produce a rap sheet against ourselves that would unquestionably disqualify us from ever achieving the greatness God has called us to; our own accusations can even prevent us from pursuing a deeper relationship with the Lord. It is difficult to come before His holy presence when we see ourselves as sinful and weak in flesh. We are our own worst critics at times, and in spite of God’s abundant mercy and forgiveness, we often seem to place ourselves in a penalty box for a season until we feel we have paid the consequence of our mistakes. And, if it is not our own conscious condemning us, our enemy is always seizing an opportunity to steal, kill, and destroy us by magnifying our weakness as a superior truth over God’s truth and what He says about us. We become more focused on our weakness than focused on Jesus and what He accomplished when He was crucified for our sins.

In the progression of our journey with the Beloved, we have encounters where we are drawn into the King’s chambers and are exposed to His glory and light. These encounters are extremely pleasant to our spirit as we drink from His river of holiness, purity, and glory, but the closer we get to Him, the more the darkness inside of us is exposed. The more His light is revealed in us, the more we recognize our sin. When we really love God, seeing our sin and the weakness of our flesh creates a great tension within us and we can feel like we have failed Him. It is critical then that we understand that He sees us as beautiful and He delights in us even in our weakness. He sees the sincere intentions of our heart to follow and obey Him. He uses a different standard of measurement than we do. If we don’t understand that He loves us in our immaturity, being exposed to His glory and holiness could produce shame and condemnation in us and we would lose confidence to approach Him. How He sees us is a powerful truth to our spirit. We must receive His words of affirmation and His affections on a daily basis and allow the truth of His Word to transform our heart and mind that we might see ourselves as He see us.

God’s heart is moved by us when we are sincere about seeking Him and living for Him. It is amazing to think that the King of all Kings, the One whose reign is eternal, has chosen us as His eternal companion. He desires that we be with Him where His is, even now… not just in eternity! He has made every provision for us to be cleansed and holy, so much so that He has chosen to dwell in us and call us His holy temple. He uses the term “Bridegroom” as He describes His joy and passion for us; He is the pursuer in this relationship. He is not embarrassed to call us His bride! We are His special treasure and His inheritance. Even now, even as we are maturing but are still weak. We don’t have to wait until eternity to enter into His divine romance, He wants us to live every day in the confidence of His ravished heart for us and walk in the sweet union of His love.

Devotional Prayer
Lord, Your love for me is so far beyond my comprehension, You stagger my mind with Your passion and desire for me! Your affirmation gives me confidence that when I stumble I can run to You for help, and not away from You in shame. Oh, that You call me Your bride, to be Your companion, the object of Your affections, forever and ever, time without end, is so incomprehensible. That You see me as beautiful and lovely changes the way I see myself! Your delight is in me, and I am Yours. Thank You for Your amazing love that sustains me through every season in life as I mature in my relatio0nship with You.