Monday, September 30, 2013

Loving the Unlovable.

My granddaughters went to school and were friends with a girl I'll call Meg. They were friends from the time they were 7 or 8 until high school. We all came to know and love her.

Meg grew up in a home filled with hate. She had one older sister who hated her and wouldn't speak to her. Her parents hated each other and slept in separate bedrooms. They didn't eat together as a family, everyone ate in their own room. Meg wanted to go live with an aunt who loved her but the parents said no.

Meg had headaches for years. Her parents said she was complaining about nothing. Finally, when she was a teenager they had her tested and it was found she had some form of epilepsy. She was put on pills and the headaches were better. She suffered for years with no help or sympathy.

When Meg went to high school she found other friends and so did my granddaughter so we all lost touch with her. I pray God will help her and she will turn to him in her life as an adult.

Why do I share this story of Meg? Because she may be the surly girl who waits on you at a restaurant. She may be the unhappy woman who doesn't smile while she works with you at the office. She may be the alcoholic next door or the girl who sleeps around trying to find love. She could be anyone.

Each day when you meet people remember Meg and what she went through. Perhaps we will all have more compassion and acceptance if we remember the people we meet may have suffered greatly in this life.

I read a book recently where the author said he couldn't understand why Jesus would come down to earth to suffer and die for us. If you have children you love then you understand why Jesus did it. You would also suffer and die for your children. How can God love an unhappy, cranky person? Because he has known them since they were a baby. He knows what they have been through. He knows and he loves - for God is love.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Calm in the Storm.

Photo by: Malene Thyssen

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  Mark 4:37,38

Charles Spurgeon writes about this event: Within the Lord there was a great calm, and that is why there was soon a great calm around Him for what is in God comes out of God. Since there was calm in Christ for Himself, there was afterwards a calm outside for others.

Jesus had perfect confidence in God that all was well. The waves might roar, the winds might rage, but He was not at all disquieted by their fury. He knew the waters were in the hollow of God's hand...He was not troubled, no, he had not even a careful thought. He was as much at ease as on a sunny day. His mind and heart were free from every kind of care.

W have not half the confidence in God that we ought to have, not even the best of us. The Lord deserves our unbounded belief, our unquestioning confidence, our undisturbed reliance. Oh, that we rendered it to Him as the Saviour did!

Spurgeon goes on to write about how some people have trouble sleeping because of their fears and doubts. They go to bed worried for their children or others they love. I have done this myself. Sometimes, instead of having perfect peace within myself that God is working and does all things well - I worry. 

Jesus said to his friends, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

I hope and pray that one day I will be like Jesus, who was not afraid of anything but trusted in God's wisdom and love.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In Him We Live.

"The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, there he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away."  Song of Solomon 2:8-13

Jesus is pictured as leaping and running to us - asking us to leave all behind and come away with him. What a beautiful image.

"My beloved is mine, and I am his; he grazes among the lilies." Song of Solomon 2:16

My beloved Jesus is mine and I am His. 

Jesus says in his prayer to his Father, "I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:23

"I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."  John 17:26

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Acts 17:28

Monday, September 23, 2013

Like An Apple Tree.

Photo by MyName (MKFF (talk))

"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me." Song of Solomon 2:3-6

I love the imagery in these verses. Among all whom we love Jesus is more beautiful than anyone or anything. Trees in our forests do not bear fruit and there in the midst of the pines is an apple tree. Its fruit is delicious - sweet to our taste like the fruits of the Spirit. His Spirit gives us refreshment and strength.

We sit in the tree's shade and shadow like we rest in the shadow of the Almighty God and this brings us happiness. "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 17:8

With his arms he lifts us up and holds us. We are his and he gives us strength. He surrounds us - He loves us.  "I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

After spending time with God on this earth, he will lead us to his banquet hall and his banner over us will say, "LOVE." Like parties on earth, where we hang a banner on the wall saying, "Welcome Home" or "Happy Birthday," God's banner over us at the feast will say, "LOVE." Amen.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mistreatment by Our Families.

"Dark am I, yet lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon.  Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother's sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I had to neglect. Song of Solomon 1:5,6

Life has been hard for this woman. Her brothers have mistreated her and she longs to be with her love. Life is hard here on earth. It takes its toll on our minds and bodies. Many times we long to be with God in heaven where all is light and glory. But no matter how poor, lowly, mistreated or damaged we are in this world, God sees us as lovely.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
She compares herself to the tents of Kedar, to the inhabitants of those tents, who were of a black or swarthy complexion; 

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
 Black—namely, "as the tents of Kedar," equivalent to blackness (Ps 120:5). She draws the image from the black goatskins with which the Scenite Arabs  cover their tents (contrasted with the splendid state tent in which the King was awaiting His bride according to Eastern custom); typifying the darkness of man's natural state. To feel this, and yet also feel one's self in Jesus Christ "comely as the curtains of Solomon," marks the believer

Pulpit Commentary
The brothers, for some reason, had been incensed against her, possibly on account of her favor in the eyes of the king, but more probably for private, family reasons. 

 I was compelled by my brothers to go into the vineyards in the heat of the sun, and the consequence was, as you see, I have not been able to preserve the delicacy of my skin; I have been careless of my personal beauty. The sun has done its work. The reference helps us to recognize the historical background of the poem, and leads naturally to the use of the pastoral language which runs through the whole. The king is a shepherd, and his bride a shepherdess. 

"Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?" Song of Solomon 1:7

Pulpit Commentary
 These words carry on the associations suggested by the previous verse. The bride is longing for the bridegroom; but she cannot think of him yet in any other light than as a companion of her simple country life - he is a shepherd, and she a shepherdess. "Take me into closer fellowship with thyself; let me not remain still only one among the many." 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oh Lord, Take Us Away With You!

Photo by יעקב

"Take me away with you--let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers. Friends We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine. See How right they are to adore you!" 
Song of Solomon 1:4

Do you ever feel impatient to be with God? I do. I think of Him and heaven and long to be there. Have you ever been engaged and longed for the wedding day to come? Have you ever been in love and hated parting from him or her? Many people have run off to get married - they didn't want to wait any longer. Nothing mattered but to be together. That's the feeling I get from this verse.

On the last page of the Bible, Jesus said to John , “Surely I am coming soon.” John replied, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"  I say along with John, "Yes, amen, come Lord Jesus."

 Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
chambers—Her prayer is answered even beyond her desires. Not only is she permitted to run after Him, but is brought into the inmost pavilion, where Eastern kings admitted none but the most intimate friends (Es 4:11; 5:2; Ps 27:5)

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
The concluding words have caused much discussion. The meaning, however, is the same whether we say, "The upright love thee," or "Thou art rightly loved." The intention is to set forth the object of love as perfect. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Fragrance of Jesus.

Photo by Laitche

"Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you." Song of Soloman 1:3

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
 It was usual for lovers to anoint themselves, their hair, garments, &c. to commend themselves to each other; and it was common to commend each other's ointments, and the grateful smell of them (q) none being like them, or so agreeable as theirs: by these ointments may be meant the grace of Christ, the fullness of it, the oil of gladness with which he is anointed above his fellows, and without measure; and which so greatly recommends him to his church and people, Psalm 45:7

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
...thy name—Christ's character and office as the "Anointed" (Isa 9:6; 61:1), as "the savor of ointments" are the graces that surround His person (Ps 45:7, 8). Ec 7:1, in its fullest sense, applies to Him. The holy anointing oil of the high priest, which it was death for anyone else to make (so Ac 4:12), implies the exclusive preciousness of Messiah's name (Ex 30:23-28, 31-38). So Mary brake the box of precious ointment over Him, appropriately (Mr 14:5), the broken box typifying His body, which, when broken, diffused all grace: compounded of various spices, &c. (Col 1:19; 2:9); of sweet odor (Eph 5:2).

Sometimes, when walking through the woods, I am overcome by the fragrance of the forest. It always brings a smile to my face and contentment to my heart. For me it has the smell of peace.

 I once used a perfume called True Love. My husband told me it smelled wonderful and many people complimented me on it. Once, when my husband was with co-workers, a woman walked by and the men all wondered what perfume she was wearing, my husband said, "It's True Love." They didn't believe him until one of them asked the girl. It made me happy my hubby liked my perfume so much.

The smell of Thanksgiving dinner, the smell of a newborn baby, the smell of a dozen roses are smells that bring joy. The anointed Christ brings joy with him - that is why people love him. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kisses From God.

(Angela Corrigan kisses her daughter goodbye before leaving for Iraq.)

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine..." Song of Solomon 1:2

Would we like to be hugged and kissed by God? I surely would! It is an act of the deepest affection that God has given to the universe.
Kissing is a common practice in the Bible. 

Jesus said to the Pharisee, "You didn't greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet." Luke 7:45

Peter said, "Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ." 1Peter 5:14

Paul said, "Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss." 1 Thessalonians 5:26

We don't do much kissing in our society. We save that for spouses and perhaps our parents and children. But it is different in the middle east.

 "Cheek kissing in the Arab world is relatively common, between friends and relatives. Cheek kissing between males is very common. However, cheek kissing between a male and female is usually considered inappropriate, unless within the same family; e.g. brother and sister, or if they are a married couple.

...the meaning is simply that of affection. The great majority of Christian commentators have regarded the words as expressive of desire towards God. 

 The comparison with wine may be taken either as denoting sweetness or exhilarating effects.

The bride is surrounded by her admiring companions and attendants. They are congratulating her on the king's love. She speaks as from the midst of the company of ladies. 

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says:
...of his mouth—marking the tenderest affection. For a king to permit his hands, or even garment, to be kissed, was counted a great honor; but that he should himself kiss another with his mouth is the greatest honor.

It is a great honor to be loved by God so much that we may be kissed by Him. As a big family in heaven, I'm sure we will be hugging and kissing all the time!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Song of Solomon.

photo by Jonathan Thorne

I remember years ago when I read the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) in the Bible, I couldn't understand why God put this story or poem in the Old Testament. I asked God why, and it seemed he said to me, "This is how I want you to love me - as a woman infatuated with her fiancee. As a woman and man, when they first fall in love feel overcome by love - that is the love we are to have with God."

This book then became beautiful to me. I was just reading some studies on Song of Songs and thought I would share them with you. This one comes from Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary.

God is love, and Christ is the embodiment of the love of God. As the other books of Scripture present severally their own aspects of divine truth, so Canticles furnishes the believer with language of holy love, wherewith his heart can commune with his Lord; and it portrays the intensity of Christ's love...

 "Shulamith" (So 6:13), the bride, is thus an appropriate name, Daughter of Peace being the feminine of Solomon, equivalent to the Prince of Peace. 

She by turns is a vinedresser, shepherdess, midnight inquirer, and prince's consort and daughter, and He a suppliant drenched with night dews, and a king in His palace, in harmony with the various relations of the Church and Christ. 

...the fervor of the love between Christ and us. The image of a bride, a bridegroom, and a marriage, to represent this spiritual union, has the sanction of Scripture throughout; 

Love to Christ is the strongest, as it is the purest, of human passions, and therefore needs the strongest language to express it: to the pure in heart the phraseology, drawn from the rich imagery of Oriental poetry, will not only appear not indelicate or exaggerated, but even below the reality.

But the allegory is a continued metaphor, in which the circumstances are palpably often purely imagery, while the thing signified is altogether real.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Sunday, September 8, 2013

King of the Universe.

The Tomb of Cyrus.
  1. "I am Cyrus, king of the universe, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters of the world"
I had to smile when I read what Cyrus called himself - "King of the Universe."

I'm sure most people in the world have never heard of him. He was king of Babylon thousands of years ago. He was a mighty warrior, but I'm glad he isn't the ruler of the universe. It's a big place and I think it would be a bit much for a human being to rule it all.

I often wonder how God does it all - listen to everyone, watch over everyone and take care of all the other worlds, stars and galaxies. I wonder how God does it, but I can't figure it out because he is God and I am human. It is actually quite exciting to think when I go to heaven I might get an insight into his mind and how it works. Who knows?

One thing we do know, God is the only King of the Universe.

For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 1Timothy 6:15

On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Rev. 19:16

Friday, September 6, 2013


“Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies.” 
― Augustine of Hippo

According to the dictionary, resentment means having bitterness, animosity, and malice. I think in this world it is easy to hold on to resentment; to never forget how someone has hurt you. But we are not allowed to do this.

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." Ephesians 4:31

"But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic."
 James 3:14,15

"See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12:15

As the verse above says, your bitterness can "defile many."  When we feel bitter, we talk about it to others. We tell them how this or that person hurt us. We turn others against that person. We bring in disharmony and disrespect.

Forgiveness is so beautiful when put next to bitterness. Forgiveness brings a smile and happiness to others and also to ourselves. Forgiveness is not always easy - but it is always magnificent. 

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” 
― C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Every Day is A Miracle.

I was reading a book by a Christian author and he said we don't have the miracles like they did in ancient times. I disagree. I think every day with God is a miracle.

Every day God looks after my family - and of course, all the people in the world. Every day God hears and answers my prayers. Every day God moves circumstances around so people will hear about him. Every day he prods each heart to do good instead of evil.

When we needed to move to Vancouver, my husband got a job there. When we needed to move to Kelowna, there were no jobs at first. Then, the company opened an office in Kelowna and he got a job there. When we were young and it looked as if we didn't have enough money for food or rent, somehow God made sure we did have it. When some in my family were on the brink of death - God saved their lives. When my grandson was suffering in deep mental pain - God took him to himself. When I had a nervous breakdown and was psychotic and the doctors said I may never come out of my delusions - God spoke to me and brought me out.

No miracles? In my mind God himself is a miracle.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Road to More.

The Road to More and the City of Enough. 
by Rick Langer

(I read this article the other day and thought it was wonderful. It says on the site you can share this so I have copied it here.)

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. (Eccl 5:10-12)

Why do so many of us travel the road to More?
It is not an easy road. It often demands early mornings, late nights and short weekends. It causes headaches and heartaches and hernias. It is a crowded road. A long road. A road that winds ever onward but never homeward.
Surely it is fair to ask a traveler, “Why?”
The reason is not hard to find. We travel the road to More hoping it leads to the city of Enough. When we get to Enough, we trust we will find rest and peace and contentment. In Enough, our hearts are always full. In Enough, our anxieties are always small. But to get to the city of Enough, we must travel the road to More.
The road is sprinkled with smaller cities that nourish our hopes. The city of “Just a Little Bit More” is not a long trip. It’s a nice enough city but it is not Enough. So we press on down the road to More, hoping to find Enough just around the corner. But around the corner is the village of “More Still”. We hadn’t expected that. Why wasn’t it on the map? Yet having travelled this far, we press onward and soon we arrive in “More and More”. And then “Even More Still”. But it is never Enough!
So how far down the road to More do you have to travel to get to the city of Enough?
That’s the rub. The road to More does not lead to the city of Enough.
You can travel the road to More for your entire life and never find Enough. It is on a completely different road—or more accurately, it is not found on a road at all. Enough is found in the heart, not around the corner. It is a carry-on bag, not a destination. If we don’t pack our Enough before we go, we will never find it on our journey. Enough is only found in what one already has. Enough is an attitude, not a circumstance.
Just check with Solomon. Ecclesiastes describes his quest to find the city of Enough. First he built buildings and then more buildings. Then he built gardens and more gardens. Then he got more workers, more flocks and more herds.
But though he found a lot, he never found Enough. So he went further down the road to More: more gold, more silver; more sex and more song. He did more toil; he got more wisdom; he achieved more success. But he never found Enough.
He did meet someone who had been to Enough. It was an ordinary worker finding contentment in his ordinary work. Perhaps a worker who was working for him. Solomon admired this as a gift to those who please God, who have made their peace with him.
 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?  For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. (Eccl 2:24-26)
Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. (Eccl 5:10-12)

In Jesus’ words, those who seek first God’s Kingdom find “all these things” added to their lives. As Paul puts it, “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Enough is found when the fullness of God is poured out in our hearts. Houses, jobs, bank accounts, and prestige line a different road. But when our heart has found its Enough in God, our houses, jobs and bank accounts are blessed with the gift of Enough as well.
Solomon becomes our model for discontent. He refused to have faith in the gift of God.  He didn’t believe God would reward those who diligently sought Him. He offered God half a heart and he ended his days a bitter sojourner struggling down the road to More.

Lord, give us the grace to choose our road more wisely...