Friday, August 27, 2010

Nourishing and Cherishing

I’m in the midst of a prayer experiment. You can join me.

I’ve been taking Ephesians 5:29 to heart.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh,
but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church.

The Lord nourishes and cherishes His church.

The Lord nourishes and cherishes believers.

Jesus nourishes and cherishes me.

So I’ve been asking Him to reveal those times to me. And, when I have a specific problem or heartache, I ask Him to meet me in the midst of that situation with His nourishing and cherishing, too.

Then, I carry on with everyday life and watch expectantly. Sure enough, because He's faithful, God shows up.

Let me give you an example. The other day I had asked God for a fresh Scripture about His love. Then, I flipped open my Bible and discovered words that specifically spoke of God’s passionate love for His people. (see Psalm 33 in The Message)

Wanna try this, too?

Here’s a journal starter: How has God shown you His nourishing and cherishing activities in your life lately? If you haven’t seen this side of His involvement in your life, perhaps it’s time to ask Him to reveal His Bridegroom’s heart once again.

I’m excited to watch Him work.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

God's Pleasure in the Garden

There is a lot of symbolism in the Song of Songs in regards to the believer’s heart as the garden of God.

A locked garden is My sister, My spouse;
a rock heap locked up, a fountain sealed.
(Song of Solomon 4:12)

Jesus explained it this way:

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;
and every branch that bears fruit He prunes,
that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2)

God is at work inside us to prune away the stuff that shouldn’t be there.

Today, I worked at trimming away little dead shoots on my petunias and pansy plants. And while I worked, a gust of wind stirred the fragrance of the flowers, blessing me.

Did you know, your heart pleasures God?

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation. (Psalm 149:4) (note: the word "salvation" here is Yeshua--Jesus' name!)

As He’s at work inside you, shaping you and changing you, let your worship rise up. Let trust and faith rise in your heart, minister to Him, and let the fragrance lift to the Master Gardener.

Gardens are a place of romance, and God is tending the place where that romance with Him happens. When you worship, when you interact with Him, you stir the fragrances that rise like incense. And the garden sprouts another rose.

See Net’s Notes where I share more thoughts on this.

Monday, August 9, 2010

God's Kind Words

Distractions got the best of me this morning during my daily devotions. I had snuck away to my writing office. No one else was awake. Time to meet with God. Ahhh . . . . Open the Bible, turn on the music, light a candle and . . . in walks my preschooler.

Do distractions frustrate you during your quiet times, too?

I set boundaries, telling her I was going to have my “Bible time” and tried to focus on the Scripture passage before me. But nothing clicked. I read a few chapters here and there, following my semi-plan. *grin*

Then, desperate for a real connection with God, I turned to the Song of Songs and tried to find meaningful sustenance. Something that spoke to me where I was. Something to commune with God around.

Scripture after Scripture, but I couldn’t sense His presence. Then, My eyes landed on the wonderful words of Song 1:8a, MSG ---

If you can't find me,
loveliest of all women,
it's all right...

How beautiful is that? He knew how frustrated I was with not feeling connected, with the distractions of my early-riser and my hope to experience His tangible presence this morning. And He spoke directly to me. “Don’t worry. I’m right here. And I’ll still affirm you, even if you can’t feel My presence.”

But then, later today, as I sat working at my computer, His presence poured out thick over me as I listened to worship music. So beautiful. So real. So delicious.

He understands better than we think. Hang onto that. He sees. He knows. He loves. He affirms.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Resting In His Love

My pup watches me for opportunities to jump up in my lap and rest. His favorite place to take a nap? My lap. Well, one of his favorites. (Just ask the rest of my family members, who all have laps *grin*.)

So, as I worked at my computer today and Jack rested on my lap, the lyrics of the song I had playing behind the scenes repeated a phrase:

resting in His love

Reminds me, I can rest in God’s love.

Every time I see something in my life that needs changing, I can relax and rest in God’s love. My job is to cooperate with Him. Leave the rest to Him. This keeps me from condemning myself.

Every time I mess up. (see above *grin*)

Every time I wonder what’s next. He’s got good plans. (Jeremiah 29:11)

His love helps me trust Him.

Knowing Him in His love helps me find rest. If you’re looking for rest or peace, turn to God and consider His love. Meditate on His love by finding Scriptures which speak directly to this element. Interact with Him based on His love. Let His love reassure you. And find rest.