Monday, January 25, 2010

Creation Groans

This blog is literally just my 'thoughts spilling over' - not really sure there is a point to this blog, I just wanted to share what I read today.

Today I was reading Romans - great book! - and chapter 8 is part of what I read. I really don't know how much this is going to make sense (I'm going try my best though to form thoughts that make sense), and I don't even know if what I'm thinking is necessarily theologically correct - I haven't studies the Greek or anything. But, with that said, reading chapter 8 reminded me of some of the teaching I received last year, and these are the thoughts I had today.

Romans 8: 19-22
"The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."

These verses just get me excited! I don't know what the fulfillment will look like exactly, but I know it's gonna be amazing! I know I want to be revealed as a daughter of God! The way I read these verses is, creation has been subjected to the curse through man's sin, and when we - the sons and daughters of God - are revealed, creation will be free from the curse like we are. I don't know if that means animals, trees, grass, flowers, and whatever else you can think of won't die - but I know that whatever it is that is going to happen to the WHOLE of creation, it is so huge that everything is groaning with anticipation.
So I don't know about you, but I can't wait!!! And I'm ready to be revealed to creation as a daughter of God...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Still Small Voice And A Winter Snow

For the past couple days I have been thinking of a story in the Bible and a particular verse.
1 Kings 19:11-13
"'Then He (God) said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.' And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, the he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him..."

Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God..."

Yesterday, as I was listening to Chris Tomlin's song, Winter Snow (great song!), I was reminded of the story in First Kings. So often I have this picture in my mind of God speaking through a loud booming voice, or circumstances that have a 'bang' to them, basically something big! And yet, when I listened to that song and thought of the 'still small voice' that was God, that led me to remember the verse in Psalms, which led me to reflect on how God has spoken to me over the years, and I suddenly remembered that it was usually in the still and quiet that He spoke. And why wouldn't He do it that way?

God is such a God of intimacy. He is a jealous God. I began to think of my relationships here on earth as a comparison. Imagine if you really wanted to talk to someone and their response was, "I have all these things to do, so just follow me around and talk as we go." You try it for awhile, but as your friend is running around and you try to talk, you realize that your voice is being drowned out by the noise of everything else around y'all. After awhile, you'd probably get tired of feeling like you weren't being listened to, so you'd stop talking. But, if this person stopped, took the time to sit down in a quite place with just you, you would probably start talking again.

So, why would God be different? I so often go about my life, rushing around, doing different things, asking Him to join me in my busyness and speak to me through it all. And does He? Well, sometimes, He does break through all the noise, and I hear Him speak. But, when have the sweetest times with Him been? When have I heard Him speak the most? When I quiet myself and I sit down quietly before Him. When I shut out all the other noise around me, and I just listen for Him. That is where the intimacy is.

Recently I had stopped setting aside the time to just be with God, but as He began to speak this to me, I am again trying to set that time aside each day. I was overwhelmed by His love yesterday as I considered this; as I considered the intimacy He desires with me; as I considered how He chooses the still and quiet place to speak to me because He wants to get me alone; He so desires relationship with me, that He'll speak to me in the still and quiet place - where it's just me and Him. Is this how He speaks to everyone every time? Absolutely not. God won't be put into a box and He'll speak to each person differently - but the fact that the 'still and quiet' is a repeated theme in the Bible leads me to believe He does often times choose it. God also chose to send His Son to the earth in a quiet way. There wasn't a ton of fanfare surrounding His coming to earth, there weren't loud trumpets announcing Him, there wasn't a parade announcing His was like a quiet snow.

Winter Snow
(Audrey Assad and Chris Tomlin)

Could've come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could've come like a forest fire
With the power of Heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could've swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But you came like a winter snow
You were quiet, You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Oh no, Your voice wasn't in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still, it was small, it was hidden

Oh, You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Monday, November 16, 2009

"I have come..."

Song of Songs 5:1
“I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse.”

Reading that today was just a reminder from God of a vision He gave this past week. I was just resting in His presence one day, I had music playing, and I just sat at His feet for awhile. I discovered that, whenever I just bask in His presence, I somehow envision myself in a throne room, it’s just me and Him, and I’m bringing pleasure to Him by just being with Him. But there’s one more aspect to what I see - He is sitting on a lofty throne, high above the floor that I’m on. It’s always been good times when I just sit in His presence, but it got even better this week.
This week, as I was there in His presence, looking up at Him and loving Him, something suddenly happened. He stood up! And before I knew it, He was coming down to where I was! Then, He just stood before me and we gazed into each others eyes. It was beautiful.
It was a big deal for me though. He was suddenly not this God who sits up way above me while I love Him and adore Him, but He was a God of intimacy. He was a God who comes to me where I am, let’s me love Him….but loves me right back.
So, now I’m learning to be near to Him and to let Him come to His garden. This love is incredible.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"You have ravished my heart!"

Ok, so I’m just gonna be honest about why I’m skipping chapter 3 and jumping to 4.….I just really didn’t get much out of chapter 3. Of course 3:5 is always a verse I love, “Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” But, I wasn’t able to see how that is fitting into my current study of Song of Solomon. So, if any of you are reading through Song of Solomon and you got something from chapter 3, please feel free to share! (and as always, feel free to share on any chapter!)

So, moving on to chapter 4. I LOVE this chapter! The chapter starts with the Beloved praising the Shulamite. He compares her body to many different things and you can tell, he’s in love with her. She is his delight, his joy is in her, and he is overwhelmed by her. This is how God feels about us! He knows every part of our being and says that it’s perfect. We may look in the mirror and say we aren’t desirable or loveable, but God is saying that He desires us and loves us! Again, we are in a place of having to accept His truth and accept that we really are beautiful.
The Beloved then goes on to say how much one look from the Shulamite undoes him.
Song of Songs 4:9
“You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.
How fair is your love
My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love,
And the scent of your perfumes
Than all spices!”
Oh my word! His heart is RAVISHED by ONE glance of our eyes!!!! Can we even comprehend this? I have my doubts, but we can try to at least a little bit. says this about the word’ ravished’.
“To fill with strong emotion, esp. joy. To overwhelm with emotion; enrapture.”
“To move to rapture; delight beyond measure.”
So basically, when we glance at God, we fill Him with joy, overwhelm Him with emotion, and delight Him beyond measure! Wow! We, simple human beings, are that loved by the God of the universe!
So, if with one look of our eyes, one glance, we make Him feel like that……what does He feel like when we just gaze upon Him and don’t look away???? I can’t even imagine!
The Beloved has now told her how attractive she is, he has explained how overcome by her he is, and now he goes on to describe her again.
Song of Songs 4:12
“A garden enclosed
Is my sister, my spouse,
A spring shut up,
A fountain sealed.”
He goes on to describe all sorts of wonderful fragrances that are in this garden, his spouse, but I won’t take the time to write it all out. I’m seeing two things here - and I’m sure there are other meanings that could be found here as well, but this is what God is speaking to me tonight.
At first, I thought maybe the Beloved is saying she is an enclosed garden because she belongs only to him. It was his way of saying she is devoted to him and him alone. That’s pretty cool. It’s like there’s this amazing garden that tons of people want to get into, but it is enclosed and only open for one person. It is special for that one person and only that person knows how to truly enjoy it. That’s how we should be for God. We should be totally committed and devoted to Him and Him alone. Yes, He brings along others in our life for us to love (believe me, I dream of getting married someday), but He should still remain our true love. Our romance on earth is a reflection of our romance with God. So, how devoted and how committed to God are you? I don’t think we can truly commit and devote ourselves to other people until we are devoted and committed to God.
As I read these verses again, another thought came to mind. After he finishes comparing her to a garden and describing all the fragrances in the garden, the Shulamite says,
Song of Songs 4:16
“Awake, O north wind,
And come, O south!
Blow upon my garden,
That its spices may flow out.
Let my beloved come to his garden
And eat its pleasant fruits.”
So, maybe the Shulamite had gone back to the way she used to feel. Maybe, after accepting the King’s love for her, she suddenly gave into those doubts and decided there was no way he was going to keep loving her. She went back to her ‘peasant’ mentality. She became an ‘enclosed garden, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.’ The Beloved wanted to open her eyes again to the reality that she was loved by him and that she was beautiful. So, he describes the beauty he has seen in her. She then accepts, again, that she is loved by the King, and so she beckons the wind to come and blow the fragrances to him so that he would come to her.
How many of us have listened to the lies that say we are unlovable…especially the lie that God couldn’t love us? How many of us have gone back to a ‘peasant’ mentality? God still loves you, He is still wooing you, and He is reminding you of the good in you, the things in you that bring Him pleasure and delight.
So, let's get back into the reality that we are loved by the King and we are in His chamber. Begin to worship God and gaze upon Him, let your fragrance rise to Him and enrapture Him.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"She (or he) is looking at me!"

Have you ever desired to have someone so in love with you that they just couldn’t wait to see your face or hear your voice? You were their desire. You were what they couldn’t wait for. That’s how God feels about us! He can’t wait for you to look at Him and speak to Him. He is eagerly anticipating it! It’s like when you know someone you love is going to call you, or you know you are going to see them soon. You know it’s coming, and the hours leading up to it cause you to get nervous. You may even get butterflies in your stomach. That’s how God feels.
Earlier this week I was at a Bible study with my sisters. At the end of the worship time, one of the leaders had us just pause and let God speak His love to us. My sister shared how she heard God say to her, “I get butterflies in my stomach when I look at you.”

Song of Songs 2:14
“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret places of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.”

God is longing to hear your voice and see your face. If you haven’t been looking at Him, if you haven’t been speaking to Him, He’s longing for you to look at Him and speak to Him. And when He knows it’s coming, He gets excited and eagerly anticipates it.
There’s a song by Misty Edwards that I love. Part of the song was taken from Song of Songs. The first time I really listened to the words of this song, I was amazed by the possibility that this is really how God feels about me. And now that I’ve experienced more of His love and searched it out, I know it’s true. So, here’s part of the song:
And then I hear You say
As You gaze over the balcony of Heaven
I hear You say as You peer through the lattice of time
I hear You say as You rejoice over me
“O Angels! O Angels! Look and see!
Through that dark night of faith
She is gazing at Me!
O Angles! O Angels! Look and see!
Through that cloud of unknowing
She’s gazing at Me!
And you have ravished My heart
My sister, My bride
With one glance of your eye!
You know those movies where the guy sees a girl looking at him from across the room? He’s enraptured, smiles, nudges his friend next him, and without moving his lips says to him, “dude, so-and-so is looking at me! I can't believe she's looking at me!” Well, that’s kind of like God. When you look at Him, He’s enraptured, everything stops, He smiles, His heart beats a little faster, and then He says to the angels, “Look! She’s looking at me!”
This theme comes up again, in a later chapter, and I’m sure I’ll be writing more about it. This is something that just amazes me and is beyond my comprehension.
So, as we learn to accept our place in the King’s chamber and to accept His love, now let’s live in the reality that we are His desire . He is just waiting for us to look at Him and to say something to Him. He is yearning for us to gaze upon Him. He is yearning for time spent together.

Song of Song 2:13, 14
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!…..
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"I am dark, but lovely."

*quick overview of Song of Solomon and the characters*
*taken from the NKJV Bible*
“The Song of Songs (Solomon) is a love song written by Solomon and abounding in metaphors and oriental imagery. Historically, it depicts the wooing and wedding of a shepherdess by King Solomon, and the joys and heartaches of wedded love.
The book reads like scenes in a drama with three main speakers: the bride (the Shulamite), the king (Solomon), and a chorus (daughters of Jerusalem).”

Have you ever considered what it would be like to be loved by a king? We’re just simple people. Why would a king ever love us? I think there would be some identity issues going on if that were to happen. Sure, in the beginning we’d be all excited and in love with him. But after awhile, reality would set in. “Who am I that you love me? There are princesses out there that are better than me, a simple peasant girl. One day you’ll wake up and realize I’m not worth it.” Sound familiar? I know I’ve thought that in my relationship with God before. He is a King, and He has chosen us and desires us.

So, in order to be able to receive His love, we need to come to terms with who we are and where we have ended up - simple peasants in the King’s chambers.

Song of Songs (Solomon) 1:5, 6
“I am dark, but lovely, o daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.”

This woman is dark and tanned. In those days it was the shepherdesses and the keeper of the vineyards - those working outdoors - that were dark. She obviously isn’t royalty and has lived a life that required her to work outside. A light complexion, something this girl didn’t have, was a sign of beauty in those days.

So, here we have this girl who has been chosen by the king. She’s not exceptionally beautiful by the sound of it, and yet she’s been chosen by him. She acknowledges that she shouldn’t be considered lovely, but then goes on to state that she is lovely.

She compares herself to the ‘tents of Kedar and the curtains of Solomon’. The tribe of Kedar were a people that lived in the desert. Their tents, being exposed to the sun, were dark and uncomely. And yet, she compares herself to the ‘curtains of Solomon’ as well. Imagine the curtains in a king’s palace. I’m thinking they were pretty beautiful!

I think the Shulamite is in a place of saying to the other girls in Jerusalem, “Look, I know I’m not pretty. I know I don’t deserve this. But, he loves me and has chosen me, therefore I am lovely.” It is through his love that she begins to see worth and beauty in herself. If she never accepted his love in that way, she would still be with the king, but it would be out of duty and not out of love. (this is why I blog. I haven’t understood all this before, I didn’t even understand it all before I started typing. So, since I’m learning this as I go, I hope it makes sense to whoever reads this)

Wow. Have we really allowed God’s love to change us? Have we let it sink in that, the creator of the Universe loves us? And if it has sunk in, have we accepted it? Can I look at myself and say, “I may not be royalty by birth, I’m not deserving of being chosen by Him, but because He has chosen me I am beautiful!” If we really let that be true in our lives, I guess we’re done with insecurity and worthlessness. It would no longer matter when satan came and started saying, “Have you looked at yourself lately? Do you remember what you’ve done? You are so unworthy of this and it’s all gonna end one day.” We should be looking him right back in the face and saying, “Yeah, I know who I was. But, I also know I am. He loves me, and this romance isn’t going to end unless I leave. And I’m not leaving. I know how He sees me and I know I'm secure."

So today, let’s let the truth of God’s love for us sink in. If we are with God and loving Him out of duty, let that change today through an understand and acceptance of His love. I recommend reading all of chapter 1 today and seeing the beautiful romance between these two, and let it be a reflection of our romance with God. When we get rid of 'duty' and let our love become real, this romance is going to go so much deeper and change who we are.

Song of Songs (Solomon) 1:15-16
The Beloved
“Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes.
The Shulamite
“Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant!”

(If you have any thoughts on these, or other verses in chapter 1, please share them. I would love to hear what God is speaking to others through this book as well)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Great Romancer

For the past week I have been out of work. Not working means my mind wanders to many different places. Some of the thoughts have gotten me excited about things, and some have caused me anxiety.

While the time off of work has been stressful for me, I'm also thankful for it. It is allowing me time to pick up my violin again, something I should have done a couple of months ago; it’s allowing me to get things accomplished, and to seek God. While I haven't been devoting as much time as I probably should have to God, I have been spending more time with Him this week than I have in the past couple of months.

So, here are some things I have felt God speaking through this time. I feel like God is wanting to strip me of everything, and just get me back to Him. How many songs have been written about, "You are all I need?" How many of us are actually ok with that though? I mean seriously, what if we lost everything? Typically when we lose something we begin to point our finger at God and tell Him He is being unfair. We get angry with Him and we get hurt. What happened to us singing, "All I need is You?"

I'm not saying I'm there yet. I've been upset with God lately and I've asked Him why He's making things difficult. But, maybe everything that's going on is to test out how much my worship is going to overflow into my life. Will the words I sing remain just that - words? Or will they become something real that I believe and practice in my life?

The other thing I have seen through this time is, God is the greatest romancer of all times! Yes, He's taking me through some trying times right now, but you know why He's doing it? Because He loves me and His heart is yearning for me!!! Wow!!! I think all of us yearn to find someone who will do anything to be with us, push through any obstacle to be with us. Well, that's what God does. He looks at our life and says, "Work has you too preoccupied and I miss my time with you. So, I think you need a little break from work." And He'll do that with anything in life - not just work.

Have you read Song of Songs? It's incredible!!! When I was younger I remember liking Song of Songs, but I would rarely read it because I was a little shocked by it's content. I remember thinking, "How the heck did this make it into the Bible?!" As I've grown and matured though, I've come to appreciate the beauty of it. I believe it was God who placed a love for that book in me. I think He was wooing me even at that young age. He was awakening something in me that said, "I want to be loved like this," and He was saying, "I love you like that!!"

I feel like God is calling me to a journey through Song of Songs right now. So, instead of making this long blog longer, I invite you to join me on the journey. For the next 8 days I will read a chapter a day and post thoughts on the day’s chapter. If you are interested in being wooed by the ultimate Love, the one who created you, then grab a Bible and read the story of God’s romance. And please, share your thoughts on the day’s chapter on here as well!

Song of Songs 2:10
“My beloved spoke, and said to me: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’”