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7

Many Waters - SoS header

Your eyes like the pools in Heshbon 
By the gate of Bath-rabbim;

Song of Songs 7:4

Does this sound just a little cheesy to you? It reminds me of the old line — Your eyes are like limpid pools … - what the heck is limpid anyway.

OK - had to get that out of my system. (By the way limpid means completely free from anything that darkens - completely clear.)

In reality - Heshbon was a city famous for it’s pools. Once a royal city of the Amorites, it’s name has at it’s root “reason and understanding.”

Bath-rabbim is a gate of this city - Heshbon. Bath-rabbim means daughter of a multitude.

So what do we learn of our maiden’s eyes?

Her depth is revealed in her eyes. When you look into her eyes, you find a depth of understanding. Solomon himself was the one who told us "with all your getting - get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)

The mention of the gates demonstrates more than just reason, more than understanding, but influence. City gates are populated by the elders. There they meet to reason through the problems of the day. There they decide on who should have access and who should be excluded. It is the seat of government.

These who observe our bride, see her depth, and confer upon her the honor usually reserved for men alone.

Finally - daughter of a multitude - now many claim to have mentored her. Now that she walks in maturity, and influence, there’s a lot of “I taught her everything she knows” going on. It’s not that they’re lying, or bragging, just that she carries qualities they can all identify, and many have added to her character.

The mature believer walks in understanding and learns and grows through every interaction. When she rubs shoulders with any believer, or for that matter, and person, it adds to her. And so - they see their influence in her, and it spurs them on.

Maturity doesn’t mean arrival.

Maturity does not mean there is no further to go.

Maturity does not mean there is nothing further to learn.

The writer to the Hebrews complains of the immature believer that they can only take in milk, and not meat.

The ear-mark of the mature believer is that he or she is able to eat the stronger, deeper foods and grow by them. She is able to feed on the deep lessons of grace, and grow in the riches and treasures of the word.

She has gone beyond the study for the sake of knowing and is digging into the understanding of things.

She has not arrived, she has simply learned to travel with greater expertise.

Her eyes are not puddles of facts, but deep pools of understanding.

Ben NelsonWalk in the blessings before you today.

See you again soon.

Ben

PS - I know it’s not Saturday, but someone took a blender to my calendar, and so I’m a little behind.

8

 

Colossians 1 has one of those wonderful “Paul prayers.”

Join me today in praying for someone who the Lord has put on your heart. I am using the pronoun ‘him,’ but you can obviously substitute ‘her’ or a persons name.

That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will…

I pray he would know with the same depth that he is known by You, Your will for him, not just what You wants him to do, but who You have made him to be.

…in all spiritual wisdom…

I pray he would not derive his motivation today from his natural tendencies, but he would hear the wisdom that comes from the Spirit of the Holy one that dwells in him, in whom he dwells.

…and understanding…

As he move in You today, he would see what Your hope is for him, that the eyes of his understanding would clarify Your call in him, and that he would see how his gifts and talents were to be deployed to glorify You, Jesus, today.

…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord…

His day would be full of faith actions, led by the Spirit, doing that which well re-presents You, the way You walked and Your actions re-presented the Father’s good pleasure.

…to please Him in all respects…

That every aspect of his day would draw the Lord’s pleasure. That he, like Jesus, would increase in favor with You today.

…bearing fruit in every good work…

Not only would his labor be pleasing to the Lord and edifying to him, it would be fruitful, bringing a harvest of character in his life, and a harvest of souls into eternal life (the knowing of the Father and the Son – John 17:3)

…and increasing in the knowledge of God…

Lord, increase him in knowing You. Not in the knowing of facts, but in intimacy with You. Though he may see You as through a glass darkly, let there be a deeper, clearer knowing of Your heart, Your will, Your intentions.

…strengthened with all power…

Father, let the supernatural of Your presence inside shine forth in wonders beyond his expectation.

…according to His glorious might…

Let his works reflect the size of Your works, Father, and the magnitude of Your power and not just the size of his faith.

…for the attaining of all steadfastness…

Allow the wonders You work in him to increase his faithfulness to you. Allow Your presence in his life to create a supernaturally strong link between You and him.

…and patience…

Let Your faithfulness to him create patience in his life equipping and enabling him to wait on you without murmuring and complaining as You do Your work in him day by day.

…joyously giving thanks to the Father …

Let there be joy in his day as He recognizes your hand and opens his mouth with thanksgiving to you.

…,who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

I thank you that You have qualified him, by Your blood, Your death and resurrection, to be a partaker of the divine nature, that Your presence in him qualifies him to know you and receive from you all that he needs for life and godliness.

Colossians 1:9-12

BenBlessings,

Ben

The Sower - Van Gogh

Good Soil

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word (in an honest and good heart) and understands it and accept(s) it and hold(s) it fast; who indeed bears fruit with perseverance, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (From: Matthew 13: 23, Mark 4:20, Luke 8:15 NASB – see comments below)

So what makes good soil?

Good Soil

1) It can’t be trodden underfoot and packed down like the path. We must allow God to turn the earth and break up the fallow ground. We must submit to the plowing of the Lord.

2) It can’t be full of rocks, and resistant to the sunlight, and must have the ability to take on water. How does a young Christian deal with affliction, persecution and temptation? Here is where the body comes into play.

We must be the body. We must stand together to support and comfort one another. And when I say comfort, I am not talking about patting each other on the hand and feeling sorry. I am talking about the real meaning of the word.

Com = with  Fort = Strength.

The Holy Spirit is the One who comes along side us and brings strength – but He often uses the Body to do it. We must stand together in days of loss and sorrow, in days of persecution, and in days of temptation.

3) It can’t be full of thorns. When the enemy rises up with lies that would draw us away from the faith, when riches declare to us that they will protect us and exalt themselves against what we know is the truth, we must hold fast to Jesus, the truth. We must simplify our lives and pull the distractions from our soil.

This done – how do we hear?

  • With an honest heart
  • With a good heart.
  • With understanding
  • With acceptance
  • Holding fast to it
  • With perseverance [Tweet This]

Let me be honest here. Until I combined these three tellings of this parable, I had no idea there was so much involved in hearing. No wonder Jesus counsels “He who has ears let him hear.

Hearing is an activity, and never passive. Do not think that because you have a preachers voice washing over your ears, that you have heard the voice of the Spirit. You must DO the work of hearing. [Tweet This]

First prepare your heart (I know - I said that already) Is your's an honest heart? Are you honest with your self about the state of your heart. Do you claim (even to yourself) a level of love for the Lord that does not exist in reality? Is your heart wearing a mask that even you can't detect?

Is your heart a good heart? There is none good but God, so a good heart is one where the Lord God resides.

Then you must do what you need to do to understand what you have heard. How does it apply to your life. If the only application you have found is for your spouse or kids or the neighbor who you wish would behave, YOU HAVE NOT HEARD!. He was talking to you.

Then you must accept it – perhaps this will require repentance – course correction, or perhaps a full about-face.

Then you must hold fast to what you have heard. Don’t let the Word spoken to your heart slip away. Hold fast to what the Lord has spoken to you.

Finally you must persevere. Do it every day. Work it, walk it, let it become part of you.

Now get ready for a harvest, a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And a harvest of souls, added daily to the kingdom.

I believe this is a year the Lord wants to bring forth a harvest in your life. Will you prepare the soil?

BenThanks for coming by.

He who has an ear - let him hear.

Ben

* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.

The Sower - Van Gogh

Unfruitful

And others (seed) fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up (with it) and choked them out (and it yielded no crop).

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word and (as they go on their way), the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches (and the desires for other things) choke the word, (they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life,) and it becomes unfruitful (bring no fruit to maturity). (From: Matthew 13:7,22, Mark 4:7,18, Luke 8:7,14 NASB – see comments below)

Just a bit more on this third soil type.

Friday I started with the thorns, but today I want to start with the results and work backwards.

Thorns are really tricky, because they do not stunt your growth. In drive by mode, the causal observer will look at a plant that is growing among the thorns see no issue with this healthy looking foliage.

It reminds me of the fig tree that Jesus visited the day after His big entrance into Jerusalem.

And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it, and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. (Matthew 21:19 NASB)

Jesus was not just being grumpy. I am told that on fig trees the leave grows after the fig appears to protect the fruit from the sun.

So Jesus came up to the fig tree that showed the signs of maturity, and fruitfulness expecting to receive a harvest, and found none.

The end of the fig tree is rough. In Matthew’s telling it withered ‘at once’ in Mark 11 they are walking by the next day and find it withered from the root.

What I want you to hear beloved, is that unfruitfulness is a big deal, thus these thorns, these distractions, are a big deal. [Tweet This]

I don’t want you to start a door to door search in your life and spend the next 10 hours weeping and bemoaning your unfruitfulness – that would be – well – unfruitful. There is a really simple solution to the thorn (distraction) problem.

In the words of Helen H. Lemmel, written in 1922 (1)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

BenThanks for coming by today.

See you tomorrow when we see what good soil looks like.

Ben

(1) - Lyrics for Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus can be found at http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Turn_Your_Eyes_upon_Jesus/

* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.

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