Thursday, 17 May 2018

Obedience: The Pentecost Key. ~ Ganeida

Do you remember being a child & thinking: When I grow up I won't ever... [inset pet hate of choice here].  How did that work out for you?

The thing about life is none of us ever get to do exactly as we please. When we were little we were trained to say *Please* & *thank you*, to wait our turn, to follow the road rules & now we are grown most of us do those things automatically.  We don't think about them,  They are a part of us. They form the bedrock of  societal good manners & civilised behaviour. Those who did not learn those things as children become society's rejects.  We consider them ill~mannered & uncivilised.  When we have our own children we patiently train them & put rules in place for their safety & well being. We understand how this works in the secular, yet invariably fail to apply this to spiritual things.

I want to point that out because in everything our Lord said after His resurrection, before He returned to heaven, He gave a very particular command: Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." [Acts1:4/5]

The Holy Spirit was a promise. Acts 1:1 

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised... And in 2:39 Peter clarifies For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself, but the command was not to leave Jerusalem until the promise had come because without Him there is no power. 

When we discussed the baptism of the Spirit we looked @ how The Holy Spirit baptises us into Jesus, water baptises us unto repentance then Jesus baptises us into the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:11 says of Jesus He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire...& He is given for a very particular purpose: but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth...

For clarity's sake the Greek word for fire is pyr [as in pyromaniac] but in Hebrew it would carry the force of an adjective as in fiercely, firey  & power of course is our word dynamis ~ dynamite. Without the fire & the power it is actually impossible to do what Jesus asked because we have no kingdom authority to do it. To do the Kingdom work we need Kingdom authority & that authority is vested in us through Jesus & His empowering by His Spirit.

Now Most Christians get as far as receiving Jesus.  That's neat.  And they're ok with the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete, someone who comes alongside to help & comfort & seal them unto the day of redemption.  Most get baptised in water whether by sprinkling, dunking or full immersion~ but many are less comfortable with fire & power. 

There is a problem with that.  To reject the fire & the power is an act of rebellion.  It sows seeds of disobedience because Jesus' very last instructions before leaving earth were:
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth~ Acts 1:8.

The Holy Spirit was not given primarily for our own comfort, though we love & revere His presence in our lives.  He was given to equip us for the ministry of reconciliation. [2 Corinthians 5:18] Now, it is very obvious from scripture that the Holy Spirit operates in multiple ways: teacher; guide; advocate; helper but his primary purpose is to equip us for the Kingdom.

The disciples were expressly told to wait on the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Out of the hundreds, & even thousands, who followed Jesus earthly ministry there were only 120 on the day of Pentecost who actually were where they were told to be, doing what they had been told to do.  The key to a victorious life in Christ is obedience.  You must wait & receive the Power of the Holy Spirit for without it you will be defeated.

As you study the scriptures out you find Jesus died @ Passover & rose on First Fruits but from Passover the Jews counted 50 days known as *counting the Omer* which led them into Shavout: the Festival of Weeks.  Originally a harvest festival, by Jesus time it was celebrated as the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt Sinai. PentÄ“kostÄ“  is simply the Greek word meaning 50th. I do not think this is a coincidence. When we talk about being empowered by God's Spirit one of the things we mean is being empowered to live out His moral Law.  Not the ceremonial Law, which was done away with @ the cross, & not the cultural Laws, but the Spiritual Laws that form the foundation of moral & ethical living: which is why the New Testament writers are so forceful in telling us to put away the old man & put on Christ, to reject everything that we once were because the Holy Spirit rejuvenates us & empowers [Titus 3:5] us to live in a new way.  Without the Holy Spirit that sort of lifestyle is impossible.  The Jews tried it & Jesus showed them that not only could they not keep it, they had no real understanding of it's purpose!

Jesus made it very clear that the Spirit was given for evangelising. Now there is something very interesting about the word dynamis.  It is almost always translated power & that is a correct translation but it also means potentiality.  In other words the giving of the Holy Spirit brings us into our full potential in Christ.  We need to understand that simply being sealed with the Spirit does not bring us into our potential.  We need to be empowered.

And the next aspect is the sort of power we are talking about when we talk about the dynamis of the Holy Spirit because it is not power as the world understands power. It is not about being pre~eminent, not about controlling others, not about being *boss*.  It is about self~control.

I am going to be very blunt but if you are walking by the Spirit there is nothing to worry about.  I have heard many, many Christians say that their life is their witness so they don't need to preach the gospel.  My answer to that is simple.  Unless your life consistently displays the fruit [fruit, not gifts] of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control [Galatians 5:22~23] then your life is no witness @ all!  This is a very small island.  I cringe when I watch Christians short~tempered & impatient with the checkout girls @ IGA, complaining loudly about ques, waiting & the slowness of the service. I squirm @ the backbiting, the gossip & the slander.  These things are not from the Holy Spirit but they are rife in Christians who are in disobedience to the command to be filled with the Spirit.

The scripture says very clearly that faith comes by hearing, & hearing by the word of God.  There is no way of squirming round this one.  One's life, no matter how exemplary, is no substitute for the Word of God!

What's more, when you step out in obedience God confirms His word. Mark 15:16 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues...

Obedience brings gifts in its wake.  I find this particularly fascinating because in Jewish culture a potential bride indicated her acceptance of a proposal of marriage by accepting the gifts proffered.  Refusal of the gifts meant refusal of the proposal. If the church is Christ's bride then her acceptance of His gifts indicates her acceptance of Him & she will display her gifts for the common good.  According to Paul: But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. [1 Corinthinas 12]

Jesus made the value of our obedience very clear: John 5:30
So Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself, unless He sees the Father doing it. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does.

If Jesus, the son of God, needed the Holy Spirit [John 1:32] needed the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience then how much more do we!  He delights in doing so.  It is His delight to point us to Christ & to transform us into His likeness.  We are meant to be like Jesus.  Not like the world.  We cannot transform ourselves on our own.  We need the Holy Spirit's help but there is a catch.  Do not complain that you have not been shown the Father's will if you have not obediently followed that which He has already given to you!

The apostles were empowered because they obeyed the command to wait & be filled.  Do not dismiss the blessing of a life submitted in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Just as we trained our children & our parents trained us, so will the Holy Spirit train us in obedience because that is the key to walking fully in the freedom & authority we have in Christ.

Friday, 11 May 2018

A Different Sort of Mother: Jael ~ Ganeida

Today is Mother's Day & it is customary to discuss God's views on Mother's, motherhood & women in general.  To be quite honest our Proverbs 31 stereotype makes me weary just thinking of her.  None of us are that perfect.  I have something of the same problem with Mary ~ though for slightly different reasons.  I am not much like either of those women & @ a guess, neither are you if you are a woman, a wife, or a mother. To my surprise the name The Holy Spirit gave me was Jael.

I nearly laughed.  Seriously?  The woman who drove a tent peg through Sisera's skull?  That Jael? Yep.

You find Jael's story in Judges 4 which we will now read.

I am going to deal with some context problems firstly because Jael's murder of Sisera is one of the bloodiest in scripture, only surpassed by Ehud's killing of his king & completely ununderstandable on a superficial reading.  Firstly Jael was a married woman.  She was married to Heber, a Kenite man, who was related to Moses via marriage. The Kenite's were nomads, living in tents but their trade was as metalsmiths. What's more, as metalsmiths the men would have been highly valued by both sides of the war to make & mend weapons. One wonders which side they worked for; the Caananites?  The Israelites? Neither? Both?  Interesting because the army of the Caananites was demolished.  No~one escaped but Sisera & he fled to Jael.

In the conflict between the Israelites & the Canaanites the Kenites were officially neutral. This does not mean they didn't support one side or the other, only that they, themselves, were not @ war with either nation. They were, however, living in a war zone & subject to the fallout common to any conflict zone.  What's more, Heber had removed himself & his family away from other members of his tribe [v11] so the family did not have the protection of other families around them.  On top of all this the men were away from the camp.  How do I know?  Because when Sisera arrived it was Jael who went out to greet him.  If the men had been there it would have been Heber who greeted the stranger & offered him hospitality.  What Jael actually did was dangerous because Jael & Heber would have had separate tents & for a man who was not her husband to be found in a woman's tent meant immediate death for both of them.  

Next understand that the Caananites practised child sacrifice, idolatry, incest, bestiality, & homosexuality.  They were an incredibly cruel & amoral people ~ & @ one point in scripture God instructs the Israelites to completely wipe this people out because they were so incredibly wicked.  Sodom & Gomorah were Caananite cities.  Sisera is described as being incredibly cruel to the Israelites & oppressing them harshly [EXB][AMP] so  he arrived @ Jael's tent with a reputation for cruelty.

What of the standard of hospitality?  Surely Jael dishonoured the sanctity of the hospitality tradition? Did she, I wonder?  There are several things to consider.  Firstly Jael is a woman without the protection of men living in a war zone.  Secondly, the honour of her family is in her hands.  We have discussed the concept of honour & shame in Middle~eastern societies when we looked @ the story of the Prodigal Son. For women this always included sexual purity. Sisera is a brutal soldier who has just suffered a humiliating defeat & Jael is vulnerable, an easy target for asserting his dominance & male pride. Thirdly, although this is not stated in scripture, we know from studying ancient cultures that these were always family groups.  Although scripture does not implicitly state it, it is probable that there were other women & children in the camp: Jael's daughters & grandchildren.  As acting head of the family her first priority was to protect the rest.

In context Jael's action's start to make sense.  Sisera is a threat.  He is a threat to her honour.  He is a threat to her security.  He is a threat to her family ~ so she acts to eliminate the threat. Deborah  is pretty pleased about it.  She calls Jael *most blessed among women.* [5:24]

Now we know  For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  [Romans 15:4]

What can we learn from the story of Jael? What in particular can we learn about what it means to be a mother, a wife, a woman in God's eyes?

The first thing I notice about Jael is she identifies the threat to her family.  She sees Sisera coming.  She knows who he is.  She knows his reputation.  She can guess what has happened because he is on foot, not riding, not in one of his *iron chariots*, battered & weary & alone & she knows she has decisions to make.  Other people's safety rides on the choices she now makes ~ & she doesn't have a lot of time to make a choice.  If she gets it wrong her life & other's lives will be lost. Jael has discernment.  Even though, technically, Sisera should be no threat she knows what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:14...even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

The next thing I notice is her courage. She doesn't hide in her tent & pretend no~one is home & hope that the threat will go away. She doesn't pass the responsibility on to someone else.  Sisera is weary & thirsty.  Offered or not he would have sought somewhere to shelter & something to drink.  He has specifically sought out Jael's tent knowing the family is on friendly terms with the king.  I find that a fascinating comment.  Expedient... & so Jael goes out to meet him headfirst. She faces the danger.

Thirdly, she doesn't wallow in indecision.  Having identified the threat & faced it, she acts.  She nails it dead.  There will be no resurrection.

I believe that for too long the church has pushed a warped view of what godly women look like & how they act.  Dear sisters, whether you are a mother or not, you have a family ~ either natural or spiritual ~   & you are called to be a warrior in Christ's army.  You are living in a war zone ~ a spiritual war zone. Like Jael you are called to identify anything that threatens your honour [your high calling in Christ~ Phil 3:14 KJV ] , face it with courage & act to eliminate it! We are equipped with everything we need to defeat our enemies & to walk in victory.  Like Jael we have the tools we need to act on behalf of the families we are called to protect & shelter.  Jael took ordinary, everyday household items & turned them into weapons to defeat her enemy.  So can we.  Our weapons are our faith, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Prayer. They are ordinary, everyday things but they are extremely powerful. I believe God honours our courage because it displays trust in God, His goodness, His lovingkindness, His favour towards us.  Jael teaches us that we can be brave  & courageous, warrior women, & that we can be this AND have a meek & gentle spirit. [1 Peter 3:4]

In the Greek  praus, means an attitude of friendly warmth, patient, kind & gentle ~ & surprisingly Jael was these things! Hisuchios is the word translated gentle or quiet & denotes self control ~ someone who is considered in their responses rather than acting impulsively.  However that did not stop Jael from acting to defeat a threat!  Nor should it stop us!  How often do we allow things in our lives & relationships out of a mistaken understanding of godly womanhood? This strong, steady consistency of character is valuable.  We do not see Jael losing her head.  We do not see her giving way to her emotions or acting out of fear.  Instead she keeps a cool head. She assesses the situation.  She acts calmly.  She does not inflame the situation.  

I think it is sometimes difficult for Western women who, for the most part, have lived lives of safety & security, to understand what women in a war zone understand perfectly well: a male, any male, fresh from action & having been too close to death, is capable of horrendous things. She had not been raped ~ but that made the threat no less real.  So long as Sisera lived that was a very real possibility.

So let us learn from Jael to weigh the threats in our life to living successfully in Christ, then act calmly & rationally to completely eliminate those things from our lives. Amen.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Why is Communion Important? ~ Rabqa

Communion is not just a religious observance. It’s a holy time of fellowship with God. Matthew,
Mark and Luke all talk about this event. We are told in Matthew 26:26 that the night Jesus was betrayed, He and the disciples ate a last supper. This was a holy event in response to the commandment by Moses to memorialize an event named “Passover.”

So, what was Passover? In Exodus 12, we read about the first Passover. The Israelites were living in slavery in Egypt. God wanted to free them, so He sent Moses as His messenger. However, the Egyptian Pharaoh did not want to lose his slaves and refused to let them go. God sent nine plagues to convince Pharaoh to let His people leave, but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen. So, God sent one last plague. The plague was that the firstborn male in every family was to die on a specific night. The only way to escape this plague was to put the blood from a male lamb on the sides and top of the outside door of the house. When the death angel saw the blood, he would “pass over” that house, and everyone inside would live.

Jesus said in Luke 22:19, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Therefore, all believers may receive Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, at the instruction of Jesus.

The Bible doesn’t instruct that there’s a set time or place to participate in this memorial. A certain person does not have to officiate. You can take Communion in a church service, at home with your family or by yourself. It is a holy time to remember what Jesus has done for you.

The Apostle Paul gave some instructions to believers in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:

For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.’ In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement
confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.’ For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.”

What do think about when you partake in the Lords supper? The next time you receive this special meal/ remember that Jesus’ body was broken & His bloodshed for you; & celebrate that your sins are completely forgiven, Rejoice that one day He will come back. Receive the healing, restoration & strength that He purchased for you with His body & blood.

So, get some wine or grape juice and a cracker, and spend time with the Lord. Take the time to come to God over the Communion table. As you begin, say something like this:

Father God, in the Name of Jesus, we recognize that Jesus’ body was broken for us, that His blood was shed on our behalf. We acknowledge that He carried sin, sickness, disease, sorrow, grief, fear, torment, unforgiveness, strife and lack for us. Through His sacrifice for us, we have complete forgiveness and cleansing before God and total deliverance from the works of Satan. And, we thank You for it all, in Jesus’ Name.

Now, accept everything Jesus’ sacrifice provided. Call yourself forgiven. Rejoice that God holds nothing against you, and withholds nothing from you that you ask for that’s His will. Thank God that Jesus prays for you, and provides for and protects you. Be glad that God has made you worthy to be called His child.

Also, refuse to accept sickness and disease. It’s from Satan, so reject it. Refuse to receive it any longer. You are partaking of the sacrifice of Jesus’ body, so receive the healing He provided, in Jesus’ Name.

Next, hold the bread, and read Luke 22:19 out loud, “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘This is my body,
which is given for you. Do this to remember me.’”

Eat the bread.

Now, hold the cup, and read Matthew 26:27-28 out loud: “And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, ‘Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.’”

Drink the cup.

Jesus used the occasion of the Passover meal to inaugurate the New Covenant. The symbolism of the Passover meal under the Old Covenant was about to be fully sissified through the crucifixion in this historic moment. Jesus transformed the meaning of the elements of the Passover meal into New Covenant thought. The bread now represents His Body which would be given, & the cup His blood, which would be shed for the forgiveness of sins. The holy requirements of
God & the Old Covenant were about to be forever satisfied. A new & living way into the presence & provision of God was being prepared through Christ, the Lamb of God. A new eternal bond was being established by the blood of Jesus Christ. God was soverignly inaugurating the new ultimate covenant.

Finally, thank God for what He has provided for you through Jesus Christ. Acknowledge that you are blessed. Praise God for His exceeding great and precious promises, and the fact that you have the right to enjoy those promises.

You are healed! You are redeemed, and you are delivered from the authority of darkness. You have been accepted and moved into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. You are the head and not the tail. You are above only and not beneath. You are not left out of anything good. All that you do, prospers. Praise God in Jesus’ Name for the new life you enjoy!

As you continue to think on the importance of Communion and what God says about it, here are a few other suggestions that will help you with this special act of remembrance:

* Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. What stands out to you the most?

* Make an outline of the steps to receive Communion.

* Determine what you will expect as you receive Communion.

Though Pharaoh didn’t pay heed to the first nine plagues, this tenth one got his attention. He let God’s people go. God commanded that this event be celebrated each year as “Passover,” so the Israelites would remember God’s great deliverance in bringing them out of Egypt and slavery.

Let’s move forward in time to Jesus and the disciples as they were celebrating the feast of Passover in Matthew 26:26. At this meal, Jesus took a piece of bread, blessed it, tore a piece off for each disciple and announced, “This is my body, which is given for you.”

Celebrate the Lords supper often. Approach it with faith, receiving the life & healing it provides.

When He said this, Jesus was actually referring to the coming hours when He, the perfect Lamb of God, would be beaten, tormented, crucified and buried. Jesus said His body would be broken for us. That was foretold by a prophecy in Isaiah 53:5 that says, “…He was whipped so we could be healed.”

Does that mean that we should believe God wants to literally heal our bodies? How about mental and emotional healing? Does God want to heal that, too? The resounding answer is “YES.” Peter quotes that prophecy after the fact in 1 Peter 2:24, “…by whose stripes you were healed.”

The punishment Jesus took in His body was not just an exercise in suffering. Every lash of the whip was a provision for healing. As the leather straps marked His flesh, which was to heal cancer. The metal barbs cut his skin—that was to heal diabetes. Again, the whip fell across His back—that was for healing of mental anguish. The whip ripped into His muscles—that was to replace crippled limbs. And on and on it went. Jesus was whipped so you could be healed. It’s simply a matter of believing and receiving this provision of God.

Then, in Matthew 26:27-28, Jesus took a cup, gave thanks and passed it to the disciples saying, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which [ratifies the agreement and] is being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus also said to drink the wine, or grape juice, to remember that His blood as a sacrificial offering would establish a new agreement: God’s acceptance of men as His children. Jesus’ death and resurrection made a way for us to have a relationship with God. Because of what happened in the Garden of Eden with Adam, we were born separated from God by sin, and there was no way to bridge the gap. We couldn’t get free from the punishment of sin without dying. Jesus took our punishment and died—He paid for our death with His death, so we can live as children of God. His act has caused us to be forgiven and right with God.

You see, Jesus is the final, perfect Passover Lamb. He fulfilled the requirements as set forth in Exodus 12. He was a male, unblemished by sin, and He was willing to die in our place. When we accept the perfect sacrifice of Jesus in our life, His blood causes the death angel to pass over us.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

An Introduction to Standing in the Last Days. ~ Ganeida

I read a story this week which I have found deeply troubling.  It is troubling
because it took place on an Australian university campus, a place where freedom of thought & rigorous debate should be paramount.  It is troubling because it is only one of a number of similar stories, none of which are making the mainline news. It is troubling because it shows just how far the left is prepared to go in order to impose its views on society & it is troubling because I do not believe the church understands what we are about to face & are completely unprepared.

The short version can be found here. I actually listened to the podcast where *Andrew* himself speaks about what happened. *Andrew*, a Christian, offered to pray for a professed atheist struggling with anxiety & stress over her studies, & with her permission did so.  Please note, he did have this girl's permission to pray for her.  He was not acting against her wishes.  Later, @ a party, he was asked directly, by another student, how he would respond to a gay friend, to which he responded that though he might not agree with his friend's choices he would respond with love & kindness, but not wishing to only express his viewpoint asked this particular girl her views. She did not want to participate in the discussion so the matter was dropped.  However *Andrew* then received a uni email informing him that his actions were inappropriate, made this girl feel unsafe & he was not to speak to her unless it was on a university/class related matter ~ a directive he abided by until the day he asked if she was willing to participate in graduation preparations.  It was after this encounter he was suspended by the university & told that in order to attend classes the following year he would be subjected to fortnightly *retraining* sessions on how to appropriately inter-react with his peers. Pardon?  The ACL took up his case & the matter has been resolved without the *retraining*. 

*Andrew* is not high profile like Margaret Court or Israel Folau; most Christians aren't.  Therefore we need to arm ourselves, to ... sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; [1 Peter 3:15]  

There are 3 main points I wish to make on the subject of persecution & though this is not a matter of lions eating us alive or becoming human torches to amuse Nero, it is a matter of survival.  There are people, here in Australia, who have lost their jobs, been disciplined by governing boards, been subject to the violation of  their consciences because they have expressed a conservative Christian viewpoint on LGBT matters. I am not talking about people expressing vilification or hatred.  I am talking about people saying this is not a lifestyle they agree with or consider a healthy life choice.

The first point is simply that these things will come as we come closer & closer to the return of Christ. [1 Timothy 4:1~ 2] Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron... 

I believe we are going to find several things running in tandem in these end times.  I believe that because the church has always thrived under persecution.  We will come to the *why* of that in a moment.  God does not bring persecution of His people but He will use it for our good & to bring us into closer relationship to Himself. People who are close to the Lord, who have a living & vibrant relationship with Christ, are incredibly difficult to shake.  What's more, as they draw closer to God by way of His Holy Spirit, Christ enables them to rise above themselves in such a way that they draw others to Christ.  We see this with the 1st Apostles.  We see this with the early church.  We see this with the reformation. The kingdom of God thrives when we abide under the shadow of His wings.

As the persecution intensifies we will be forced to choose.  Either we will compromise our faith, follow after the *teachings of demons*  or we will cling to Jesus. Jesus is about to allow the dead wood to be pruned from the vine leaving a remnant that will produce abundant fruit.  So you see we can have great apostasy & great revival @ one & the same time.  They are not mutually exclusive.  The shaking of everything that can be shaken will reveal that which cannot be shaken ~ & those who cannot be shaken will be revealed as *God's Jewels* [Malachi 3:17For they are as the stones of a crown, Sparkling in His land. [Zechariah 9:16]

We know from scripture these things will not pass away:

  • God's Word 

Matthew 3:17 says: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
We know from John 1:1 that God & His word are one, & that Jesus is the Word therefore

  • God & Christ will not pass away
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
  • The Church
...upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  Matthew 16:18  Now we do see earthly churches shaken, attacked, even destroyed, but the Living Church, the Spiritual Church is eternal.

My second point is this: 2 Timothy 1:7 
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

We have a little time yet & we must use it wisely to train ourselves in the way of Walking in the Spirit of God in everything we do. It is important because when we are speaking of the Holy Spirit we are speaking about a Spirit of courage. Courage, not rashness.  Not impulsiveness.  Not a spirit of reaction for we are meant to operate in power & discipline from a love base.

If you go to Joshua 1 you find the beginning of Joshua's story as leader of the Israelites.  Moses has just died. Joshua is an untried leader & God says: arise cross this Jordan, you & all this people, to the land, which I am giving them...Then in verse 6, again in 7 & in 9 God says: Be strong and courageous.  The Hebrew is Hazaq, spelt in a variety of ways but the meaning is clear.  

Remember we said Hebrew is a concrete language so the implication is that courage requires being prepared to act, to step out in faith. It is a word often used to admonish soldiers as in to take a stand & hold their ground. It is not referring to physical strength but is an admonishment against fear & dismay. The true man puts it this way: Strength is the counterpart to fear, and courage is the counterpart to discouragement.

The mistake people make is in thinking that courage must come from within ourselves but that is not so. Ephesians 6:10 says:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might ~ which leads us to my 3rd point.
Who is your source?

As Christians most of us could quickly respond from Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Or 91:2 I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" Or 31:3 For You are my rock and my fortress;

So I ask you again: who, or what,  is your source?  It is important we understand this about ourselves.  It is no good being able to spout the scriptures if we do not practice what they teach. When trouble comes where is the first place you go?  It could be the pantry for the chocolate. It could be the fridge for a beer.  It could be the library for a book or the tv remote.  Whatever it is we are using that as a means of alleviating stress & strengthening ourselves for the fray when the first place we should go is to the Lord for it is He who says: Come to me all who are weary & heavy laden.[Matthew 11:28]

We can only be strong, we can only be courageous, when we find our strength in the Lord.  Anything & everything else will fail us & when the hour of testing comes we will fail.  This is why Timothy expressly warns that in the last days some will abandon the faith.  It is not enough to believe.  Beliefs can change if they are not grounded in Truth for we are warned to grow up & become mature so that As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; [Ephesians 4:14]  No, we are to be grounded in Truth, relying not on the wisdom of this world for that is foolishness in God's sight [1 Corinthians 3:19 ]  Rather we are to know God: His word, His character, His love, for then we will know we are never abandoned or deserted, never left defenceless, never without provision & the world will respond as it always has, crying: These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also... [Acts17:6] but in the process they will have to consider the claims of Christ for how else could His people sing praises to their God as they are taken to the lions?

Broken & Whole ~ Rabqa

I find in Christian art a lot of dishonesty, rock musician Bono voiced in frustration in the powerful
documentary “The psalms, which captures the unlikely friendship between U2’s lead singer & Bible scholar Eugene Peterson. Disusing the impact of the psalms on their lives, the two wondered why psalm-like honesty is so often absent in church. “The only way we can approach God is if we are honest,” Bono emphasised. “That’s what God wants from you. The truth.”

Why is it often so hard to find raw honesty in the church? When Scripture is filled with examples of hearts poured out to God in intense joy, anger or grief, why is it rare to hear such strong emotions voiced in a church building?

Part of the reason might be that believers in Jesus are not typically taught to expect a slow or maybe a difficult journey; that is to say we think of salvation as a one-time transaction, we believe that now we are saved & healed from brokenness.

When this is our mindset, we love to hear stories of miraculous healing or lives dramatically transformed after belief in Jesus. But we are less sure what to think when the miracle doesn’t come. When instead of being cured, a believer relapses into their addiction. When the disease gets worse. Or when the depression we have fought & prayed for intensifies. As pain seeps in, doubt & shame may enter in too. You may think “If I am really saved, why am I in pain? Shouldn’t I be happy? Shouldn’t I be whole?” In a misguided attempt to preserve our faith, we may silence our pain & confusion, denying-perhaps to ourselves-the wounds we carry.

But ironically or tragically in denying our pain, we also in effect turn away from God’s healing touch.

It is hard to find in Scripture the idea that our salvation means protection from pain. In fact, as uncomforting as this might initially seem, we almost see the opposite theme in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.

7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
Paul is describing the church as a community united by two things suffering & comfort.

Have you ever been disappointed, hurt or mistreated? Have you had changes in your life or are you expecting loss of some kind? Have you failed in some way? Are you just simply tired? What is your trouble today? Verses 3&4 says that God will help you by comforting you when you need it.

The Holy Spirit is actually called “the Comforter” (John 14:26). His various names describe His character. They reveal what He does & what He desires to do for all believers. He is willing to do a great deal for us if we are willing to receive His help.

Many years ago I would become angry when friends would not give me comfort when I needed it. I am sure they were trying but I now realise that God would not allow them to give me the comfort I should have been seeking it from God He was longing to give that comfort through the Holy Spirit, If only I had asked.

Now God will allow people to do only a certain amount for us, & no more. Even those people who are extremely close to us cannot give us everything we need all the time. When we expect others to do for us what only God can do, we have our expectations in the wrong place, & we will always be disappointed.

It is so hard to grasp why so much trouble remains in the world, when Jesus has already defeated death & evil Colossians 1:20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Christ’s blood satisfies holiness, thereby making peace. Mankind was separated from
God because of sin & had no acceptable offering to satisfy the demands of God’s holy nature. God sent Christ to provide an expectable sacrifice for sin, who received Him thereby making peace. It was specifically the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross that satisfied the demands of God’s holiness established a peace bond or covenant with those who received Him, & provided the means for all of creation to be reconciled to God. Lev 17:11 declares that sin cannot be forgiven without the shedding of blood. Because sin takes life. Life is required to repay sin’s debts, Jesus Christ gave divine life in blood to satisfy all of mankind’s sin debts & to restore covenant peace between God & man.

So we see that part of the answerer is God’s love for creation. God has chosen to heel His world, not by violence or coercion, but by bringing human begins, whom He entrusted with creation long ago, into His work of restoration Hebrews 2:6-10 6 For in one place the Scriptures say,
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man[a] that you should care for him? 7 Yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour.[b8 You gave them authority over all things.”[c]

Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. 9 What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honour.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.
Verses 5-9 teach that God has purposed men & not angels to be sovereigns of the created
order. The World to come is the new eternal order inaugurated by the enthronement of Christ which is to be consummated at His return.

In verses 8&9 we learn instead of assuming his intended dominion over creation man had become a slave, held in bondage by death & satan. So the eternal Son of God appeared in history on Earth as Jesus the Man to provide a way of escape from bondage, access to God’s presence & an entrance into man’s intended glory. Jesus the Man, exalted in glory at God’s right hand, occupies the position of dominion intended for men, with everything put, or to be put in subjection under His feet.

When Jesus came to earth, He refused to force belief. Instead He went to the cross, carrying all sin & suffering through death into life to draw all humanity to Himself John12:32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”

Exalt Jesus in your life & service to draw men to Him. He invites the church which is His body, to join His work of drawing the world back to God.

To the New Testament disciple godly living is living through, & for Jesus. Godliness can be summarised in three words: love, obedience & unity. By living godly lives, we learn to see things as God does & adopt His Word as our only standard.

2 Corinthians 1: 21& 22 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first instalment that guarantees everything he has promised us. 2:14-15 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 4:2, 10 V2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. V10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

2 Cor1:20 teaches that if we pray in the Holy Spirit, we can always be assured that all things will work out for good (Romans 8:27 & 28). God is great & mighty; there is no situation that He cannot use for good as we pray & trust Him. We dare not pray the way we want to, but as we are led by the Holy Spirit. I believe Spirit-filled prayers receive a Yes & Amen from God.

In 2:14 we learn God always energises us to do what He leads us to do. It is only when we go beyond His will to follow our own wills (or other people’s desires) that we are likely to get exhausted. We also learn that God always leads us in triumph. His will is not for us to live defeated, weak lives; He wants us to be more than Conquerors (Romans 8:37). His will for us is strength, not weakness; victory not defeat.

We share the gospel, not through force or underhanded methods, but by simply showing its truth with our words & our lives (4, 10)

The primary way we do this is by following Christ down the path of self-giving love & willingly carrying each other’s plan & weakness 2 Corinthians 1:7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

One of the most powerful displays of the church embracing this calling is found in the L’Arche communities, where people with & without intellectual disabilities live together in fellowship & celebration. In L’Arche communities, many with disabilities who have been deeply wounded by the world’s obsession with perfection find healing through unconditional love.

But L’Arche doesn’t just bring healing to persons with disabilities; it can also bring healing to anyone given the gift of friendship there; by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Because all of us are wounded by a world where love is extended only to those who can pretend to be whole. As Jan Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, explains, many of us live in fear, “Afraid of showing weakness, afraid of not succeeding & deep down unsure if we are actually known & loved.” When we meet people with disabilities & reveal to them through our eyes & ears that they are precious, they are changed. But we too are changed. We are led to God.

2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Weakness is not very popular. Most people do not advertise their limitations, however in this verse Paul says that He boasts in his weakness. Why? You may ask, that is because he knows that God’s strength is made great in the midst of his infirmity. If there is an area in your life where you feel weak, do not try relying on your strength; instead ask God to be strong in your weakness, when you admit frailty, God pours out His strength. Know that His grace is more than sufficient & thank God for His power that is made perfect in your weakness.

If only the church would begin to take more seriously the truth that God’s power works best in weakness than maybe the will be more people like Bono & Peterson voicing honest lament & praise. & maybe gentle communities like L’Arche will less rare, as the church grows into its calling to be a community of healing which is to say a place where broken hearts are loved, wounds are tenderly cared for & together we will become rooted ever more deeply in Christ’s incomprehensible love. Ephesians 3:16-19 AMP May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. 17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, [a]through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [b]mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] [c]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and [d]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

Just imagine having your personality filled with the Holy Spirit of the living God & being a body wholly filled with God Himself. The apostle Paul was a person filled with the Holy Spirit; he was a person who forsook all to follow Jesus. Any areas of our lives that we hold back from God is an area where we cannot be filled with His Spirit. I encourage you to open surrender every room in your heart to God. Your time is His; your money is His, as are your gifts & talents, your family, your career, thoughts, attitudes & desires. He wants to be involved in every area of your life; how you dress, the friends you choose, what you do for entertainment, what you eat & so on.

After conversion Jesus is our Saviour, but is He our Lord? Any area we claim as our own is
one we have not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The blessedness of being filled with the Holy Spirit is clearly visible in the change in the people’s lives after Pentecost. Peter who for example displayed great fear in not being willing to even admit that he knew Jesus became a bold apostle who stood in the streets of Jerusalem & preached the gospel so fervently that three thousand souls were saved (Acts 2:40 &41).

Complete surrender to God brings good change into our lives. Surrendering to Him actually opens the door to the things we desire, & yet we waste our own energy trying to obtain access to them our own way. I encourage you today to surrender every area of your life to God so you may be filled to overflowing with His Spirit in every way.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Preparing our hearts for Revival & the Return of the Lord. ~ Ganeida.

This message was first delivered in 2010 as an introduction to Solomon's SONG of SONGS. On Sunday the Holy Spirit refurbished it as Preparing our hearts for Revival & the Return of the Lord. Consequentially there will be some anomalies between my notes & what the Holy Spirit delivered on Sunday ,if you happened to hear this message in person.

During the days before the protestant reformation when John Huss led his small bands of Christians  into Albania & the Covenanters were being persecuted in Scotland, one bible book was read, referred to, memorized & loved more than any other. No, not psalms. That book was Solomon’s Song of Songs.

Why this book? Why a book that is a blatant love song, sensually delighting in love & the things pertaining to love? Why is this book even included in the cannon & part of our scriptures? It is short, only about 117 verses. It is the last of the 5 wisdom books: Job, proverbs. Ecclesiastics, some of the psalms & Song of Songs. That it is listed among the wisdom books should immediately tell us that it contains gems of wisdom we would do well to heed. In a wider sense it belongs to a far different theme that runs throughout scripture: the marriage agreement between God & his people.

In Deuteronomy we have the marriage contract. In Hosea we see the adulterous, unfaithful wife & in the Song of Songs we see the fulfilment of love in marriage.

This book is usually attributed to Solomon, David’s Solomon, the live born child of David & Bathsheba. He was not the oldest son. His parents’ relationship was conceived in great sin but he is the first Jewish ruler to inherit the throne of Israel as a birthright. His name is related to the Hebrew word for Peace, Shalom ~ peace arising from harmony with God & man. David chose him to be king over his older sons despite what the Mosiac law said.

Solomon came to the throne in 961Bc, before his father, David, died & reigned for 40 years. It was during his reign the Jewish monarchy gained its highest splendour.Now the seeds of Solomon’s destruction are inherent in his choices. The child of a polygamyous household (David had 18 wives) Solomon took for himself 700 wives & 300 concubines (1 Kings 2:1~3. )I think it is fairly safe to say Solomon liked women. He liked Moabites, & Ammorites. Edomites, Sidonians, Hittites & definitely Shulamites! Famous for his wisdom, he is notorious for his polygamy.

Solomon’s wisdom seems to have been a worldly wisdom. He was aggressive in his foreign policy ~ hence the number of women in his life (he married them to seal arrangements with other rulers) ~ & it was not all plain sailing in the Solomon household. This was the man who said better a dry crust on the rooftop than a brawling woman in a wide house. Perhaps he was something of a henpecked husband & a coop of hens can be particularly vicious. In Deuteronomy (17:16~17)we also find the law explicitly saying not to multiply horses, silver & gold or…wives!

Solomon’s sin in this area lead to his apostasy. His rule was dominated by the conflicting tensions between faithfulness to God & yielding to the foreign influences his marriages brought into the kingdom.The bible is particularly explicit about sexual sins. Solomon’s sin in this area destroyed the house of David. He forsook his first love for God & under his wives influence followed after other gods. I find this particularly interesting scripturally because it is Solomon who built the temple to the Lord to house the ark of the covenant & when we come into the New Testament the scriptures say 1 Cor6:18 shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you that you have from God. From old testament to New God’s temple has been defiled by sexual immorality.

When we read through Solomon’s song of Songs we read a love poem that shows us how to love in a morally correct way on the human level & the spiritual level.That is all background information but bear it in mind as we come to the song itself. Let’s face it, in the area of love Solomon had some idea of what he was talking about.

Kings also tells us Solomon wrote 1005 songs; this is the only survivor. It is, unashamedly, a love song: sensual, sensuous, the portrayal of a man & a woman falling deeply, passionately, irredeemably in love. In the rabbinical view it is a portrait of Gods love for Israel. It was meant to be performed, perhaps something like an ancient musical or opera, theatrical in style, an Eastern love song between bride & groom, God & Israel, Christ & his church.

Now when we come to the scriptures we bring our cultural biases with us so I’d like to pause here & just clarify by giving a little background material on how a traditional Jewish wedding occurred because the song of songs arises out of this Eastern tradition & we miss many of its subtleties if we ignore the Eastern traditions which have little resemblance to our Western ideas of love & romance. Many of the Parallels with our relationship to Christ I’m sure you can draw for yourself. There are 7 main points to consider.

1.The groom’s father made & approved the choice of bride. God has made & approved us as His choice of bride for his son.

2. A contract was drawn up (remember Deuteronomy) & wine was drunk to seal the covenant. The groom pays a price to show his intent is serious & promises his bride he will come to claim her soon. I think we all get the parallel for that one!

3. The groom prepared a bridal chamber where he & his bride would stay for 7 days. He works until his father releases him to go & claim his bride.

4. While the groom is busy preparing the new home the bride waits wearing a veil. This shows she belongs only to the groom. She prepares for her wedding by making blankets etc, shows her family her gratitude for raising her, mends damaged relationships. She had to be ready for whenever her husband came to claim her. Her groom would come for her at night & she would not be told the hour of his coming.

5. Unmarried friends would attend the bride & provide light for the groom when he came.

6. Groomsmen would run ahead of the groom & shout that he was coming. While the father’s head was turned the groom would steal the bride & the wedding went back to the groom’s house to meet the guests.

7.The bride & groom enter the bridal chamber & the marriage is consummated. The party waited outside for this announcement & the guests celebrated for 7 days.

I have spent a lot of time on the background because what I want to discuss with you today is not the Song of Songs per se, though I love the song & think it one of the most beautiful of the many lovely scriptures. It’s central theme is far too important for us to dismiss this book as merely a very lovely love poem, exquisite, but not overly important. Rather by asking ourselves what this theme is we begin to grasp why it has been so loved & why it has remained in the cannon all down the centuries.

The main theme as I see it is loving God. Now scripture says over & over we are to love God. We are to love God first. We are to love God with Heart & mind & strength. We are to love God before mother, father, sisters, brothers, children, husband. I think many of us struggle in this area. We know what we’ve been told to do but we do not know how to do it. How do we love God with all our heart & all our mind & all our strength?

Scripture begins with the heart so that is where we will begin too. Scripture says to guard our hearts with all diligence because the heart is where the issues of life (thoughts, emotions, desires) originate. Proverbs 4:23 There are 4 types of hearts ~ the unregenerate, the hardened, the clogged & the pure. The pure heart, the one God desires for us & for himself, is attuned for the faintest promptings of the Holy Spirit. Sin makes us insensitive & resistant to those promptings.

There is a whole list in Galatians 5:19~21 of the sins of the flesh & I am betting most of us would run down that list going nope, nope, nope, not guilty of that one either. But what about a list like this: grumbling (philipians2:14 do everything without grumbling), self~seeking (phil2:3 let each esteem others better than himself) criticalness, disorderliness & being busybodies ~ There are some who walk among you disorderly, being busybodies (2nd Thessalonians) ….You get the picture I am sure. Sin is pride & put simply pride is not loving God; it is loving ourselves first ~ & that my friends is idolatry!

The word for mind is dianoia. Translated literally it means willpower or volition. When we are born again in the Holy spirit we are enabled to will as God wills. Aligning with the Greek word dianoia is the word exousia ~ it is permitted. That is, it is permitted for us to override our natural desires & inclinations & act in accordance with the spirit of God. It is not permitted for the unregenerate heart to do this. The unregenerate heart is governed by the sinful lusts & desires of the flesh. We are not. We can choose to act in a Godly way because the spirit of God resides within us.We are made in the image of God.

God has 2 sorts of will, the emotional (thelo) & resolve (boule). Our natural inclination is usually to go with the emotional but it is the disciplined choice based on the known will of God as revealed in his scriptures that God desires of us. That is the love response. Ephesians: grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. We grieve the spirit by not following His promptings to walk in the Godly pattern he enables us to walk & instead following after our own desires. When we choose our own way we choose to be ruled by the sin Christ died to free us from.

Lastly there is the soul. I think many of us in the West confuse spirit & soul. Our soul is our conscious thoughts, emotions, desires. Here we see why obedience is of such vital importance. There is a line of progression here. Guard our hearts ~ the things we put into ourselves. Bring captive every thought. Give authority to the Holy Spirit to exercise God’s will in our lives. No matter how we feel, act in accordance with what scripture says & lastly believe that God is acting in our lives as he has promised!

We have been made in Gods image to be an exact likeness of his son, Jesus Christ. We have been given free will which gives us the choice to choose to love & obey God. To do this we need to catch negative, ungodly thoughts before they stir up our emotions, catch negative, ungoldly emotions before our fleshly desires are stirred up, catch our desires before we are stirred to action, catch our actions before we do indeed act upon them in the flesh!

When we choose our own fleshly desires we are allowing Satan to use us to take revenge on God. This is not the action of a loving child of the father’s. If we delight ourselves in the Lord he is able to give us the desires of our hearts because they are the desires he has placed there & they will be in accordance with his will.

Most of us know something of love ~ the desire to be with the beloved, the way our thoughts return again & again to those treasured memories of times we’ve spent together, the anxious waiting for our beloved to be with us again, the way we know their thoughts without speaking, the hours we have spent peacefully in each others company without words. We know what it is to love our partners & our children, our siblings & our friends but far to many of us don’t know what it is to love God ~ to love as the Shulamite loves. And this is why this little book, Solomon’s glorious Song of Songs, is so important & why it has been so loved.

Let me paraphrase for a moment:
Jesus, your love is more delightful than wine.
The fragrance of your perfume is intoxicating;
Your name is perfume poured out.
No wonder we adore you.
Take us with you~Let us hurry.
Oh, that the king would bring us to his chambers!
Or this...

Jesus, You have captured my heart,
my brother, my groom.
You have captured my heart with one glance of your eyes.
With one jewel of your necklace.
How delightful your love is, My brother, my groom.
Your love is much better than wine
& the fragrance of your perfume than any balsam.
Your lips drip sweetness ...

And so scripture comes full circle for psalm 119 verse103 says; your word is to my taste ~ sweeter than honey to my mouth. Friends, let us keep our hearts with all diligence & bring every thought captive that the words of our mouths & the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to the Lord our God & our lives, pure & holy, be reflections of His love that resides within us.

references: Song of Solomon: a love song & a hymn ~Ray C. Stedman
The Way of Agape ~ Chuck & Nancy Missler