Oh, How He Loves!

Song of Solomon 2:10, 13b

10) My lover spoke to me, saying: “Arise, my darling; My beautiful one, come away with me! …

13b) Arise, come away my darling; my beautiful one, come away with me!”

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I’m studying Song of Solomon this week and I’m struck by the love our Lord has for us. It’s similar to a romantic love. He calls us numerous times in a way that one would address a lover. Just look at the verses in Chapter 2.

Romantic love is described in Wikipedia** as “the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person.”

“In the context of romantic love relationships, romance usually implies an expression of one’s strong romantic love, or one’s deep and strong emotional desires to connect with another person intimately or romantically.”

So, I’m seeing in a new light that our Lord wants a relationship with us as deep and intimate as a romantic love.

He excitedly tells us to come away with him. See the exclamation point at the end of both of those verses above? It excites Him to be close to us, to be intimate with us.

He wants us to love Him this much too. Our love for Him will grow as we get to know him and we can get to know him better by intentionally drawing close to Him.

Even though I’ve often been hurt over my lifetime by people who claim to love me, I’m beginning to realize that there is One who will never betray my love and that One actually enjoys my closeness and intimacy with Him!

Draw closer to Him today by focusing on this amazing love. You can start by reading this short book of 8 chapters and meditating on His deep and intimate love for each of us as individuals.

Have an awesome day, knowing you are loved!

*Photo Credit: Unsplash: Milada Vigerova

**Quote taken from Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_(love)

Who Will Be There For You When You Are Beaten Down?

As you may or may not know, I am a Christian Life Coach and Counselor. I have met with people, who were at such low points in life that they just could not gather the strength or initiative to pray.

Have you ever been so deep in the quagmire that you just don’t have the words to pray? We can pray with groaning in our spirit and He hears our cry. We don’t have to use our voices and words. Sometimes we are so low, we just don’t have the words, but Holy Spirit does! And Holy Spirit will intercede for us!

Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (ESV)

At this point, I am reminded of that poem, Footprints. The actual author is disputed because many have claimed to author this allegorical poem. Not at all my point today, but Wikipedia says:

(This popular text describes an experience in which a person is walking on a beach with God. They leave two sets of footprints in the sand behind them. Looking back, the tracks represent various stages of their life. At various points, the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the person’s life. When questioning God, believing that the Lord must have abandoned His love during those times, God gives the explanation: “During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”)

This is not actual Scripture but it states perfectly what I think about when people, including myself, experience when at those low points. And there are plenty of Scripture that remind us that He is with us and knows our needs, even before we are able to put them to words. Matthew 6:8, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (NIV)

Are you in a place of deep despair? Take heart and be encouraged!

Photo Credit:  Milada Vigerova http://www.Unsplash.com

 

 

What Happens After The Rain – My Thoughts On Life

We’ve had a lot of rain in our part of this planet earth. Actual flooding, pouring, storming rain has been a part of our lives for over a week now. We’ve also had a few, a very few, breaks with some sun shining down. Oh, what an experience to live with wet, muddy, rain and then see the sun pop out, even if just for a few minutes.

The other morning, after a night of constant downpours, I took some pictures of the wooded area on my way to work. I am always amazed at the brilliant colors of the varied greens and browns on the trees after a soaking spring rain!

What this made me think about are the rains and storms of life we all experience. How do you get through them while they are right on top of you and smothering you with, not only rain, but some bolts of lightning thrown in? Those metaphorical bolts of lightning are really jolting to the system. In our emotional, spiritual and even physical systems, we experience the effects of those “thunderstorms”. It’s almost like, we are down with the blaahhs, and even perhaps full blown depression, and then a lightning bolt is thrown at us for good measure.

During these times, I have to really make an effort to remember that I am an overcomer. Jesus took all that rain and those thunderbolts of life, with Him to the Cross. I have to remind myself that I can do this because He gives me the strength and stamina needed. I have to look toward a better day tomorrow with hope because of Him.

That better day is usually filled with beautiful, more vibrant, more varied colors. The Hope of a better day is, of course, available for us in the next life. But we can experience that better, more fulfilling, more exciting, day NOW. After the storm passes, there is a better day ahead if we walk with Jesus and stay close to Him, even through the storms.

John 10:10 says,” A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I came to give life—life that is full and good. “(ERV)

My storms and thunderbolts have always brought me to a better place of provision and abundance. We all hate the dreary, cloudy, stormy days. There is a better day ahead and we don’t have to wait to die and go to heaven.

These past weeks of rains have reminded me to be more intentional in my spirit to look forward to the hope of greener greens, flowering dogwood trees, and various colored tulips.

Have a hopeful day today, regardless of the weather!

IMPORTANT:  If you are experiencing depression, even mild depression, for more than 2 weeks, PLEASE SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP!

If your depression or down in the dump feelings are causing problems with everyday normal activities, like differences in sleeping habits, irritability, etc. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP!

This article is NOT meant to replace a need for professional help. God’s Word says you are valuable. Take care of yourself!

Two Aspects of Easter

Tim's Blog - Just One Train Wreck After Another

[From the archives.]

Easter, part one:

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (Matthew 28:5-8.)

The first Christians: afraid, filled with joy, and running to spread the news! Want to join them?

***

Easter, part two:

In case you’re feeling pressured to show up at church in your fancy Easter clothes, here’s how we do it. Sunday Clothes 1God doesn’t care if you have on suits or shorts…

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What does praying mean?

Photo by Ben White benwhitephotography.com

What does praying mean to you? Do you recite a prayer already written by another person? Do you pray only on Sundays? Or do you make sure to say your nighttime prayers as you were taught when growing up. Or do you pray before every meal?

I think praying is more personal than any of the above. And I’m not saying any of the above is wrong. I just want to point out a more personal way.

We speak to people we love daily, hourly. Even friends and family get some sort of communication from us on a regular basis. And with social media, we can communicate as often as we desire.

I have sisters who live in other, far away, states. We can touch base by Facebook Messenger almost daily, if we desire. They are always on my mind.

Here’s where I’m going with this. If we have a relationship with our Father, why not talk to Him anytime of the day. No set time needed. No set prayer, already written, needed. Just talk to Him. Let Him know your needs, struggles, even your accomplishments, and your happy moments.

Thank Him for all you have, and are, and how He provides for you. We always thank our friends and family for even the little things they’ve done for us. I think He deserves that too and more.

When we spend time talking with Jesus, we are in a state of relationship and worship. Praise Him for Who He is. Worship is not just the music on a Sunday morning at church. Praise and worship is a state of thankfulness for Him and all He did and does for us.

If you are a believer in Jesus, and all He did for us on the Cross, then His Spirit lives in you. You also have a spirit. So both Holy Spirit and your spirit live in close proximity, 24 hours a day. You can communicate with Holy Spirit anytime of those 24 hours. Take time today to express gratitude, praise Him, and even tell Him what troubles you. And since both Holy Spirit and your spirit live together, He will definitely help you with those troubles. Be open to Him. Be in tune in your spirit with Him.

What should I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing praises with my spirit, but I will also sing praises with my mind. 1 Corinthians 14:15 (NET)

These are just some of my thoughts on what prayer means to me.  Feel free to comment what prayer means to you.

Guest Post – Gloria Boone – 4 Things I Learned About Living a Life of Contentment

Check out my article as a guest at More Than Just Coffee. And while you’re there feel free to check out my friend’s other articles.

More Than Just Coffee

Contentment is defined, in general, as a state of happiness and satisfaction. Notice the word “state”. State implies an ongoing place of happiness and satisfaction.
Does that mean that we don’t encounter troubles which can topple us from that position of contentment? Of course not! Throughout our lives, we have all been subjected to stuff that throws us off the balance beam of contentment.
My husband and I have been married for 44 years and we have raised two sons. That means 44 years of troubles which the enemy used to threaten our stability as a family and also threatened me as a woman and mother. Of course, we experienced many, many good times. I’m talking relationally, financially, spiritually, and in whatever way, the enemy can use to try to topple our state of contentment.
Now when stuff happens I try to bring to memory how my God took care of…

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3 Tips For Nourishing Your Relationship With Jesus

Colossians 2:10 says, “And it is in union with him that you have been made full — he is the head of every rule and authority.” (CEB)

Because of the work Jesus completed in full on the Cross, when our Father looks upon us, He sees no sin, no blemishes, no imperfections in appearance, manner or personality. So if that’s what He sees, we are actually falling short (sinning) when we see ourselves otherwise. That does not give us free reign to do whatever we what whether good or bad. But it does give us the freedom to be who He created us to be.

In order to get the full meaning of this one verse, one needs to read and meditate on the previous verses. In particular look at verses 6 through 8.

 Therefore, just as you received the Messiah Yeshua as Lord, keep living your life united with him. Remain deeply rooted in him; continue being built up in him and confirmed in your trust, the way you were taught, so that you overflow in thanksgiving.” (CEB)

When we accepted and received Jesus as our Savior, His Spirit moved into us and now lives with our spirit. We can communicate with Holy Spirit any time we make that an intentional part of our day. But because we are “in union with Jesus” our communication is a constant part of our lives as well.

Just because He lives in union with us that does give us the freedom to hear from him but there are a few things we can do, without being legalistic about it, to nourish that relationship. We do some special things to nourish our human relationships.

And because life gets busy and noisy we need to be intentional about nourishing that relationship with Holy Spirit, just as we would with our human relationships, especially the ones that matter to us.

1)      Read about Him. Get to know Him. How? Spend daily time in the Word. It is a love letter from the Father. He wants you to get to know Him. When we get to really know someone, a human someone, our love for them grows. Our love and appreciation will grow as we get to know Him more deeply.

2)      Hold conversation with Him. Talk to Holy Spirit. But take time to listen as well. The how to of listening is addressed in other articles and in ongoing articles, so I won’t go into that detail here. This exercise takes intention at first but soon we will recognize His voice even in the middle of our daily noise.

3)      Just “be” with Him. Just sit quietly with Him. How often do we spend time with our human loves but we don’t say a word? Being with someone we love doesn’t take any effort except to remove all the other distractions. I’m talking about more than the first suggestion above. I’m talking about just sitting with Him. Enjoy His presence. Express thanksgiving for all Jesus has done for you. Worship Him. Start and end your day this way.

Please don’t think you have to “set” aside time to the legalistic point that you allow the enemy to play with you. That’s what the enemy likes to see. That we are so legalistic with a “schedule” that we experience guilt for having missed that time of day. Yes, in our human relationships, we set time aside for them. But we have a perfect Father and He just loves us with no agenda attached. Take time for Him but don’t fall into the trap of being legalistic about it. That’s playing into the enemy’s hands.