“Like the Beautiful Curtains of Solomon.”- Week 5, Song of Songs 1:5

Have you ever felt an emptiness inside yourself? A filth that is so plan to you, but apparently hidden from everyone else?  Perhaps you felt this way before you were saved by Jesus Christ?  Perhaps you still feel it, despite Christ redemptive power in your life?
Picking up where we left off….

This week the girl describes how she feels unworthy of her shepherds love and how her words show us how unworthy we are of God’s love.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Song of songs 1: 5

          “I am so black; but [you are] lovely and pleasant [the ladies assured her].  Oh daughters of Jerusalem, [I am as dark] as the tents of the Bedouin tribe Kedar, like the beautiful curtains of Solomon.” AMP

Face reality, our sin is wretched; completely and utterly horrible.  Sin completely corrupts us, making us intolerable to Gods holiness and perfection.  Because God is so holy and perfect that He cannot ignore a single speck of sin.  If He did, He would cease to be God; He would cease to be perfect.

“I am so black;…”

  Picture this:  Your child has just come in from a long day of playing outside.  Despite the fact that you have told them a dozen times not to play in the mud, the child still went ahead and played until he was covered completely in that nasty, black mud.  This is the picture that the girl is drawing when she uses the word black.  But this blackness reached deeper than just externally.  

Sin stains us. 

  As Paul says we were children of darkness, but when Jesus died and we excepted that payment in our hearts, His redemptive blood washed us and made us new again; virgins once more in Gods sight.

“But you are lovely and pleasant.”

  Do you remember back in the Intro the characters called the Chorus?  This is the first appearance of these unique individuals.  Notice they speak a contradicting statement to the girls statement?

 There are two ways of looking at this part:

           1.  We are all black, but Satan has convinced the world that we are just fine. 

           
 When people come to realize that they are black and sin-filled the world instantly comes back with the reply “no you’re not.”  The world refuse’s to admit that it has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  As Jesus says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18NIV

  The NIV puts it in a very cool way: “Dark am I, yet lovely”.  The girl listens to the lies the world says and it creates a torn feeling inside her heart.  She feels black and yet she appears beautiful.

But there is a second way of thinking about this part:

         2.  We were black, but redeemed by Christ, therefore the chorus is reminding her that she has been redeemed and has been made beautiful in Christ.

  We are sinful, that is a fact, and because of that we have a tendency to dwell on that fact even after we have been redeemed by Christ. Remembering our sinfulness too much prevents us from enjoying the new life that Christ has given us.  Yes, we were once sin-filled, wretched and drenched in the muck of our sins, but we have been cleansed of being sin-filled.  We are still sinful, meaning we still act sinfully, but the ultimate stains of that sin-filledness has been removed completely by Jesus!

“Oh daughters of Jerusalem, [I am as dark] as the tents of the Bedouin tribe Kedar…”

  I always think that this is such a great illustration of our sin-filled state.  A Bedouin tribe are a group of people who wander around in the desert.  They have no lands, no permanent buildings, nothing to call their own except for the things on their backs.    

They have nothing! 

  What does that remind you of?…us maybe?  When we were sin-filled, we had nothing.  As Ecclesiastes says, “Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities… all is vanity”– Ecc 1:2.  Or as Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”– Rom 6:23NIV  We wandered around like the Israelite’s did in the desert, dwelling in our own wretchedness.

  Through this illustration, the girl is referring to the way she was before the shepherd washed her clean.

   Notice that she specifically mentions the tents in which they dwell?  She is comparing herself to inanimate objects; the actual tents in which they dwell.  Because, by referring to the tents and not just the people, it shows clearly that sin had penetrated us, even to the very place where we lived everyday of our lives.

  Sin is not a once and a while mistake, but has been burned into the core of everything we do.  It is something we lived in and continually went back to, time and time again.

“Like the beautiful curtains of Solomon.”   

  Look at the contrasting illustrations she is laying out. Moving from a nomad’s tent to a kings palace. We are all, sin-filled no matter how rich or how poor.  No matter how good we look on the outside or how richly we adorn ourselves, if we don’t have Jesus we are black and wretched.
 

  Think about what curtains really are.  They are beautiful, usually big, hung around windows, beds, or in front of doors.  They are used to hide things so people don’t see in.

  Now think of what I just said, only imagine that the object being hid by the curtain is sin.  It makes sense doesn’t it?

  By referring to the curtains, she is referring to more than just sin, but how we often want to hide our sin.  That the very act of us hiding our sin is black and wretched, making what we use to hide it from view equally horrible.

So lets face it, our sin is black!

  I know that this topic has probably been a little uncomfortable to think about.  Thanks for making it to the end!  Sadly, we are sinful and we need to experience the depth of our wretchedness before we can understand the depth of Gods love.

Sin lies in everything we do and with out Jesus we are lost.

 

Remember: 

God is the one who has to reach to us first because of our sinfulness.

  He has to reach for us before we can start reaching to him, simply because imperfection cannot try to reach towards perfection.  Once one is imperfect, it is impossible for imperfect to become perfect without complete redemption.  Only perfection can transform us from imperfection to perfection once more.  That’s why Jesus had to be perfect, in order for us to be redeemed from our imperfection.

 We were sin-filled and are sinful… The girl is no different than what we were before.

 Why have I written sin-filled instead of sinful in places?  I have nothing against the word sinful, its just that we have rubbed away some of it’s meaning.  When we were sinful, we were sin-filled; every inch of our beings was covered in sin making us worthless.  But when Jesus chose to save us and love us, He cleansed us and made us God-filled.  We still have sinful behaviors or tendencies at times, but we are not sin-filled anymore, but God-filled.

  Sin is something we try to avoid talking about because it is uncomfortable.  However, as much as it is uncomfortable, it is important!  I say again, without understanding the depth of our wretchedness, we cannot understand the depth of Christs love.

  But we also should not dwell on our sinfulness so much that it removes the joy of Christ’s salvation (Ps 51:12).  Don’t fall into the trap of self pity, but live in the abundant life that Christ has given us through His redemption and love today!

How about you? Do you remember when you felt just as black as the girl feels?  Do you remember how you felt before you received Christ?  Take a few minutes to recall who you truly are without Christ.

But, don’t dwell in it!  Once you have remembered your sin-filledness, take some time to remember the joy of Christs redeeming love.  You are no longer died in sin, but alive in Christ.

Then go out and live that way.  Show the world that we all are sinful and in  need of Christ’s redeeming blood that washes us whiter than snow!

 

Also, be sure to write below any questions or comments.  I would love to hear from you and hear how this post is helping you in your walk with Jesus.

Thanks for reading and God bless!

I’ve been lying to… myself?

Is it possible for someone lie to themselves and get away with it?  I know it is because…

I’ve been lying to myself.

Within the last few days, Jesus has been opening my eyes slowly to the reality that I am not living my life to the fullest.

Jesus once said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b

I know it is possible to feel like you are living an abundant life, when in reality you are living a lie …. the lie that you don’t care and that everything is fine.

We human beings are creatures of habit.  We get into a groove that we can’t get out of, not because we can’t, but because we simply get comfortable.  It is as if we are living in a room that has holes and blotches of pain, but instead of stripping the walls and creating a clean slate, we just cover it with more paint.  Instead of filling in the holes, we just hang a picture or place curtains over them.

We get comfortable in a lie that this place is perfect when, in reality, nothing has been fixed… just ignored.


Picture from pixabay.com, words added.

For many years I have been a caregiver for my Mom.  At one time, I was content with this; knowing that I was helping them and they were helping me.  But when I became really sick two years ago, God started pushing me out of my comfort zone.  I started thinking about my life and how fast it seemed to be rushing by me.

I thought back to memories I hadn’t thought of in years.  Remembering thoughts that I had ignored for too long and I started thinking, “If I ever get well, what would I do with that life?”

God taught me a lot during this time and now, two years later, those lessons are still pushing me farther.  I realized that I was not happy being where I was, that I had slipped into the comfortable state of not caring and had been lying to myself about what I was truly feeling.

While I was sick, I just wanted to be back to normal, but now that I was getting back to normal I began to see that my normal had changed forever.  My life would never be the same again… and I was actually happy with that.

Little did I know at the time that God had pulled off the pictures, had given me a paint stripper, and had pointed to the walls of my heart with the words, “Come on.  Let’s see how beautiful this place can be!”

This is a painful place to be in.  Purposefully facing memories and wounds that have festered for too long is hard!  But every time I decide not to ignore these painful areas and choose to face them, I begin to see the true beauty within that God desires to expose.

I think of a TV show I enjoy called, To The Manor Born.  It is about this rich, well born, woman who has to sell her manor and move to a little dinky house just outside the manor grounds.  She moves there because she eventually intends to buy back the manor from the new owner, but until then she has to live in a house that is small, low class and has cheap architecture.

While she is living in this small house, she and her butler discover that beneath a small, horribly cheap hearth, lies a huge, beautiful, ancient hearth.  All along they had had great beauty, but they never knew it because it was covered up by something else… a cheap imitation.

That is a good picture of us.  We are all houses that have hidden treasures.  We just can’t see that fact because we have covered up the wounds in our hearts with cheap imitations.  Saying we’re happy with something that is OK, instead of digging deeper to find the wow underneath.

With God’s help, the walls of my heart and my life are slowly becoming better and better.  I am excited to see what God will do in this time of renovation in my life.  I know it will be painful, but everyday I see new beauty being revealed.
I refuse to lie to myself anymore, I hope you will too.  Because God never calls us to just survive and pretend we are fine…  He calls us to live and live abundantly!

 How about you?  Are you lying to yourself?  Do you struggle with digging in the muck of your heart to find beauty within?  Jesus wants you to live abundantly right now.  To no longer settle for imitation joy and start experiencing His real joy.  Start renovating your heart now by asking yourself some questions…

 

Are you happy where you are and who you are?

 

Is it in line with what God lays out in His word?

 

How can you improve your life?- Whether that is being bolder in groups.  Being more committed to your job.  Or just getting up a little earlier and spending some quality time with Jesus.

 

Give each step of this journey to God and pray that He continue to make you into a new creation more and more each day!

“Draw me! We will run after you!” 4th week: Song of songs 1:4

Picking up where we left off, we have seen how the girl treasures and delights in her shepherd, but today we see how she longs to be drawn closer to her shepherd.

That the love he has given her makes her feel special.

Draw me! We will run after you! The king brings me into his apartments! We be glad and rejoice in you! We will recall [when we were favored with] your love, more fragrant then wine.  The upright [are not offended by you choice, but sincerely] love you. AMP
  What a wonderful, passionate request.  How many people have said these words to God and meant it?  Do you desire God to draw you to Himself?  Or do you, as many act, only want Him near in hard times when you “really” need Him?
  Don’t misunderstand me, we should ask for and require His help in hard times, but when the girl says this, she gives no indication that she is in a hard situation.  She recognizes that we all desperately need God in the good, the bad, and in everything we do.
         

“Draw me!”… an action.


   The girl doesn’t want the love that she feels towards her shepherd to stand still.  In fact, quite the opposite.  She wants Him to draw her to Himself more.
  Notice in this verse there is cause and effect.  The “Draw me” part is the cause, and the “We will run after you!” is the effect. 

It always starts with God first- “Draw me! We will run after you!”

  

  We always react to what God does.  When God draws us,  we respond by desiring or pursuing Him more.  I find this increasingly true the more years I live.
The more I learn of God = the more I long to learn more.
The more I experience Him = the more I want to experience.
The more I pursue Him = the more I find Him worthy of my desire.
The more I long to be drawn to Him = the more I desire Him.
 Because God is desirable and He longs for you to be favored by Him

“The king brings me into His apartments.” AMP or “The king hath brought me into his inner chambers” YLT

 

  Let us picture for a moment a rooms in a rich castle; perhaps something similar to one out of the Arabian Nights or King Arthur.   You are a poor girl in the local village that happens to be looked upon with favor by the king.  He spots you in a crowd and he finds you attractive and desirable.  Because of this, he orders his men to take you into his castle, straight to one of his most private rooms: the room we just mentioned.
Upon looking around and being in the midst of all the splendor of such a room, what would you think of yourself and your situation?  I am sure you would at first feel a wonder at what you beheld; looking at the beauty of the rooms before you.  Then you would probably feel humbled, because you were unworthy of such honor.  When the king finally enters, you would probably say, “my lord, I am a simple peasant woman.  I do not deserve your kindness nor such honor.”
  But instead of agreeing, the king states that he is pleased with you and because of that, you deserve such honor.  His kindness begins to grow a love in your heart for the king because you owe him so much for giving you love and honor that you don’t deserve.

That is how Jesus is to us.

 

  We are not worthy to be brought into Gods wings of protection, yet He has revealed himself to us and favored the least favorable.  The only worth we have is that we have been looked upon with love by our King.
  Because of all He has done for us, love should naturally grow in our hearts, along with a desire to praise His holy name-“We will be glad and rejoice in you”

“We will recall [when we were favored with] your love, more fragrant then wine.”  

 

  Notice the tumbling movement: Revelation = reaction = humility = responding in a praise filled, thankful, meditative heart.   
  God wants us never to forget what He has done and we should never forget what we truly are and have been given through Jesus’ blood.  By recalling what God has done, our desire and love towards Him increases.  When we recall what He has done, then we glorify Him in all that we recall-“We will extol your love more than wine.” NISB  
         

“The upright [are not offended by your choice, but sincerely] love you.”  

 

  Do you remember what Jesus said? “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”
 
  Through the wonderful things God has done in our lives, the upright
see (those who are saved by Jesus Christ) that the Father is wise in His choice, because He is glorified through revealing Himself to us: the lowest of the low.  They see this as a choice of God: to draw us, bring us into His inner apartments, and to shower love upon us.  This choice is not only good for us, but glorifies God immensely.
  Throughout Gods word His overarching desire is to glorify Himself because God is worthy of being glorified.  That is one of the many reasons why sin separates us from God.  When we sinned, we dishonored God and basically said, “We want to glorified as much as You are.”
   Adam and Eve ate the fruit because they wanted to be like God; they wanted the glory that only God deserves.
  Idols also takes away the glory and honor that belongs to God and gives it to something that we, in reality, created with our own hands or hearts.  Idols do the exact opposite of what this verse talks about.  They draw us away from God, they create a false sense of happiness, and they encourage pride instead of humility.  Don’t let idols get in the way of you being drawn closer to God.
  Through Jesus, we are made pure, perfect, and worthy to glorify God once more.  Jesus took the wrath of God for us and perfectly glorified God through His death.  He made it possible for us to truly say, “Draw me! We will run after you!”

May we desire Him with all of our hearts and know that we are special to Him!

How about you? Do you have any idols in your life that are keeping you away from drawing near to God?  Those idols don’t just come in wood anymore. Maybe it’s a certain behavior like pride or self reliance that is getting in the way.  Maybe it is an activity like video games or TV that is distracting you or creating the wrong attitude in your heart.


God is worthy of all the attention we can give Him… remember the kings apartments? Jesus longs to love you with all that He is.  We need to remember that we are special because He loves us. Not that He loves us because we are special.

 

Also, be sure to comment below any questions, comments, or concerns you might have.  

I would love to hear from you.

 

Be sure to check back or subscribe below to receive more Song of Songs posts, along with my other blog posts.  Thanks for reading and God Bless!

Why Dream, When Dreaming Hurts?

When you deal with as many health problems as I have, you tend to stop being a dreamer.
My heart hesitates to dream because it is afraid that those dreams will fall through the cracks any day.
Why dream, when dreaming hurts?
  When I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a ballerina.  I know most girls dream of this when they are young, but I really wanted to be one.  Dance was my life and love until I was fourteen.  Then I became sick.  My body was so weak that dance became a distant memory.  It was heart wrenching for me to watch that dream slowly slip away, leaving me scared and empty.  What was my purpose now?

I didn’t know it at the time, but God had something else planned for me to dream about.

  Over a year later I was digging through the closet in my mom and dads bedroom, (We were just going through things trying to be free of the clutter)  but while I was digging, I found something that I didn’t expect to find: a dream.

  From out of the clutter and mess, I found a small guitar.  No one, not even my mom, knew where that guitar had come from, and looking back now I think God placed it there miraculously.  When I lifted out that guitar from its case, I felt my breath catch in my throat and (strange as it may sound) I could feel that guitar calling me.  

I needed to play that guitar!

  After that, I began playing that guitar practically non stop for the next year.  By the end of that year, I went into a guitar store to buy guitar picks and came out with a brand new guitar in my hand and a smile on my face.

I was a musician now!

  As much as I had loved dancing, I began to love music even more.  I realized that I had been loving music all along and now I had been given the gift of making music.  Yes, my dreams had changed, but I began realizing that that dreaming wasn’t a waste of my time and my heart, but simply the prayer all dreamers pray.

  In the Wizard of Oz movie, Dorothy sings the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  This song express’ her dreams completely.  It is as if she is praying, casting her dream into the world, and hoping that it will come true.  Dorothy had no idea that it would take a tornado, a witch and three strange companions to get where she needed to be, which just happened to be home: the place she hated at the beginning.  But Dorothy wasn’t the same girl anymore.

Dreaming changes us as well as our lives.

  I learned a lot from dance.  Not just life skills, I learned about myself.  Because whether those dreams come true or not, they change us and help us grow.  More often than not, God uses our experiences to prepare us for something in the future.

We need to see that our dreams are prayers.

   Paul said, in 1 Thessalonians 3:10- “(and we) continue to pray especially and with most intense earnestness nigh and day that we may see you face to face and mend whatever may be imperfect and lacking in your faith.”

  This verse is talking about a dream, but because we have the word pray in it, we don’t it as a dream.

  Paul dreams about coming back to the Thessalonians and building them up in Christ.  This desire or dream is something Paul is passionate about, otherwise he wouldn’t pray it night and day.  We also can see from Paul’s life that sometimes Paul’s desire or dream didn’t come true because God had bigger plans.

  Our goals and dreams are ideas of what we desire to happen, just as our prayers are.  Dorothy didn’t know how her dream would come true and neither do we.

  Next time you are dreaming, or the next time you are praying, lift those dreams up to God.  Jesus isn’t the crusher of your dreams, Jesus is the creator of those dreams.  That desire is real and He wants to hear about your dreams and be your partner in this thing called life.  He is on your team!

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.”-Psalm 37:4.


  Our dreams aren’t just about a destination.  Our dreams are a journey.  Maybe we have to go through a life ‘Tornado’ before we can get to where we need to be.  But be sure of this:

Jesus will be there every step of the way; molding us and shaping us and our dreams!
 
If your anything like me, maybe you need a little help in just how do I bring my dreams to God through my prayers.  Here’s a little exercise:
  Write down all your dreams or goals on a piece of paper, leaving a bit of room between each.

  Then pray. If your someone who needs a physical action.  Hold the piece of paper and as you pray, let the paper fall from your hands to your lap, so you are no longer physically clinging to them.  

  Ask God to help you accomplish what dreams or goals He wants you to accomplish.

Also, ask Him to change your heart and help you to let go of the dreams that may be holding too tightly.

  Finally ask Him for wisdom or insight in what steps you need to take in order to accomplish each dream.  When He gives you any thoughts or ideas (and I know He will), write them down in the empty spots we left on the sheets.

 

  If you are unsure whether you can trust God with your dreams and your heart, keep this poem in mind.

Can your trust in the One who loves you?
Can you hope in the One who cares?
Trusting in the One beside you,
Knowing He is always there
Your heart knows the answer
It’s as clear as a rainbow’s beams
You would trust Him to the end
With all your hopes and dreams

Waiting For Spring

Photo from pixabay.com

Waiting For Spring:
Silence fills my ears as I stare out at the open field.
Will warmth ever come?
Will winter ever yield?
I know under the snow there is movement in the ground:
Seeds beginning to stir,
Green pushing upwards.
Life is there beneath the snow covered mound.

Each day the sun feels stronger and warmer than before.
It’s a long and hard passage
To springs glimmering shore
We cannot spur on the change nor can the movement cease
Spring will come
Warmth will be felt
No matter how long it may delay or tease

The faithfulness of God; we see it in this time.
The leaves shall come;
The flowers on the vine.
Over and over it goes; onward the pattern strides
Showing beauty in waiting.
Showing beauty in death.
Re-birthing beauty in new, fresh, bursting life!

 How about you? Have you been waiting for God to re-birth new life in your life?  What truth about God’s faithfulness do you need to remember today? 

3rd Week of Song Of Songs Study: Song of Songs 1:3


Week 3: Song of songs 1:3

          And she continues ‘The odor of your ointments is fragrant; your name is like perfume poured out.  Therefore do the maidens love you.AMP

 

           This week, we pick up where we left off.  The girl has expressed her love towards her beloved.  She has shown us that he is dear and precious to her, far more than anything else she treasures in this world.  And, in this next passage, she begins to show us why she loves him.

“The odor of your ointments is fragrant,” AMP  or “Your oils have a pleasing fragrance,” NISB

 

            The girl has seen something in her beloved that many people never see.  She not only desires him or loves him, but delights in him.  
God wants us to desire Him and treasure Him above everything in our life.

          How many people can say that they find God delightful and sweet?  Could you say to God, truthfully, “Your oils have a pleasing fragrance”?   At the moment, you probably can’t because you are thinking, “What in the world does that mean?”.
           This passage has a lot of strange imagery, but if we move slowly and carefully, I think by the end you will be able to say, with your whole heart, “Therefore do the maidens love you!”
            The oil that is spoken of here refers to oil that cleanses or purifies people.  It isn’t some greasy, cooking oil, but a fragrant, perfume, oil that is set aside for certain purifying ceremonies.  Such as the oil that Samuel uses to anoint David. 

This is oil that does something and just like purifying oil, Jesus is always growing this relationship: renewing and cleansing us, from when we first except Christ, to the day we die.
         
“Your name is like perfume poured out,” AMP.  

   

            More oil or perfume, but in this case it is referring directly to an action that this oil is a part of; it is physically being poured out.

            Matthew 26:7-13 talks of a similar action associated with oil or perfume: “a woman came up to Him (Jesus) with an alabaster flask and very precious perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.” AMP (words in parenthesis added)
            This perfume was specifically used to make dead bodies ready for burial.  The woman did this to prepare Jesus for His sacrificial death.  Also, remember the wise men at Jesus’ birth who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Both the woman’s perfume and the myrrh from the wise men would be described as oil or perfume that was used in burial, and all these verses speak of the same type of perfume.
           
 She delights in the fact that God is holy and that His mercy has been poured out upon her: “Perfume emptied out- thy name.” YLT
            Notice the separation: “Perfume emptied out- thy name.” YLT.  Jesus was poured out for us through His death and only through Him pouring out His life on us (the perfume of mercy and grace), can we be cleansed and made alive through Him.  The bible mentions that the sacrifice’s on the alter gave off a pleasing fragrance to God.  How much more pleasing is the fragrance from Jesus’ sacrifice?

“Therefore…”  A word to halt at! “Therefore do the maidens love you.”  
            Because of all of this, God is praised.  When we see all these thing in God and truly experience Him: love naturally responds in our hearts.
           But in this there is a subtle point, because the maidens in this part can also be described as virgins:
             The word “Virgin” is used to describe something pure, unmarred, and unused.  These people that love Him in this verse are His people: the people who have experienced His cleansing blood and have become as pure as a virgin; free from sins stains.
          As you think about this, think back to what I said in the intro about how He wants us to love reaching for Him out of our need.  
           We will naturally reach for what we desire and we will naturally desire what we need, but it is never without love… 
because we desire what we love.
           Therefore, our desire to reach for God is not only caused by our need for Him, but because we love Him.  We love Him because He is delightful and satisfying, which is why we need Him… it is a circle.
            God delights in doing this, because He is glorified through us when we reach towards Him, in this loving way.
            As John Piper says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him”
 John Piper ‘Desiring God’.
          When we delight in God and in what He has done, His name is glorified through this heartfelt action.

Have you taken the time to truly delight in Jesus and what He has done? Do you struggle with enjoying the way He refines us and shapes us with His purifying oil?  Please feel free to comment below any thoughts or questions.  I really want to hear from you and I respond to every comment.

 Like what you just read? Check back every Saturday, or enter your email at the bottom of the page, so we can continue to walk through Song of Songs together.

Didn’t see the earlier posts?  There are two spots where I mentioned them in this post. Just click on those spots and you’ll be able to catch up. 

Thanks for reading and God bless!

 

Music Soothes the Savage Beast.

  I admit that there are times when I get in a bad mood and I just can’t get out of it.  My outlook on life seems dark and gloomy, and I snap at everyone I come across.
I don’t want to be like this nor do I desire to stay like this, but that attitude just sticks to me.

What do we do about soothing the savage beast?

  Everyone has their own way of dealing with the beast.  I deal with it by playing music.

  This week I have decided to play at least one instrument a day.  This may seem like a no brainer and an easy task, especially for a musician, but it is so easy to become wrapped up in the “work” side of being a musician and start forgetting the “enjoy” side.  Let me explain:

  Music gives me pleasure:

  Each time I play an instrument I feel instant enjoyment.  It is the kind of enjoyment that makes me feel like all is right in the world.  I really need this when I feel the savage beast coming on, because the best way to get rid of a bad mood is to not just simply cheer up, but to do something that gives you a sense of meaning.

  Music also helps me think: 

  Even though I am playing a piece of music, my mind wanders to the thoughts of my day.  To worries or truths that I didn’t comprehend before.  I think better while I play music, not because I can’t think elsewhere, but because music helps calm my mind down enough to allow me to think clearer.

  It soothes the savage beast inside and lulls it to sleep.

  Your way of soothing this “beast” probably is very different.  Maybe you feel better if you go off and read a book.  Maybe you soothe it by cleaning the house or taking a walk.  Maybe a shower is something that relaxes you and clears your head.

  I will make a note here that there are some wrong and some unhealthy ways of soothing the savage beast.  Those things are not truly helping, but hurting you, physically and emotionally.  However there are many things which we can do, that are good and healthy, that soothes this beast such as running or sitting out on the front stoop.  Watching a TV program or listening to some music on the radio. All very good and healthy ways to soothe the beast.

  Your way is unique, because you are unique, but one truth remains the same: 
  What ever it is, don’t neglect to spend time doing it.

  We all need time to think and to calm ourselves because this world is a very hectic place.  If we don’t take the time, we will never have the time.  I have chosen to play an instrument each day.  I made that choice and it is a choice that I have to consciously make everyday.  This time is not only good for my mood, but good for my spirit.

I feel more connected with Jesus after I have spent some time playing music.

  I feel His guidance more clearly and I am able to trust Him more with a situation after I have spent time playing an instrument.  Because when we are overwhelmed by anger and frustration that we can’t let go of, we can’t possibly be in a position to draw close to Him.

  Remember those cartoons where the mans becomes so angry that his face turns red and steam starts pouring out of his ears.  Can you possibly expect that man to be open to listening to anyone?  When the savage beast is rampant, we start turning into that sort of a person.  Sometimes it is better to just walk away and spend some time doing something that soothes that beast to sleep.

  So let me ask you:

  What is your way of soothing the savage beast?
  We all experience this, because we are all sinful and human. So how do you do it in your own unique way?

  And with that question in mind ask yourself this:
 Have I been making some time to do this?

  We all deal with this monster.  We all get grouchy and sometimes feel like throwing up our hands to the whole mess! But God gave each of us a particular way through which He soothes our savage beast so we can be more open to His leading.  This is a blessing and a wonderful gift from God!

Don’t neglect taking some time to sooth the savage beast inside of you.

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2nd Week of Song of Songs Study: Enter The Characters and Song of Songs chapter 1:2

Enter the Characters:

Want to read the intro to Song of Songs? Click here!

             
The main characters: The girl (or the Shulammite), and the Shepherd (or her Beloved). 

  The girl represents us, each of us who are saved by Jesus Christ.  When we except Christ’s free gift of forgiveness, we enter into a relationship with Him.  It isn’t a spiritual life insurance policy nor is it something we just do once and then forget about it until we die.  Right now you are in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  You are no longer just you, you are joined to Christ the good Shepherd (psalm 121).
  If you haven’t already guessed that the shepherd in this story is God, than let me make it clear… The shepherd is Jesus and the basic plot line of this whole book revolves around the relationship with the girl (us) and her Beloved (Jesus).

Now, I know what you are thinking, “This book has a plot line?”

  The best way to look at this book is to see it as a stage production.  Imagine yourself sitting in an auditorium facing an enormous stage.  The curtain hasn’t risen yet so you’re looking over the little paper book that they gave you at the door.  The first two on the list of characters are the Shepherd and the Shulammite. But why do they describe the girl as the Shulammite?   Let me quickly explain the beauty in using this strange description:

 The word Shulammite is a Hebrew word meaning, “Woman of Jerusalem.”  Jerusalem was the city which has always been known as Gods city, or Zion.  In the new testament it speaks of heaven as being “The New Jerusalem’, and because heaven is now our true home for those who are children of God, then we can safely say that we are all Shulammites, because we are the bride of Christ. Isn’t that cool!

But the girl and the Shepherd aren’t the only ones on the bill:

The other characters: 
King Solomon, 
The ladies (the chorus) or companions,
The watchmen, 
And the princes of the land.
  It is rather odd that the author himself (Solomon) puts himself into a role.  The role is a shadowy one, which throws many people off track when reading through Song of Songs. Sometimes he sounds as if he is the shepherd, other times he seems to be watching the whole affair, but despite his mysteriousness, he is an invaluable character, and we shall soon see why. 

  The ladies also are interesting because, as in an opera, they take on the role of the chorus.  They often represent people that may or may not be children of God, yet appear to notice that the relationship between the girl and the shepherd is unusual.

  As for the rest? They will show exactly who they are when they enter the scene, but it is good to have them in our minds. 

 Now that the characters are introduced, we may open the curtain, turn on the lights, and let them play out their beautiful tale.

“Your love is better than wine” Song of songs 1:2

          Let him kiss me with the kisses of his lips [she cries. Then, realizing that Solomon had arrived and had heard her speech, she turns to him and adds] For your love is better than wine.” AMP
  What a statement!  How many people can say that about their love?  That they love them more than (something you value highly).  If you have ever felt this way before, you probably found that it begins to fade in time.  The honeymoon always comes to an end in an earthly relationship, but with God it never does. 
God always loves us with a passionate and wonderful love!
 However, this doesn’t mean that God expects us to constantly feel this same, intense, love for Him all the time.  He knows we have short attention spans and finite minds.  He knows we change our feelings rapidly and that we are incapable of feeling the same intense love that Gods feels all the time.  But He does want something that is on the same level, which we are capable of feeling. 
 

 For better is thy love than wine…” YLT

 

            This other translation puts this part in a firmer tone; making it a solid statement, like they are stating a fact.  You wouldn’t put it this way unless you genuinely treasured this person.  This is what God wants.   

He wants us to treasure Him and to desire Him more than everything that we love and desire on this earth.

  He also wants us to know fully that he is desirable and to see that this is a fact, not just an idea or even a feeling. Why do we need to know that this is a fact?  Because it is dangerous to base your faith and love on God by feelings alone.

  I’m not saying that experiencing God through our feelings is wrong.  I have felt God many times this way, but we should always balance it with a solid belief.  We need to know, as well as feel, that God is desirable and that he is the only one who will satisfy us.  The only way to do that is to experience Him in our lives.   

Remember: this is something that God starts.

 Let him kiss me… with the kisses of hismouth.”  (Notice the underline that I’ve added…)

 

            We cannot desire something that we have never known and we will never know God unless we experience Him.   

God is perfectly desirable and that is a fact

  But through our fallen minds we don’t always see that.  We think He is a damp cloth or a ritual that we have to drag our feet through, but on the contrary, He is not only desirable, but worthy to be desired.   

  Everything, after a while, will lose it’s exciting appeal (even people), but God never will, because His love and perfection is solid.  It never changes. 

 But we need to LET God start this:  Let him… kiss me with the kisses of his lips.” 

 

  We cannot start this desire on our own.  In fact we can hinder this by trying to start it by ourselves.  But what can we do?  We can allow God to take control. Ask Him to awaken a love and a desire for Him in our hearts.  And we can spend more time with Him by meditating on His word and praying.


Opening the door is different than taking control of it ourselves.

When God starts this love in us, it overflows:  your love is better than wine.”   


  The first part of this verse is said as if to the air.  It is bursting from the girls soul, but it is overheard by Solomon, for she turns to him and adds, “For your love is better than wine!”
   
  When we desire God and treasure Him above everything, we begin to long for others to know of the love that grows in our hearts!  Because when we experience Him, we can’t keep it in… we just can’t!

I will have to stop here.

Check in next Saturday as we continue the journey through this beautiful book.  I pray you too will open the door to having a deeper relationship with our Beloved Shepherd.

In the next part, the girl continues to explain her love and goes into more detail about the person whom she loves.  You don’t want to miss it!  Thanks for reading! God bless!

 

Can you think of a time when your love for Jesus was more valuable than anything else?  A time when you felt God’s love so much that you couldn’t help telling the world?

Please comment below.  I would love to hear about how God has touched your heart.

Also, I would love to answer any questions or concerns you may have.  I respond to every comment.

Thanks for reading and God bless!