“Don’t live by the judgments of man, only God can see you as you truly are.”~TB
Every single human being has insecurities, blind spots, and a slew of fallible qualities that make us terrible judges of character. For this reason, you cannot place your value in the hands of others. When we give people the authority to dictate how we see ourselves, chaos and imbalance ensues. That’s because humans are flawed and are unable to judge one another with the grace and unconditional love that can only come from our Father in Heaven. Even with the best intentions, we will fail each other, and we will fall short of each other’s expectations. So when a human condemns your character on circumstantial evidence, do your best to let it go, because holding on to the judgment of others hinders your personal and spiritual growth.
When you care about how you are viewed by others, you are essentially making your peers your god. This cripples you from being who God truly called you to be. You’re so busy worrying about offending, being uncool, or being seen as weird or different, that you don’t know who you are. Fortunately, this happens to all of us, but you don’t have to let it be a lifelong sentence. To really understand your true identity, develop your relationship with Christ. When you engage with Him regularly, He will show you who you really are— His. God’s opinion of you is infinitely more perfect and accurate than even your own parents. Because His opinion and judgment of you never waivers, you can stand firm on His promise and will for your life.
Whose authority are you submitting to?
1Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill.
2He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter.
3Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard.
4What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes?
5Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it.
6I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it.
7The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence.
8What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.
9But I have heard the LORD of Heaven’s Armies swear a solemn oath: “Many houses will stand deserted; even beautiful mansions will be empty.
10Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain.”
11What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk.
12They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties— lyre and harp, tambourine and flute— but they never think about the LORD or notice what he is doing.
13So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst.
14The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up.
15Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation.
16But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness.
17In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins.
18What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!
19They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.”
20What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
21What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.
22What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
23They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent.
24Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the law of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25That is why the LORD ’s anger burns against his people, and why he has raised his fist to crush them. The mountains tremble, and the corpses of his people litter the streets like garbage. But even then the LORD ’s anger is not satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike!
26He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing toward Jerusalem.
27They will not get tired or stumble. They will not stop for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal strap broken.
28Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves, and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind.
29They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them.
30They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.
“In God’s orchestra, learn to improve and play your part.”~TB
I love orchestral music. The way the moving parts and pieces all come together to make sounds that no instrument can make on their own is fascinating to me. Individually, instruments— just like people— can be wonderful. However, when put together in one unit, great things can be accomplished. But to achieve that, we have to follow our director, God. When God is at the front and center of our lives, He will conduct the most impressive pieces, using ordinary instruments. His sheet music is infinitely more beautiful than our own. In order to fulfill our sheet music in Christ, we must learn to study, accept, and play the part that God has given us.
In an orchestra, you have many instruments, and each section within those instruments has their roles. You have your 1st chair, 2nd chair, and so on. The 1st chairs play the leads and often most complex parts of the music. They are the 1st chair because of their ability to understand and play the difficult parts. The 2nd chair shares some of the load, and 3rd chair and on assists with harmony and the details. In God’s orchestra, you have people who play major parts, but the minor parts— just like in a musical orchestra— add the subtle nuances that make the music sound great.
We all can’t be 1st chair in God’s orchestra, but that doesn’t mean that your part is any less valid or necessary. Maybe that one note that you play is the final long tone that ends the piece. Maybe that harmony really lifts up a section where the melody isn’t all that impressive on its own. My point is, every part and every person in God’s orchestra is vital, which is why we must show up and play to the best of our ability. Sure, looking at your sheet music on its own, your part may not seem all that great or necessary, but when you work together and play your part in God’s orchestra, only then can you see how truly vital you are.
Are you ready to give up your solo and play in God’s orchestra?
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1In that day so few men will be left that seven women will fight for each man, saying, “Let us all marry you! We will provide our own food and clothing. Only let us take your name so we won’t be mocked as old maids.”
2But in that day, the branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of all who survive in Israel.
3All who remain in Zion will be a holy people— those who survive the destruction of Jerusalem and are recorded among the living.
4The Lord will wash the filth from beautiful Zion and cleanse Jerusalem of its bloodstains with the hot breath of fiery judgment.
5Then the LORD will provide shade for Mount Zion and all who assemble there. He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day and smoke and flaming fire at night, covering the glorious land.
6It will be a shelter from daytime heat and a hiding place from storms and rain.
“If your life is constantly embroiled in chaos, it’s time to evaluate your part or the equation”~TB
In life, stormy weather does occur and bad days are par for the course. However, God did not call us to lead lives of constant chaos, nor is the devil permitted to hang over our heads like a perpetual thunder cloud. If you find yourself at odd with people, the world, and life in generally, it’s time to have an honest discussion with God about the reality of the life you lead.
Whether we like to admit it or not, chaos can be fun. It provides a good story to tell, sympathy, and something to do if you’re life seems boring. The problem is, continued chaos reeks havoc on the way humans operate. Every human being seeks routine, in one way or another. As we’re all creatures of comfort to some degree, when we fall off the rails of Biblical normalcy, unresolved issues can lead us to a life of chaos and disarray. If left unchecked, the cycle of chaos may become your routine as you learn to build a life around that dysfunction.
If you find yourself enjoying the FUN in dysfunction, it’s high time you consult with the Lord about your life. Ask him to reveal the blind spots in your line of sight so you can see the chaos for what it truly is. Only when you see the brokenness that is swallowing you whole then can you change the patterns that had gotten hold of you. But first, that starts by surrendering to God so that you can begin to heal.
Are you ready to ditch the Fun in dysfunction?
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1The Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything they depend on: every bit of bread and every drop of water,
2all their heroes and soldiers, judges and prophets, fortune-tellers and elders,
3army officers and high officials, advisers, skilled sorcerers, and astrologers.
4I will make boys their leaders, and toddlers their rulers.
5People will oppress each other— man against man, neighbor against neighbor. Young people will insult their elders, and vulgar people will sneer at the honorable.
6In those days a man will say to his brother, “Since you have a coat, you be our leader! Take charge of this heap of ruins!”
7But he will reply, “No! I can’t help. I don’t have any extra food or clothes. Don’t put me in charge!”
8For Jerusalem will stumble, and Judah will fall, because they speak out against the LORD and refuse to obey him. They provoke him to his face.
9The very look on their faces gives them away. They display their sin like the people of Sodom and don’t even try to hide it. They are doomed! They have brought destruction upon themselves.
10Tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned!
11But the wicked are doomed, for they will get exactly what they deserve.
12Childish leaders oppress my people, and women rule over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you; they send you down the wrong road.
13The LORD takes his place in court and presents his case against his people.
14The LORD comes forward to pronounce judgment on the elders and rulers of his people: “You have ruined Israel, my vineyard. Your houses are filled with things stolen from the poor.
15How dare you crush my people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?” demands the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
16The LORD says, “Beautiful Zion is haughty: craning her elegant neck, flirting with her eyes, walking with dainty steps, tinkling her ankle bracelets.
17So the Lord will send scabs on her head; the LORD will make beautiful Zion bald.”
18On that day of judgment the Lord will strip away everything that makes her beautiful: ornaments, headbands, crescent necklaces,
19earrings, bracelets, and veils;
20scarves, ankle bracelets, sashes, perfumes, and charms;
22party clothes, gowns, capes, and purses;
23mirrors, fine linen garments, head ornaments, and shawls.
24Instead of smelling of sweet perfume, she will stink. She will wear a rope for a sash, and her elegant hair will fall out. She will wear rough burlap instead of rich robes. Shame will replace her beauty.
25The men of the city will be killed with the sword, and her warriors will die in battle.
26The gates of Zion will weep and mourn. The city will be like a ravaged woman, huddled on the ground.
“Find older and wiser people who can teach you a thing or two about life.”~TB
It’s wise to spend time with those who have a well developed relationship with God. While you still have to cultivate your own, a mentor can help you with perspective when you can’t get out of your own way. Great lessons and ‘ah hah’ moments can be discovered when you seek counsel from those who’ve come before you. Those who have spent some time on this Earth have seen and experienced moments that the youth have not, so when making any decision of importance, have a word with a mentor.
Perhaps the best reason for having a mentor is to get advice when your pride is writing checks it can’t cash. We all struggle with an ego from time to time and having a soundboard who is emotionally removed from your situation will give you a more nuanced understanding of what you’re going through. More to the point, you can learn from their lessons if you are willing to let go of what is causing you to stumble. So while you’re having talks with God, be sure to chat with those who’ve walked with Him before you.
Who do you consult with to keep you accountable?
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1This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2In the last days, the mountain of the LORD ’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
3People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD ’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.
4The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.
5Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD !
6For the LORD has rejected his people, the descendants of Jacob, because they have filled their land with practices from the East and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do. They have made alliances with pagans.
7Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures. Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots.
8Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands.
9So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low— do not forgive them.
10Crawl into caves in the rocks. Hide in the dust from the terror of the LORD and the glory of his majesty.
11Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the LORD will be exalted on that day of judgment.
12For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has a day of reckoning. He will punish the proud and mighty and bring down everything that is exalted.
13He will cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon and all the mighty oaks of Bashan.
14He will level all the high mountains and all the lofty hills.
15He will break down every high tower and every fortified wall.
16He will destroy all the great trading ships and every magnificent vessel.
17Human pride will be humbled, and human arrogance will be brought down. Only the LORD will be exalted on that day of judgment.
18Idols will completely disappear.
19When the LORD rises to shake the earth, his enemies will crawl into holes in the ground. They will hide in caves in the rocks from the terror of the LORD and the glory of his majesty.
20On that day of judgment they will abandon the gold and silver idols they made for themselves to worship. They will leave their gods to the rodents and bats,
21while they crawl away into caverns and hide among the jagged rocks in the cliffs. They will try to escape the terror of the LORD and the glory of his majesty as he rises to shake the earth.
22Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?
“Focus in today’s tasks as tomorrow will have their own”~TB
It is a waste of time to spend today paralyzed worrying about the unknowns of tomorrow. By not tilling the soil today, you are jeopardizing your harvest of the future. Don’t be the maker of your own futility as there are other obstacles that will surely keep you busy. Quit worrying and focus on what God has asked you to do.
To focus, hone in on God‘s word and live your life according to his principles. That way you are keeping your eyes on what is that above, avoiding the pitfalls are trying to control something you have no jurisdiction over. Trust in His perfect timing by dwelling in his perfect peace so that your focus is on the right thing.
What are you focusing on?
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1These are the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. He saw these visions during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
2Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the LORD says: “The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me.
3Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care— but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.”
4Oh, what a sinful nation they are— loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the LORD . They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.
5Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick.
6You are battered from head to foot— covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds— without any soothing ointments or bandages.
7Your country lies in ruins, and your towns are burned. Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes and destroy everything they see.
8Beautiful Jerusalem stands abandoned like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard, like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest, like a helpless city under siege.
9If the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah.
10Listen to the LORD, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.”
11“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD . “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings.
14I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways.
17Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
18“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD . “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.
19If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat.
20But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
21See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers.
22Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine.
23Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows.
24Therefore, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the Mighty One of Israel, says, “I will take revenge on my enemies and pay back my foes!
25I will raise my fist against you. I will melt you down and skim off your slag. I will remove all your impurities.
26Then I will give you good judges again and wise counselors like you used to have. Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice and the Faithful City.”
27Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
28But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the LORD will be consumed.
29You will be ashamed of your idol worship in groves of sacred oaks. You will blush because you worshiped in gardens dedicated to idols.
30You will be like a great tree with withered leaves, like a garden without water.
31The strongest among you will disappear like straw; their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire. They and their evil works will burn up together, and no one will be able to put out the fire.
“Don’t try to fight your battles on your own unless you want to be in a constant tug of war with your flesh, the world, and the devil.”~TB
It’s important to know your opposition, weaknesses, and stumbling blocks because in the battle for your mind, body, and soul, all bets are off. Your flesh won’t fight fair, neither will the world or the evil one. This isn’t to say that you should fear these things. No, but to understand what you’re dealing with gives you the reality that you need God to intervene so that you can win the war.
When you’re sick of struggling to deal with the thorn in your side, ask God to join your team. With Him on your side, your game of tug of war is no match for the opposing team. Christ is like having the best player as a teammate, as you are able to rely on His Power to make up what you lack. To experience this, you must know that the battle cannot be won on your own accord. Get on Team Jesus so that He can thwart the enemy.
Are you ready to stop playing tug of war on your own?
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Song of Solomon 8
1Oh, I wish you were my brother, who nursed at my mother’s breasts. Then I could kiss you no matter who was watching, and no one would criticize me.
2I would bring you to my childhood home, and there you would teach me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, my sweet pomegranate wine.
3Your left arm would be under my head, and your right arm would embrace me.
4Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.
5Who is this sweeping in from the desert, leaning on her lover? Young Woman I aroused you under the apple tree, where your mother gave you birth, where in great pain she delivered you.
6Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.
7Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.
8We have a little sister too young to have breasts. What will we do for our sister if someone asks to marry her?
9If she is a virgin, like a wall, we will protect her with a silver tower. But if she is promiscuous, like a swinging door, we will block her door with a cedar bar.
10I was a virgin, like a wall; now my breasts are like towers. When my lover looks at me, he is delighted with what he sees.
11Solomon has a vineyard at Baal-hamon, which he leases out to tenant farmers. Each of them pays a thousand pieces of silver for harvesting its fruit.
12But my vineyard is mine to give, and Solomon need not pay a thousand pieces of silver. But I will give two hundred pieces to those who care for its vines.
13O my darling, lingering in the gardens, your companions are fortunate to hear your voice. Let me hear it, too!
14Come away, my love! Be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.
“Do you not fear your darkest hour because to fully realize God’s grace, you must know what he is sparing you from.”~TB
If I could give any advice to people— young and old— I would tell them to reject the teachings and ideas of the world. If you believe them, your perception and understanding of God’s will always be distorted. People tell each other the dumbest things, that have nothing to do with God, His grace, or even what His will is in your life. The world will sooner tell you it’s ok to become a unicorn rather than acknowledge God’s existence. The world and its ways are upside down. This is especially true when it comes to hard times and bad events
Dark Times produce the purest fruit, because whatever leaves wasn’t necessary and whatever remains is what will see you through. Your darkest hour will reveal how much you truly need the Lord and that all things work according to His plan. Humility and submission will open your eyes to what exactly is going on around you. In hard times, look to see the lessons. Remember that those tough moments didn’t break you. No, you survived! When you are spared from these crazy moments, you then realize that God’s Will is the only way. Surviving harsh times makes you grateful for salvation and everything in between. So the next time you’re being tested or going through a struggle, let God guide you through the moment.
Are you learning from your darkest hour or is bitterness setting in?
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Song of Solomon 7
1How beautiful are your sandaled feet, O queenly maiden. Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a skilled craftsman.
2Your navel is perfectly formed like a goblet filled with mixed wine. Between your thighs lies a mound of wheat bordered with lilies.
3Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle.
4Your neck is as beautiful as an ivory tower. Your eyes are like the sparkling pools in Heshbon by the gate of Bath-rabbim. Your nose is as fine as the tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus.
5Your head is as majestic as Mount Carmel, and the sheen of your hair radiates royalty. The king is held captive by its tresses.
6Oh, how beautiful you are! How pleasing, my love, how full of delights!
7You are slender like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters of fruit.
8I said, “I will climb the palm tree and take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like grape clusters, and the fragrance of your breath like apples.
9May your kisses be as exciting as the best wine— Young Woman Yes, wine that goes down smoothly for my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth.
10I am my lover’s, and he claims me as his own.
11Come, my love, let us go out to the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers.
12Let us get up early and go to the vineyards to see if the grapevines have budded, if the blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates have bloomed. There I will give you my love.
13There the mandrakes give off their fragrance, and the finest fruits are at our door, new delights as well as old, which I have saved for you, my lover.
“Stay close to God so that you do not get unplugged from His wisdom.”~TB
If you’re not careful, life has a way of getting you off track in your relationship with Christ. Whether it’s just life circumstances, poor decisions, or the opposition rocking your boat, taking your eyes off of the Truth is a recipe for disaster. When we stop looking to God for the answers, we begin to make up answers that generally leave us worse off than before. Friends, don’t lean on your human made solutions to the challenges in your life. When we struggle to find God in the midst of our situations, it’s a sign that we’re not going to the source material— the Bible— to know the Truth.
Recognize that there are patterns and cycles in life, and no matter what, our faith and reliance in God is the only key to success! The devil may poke and prod, making you feel uneasy and alone, but when you’re plugged into God, you know the difference. This is why reading the Bible daily is so important. It’s not just a task that you check off to get a pat on the head from God. No, it possesses the tools and weapons to prepare and protect you from the world and the opposition. Don’t fall for the smoke and mirrors of the evil one. Rest on the Truth of the Word to stay plugged in.
Are you plugged into Christ or plugged into chaos and uncertainty?
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Song of Solomon
1Where has your lover gone, O woman of rare beauty? Which way did he turn so we can help you find him?
2My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in the gardens and gather the lilies.
3I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine. He browses among the lilies.
4You are beautiful, my darling, like the lovely city of Tirzah. Yes, as beautiful as Jerusalem, as majestic as an army with billowing banners.
5Turn your eyes away, for they overpower me. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead.
6Your teeth are as white as sheep that are freshly washed. Your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin.
7Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil.
8Even among sixty queens and eighty concubines and countless young women,
9I would still choose my dove, my perfect one— the favorite of her mother, dearly loved by the one who bore her. The young women see her and praise her; even queens and royal concubines sing her praises:
10“Who is this, arising like the dawn, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, as majestic as an army with billowing banners?”
11I went down to the grove of walnut trees and out to the valley to see the new spring growth, to see whether the grapevines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12Before I realized it, my strong desires had taken me to the chariot of a noble man.
13Return, return to us, O maid of Shulam. Come back, come back, that we may see you again. Young Man Why do you stare at this young woman of Shulam, as she moves so gracefully between two lines of dancers?
“Master your mind so that you know exactly whom you serve.”~TB
When you serve yourself, your ability to love is limited to the knowledge you possess, which isn’t much. Because humans are flawed, our way of thinking will always be imperfect, especially compared to the mind of Christ. Self serving behavior will always bring your problems because your intentions aren’t rooted in Christ’s standards. Your mind will trick you into believing you are mightier than you are and that the things of this world are worth desiring. If left unchecked, soon you will be serving too many false-gods, leaving you confused, and off task. Put your pride away and switch masters.
When you serve God, things like humility, compassion, love, and forgiveness are easier to give, because you’re focusing on the mind of Christ and not your own. Being flawed does not mean you are self-loathing or putting yourself down. No, it means you understand who has made you and why we must connect to Him to make up the difference. Your mind becomes disciplined and focused on the things of above, rejecting the things of the world. And through His love and only His love can we begin to receive the peace, joy, and understanding that comes from being His.
Where does your mind go when it wanders?
Song of Solomon 5
1I have entered my garden, my treasure, my bride! I gather myrrh with my spices and eat honeycomb with my honey. I drink wine with my milk. Young Women of Jerusalem Oh, lover and beloved, eat and drink! Yes, drink deeply of your love!
2I slept, but my heart was awake, when I heard my lover knocking and calling: “Open to me, my treasure, my darling, my dove, my perfect one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.”
3But I responded, “I have taken off my robe. Should I get dressed again? I have washed my feet. Should I get them soiled?”
4My lover tried to unlatch the door, and my heart thrilled within me.
5I jumped up to open the door for my love, and my hands dripped with perfume. My fingers dripped with lovely myrrh as I pulled back the bolt.
6I opened to my lover, but he was gone! My heart sank. I searched for him but could not find him anywhere. I called to him, but there was no reply.
7The night watchmen found me as they made their rounds. They beat and bruised me and stripped off my veil, those watchmen on the walls.
8Make this promise, O women of Jerusalem— If you find my lover, tell him I am weak with love.
9Why is your lover better than all others, O woman of rare beauty? What makes your lover so special that we must promise this?
10My lover is dark and dazzling, better than ten thousand others!
11His head is finest gold, his wavy hair is black as a raven.
12His eyes sparkle like doves beside springs of water; they are set like jewels washed in milk.
13His cheeks are like gardens of spices giving off fragrance. His lips are like lilies, perfumed with myrrh.
14His arms are like rounded bars of gold, set with beryl. His body is like bright ivory, glowing with lapis lazuli.
15His legs are like marble pillars set in sockets of finest gold. His posture is stately, like the noble cedars of Lebanon.
16His mouth is sweetness itself; he is desirable in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend.
“In order to get your attention, God will allow uncomfortable situations to occur to shake you from your zombie-like state.”~TB
The next time you’re in public, like in a store, take a look and observe your surroundings. It’s not hard to see that we operate like zombies, mindlessly plugged into things, not fully present. Society is so numb with gadgets and the constant need for entertainment, it’s no wonder why people are struggling to feel something real. Everything is manufactured and designed for instant gratification! There are so many distractions, devices, and the like that keep us from truly knowing God. Friends, you have to get out of your mindless routines and seek the Lord with all of your attention and heart. If you desire an authentic relationship with God, don’t be surprised if certain things, behaviors or people are uprooted from your life in the process. It is called pruning for a reason.
Seasons of setbacks, discomfort, and loss aren’t always bad things or from the opposition. Comfort numbs us from thinking we need to change. Complacency is more dangerous than external forces, which is why God will shake things up for those who seek Him. In those moments, self-reflection is crucial for you to grow in Christ, because with the wrong set of eyes, you can mistake correction for persecution. It’s easy to become frustrated in your walk and wonder ‘why me’. However, if you can look past how you feel and look at your life with an honest heart, you will find that God is showing you something. Some of you are numb, getting by, forgoing your calling. Others are exploiting others’ work and not tilling their own soil. Wherever you are, if you’ve knocked on God’s door and He’s shaken you from your zombie life, rejoice! Look and listen carefully to learn what He is showing you.
Song of Solomon 4
1You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your eyes are like doves behind your veil. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead.
2Your teeth are as white as sheep, recently shorn and freshly washed. Your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin.
3Your lips are like scarlet ribbon; your mouth is inviting. Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil.
4Your neck is as beautiful as the tower of David, jeweled with the shields of a thousand heroes.
5Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle grazing among the lilies.
6Before the dawn breezes blow and the night shadows flee, I will hurry to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.
7You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.
8Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Come down from Mount Amana, from the peaks of Senir and Hermon, where the lions have their dens and leopards live among the hills.
9You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace.
10Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices.
11Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. Your clothes are scented like the cedars of Lebanon.
12You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.
13Your thighs shelter a paradise of pomegranates with rare spices— henna with nard,
14nard and saffron, fragrant calamus and cinnamon, with all the trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, and every other lovely spice.
15You are a garden fountain, a well of fresh water streaming down from Lebanon’s mountains.
16Awake, north wind! Rise up, south wind! Blow on my garden and spread its fragrance all around. Come into your garden, my love; taste its finest fruits.