Friday, October 26, 2012

Closer!

I love this song: Closer by Amanda Cook, but sung by Stephanie Frizzel-Gretsinger. Here's a version from April, 2012. For a copy of the song, pick up the latest Bethel Live CD: For the Sake of the World. This is the cry of our hearts: to know His heart! To experience Him!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Worthy of It All!

Last week I shared about this awesome recent release album from IHOPKC's One Thing 2011 event. Had to share this one too! Worthy of It All by David Brymer (with I Exalt Thee).


Just adore Him! He's worthy!!

   (mp3 download)     (CD format)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Never Gonna Leave Us Dry

I'm really enjoying worshiping with the International House of Prayer Kansas City and their new release of One Thing 2011: Magnificent Obsession.

I love the promise of this song by Cory Asbury:



Worship is such a key aspect of our relationship with God, as well as our bridal relationship with Him. I'm constantly searching for new worship music to help me experience God's awesome presence. I watched some of One Thing live back around New Year's (end of December, 2011) on their live stream. A great resource! 

Enjoy Him; He enjoys you!

  (mp3 download)     (CD format)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How He Loves!

Let this song minister life and the love of God to you!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

God is not Discouraged


The bridegroom of the Song of Songs (aka the Song of Solomon) spends the first full four chapters of the book wooing the bride. He speaks tenderly to her. He adores her openly. He holds nothing back of his own heart. This is a picture of Jesus as He woos you and me to come closer to Him, to trust His love and respond to His love. To follow Him. To pray to (commune with) Him.

And by the end of chapter four, she responds. Married now, they can fully enjoy their love. God Himself rejoices as they do. 

I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice;
I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;
I have drunk my wine with my milk.
Eat, O friends!
Drink, yes, drink deeply,
O beloved ones!
(Song of Solomon 5:1 NKJV)

This ecstasy is pictured in our powerful worship times with God, our powerful prayer times with God, when the walls come down and we recommit, we repent. We exchange deep love with God, heart to heart. 

But look what happens right away…

Right away, in the very next verse, He is at a place again where He has to try to convince her to open her heart. “Open to Me.” She’s “fallen asleep” again. Slipped away from what’s really important.
Discouraging isn't it? You've probably experienced it. Great prayer night followed by the worst day in your history. But before we feel condemned about this natural pattern, let’s take a look at this:

He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.
(Isaiah 42:4 NKJV)

God does not become discouraged as we work through our indifference. He just keeps wooing us. He will not relent. We will not be left without a witness of His amazing love in our lives. He knows we’re human. Humanity was His idea. The fact that we are all growing, we’re all struggling (at times), we’re all either moving closer or slipping away is not discouraging to Him. We get discouraged. But He doesn’t. So if He isn’t discouraged about our weaknesses, we can cut ourselves some slack. Growth is a natural progression. Again, this was His idea.

But...

When you discover you are slipping (or “sleeping”), stir your soul. Get back to a place of intimate connection with God. Immerse yourself into a prayerful season. Worship Him. Get to a prayer room (even if only online where you can watch the prayer room live stream at www.ihopkc.org). Don’t settle for being “asleep.” 

Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you (see James 4:8), and remember He doesn’t grow discouraged as we grow

He’s an ever-wooing God who has set His affections on YOU. Respond. Receive. Learn to trust. Lean into that love, and open to Him.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Loving Him As Best We Can


While doing my daily reading today, I came across this passage:

One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.” (Luke 7:36-39 MSG)

Isn’t that a beautiful picture of worship? But when I read the Pharisee’s words, I realized what he was thinking. He saw the (familiar??) harlot doing a “sensuous” act. Now, I’m not talking about sexuality, but the harlot would have been very versed in that, yes? So, what she did was come to her Savior and love Him as best she could, focusing her humble attention on His feet. Somehow she understood (before that night because her visit was premeditated) that she needed forgiveness. She needed a Savior. And somehow she understood Jesus is the Savior. That even while on earth (before the cross and resurrection) He had the authority, the power, the ability, the generosity, the kindness, the mercy, the grace to forgive sins. And how she (we need) needed that. So, she brought perfume and anointed Him. Now, a person with a different “trade” would have shown their love a different way. (A sculptor, for example, might have fashioned something out of clay.) I don’t believe she touched Jesus in an appropriate way. Jesus wouldn’t have tolerated that. But she came and demonstrated her love for Him, her gratitude, in a way that meant something to her, the best way she could. She offered her heart in a personally meaningful way to her. This was her way of honoring Him.

That’s exactly what God asks of us. Each of us brings Him worship in a different way. Each of us expresses our love for and our gratitude to Him in a different way. Our hearts are to honor Him, yes? All we need to do is bring our sincerity and come love on Him. 

Here’s a fitting verse to this conversation:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
(Psalm 51:17 MSG)

He commended her in front of the judgmental Pharisee, defending her. 

 Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

Oh? Tell me.”

Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?”

Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.”

That’s right,” said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”

Then he spoke to her: “I forgive your sins.” (Luke 7:40-48)


Beautiful, isn’t it? He accepted her “form” of love, receiving her affection no matter that it was “sensual” (involving the senses). And because He saw her heart, that she recognized her need for a Savior, her need for forgiveness, He forgave her. And then, He gave her peace:

That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!”

He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:49-50)

Beautiful. So, bring Him your offering, whatever it looks like and however you wish to humbly express it. He’s gazing at your heart and will meet you exactly where you are and give you exactly what you need. 

What a Savior.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wooing Season



It’s a new season. Can you feel it? God is wooing His people close again. I’ve seen similar seasons come around before. The key is to respond, to be “wooable” and draw close to God in this grace-filled hour. There’s a great reward for those who cooperate. (Genesis 15:1)

I love this physical time of year (spring) because of all the beauty and new life coming up. I love gardening and the smell of flowers. The sight of a well-appointed garden blesses me. God created the beauty. It was His idea. Knowing that, I feel Him nearer in those moments.

There’s a saying that we worship God with our actions. Mowing the lawn can be worshiping God if we do it unto Him. I think it’s more than that. Worshiping God—truly connecting with God—is opening your heart to Him and feeling Him draw love out of you even while He refreshes you. It’s abandonment with a sole focus on Him. (not another activity, like lawn mowing, going back to my example) (Perhaps the better way to say it is that our lives are lived in service to Him, but that’s the subject of another post.) Worship is abandonment to God.

Abandoning ourselves is both the call and the response of the wooing season. He draws us. We experience the astounding pleasure of His powerful presence, and we abandon ourselves. And as we abandon ourselves (which is what He’s wanting/calling us to do), the pleasure persists, our hearts open, and the cycle continues.

Best part of this whole thing is no one’s left out. 

God’s wooing you. How will you respond?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"All Lovers of Jesus"

I love music! Lately, it's been a pleasure to share the music that's blessing me here on Net's Bridal Notes. Here's a new song from Deluge speaking to Jesus lovers. Enjoy!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday and the Bride Price

This Good Friday, I'm focused on the bride price Jesus paid, the sacrifice God offered, the amazing plan of our loving God. Jesus saw us, had mercy on us, came to us and gave His life in our place so we could know Him, love Him, see Him, and be forgiven. Hallelujah, what love!

Here's one of my favorite passages from Ephesians 1 in the The Message:

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! 
He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, 
and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. 
Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, 
had settled on us as the focus of his love, 
to be made whole and holy by his love. 
Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family 
through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) 
He wanted us to enter into the celebration 
of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, 
his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, 
we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments 
chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. 
Abundantly free! 
(from Ephesians 1 MSG)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pour Out Your Heart


 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah 
(Psalm 62:8 NKJV)

Our hearts are the garden of God. When we’re consumed with worries and stress, we’re crowding the space where God dwells. But when we pour out our hearts to Him, we free ourselves to focus on Him and have victory. He already knows what’s bothering us, but when we divulge those things to Him we unburden ourselves with the only Person who can truly help.

Why not cast your cares on Him today and really share what’s on your heart? Get really honest. That’s what intimacy is—honesty, trust, heart-to-heart sharing. And once you’ve shared, listen. Chances are, God has some things to share with you too.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Resource -- Fictional Account of the Song

As a student of the Song of Songs, I've read many books about it. But I've never read a fictional account of King Solomon's relationship with the Shulamite, until now.

Mesu Andrews' well-researched book Love's Sacred Song delves into the culture of the time while exploring the history around the Song of Solomon. I don't often recommend books on this blog. (I save that for my book review blog where you'll find my review of this book.) But this time, I couldn't help it. Understandably, it's fiction, but if you're interested in learning about what might have happened, and learning more about the culture of the day, I'd recommend checking out Mesu's book.

I'm including the links below (print and e-book, in that order) in case you want to check it out.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

He Knows Us

Isn't it amazing how God, the Creator, knows us? Wants to know us? Invites each one of us to come to Him and commune with Him? It's staggering. It's beautiful. It's His bridegroom heart. Here's a song that exemplifies that truth. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Dear

Recently bought this album and the whole disc inspires me. Very worshipful. But this song stood out. It sums up the bridal heart. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

An Eagle in the Clearing

 


The ice storm is over. And I have a new view from my office window. The view of more sky and less tree branch. The ice caked onto every outdoor surface. There that ½ to 1 inch of ice remained overnight. Weighing down branches and power lines. Some branches couldn’t hold up.

As I stared outside today at the new opening in my view at the dead trees in the distance (or dead-looking—it is winter), I asked God, “This is my new view. Why? Better view of the sunsets? More light?” I spend a lot of time in my prayer garden (the very area of this new view) in better weather. I do enjoy the sunny evenings as the sun descends on that side of the yard.

And as I waited, studying the new “hole” in the sky due to the lack of a few branches, I saw an eagle soar into view in that new opening. A bald eagle. So majestic. So capable.

We get eagles here from time to time; it’s a symbolic bird in my life. On a recent writing retreat, my dear friend and I found eagles soaring by and ran to get our cameras. On our climb back to our unit up the steep hill, I thought, I wonder if any of the eagles landed in the trees above us. (see photo) I’d never been that close (though the bird was about 40-50 feet up) to a perched eagle.

On my birthday a few years ago, God sent eagles to visit another of my friends and me. I’ve seen them during family picnics at the lake. Sometimes during very important “moments” in my life.

So, what do eagles do? They soar high above the ground. They soar. They have a view of the big picture. They’re “king” of the birds.

The Bible has lots of verses about eagles. I think I’ll do a study. I’ve quoted verses about eagles plenty of times.

One thing the eagle is doing for me today is drawing me closer to God. He sent that eagle in that moment. I’ve looked out several times since I first saw the huge bird and it hasn’t returned. It was only there during that questioning moment.

I think sometimes God clears the “clutter” so we can see Him better. Another lesson of the fallen branches.

May you see answered prayer today and know that God is working in your life! And may that evidence draw you ever nearer to the Bridegroom. 

(photos copyright Annette M. Irby 2012 and Ocieana Fleiss 2011 respectively)