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You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.

Song of Songs 4:9 NKJV

This changes everything.

I have trouble wrapping my mind and heart around this.

My Jesus looks at me, and sees my slightest move toward Him, a glance of my eye, a turn of my neck to face Him, and His heart beats faster.

Check out some of these translations:

You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride.~ NLT
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride ~ NIV
You have captivated my heart, ~ ESV
You have made my heart beat faster, ~ NASB
Thou hast taken hold of my heart ~ JUB
My bride, my sister, you have charmed me. ~ NOG
My sister, my bride, you have thrilled my heart; ~ NCV [i]

WOW [I know – that is some really deep theological insight right there, isn’t it?]

When taken in the context of our "Christ and the believer" paradigm, this completely rocks my world.

I grew up for the most part in the evangelical Christianity, and for much of my Christian life, I never quite felt like I could embrace my own forgiveness.

Part of that is a strong and valid understanding of how heinous sin actually is, and how horrible a price was required to buy this forgiveness, the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. This understanding of my own depravity made it nearly impossible to ever get up off my knees before the cross asking for forgiveness, and move on with the Christian life.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in repentance, but I also believe there must be an embracing of our forgiveness and a stepping into a faith life.

And until you understand that your attentions make the heart of Jesus beat faster, that when you gaze on Him in adoration, it captivates Him, you may spend all your time with Him recounting your sin, and reliving it before Him.

We accuse ourselves before Him of being unworthy of His attentions, even though He has paid the dearest price imaginable to make us worthy.

If you are in relationship with Jesus, and have given your heart to Him, He has taken your filthy, stinky, cloths and thrown them in the fire, and taken Christ’s own robe of righteousness and tailored it to your size and dressed you in it.

That’s right – He had it tailored to your size – it is not a borrowed robe, it is a gift. He does not rip it off your back every time you have a rebellious or filthy thought. He does not ask you to leave His chambers every time you disgrace the name He has given you, by your actions.

What is true, is that every time you turn toward Him, His heart beats faster. Your attentions take His heart captive. [Tweet This]

As the reality of this verse has begun to take hold with some of today’s worship leaders, there is a move in worship music toward more and more intimacy and passion. I have heard many old school theologians bashing this movement. I see that things can be taken too far, but as a whole, it makes me happy to see a generation embracing the love of their Lord. Frankly it sounds like some of the emotion David wrote about.

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. - Psalms 27:4

When You said, "Seek My face,"
my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek." - Psalms 27:8

Lord, it is your face I seek today. I long to dwell in your presence while it is called today. As I walk through my life on Earth, I want to walk with you. I long to know your presence and see your goodness in the land of the living. And I look forward to the day, that great day, when I will bow down before you. For in Your presence is fullness of joy and at Your right hand are pleasures forever more.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you again soon.


[i] English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.; Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB) 2000, 2001, 2010 by LIFE SENTENCE Publishing; New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation; New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.; New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.; Names of God Bible (NOG) The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.; New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

As the 3rd installment in my look at “Thy will be done” (Matt 6:10) I wanted to run one more idea past you. Many time I hear Christians talk as though the fact that you are in a circumstance means that it is God’s will for your life.

This is actually a form of fatalism that can actually disable your ability to get out of your current situation. How so you ask?

Well, think about this for a minute. If you think you are in your current place because God has for-ordained it, you are much less likely to fight for a way out.

We have to stop getting our theology from Doris Day! [Tweet This]
[Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) – more accurately Ray Evans who wrote the lyrics to this song Doris Day was famous for singing in the late 50’s.]

Christianity is not a system of fatalism, where God orchestrates every detail, and everything that ever happens, happens for a reason, and is intended for your long-term benefit. That is not what Romans 8:28 says, nor does 1 Thessalonians say be thankful for everything. Let’s look at what these verses actually say:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

The promise above has to do with God’s ability to take every thing that life throws at you and mold those crazy ingredients into an amazing package. (like an amazing cosmic episode of “Chopped”)

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)

Here again, the exhortation is not to be thankful for everything, but in everything.

I heard a preacher say once (I don’t know the name of the preacher, but what he said helped me a lot understanding God’s foreknowledge) that God knows the outcome of every possible choice you could ever make. This is why nothing ever takes Him by surprise, and yet you still have choice, and still have the ability to get outside of God’s will.

It is clear in scripture that not everything that happens is the will of God. Adam and Eve sinned – not God’s will – in fact it was exactly the opposite of God’s will. God had a plan in place, and solved the sin problem brilliantly. In fact, the outcome of the New Covenant is a better life for us than what Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden. [Tweet This]

Let that sink in for a minute. Do you realize that God’s intention for a born again, blood bought child of God is actually better than that of Adam and Eve. God is no longer meeting us in the cool of the day, He is living inside! This new covenant ROCKS!!!!!

I am starting to ramble – Back to the point.

Don’t live and pray like the crappy circumstances you are in are God’s plan for your life. Here are 3 steps to a better life for you.

  1. Get up close to God through His word, Prayer and Worship
  2. Let Him set fresh desires in your heart
  3. Start doing everything in your power to coöperate with what God shows you.

That’s it. Don’t just live with the circumstance you are in. Cooperate with God and connect with His will for your life. You may not find your circumstances change, but it sure will be better with God engaged.

Thanks for reading today.



Today (Sunday, July 15, 2012) I preached on 1 Sam 17. Here was what I intended to say. [chuckle] Some time early this week, the audio will be available. [Here's a link to the audio version] It went really well, and since I had this all prepared, and some folks like to read; I figured I would put it out here.
If you are not a reader, I suggest you wait for the audio later this week.
Note – the blue text below is the actual text of the NIV copied from
We are going to look at possibly the best-known Bible story in the world today. The Story of David and Goliath is used as a metaphor everywhere, in sports, in business, in politics.  Everyone knows this story. I don’t want to just tell you the story today though, I would love to actually read most of it to you. For most people it is a 30 second sound bite story. Little guy kills big guy, but today I want to get down to some of the how and why he was able to do it.
The superhero thing comes from the fact that I was looking for a word that we would all understand that meant Killer of Champions. And this worked nicely since we probably all know what a superhero does – he solves BIG problems.
The first 4 verses of the text set the scene – in short the Philistines were on one mountain, the Israelites on anther, and there was a valley in between.
A champion named Goliath, [Boooo] who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.
That’s 9’6” – add boots and a helmet and you have the height of this cross, (a 10 ft cross) and his shoulders – probably about like this cross bar as well.
 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b];
His armor weighed about as much as David, fully clothed and soaking wet.
 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c] 
His spear head weighs (guys) about as much as 2 sledge hammers (ladies) or a medium sized turkey! (I know that was a bit sexist – sorry folks)
His shield bearer went ahead of him.
Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul?
Everybody say “Servants of Saul” (that’s important write that down)
Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel!
Everybody say “The Army’s of Israel” (that’s important write that down)
 Give me a man and let us fight each other. ” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
Everybody say “dismayed and terrified”
12 Now David [Cheer!] was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah.
Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14 David [Cheer!]  was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David [Cheer!] went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16 For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.
Forty days! Can anybody think of any other 40 periods in the Bible?
Noah’s Rain
Death of Jacob
Moses spent 40 days fasting waiting on the Lord for the law – twice!
Spies spent 40 days checking the wilderness, and Israel had to spend 40 years wandering – one for each of those days.
Elijah traveled 40 days and nights on one meal to get to Horeb, to hear from the Lord.
Jesus Fasted 40 days and nights
40 days is always a time of testing
17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah[d] of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance[e] from them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”
20 Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a servant!
This is the starting point with God. No man can have a relationship with the Lord until first he has bowed his knee and become the servant of God.
The apostles had this identity. There is a word – Doulos in the Greek, and many of the writers of the New Testament called themselves by this name.
Ok –back to the story
23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath,stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”
26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine
Everybody say Uncircumcised Philistine – we will be back to this in a minute.
Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.
Sometimes when you think you need a Superhero what you really need is a Shepherd
A shepherd is the most despised of men. They are thought to be uneducated, unsophisticated outcasts. So it is today. Pastors and full time ministers of every sort are mocked at every turn by our society.
However, when you face a lion or a bear, or a giant you need a shepherd on your side.
You are not intended to walk though this life alone. God has put you in a body in your area, and has put people in your life. We have a good shepherd here, Chet, who cares for this flock well. I stand with a group of men, who love the Lord deeply, and I have often seen them weep over your souls, and your needs. 
When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 
The original indicates this means he was coming up – One thing about our enemy is that left unchecked, he will continue to take ground
42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals! ”
I want to take a few minutes here and talk to you about The Power of Words
Paul says in Eph 6:16 - In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
I want you to understand that he best weapons satan has are his words. I am not talking about some fuzzy spiritual warfare theory here, I am talking about the real world. How did satan nutralize the entire Israeli army in our story. Some big guy stood up and started distorting the truth. Let’s go back to those important things we wrote down before.
Servants of Saul
The Army’s of Israel
Goliath puts a spin on the truth that distorts it just enough to cause terror, or total discouragement.
But David knows how to talk as well. When confronted with a lie, or half-truth David recites the actual truth.  And in his words we will find the next characteristic of a superhero.
Remember what he said above
Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
In this one phrase we learn David’s main superpower –he calls Goliath an uncircumcised philistine. What’s the point you ask?
Circumcision is a sign of covenant. David knows that he has a covenant with the Lord God – the Ruler of the Angel Armies, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And this giant does not have any such ally.
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a Son
David knows he is a son. He has a covenant with God, and he knows this from experience as a shepherd. He walked in his son-ship every day.
Let’s get back to the story – pay attention to the way David talks to this giant.
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
In my mind – that is the best part of the story right there. David is not intimidated by the words of the enemy. He goes on the attack – and set’s the proper groundwork for this battle.
It is not between a giant and a little boy, it is between a giant and the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Eternal God of the Universe. And suddenly the Giant doesn’t look so big. [Tweet This]
I love that David who is standing there with a shepherds crook, a sling and a few small stones has just told the giant he was going to cut off his head.
David – get real – you don’t have anything sharp in your possession – You can’t even reach his head –could you please be a little more realistic?
I love this – let read on.
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 
Do you see this – David is running toward his enemy!
49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. [Big Cheer]
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a Savior
When David cuts off the giant’s head, he demonstrates his total mastery of this battle. This day David is a savior to Israel.
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath[f] and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.
54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.
There it is – no big surprise today, David killed Goliath. But how does it help today.
How do you know a giant when you see one?
Well – know for a fact that there are giants in the land. They may not have the name Goliath, but perhaps you have seen giants around. You know how you can recognize a giant. When you hear it talk you get afraid.
Maybe you have run into a giant – Unemployment, Recession, Cancer, Fibro Mialga,
They use words like Hopeless, Incurable, bankruptcy, foreclosure.
We here these words, and we loose hope. We sit on the hillside and sharpen our swords, polish our shields and shake in our boots.
You say – Ben, you don’t understand. This is not a storybook, this is real life. How do I deal with this HUGE stuff in real life?
Let me tell you something. Aa long as you treat the Bible – even the story of David and Goliath like a story book, rather than a testimony of God showing up on the behalf of his own people, you will be stuck on the hill side shaking in your boots.
We must run to the battle – we must take the promises of God to His New Testament Children and Run to the battle.
Big brave words from the pulpit, but I could not be more serious. The enemy wants to shake us to our core, and rob us of any impact we might have in the world, and he uses his words to shut us down.
We must rise up and fight this battle.
I want you to see how each of these 4 characteristics is in Jesus life, and then I want you to hear a call for you to walk in this same anointing.
Jesus came as a servant (Phil 2:5) He is the Good/Great Shepherd, He is the very Son of very God, and clearly He came to save us from our sin.
You need to:
Be a servant!(it take your eyes off the fear for your own life.)
Be a shepherd(get in a relationship with someone you can help and you will see God show up for you in the small ways)
Realize you are a son(don’t see your self as an outcast, but as a son or daughter of the King)

Understand that you have Savior DNA– ok – you are not The Savior but you are hooked up to The Savior and His name is JESUS.

Thanks for reading today. Keep your eyes open for the audio copy - it's better!



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