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In Luke 10 Jesus visits Mary and Martha. You may know the story. Martha is busy with the work of entertaining. You know the drill, cleaning the corners, setting the table, preparing meal after meal, doing the dishes, making sure everyone is comfortable, offering drinks and snacks, pointing the way to the power room. (Archeology has not yet proven the existence of powder rooms in the first century BC, but you get my drift.)

Jesus is sitting in the sitting room bringing more and more light to the kingdom of God. Jesus' words enthralled Martha's sister Mary, and just sat at His feet listening.

As you may know Martha come us to Jesus, somewhat indignantly, and ask that He tell Mary to help her with the important work involved in having people in the house.

The Passion Translation gives His response this way:

Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing the most beautiful place of sitting at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her. - Luke 10:41-42 TPT

I love Jesus’ description of Mary’s place. In it we can glean how she learned to abide in Him.

1) Discovered - Mary discovered this place. She was looking for the best place, and discovered this place - the feet of Jesus.

2) Most Important - This place Mary discovered was no minor find. She found the key—the most important place. This place is the one place—the one thing David speaks on in Psalm 27:

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, - Psalm 27:4 NASB

3) Chosen - Once she knew of this place, she chose to be there. This was not easy with her sister scurrying about and pressuring her to help. Often life flits about us pressuring us to join the busy work, while Jesus sits in the sitting room or our hearts, teaching us of the kingdom of the Father. Sitting at Jesus’ feet is a choice—every time.

4) Beautiful - Her discovered and chosen place was a beautiful place. Not only is abiding in Him important, it is a place of beauty. To continue the verse above:

To behold the beauty of the LORD - Psalm 27:4

5) Undistracted - When she arrived in this place, she could sit, undistracted by life’s tight hold on here. She was able to give Him her full attention. Here’s the end of the verse:

And to meditate in His temple. - Psalm 27:4

6) Privilege - This is the life of privilege that the Lord will not take away. Do you know that a privilege it is to sit at the feet of Jesus? This is one of life’s great secrets. Many pay big bucks for the privilege of a back stage pass, or an autograph of one of the world’s greats. But the privilege of sitting at the feet of Jesus, is free, and can’t be taken from us. Yet it’s value is above all the world can offer. It is the one thing - the only thing that matters.

Find your way to your heart's sitting room today, and sit undistracted at the feet of Jesus.

benheadshot1Thanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

Many Waters - SoS header

"I want you to swear, O daughters of Jerusalem,
Do not arouse or awaken my love Until she pleases."

Song of Songs 8:4 NASB

This couplet comes up three times in the Song. The first two times there is a third line added:

"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field,
That you do not arouse or awaken my love Until she pleases."

Song of Songs 2:7 and 3:5

Each time this injunction follows the embrace of the Lord. He’s not speaking to her, but to the daughters of Jerusalem.

As she grows in her love and trust of Him, after each new demonstration of her faithfulness to Him, He lavishes affection on her, and then sets her aside for a time. Not out of circulation, but safely set in a place of intimacy.

It’s important that we never lose this place of intimacy.

She entered into life with her Lord way back at the beginning, when she knew nothing of Him except His embrace. He let her stay there, in the chamber for a while, before He set her to work in his kingdom. Then she was full of fear and alarm at the idea of leaving this holy place.

Those who saw her, who interacted with her, found her to be fully consumed with this Lover. She was useless to the kingdom, but desperately in love with the King.

Now that she has taken her place in ministry, taken her rightful position as full partner in ministry with the King, it would be easy for her to get caught up in ministry—to eat, drink, and sleep ministry, and forget her first love.

The Lord brought this very failing to the attention of the Church of Ephesus. In Revelation 2:1-3 we see that the Lord is pleased by her actions:

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. Revelation 2:1-3

But there is a problem:

But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. - Revelation 2:4

They needed to go back to the chamber—back to that intimate place that led them into all those wonderful acts.

We go through seasons in our Christian walk, but our seasons should be punctuated by His presence. It’s more important that the work itself.

If we allow ourselves to drift away from the secret place, our works slide from being the outworking of our intimacy, to something religious and dead. As Paul warns Timothy, one of the dangers of the last times would be people who looked like they had it together but had no power:

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. ... holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. - 2 Timothy 3:1, 5 NASB

The ‘power’ comes through connection to the vine—intimacy with the Lord.

Is this a time when you need to reconnect with the the power source—the vine? Don’t let Christian activity lull you to sleep in your relationship with the Lord. Now that our maiden is mature, it’s more important than ever for her to stay connected to the Lord, and bask in His embrace.

benheadshot1Thanks for stopping in.

Shine

Ben

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Many Waters - SoS header

So ladies – you just spent the last hour and a half getting ready to head out on a date with your honey, and when he feasts his eyes on you the first words out of his mouth are:

Your hair reminds me of a herd of goats.

But that’s where the Shepherd King goes with our maiden, and not for the first time. As I mentioned last week, these same declarations of her beauty (yes – goat hair is beautiful – you’ll see) are a repeat from Chapter 4, then in anticipation, now in realization.

Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Gilead.

Song of Songs 6:5 NASB

Hair

What is the Lord saying of His bride?

Long flowing hair speaks of dedication or devotion. We gather this from both Old and New Testament. In the Old we read of the Nazarites who would not cut their hair during their times of dedication to the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul, talking about coverings, says that the woman’s long hair indicates that she has a covering in her husband. So it is with our Shulamite. Her long flowing hair points to the covering she has in her Groom.

But Ben, what about the goats.

Well, I wonder if you knew that the Bible says they are:

There are three things which are stately in their march,
Even four which are stately when they walk:
The lion which is mighty among beasts
And does not retreat before any,
The strutting rooster, the male goat also,
And a king when his army is with him.

Proverbs 30:29-31 NASB

Now, I personally might have gone with the lion, but in any case this devotion we see in her hair is not just beautiful, but it is orderly and disciplined – stately!

Why Gilead? Gilead was a place of plenty, and great place to raise your herds. (See Numbers 32) Beauty was not seen, as it often is depicted today, in the gaunt and emaciated. Rather beauty was well fed at the table or her Lord and under His banner of love.

Teeth

Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.

Song of Songs 6:6 NASB

My dear, what big teeth you have… The better to ... feed on your word.

Much is said about her mouth in the Song, mouth, lips, tongue and teeth. Some of it relates to her words, her praise, her testimony. But when He speaks of her teeth, it is her ability to eat what is put before her.

If we are honest, we would say, not everything the Lord speaks strikes us as honey to our souls at first bite.

Remember how one minute Peter was on top of the world with Jesus patting him on the back and saying He was getting ready to build His church on the very idea Peter just opened up. The next thing Peter knew he was rebuking the Lord, and Jesus was calling him satan (or at least it must have felt that way to him.)

Perhaps he was a maiden with out twin teeth – top one was right in place, but it had no twin to meet it on the bottom.

She has demonstrated great maturity by coming through the valley time with praise on her lips, and desire for only Him. She said “yes Lord” to the good stuff and the hard stuff.

Temples

Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.

Song of Songs 6:7 NASB

Finally, He remarks about her temples or cheeks. She is flushed in His presence. She is passionate for Him. Her desire for Him reddens her countenance.

Jesus loves passion in His bride. In fact he would rather have you completely cold to Him than for you declare yourself for Him and then live half-heartedly toward Him.

Welcome to Spewsville, population … (oh my)

'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. - Revelation 3:15-16 NASB

And notice one final thing today.

Behind your veil.

Her beauty, her devotion, her hunger, her passion, flow from the secret place, behind the veil.

Oh Saints. (oh Ben) will you give yourself to Him in the secret place today? Tomorrow? All your (my) tomorrows?

BenThanks for stopping by today.

You’re a blessing.

Ben

 

 

 

 

 

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photo credit: robynejay via photopin cc
photo credit: robynejay via photopin cc

 

My beloved went down to his garden,
To the beds of the spice,
To delight himself in the gardens,
and to gather lilies.

Song of Songs 6:2 YLT

When the Lord comes into His gardens (yes, He has many) we see Him engaged in two activities.

We have seen in the Song of Songs that the Lord’s gardens are the inner lives of those who have given themselves to Him. A few weeks ago we observed that the maiden in the Song gave her garden to Him to do with as He pleased.

Tending

The way I see this, is that the Lord comes to us (so glad He makes house calls) and ministers to us in our (well His) garden, our secret place. He comes to His garden to tend to it. That ministry looks a lot like a shepherd’s care. He feeds us, cleans us, keeps us near the good drinking water. In danger, He is present with His rod and staff to protect. In our moments of folly (oh yes we do) He is present with His rod and staff to correct and collect us.

Gathering

If you remember the Shepherd King called His maiden the lily of the valley and again a lily among thorns. And so He gather’s the lilies. Part of His care for us is to join us to the gathering of lilies – a.k.a. the church – His body. I challenge you with this idea. Next time you walk into your church gathering (whether you meet in a living room or in a cathedral) take a look around and see if you can see the beauty of a field of lilies.

Here in the North East US it is lily season. I love to walk past a garden with a pack of Tiger Lilies reaching up toward the sun. Or flocks of that shorter variety that look like a parade of trumpeters announcing the coming of their king.

Jesus, our Great Shepherd delights to shepherd us and gather us. His heart is toward His gardens, their cultivation and care. Do you share His heart for His people?

Lord, help me to appreciate the others You have gathered. Will You share Your heart for them with me. Can You help me see them as You do?

ben rin and nora

Thanks for stopping by today.

Don’t forget to shine.

Ben