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Shalommite – SoS Saturday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
Come back, come back, that we may gaze at you!

Song of Songs 6:13

For the first time in the Song we are given this hint about the brides origins. Well, perhaps. She is called Shulammite, which under normal circumstances would mean woman or man of a place called Shulam.

Some commentators think Solomon is speaking of the Shunammite they gave to King David as an old man to keep him warm.

But the name Shulammite – comes from the same root as the Hebrew word Shalom. Yes, shalom is peace, but this peace is not the same peace that you and I know and love tolerate.

I grew up in an era of peace – it was called the Cold War.

After the peace of the Cold War, there was the peace of détente.[1]

This is not shalom.

Shalom means peace, but it also carries the idea of wholeness. Here are just some of its meanings:

  1. to complete, finish
  2. to make safe
  3. to make whole or good, restore, make compensation
  4. to make good, pay
  5. to requite, recompense, reward

My favorite definition I heard from Pastor Charles Stock of Life Center Ministries in Harrisburg, PA. He says shalom means ‘Nothing missing, nothing broken.’

She is no Shulammite – child of peace – at the outset, but now her origins have changed.

Now that she is the bride of Christ, she has a new heritage. No longer the child of Chaos, no longer a resident of sin, not longer one who has eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now she has a new past, a new place of birth – a place of rebirth. Her home is peace – it is with the Prince of Peace [Sar Shalom.] Her identity is changed, right down to her genealogy and her origins.

That’s what I love about Christ. When you connect with Christ, when you enter into covenant with Him, your dark and ugly past is not glossed over, or covered with a table-cloth. He does not hide your past where it can be dragged up before you again. He obliterates it. [Tweet This]

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

What’s your name? Has the Lord given you a new identity — a new past? Do you consider your past gone, or does the accuser use that past to taunt you?

Ben NelsonIt’s so easy to give our future up to our past, but that is not God’s plan for your life.

Thanks for stopping by today

Go in peace

Ben

[1] The easing of hostility or strained relations, especially between countries.

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Do Not Go

Sunday, I preached a sermon on the Great Commission (which should be available on line soonish) and I took time to explain that the emphasis of this commission – this command – was not the GO but rather the MAKE DISCIPLES. I explained how the GO was more of an AS YOU GO – taking away all excuses for any of us who might like to opt out of GOing.

Having spent a bunch of years involved in leadership in Christian circles, I notice an interesting phenomenon in the church culture. Once we start GOing, it’s really hard to stop going, or change direction.

We get in our hearts this idea that it’s better to be going than to do nothing, so all motion is good motion.

If someone in the body has a vision for something – we tell them to run with it.

Not so much with Jesus.

It struck me when I looked at the time He sent the disciples out in Matthew 10 to preach and heal, the very first words of His commissioning were DO NOT GO. (Well – in the Original language it’s more like “into the way of the gentiles DO NOT GO“) – check it out:

These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” – Matthew 10:5-6 NASB

Reminds me of this moment in Paul’s life:

They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; – Acts 16:6 NASB

Again – for a reason known to the Holy Lord, and not shared with us – Paul was forbidden to preach in Asia. WOW.

Oh how we need to be plugged in to the voice of God for today. [Tweet This]

Sure we can point back that the Great Commission and say Jesus said GO so all going is good. But Paul was tuned in and heard the Lord say NO.

Rather than planning our GOING on a map based on demographics or need analysis, Perhaps we ought to plan our GOING on the voice of the Lord to the hearts of men and women who have dedicated themselves to prayer and the Word.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

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God Fulfilling Ancient Promises – aka Incarnation – part 2

Through Ezekiel God promised

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. – Ezekiel 36:25-27

Christianity is no ‘religion of the mind.’ It’s not made up of ideas and dogmas. It is God coming and living – dwelling – in flesh.

It’s not man cleaning himself up and trying to be good enough to get back into God’s good graces.

It’s not making sure your good deeds out weigh your bad deeds on some celestial scale.

It’s an act of God

It’s God who cleans you

God who breaks the hold idols have in your life

God who takes out the heart of stone

God who put in a heart of flesh

God who put’s His own Spirit in you.

8 from the mouth of 4 prophets God repeated that we would be His people and He would be our God.

And check out this one:

“My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. – Ezekiel 37:27

Jesus links all this directly to us when He tells the disciples in John 14:

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” – John 14:23

That “abode” is dwelling place – it is the noun form of the verb to dwell. This statement Jesus makes in John 14 is a direct reference to Ezekiel 37

Do you see it?

This is the crux of the Christian life. This is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. INCARNATION – Christ in you.

In this last conversation Jesus has with the disciples before He goes to the cross He told them that He, Jesus Himself, and the Father – God the Father – the almighty King of the Angel Armies, and the Holy Spirit would all be moving into you as you surrender your life to Him.

You are a dwelling place – a home – for the God who created all things.

Paul said it this way – Christ in you, the hope of Glory – Colossians 1:27

Nora and Papa BenThanks for stopping by.

Have a blessed week.

Ben

 

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Royal Chariots – SoS Saturday

Before I realized it, my desire set me
among the royal chariots of my people.

Song of Songs 6:12 NIV

We find the maiden walking along in the garden, observing the new growth – the budding vines, the pomegranate blossoms.

This one who once could not keep her own garden, frustrated by the little foxes that nipped at the young vines, today has moved on to walk with the Lord, her Shepherd King in His gardens.

As she sees the fresh buds of spiritual life her soul exults.

It’s all so fresh in her heart:

How He found her
How He tended her,
How He washed her from the filth of her old life
How He fed the soil she was in
How He calmed her fears when she could not leave the chambers
How He fed her the choicest foods beneath His wonderful banner of love
How He equipped her to deal with those little foxes
How she gave Him her garden for His own

And now she is seeing new life in others. She see them budding and bearing fruit and she is transported!

Before she knows what’s happening her heart is alive with the care of those with a young and burgeoning love for the Lord.

The chariot is the highest, fastest, most comfortable form of transport of the day. This royal chariot, decked out in luxurious materials and fine finishes. This queen is carried off in her royal chariot, but not to hide from the crowds.

She is off from garden to garden, from heart to heart, encouraging growth, exhorting, correcting, loving, helping, standing beside those who are offering their gardens up to the Lord – HER Lord.

It’s a beautiful picture of what happens as we begin to minister from a place of intimacy. We have seen her crash in her early days, when she ministered out of mere head knowledge.

Until we know Him, it’s not hard to keep our hearts in check. But give Him your garden, and walk with Him among those He loves, and before you know it – your heart is a chariot running full speed ahead

What a life!

Ben NelsonBlessings

Ben

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The Incarnation

Old Historical Church With Large Bell Tower In Europe In The Evening At Sunset

The Creator of all things came to earth as a man. Lived a sinless life. Took the penalty for our sin – not just physical death on the cross – He drinks the cup of the Father’s wrath. He died, was buried, and rose from the dead. The sin He bore for us He left in the grave. He appeared to Mary, the disciples, and over 500 at one time. Then He was taken up into heaven on a cloud.

Before He ascended He did something that changed everything. Check this out:

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” – John 20:21-22

A few days earlier He had promised them:

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.“- John 14:23

And in His high priestly prayer in John 17 he prayed this prayer:

I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. – John 17:20-21

You see, when Jesus breathed on them saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” it was like the moving van of heaven pulled up in front of each of them, and Almighty God moved in. They became a dwelling place for the Most High God. For the first time since the Garden of Eden, the breach between God and man was mended.

That’s a place to shout!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by,

I’m in a shoutin’ mood today.

Ben

 

photo credit – Graphic Stock

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Hey – I know You!

There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.

Psalm 86:8 NASB

David could look at the works of the Lord God and recognize Him.

God wanted to make sure the rest of us got it too, so He put on a man suit and walked the dusty roads of Galilee for thirty-three years so we could learn to distinguish Him by His works like David did.

But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish–the very works that I do–testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father. – John 10:36-38

What works you may ask?

Well, my insurance company thinks it knows God. It won’t cover an act of God.

But then if Jesus was demonstrating the acts of God, I’m not too worried about my coverage.

If by the hand of Father I receive sight – well – I probably won’t even file a claim with the insurance company.

If the Lord steps in and calms the storm just before it tears down my barn, again, I have no paperwork to file.

What kind of works can we expect from the hand of the Lord?

When John the Baptist was sitting in that filthy jail cell He began to wonder if his cousin Jesus was really Messiah. He sent some of his friends to ask Jesus if He was really the one.

I get that – it’s easy to lose sight of what you know to be true when your circumstances are calling God a liar. [tweet this]

But Jesus, in order to assure John that all was well, sent word back.

And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. – Luke 7:22

Truly there are no other works like Your works Lord.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping in.

Walk in the light today.

Ben

 

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Garden of Nuts? ~ SoS Saturday

I went down to the garden of nuts
To see the verdure of the valley,
To see whether the vine had budded
And the pomegranates had bloomed.

Song of Songs 6:11 NKJV

OK – I confess – I laughed when I read that –

I went down to the garden of nuts.

But what is she talking about now?

These nut trees are good:

Good for food

Good for shade

Good for oil

Good for wood

Very good

Next we see when she comes to the garden what she observes is that which is blooming.

The vines are blooming.

The pomegranates are blooming.

The garden given to the Lord has become fruitful.

She took her garden and turned it over to Him, and now it is flourishing.

Not only that, she, now mature, is a partner in its tending. She is the one coming and caring for the blossoming vines and growth.

Her garden was once over run foxes and vermin, but now in His hands she is entrusted once again with the garden, and she tends it well.

This garden is His body – the brothers and sisters she touches, and she is instrumental in their growth and tending.

But she had to give it to Him to ever see it truly flourish.

When she held it, it was …meh

But when the work of our hands is left in His control, we look like geniuses – LOL! What a crazy plan. In the end, He gets the glory and we get to do what we love, and have it blossom.

I love you Jesus!

nora and papa at the table, benThanks for coming by

See you again soon.

Ben

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