Our Deep Desire to Feel Forgiven

jenosullivan_20131126_0001I was on a walk with my son and he mistakenly tipped over the Bob stroller while I was washing my hands because he was leaning out of it to the side. He is 6 so he’s a bit big for the stroller but he likes the ride. (Personally I would love to take a ride in the Bob too! ha!) So, in the tipping over, everything fell out of the cup holders onto the concrete: my iPhone and my brand new Bluetooth speaker. Both got a bit scratched up. He was horrified. The look on his face was such deep remorse. He knows the value of things and is a very careful child. I scrambled to pick everything up and to check if all was still working. Check. Then I looked back at him. “Sorry mom.”

I knew it was an accident, but when I went to wash my hands I gave him specific instructions to stay seated. He did not. I told him as much. I knew it was an accident but he also did not listen to my instructions. I said a short “OK” that meant I accepted his apology. It was not enough for him. For the next 10 minutes as we walked up the hill, he kept saying he was sorry, really sorry. I had forgiven him. We talked about it and all was done. Then why was he still pursuing my forgiveness? It dawned on me. I do the same thing with God! I know in my head that I am forgiven the moment I ask to be. Even my sin nature (not my actions but my sin being) is fully forgiven. But still, I bring things up over and over again. “I’m sorry! Really really sorry!”

My son needed to “feel” forgiven. The idea that he knew in his head that he was forgiven was not enough. I stopped our walk and went around to talk to him to let him know that I fully forgive him. I fully love him. I know he made a mistake. I gave him a hug. That is what he needed. He is my child. I am the child of God’s. Sometimes I need a hug. I need to be told in several different ways that I am forgiven. But how do we get to the point where it is not just head knowledge but we actually feel forgiven?

I remember asking a friend of mine a related question when I was in High School. “How come I cannot feel God anymore and how do I get that feeling back?” I’ve asked that question multiple times over the years to multiple people, pastors included. It always boiled down to something I was doing wrong. Sadly that is just not true. We speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us through His Word and circumstances. If you are not in His Word daily, and I don’t mean reading a verse or two, I mean really IN His Word, studying and learning, then what makes you think you are going to have any sense for what He wants to tell you?

I have heard of the Scriptures being the Living Word of God. What? I never fully understood that. Being a highly churched person, the concept went right over my head. Now, however, I get it. We, as humans need life. We need living interaction with others. God is so distant at times. Well, Biblically He may be testing you, but naturally He wants to have you seek Him and He wants to be known. His Word is life and to us who follow Jesus it is also alive! If you claim Jesus as your savior I challenge you this year to read the Bible cover to cover plus do a study of a couple books over the year. My pastor, Mike Fabarez says “One of the greatest ways to guard against heresy is to read the entire Bible often.”

I know a lot of you may say, “Sure, I’ve read the entire Bible.” Really? Every Year? Maybe you have. I can tell you that I used to say that all the time. Then I actually did it. All the way. Cover to cover. It changed me. God changed me. It is amazing and I highly recommend you start today. Check out this very easy Daily Bible Reading plan. I love it because some days when I am in my car I can listen to it on my phone or even through my Bluetooth. No longer can the excuse be made to not read your Bible as I am giving you a link to LISTEN to it every day.

If you want to read more on my thoughts about why reading the Bible as well as wanting to read the Bible may in fact prove or possibly even disprove your salvation, check out this post: DO YOU LOVE GOD’S WORD?

No judgement, just a call to do a spiritual check up. :)

Shalom! (I’m learning Hebrew, yippee!)

Daily Bible Reading ~ Isaiah 24-26 and Ephesians 4

DAILY BIBLE READING LINK FOR OCTOBER 2, 2013

In today’s reading the promise of judgment is coupled with God’s gracious promise of restoration in Christ’s eternal and triumphant kingdom. May we see clearly the merciful salvation the Lord extends to the repentant. We have some very practical reasons to be grateful for Christ’s provision through his church and in our lives, as we carefully read the fourth chapter of Ephesians.

– Pastor Mike Fabarez of Compass Bible Church and Focal Point Ministries

Isaiah 24-26

Judgment on the Whole Earth

24:1 Behold, the Lord will empty the earth [1] and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
3 The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered;
for the Lord has spoken this word.

4 The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
the highest people of the earth languish.
5 The earth lies defiled
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.
7 The wine mourns,
the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted sigh.
8 The mirth of the tambourines is stilled,
the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
9 No more do they drink wine with singing;
strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 The wasted city is broken down;
every house is shut up so that none can enter.
11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has grown dark;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
12 Desolation is left in the city;
the gates are battered into ruins.
13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth
among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.

14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west. [2]
15 Therefore in the east [3] give glory to the Lord;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.
But I say, “I waste away,
I waste away. Woe is me!
For the traitors have betrayed,
with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.”

17 Terror and the pit and the snare [4]
are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
18 He who flees at the sound of the terror
shall fall into the pit,
and he who climbs out of the pit
shall be caught in the snare.
For the windows of heaven are opened,
and the foundations of the earth tremble.
19 The earth is utterly broken,
the earth is split apart,
the earth is violently shaken.
20 The earth staggers like a drunken man;
it sways like a hut;
its transgression lies heavy upon it,
and it falls, and will not rise again.

21 On that day the Lord will punish
the host of heaven, in heaven,
and the kings of the earth, on the earth.
22 They will be gathered together
as prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be confounded
and the sun ashamed,
for the Lord of hosts reigns
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and his glory will be before his elders.

God Will Swallow Up Death Forever

25:1 O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
2 For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the foreigners’ palace is a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
5 like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is put down.

6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
and Moab shall be trampled down in his place,
as straw is trampled down in a dunghill. [5]
11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it
as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim,
but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill [6] of his hands.
12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down,
lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.

You Keep Him in Perfect Peace

26:1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation
as walls and bulwarks.
2 Open the gates,
that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
3 You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
5 For he has humbled
the inhabitants of the height,
the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
6 The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.”

7 The path of the righteous is level;
you make level the way of the righteous.
8 In the path of your judgments,
O Lord, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
10 If favor is shown to the wicked,
he does not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
and does not see the majesty of the Lord.
11 O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
12 O Lord, you will ordain peace for us,
for you have indeed done for us all our works.
13 O Lord our God,
other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
14 They are dead, they will not live;
they are shades, they will not arise;
to that end you have visited them with destruction
and wiped out all remembrance of them.
15 But you have increased the nation, O Lord,
you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
you have enlarged all the borders of the land.

16 O Lord, in distress they sought you;
they poured out a whispered prayer
when your discipline was upon them.
17 Like a pregnant woman
who writhes and cries out in her pangs
when she is near to giving birth,
so were we because of you, O Lord;
18 we were pregnant, we writhed,
but we have given birth to wind.
We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth,
and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the earth will give birth to the dead.

20 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until the fury has passed by.
21 For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
and will no more cover its slain.

Ephesians 4

Unity in the Body of Christ

4:1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? [7] 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds [8] and teachers, [9] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, [10] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

The New Life

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, [11] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 24:1 Or land; also throughout this chapter
[2] 24:14 Hebrew from the sea
[3] 24:15 Hebrew in the realm of light
[4] 24:17 The Hebrew words for terror, pit, and snare sound alike
[5] 25:10 The Hebrew words for dunghill and for the Moabite town Madmen (Jeremiah 48:2) sound alike
[6] 25:11 Or in spite of the skill
[7] 4:9 Or the lower parts of the earth?
[8] 4:11 Or pastors
[9] 4:11 Or the shepherd-teachers
[10] 4:13 Greek to a full-grown man
[11] 4:22 Greek man; also verse 24

Daily Bible Reading ~ Isaiah 22-23 and Ephesians 3

DAILY BIBLE READING LINK FOR OCTOBER 1, 2013

God addresses Jerusalem as the “valley of vision”— a people blessed repeatedly over the centuries with God’s words through the clear revelation found in the Old Testament prophets, yet tragically missing the heart of God in their refusal to see their sin, pursue repentance, and be zealous for holiness. In our New Testament reading we encounter a motivating conclusion to the doctrinal section of the Letter to the Ephesians. May the prayer of vv.14-21 be our own today.

– Pastor Mike Fabarez of Compass Bible Church and Focal Point Ministries

Isaiah 22-23

An Oracle Concerning Jerusalem

22:1 The oracle concerning the valley of vision.

What do you mean that you have gone up,
all of you, to the housetops,
2 you who are full of shoutings,
tumultuous city, exultant town?
Your slain are not slain with the sword
or dead in battle.
3 All your leaders have fled together;
without the bow they were captured.
All of you who were found were captured,
though they had fled far away.
4 Therefore I said:
“Look away from me;
let me weep bitter tears;
do not labor to comfort me
concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.”

5 For the Lord God of hosts has a day
of tumult and trampling and confusion
in the valley of vision,
a battering down of walls
and a shouting to the mountains.
6 And Elam bore the quiver
with chariots and horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.
7 Your choicest valleys were full of chariots,
and the horsemen took their stand at the gates.
8 He has taken away the covering of Judah.

In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, 9 and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, 10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.

12 In that day the Lord God of hosts
called for weeping and mourning,
for baldness and wearing sackcloth;
13 and behold, joy and gladness,
killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,
eating flesh and drinking wine.
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”
14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:
“Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,”
says the Lord God of hosts.

15 Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: 16 What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock? 17 Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you 18 and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house. 19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station. 20 In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23 And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24 And they will hang on him the whole honor of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. 25 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way, and it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.”

An Oracle Concerning Tyre and Sidon

23:1 The oracle concerning Tyre.

Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor!
From the land of Cyprus [1]
it is revealed to them.
2 Be still, O inhabitants of the coast;
the merchants of Sidon, who cross the sea, have filled you.
3 And on many waters
your revenue was the grain of Shihor,
the harvest of the Nile;
you were the merchant of the nations.
4 Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken,
the stronghold of the sea, saying:
“I have neither labored nor given birth,
I have neither reared young men
nor brought up young women.”
5 When the report comes to Egypt,
they will be in anguish [2] over the report about Tyre.
6 Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, O inhabitants of the coast!
7 Is this your exultant city
whose origin is from days of old,
whose feet carried her
to settle far away?
8 Who has purposed this
against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants were princes,
whose traders were the honored of the earth?
9 The Lord of hosts has purposed it,
to defile the pompous pride of all glory, [3]
to dishonor all the honored of the earth.
10 Cross over your land like the Nile,
O daughter of Tarshish;
there is no restraint anymore.
11 He has stretched out his hand over the sea;
he has shaken the kingdoms;
the Lord has given command concerning Canaan
to destroy its strongholds.
12 And he said:
“You will no more exult,
O oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon;
arise, cross over to Cyprus,
even there you will have no rest.”

13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people that was not; [4] Assyria destined it for wild beasts. They erected their siege towers, they stripped her palaces bare, they made her a ruin.

14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
for your stronghold is laid waste.

15 In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days [5] of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

16 “Take a harp;
go about the city,
O forgotten prostitute!
Make sweet melody;
sing many songs,
that you may be remembered.”

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord.

Ephesians 3

The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed

3:1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is [6] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in [7] God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family [8] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 23:1 Hebrew Kittim; also verse 12
[2] 23:5 Hebrew they will have labor pains
[3] 23:9 The Hebrew words for glory and hosts sound alike
[4] 23:13 Or that has become nothing
[5] 23:15 Or lifetime
[6] 3:6 The words This mystery is are inferred from verse 4
[7] 3:9 Or by
[8] 3:15 Or fatherhood; the Greek word patria is closely related to the word for Father in verse 14

Friday Fruit Audit ~ Do you keep His Commandments?

God's Commandments

Do you keep His Commandments?

There is a great story my Pastor, Mike Fabarez tells of his childhood. He was a latch-key kid after school until his parents came home from work. His mom would leave a list of chores to be finished by the time she got home. Sure, Mike and his brother would play around all afternoon until it was about 30 minutes before Mom got home. Then they would rush around and do all the things she asked them to complete. If they didn’t, punishment would be their lot, and if they finished it all, that was what was to be expected.

Did you know God left us a list of things to do before He returns? It’s the Bible. His commands are plain and clear. Could you imagine telling your mom “Hey Mom, sorry I didn’t do what you asked me, I was busy.” or how about “I glanced at it but thought you wanted someone else to do it.” or my favorite, “I read the first line and it was too hard so I gave up.” I don’t know about you, but my Mom would have spanked me with the wooden spoon. Do you think God will be less of a judge to you when He returns?

There is another analogy I think about when I really want to put God in perspective.

If I punched my Mom, I would get grounded.
If I punched my Boss, I would get fired.
If I punched a Police Officer, I would get put in jail.
If I punched the President, I would get shot.
If I punched God, I would get “Oh, that’s OK little human, I’ll forgive you.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I would get pulverized and then get eternal damnation.

I think it is safe to say that we should consider our view of God as above all others when we flagrantly say, “His Word is too lengthy to read, and there are way too many do’s and don’ts to follow.” or “It is all too hard and I don’t like some of the things He wants me to do.” How would those statements go over with your Mom when you were 5? Consider the following verses in light of your own salvation.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. – 1 John 2:3-6 (ESV)

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith. – 1 John 5:3-4 (ESV)

Daily Bible Reading ~ Song of Solomon 1-3 and 2 Corinthians 12

DAILY BIBLE READING LINK FOR SEPTEMBER 21, 2013

“Today, as the first verse states, we begin our reading of Solomon’s best poetic work. May it be cause for thanksgiving as we read of God’s gracious gift to husbands and wives. In 2 Corinthians 12 we are reminded that it is not always God’s will to “remove the pain” from the lives of his favored saints. May today’s New Testament reading produce a more mature and persevering character in us all.”
- Pastor Mike Fabarez

Song of Solomon 1-3

1:1 The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.

The Bride Confesses Her Love

She [1]

2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine;
3 your anointing oils are fragrant;
your name is oil poured out;
therefore virgins love you.
4 Draw me after you; let us run.
The king has brought me into his chambers.

Others

We will exult and rejoice in you;
we will extol your love more than wine;
rightly do they love you.

She

5 I am very dark, but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
like the tents of Kedar,
like the curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not gaze at me because I am dark,
because the sun has looked upon me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
they made me keeper of the vineyards,
but my own vineyard I have not kept!
7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
where you pasture your flock,
where you make it lie down at noon;
for why should I be like one who veils herself
beside the flocks of your companions?

Solomon and His Bride Delight in Each Other

He

8 If you do not know,
O most beautiful among women,
follow in the tracks of the flock,
and pasture your young goats
beside the shepherds’ tents.

9 I compare you, my love,
to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots.
10 Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments,
your neck with strings of jewels.

Others

11 We will make for you [2] ornaments of gold,
studded with silver.

She

12 While the king was on his couch,
my nard gave forth its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
that lies between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
in the vineyards of Engedi.

He

15 Behold, you are beautiful, my love;
behold, you are beautiful;
your eyes are doves.

She

16 Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful.
Our couch is green;
17 the beams of our house are cedar;
our rafters are pine.

2:1 I am a rose [3] of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.

He

2 As a lily among brambles,
so is my love among the young women.

She

3 As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among the young men.
With great delight I sat in his shadow,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4 He brought me to the banqueting house, [4]
and his banner over me was love.
5 Sustain me with raisins;
refresh me with apples,
for I am sick with love.
6 His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me!
7 I adjure you, [5] O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.

The Bride Adores Her Beloved

8 The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
looking through the lattice.
10 My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
11 for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing [6] has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
14 O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
15 Catch the foxes [7] for us,
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.”

16 My beloved is mine, and I am his;
he grazes [8] among the lilies.
17 Until the day breathes
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle
or a young stag on cleft mountains. [9]

The Bride’s Dream

3:1 On my bed by night
I sought him whom my soul loves;
I sought him, but found him not.
2 I will rise now and go about the city,
in the streets and in the squares;
I will seek him whom my soul loves.
I sought him, but found him not.
3 The watchmen found me
as they went about in the city.
“Have you seen him whom my soul loves?”
4 Scarcely had I passed them
when I found him whom my soul loves.
I held him, and would not let him go
until I had brought him into my mother’s house,
and into the chamber of her who conceived me.
5 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.

Solomon Arrives for the Wedding

6 What is that coming up from the wilderness
like columns of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
with all the fragrant powders of a merchant?
7 Behold, it is the litter [10] of Solomon!
Around it are sixty mighty men,
some of the mighty men of Israel,
8 all of them wearing swords
and expert in war,
each with his sword at his thigh,
against terror by night.
9 King Solomon made himself a carriage [11]
from the wood of Lebanon.
10 He made its posts of silver,
its back of gold, its seat of purple;
its interior was inlaid with love
by the daughters of Jerusalem.
11 Go out, O daughters of Zion,
and look upon King Solomon,
with the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
on the day of the gladness of his heart.

2 Corinthians 12

Paul’s Visions and His Thorn

12:1 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6 Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, [12] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Concern for the Corinthian Church

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 1:2 The translators have added speaker identifications based on the gender and number of the Hebrew words
[2] 1:11 The Hebrew for you is feminine singular
[3] 2:1 Probably a bulb, such as a crocus, asphodel, or narcissus
[4] 2:4 Hebrew the house of wine
[5] 2:7 That is, I put you on oath; so throughout the Song
[6] 2:12 Or pruning
[7] 2:15 Or jackals
[8] 2:16 Or he pastures his flock
[9] 2:17 Or mountains of Bether
[10] 3:7 That is, the couch on which servants carry a king
[11] 3:9 Or sedan chair
[12] 12:7 Or hears from me, even because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations. So to keep me from becoming conceited

Thursday Theology ~ Dr. Mike Fabarez on Discernment

DiscernmentWith the dumbing down of Christianity and the rise of bumper-sticker theology, perhaps now more than ever Christians need wisdom, insight, and discernment. Thankfully there is much of it to be found in Luke 5 and 6. Sandwiched between the calling of the first disciples (Luke 5:1-11) and their commissioning as apostles (Luke 6:12-16), we encounter several concise episodes in the life of Christ that clearly provide the kind of godly discernment every Christian needs. Don’t miss this important eight-part series as Pastor Mike walks us through this instructive section of the Gospel of Luke. – Compass Bible Church

Title Passage Date
Curiosity & Real Conversions (Part 1) Luke 5:1-11 June 23, 2013
Wants & Genuine Needs (Part 2) Luke 5:12-16 June 30, 2013
Urgency & True Importance (Part 3) Luke 5:17-26 July 14, 2013
Reputations & Vital Responsibilities (Part 4) Luke 5:27-32 July 21, 2013
Sorrow & Profound Celebrations (Part 5) Luke 5:33-35 July 28, 2013

Thursday Theology ~ Dr. Mike Fabarez on Back to the Basics

Back to the BasicsIn this two-part series, Pastor Mike revisits the basics of the Christian life – personal Bible study and prayer. Whether you are a new follower of Christ or a seasoned Christian, don’t miss this short two-part series as we go back to the basics and make sure we are actively involved in hearing from God and making sure he is hearing from us. ~ Compass Bible Church

Title Passage Date
Making the Most of Daily Bible Study (part 1) Various May 01, 2011
How To Pray and Making Sure We Do (part 2) Colossians 4:2-4 May 08, 2011

Thursday Theology at its Best ~ Dr. Mike Fabarez on Presenting Christ

Pastor Mike Fabarez is one of my all time favorite preachers. He is to the point with ample biblical research to back up what he teaches. He is a straight Bible teaching pastor who tells it like it is.

“While you may not picture yourself as an evangelist, there is no escaping the fact that God calls all Christians to take the message of the gospel to those around them. Many nervously dodge this privilege and responsibility, in part because they don’t feel adequately prepared. Thankfully, in Luke 4:14-44, we can acquire a lot of training and confidence as we study Christ presenting his own claims to the people in his childhood hometown of Nazareth, and then to those in his new neighborhood of Capernaum.” – Dr. Mike Fabarez

PRESENTING CHRIST Sermon Series

The Role of the Holy Spirit (Part 1) Luke 4:14-15 May 05, 2013
The Use of Scripture (Part 2) Luke 4:16-21 May 12, 2013
Dealing with Objections (Part 3) Luke 4:22-30 May 19, 2013
Jesus as Judge (Part 4) Luke 4:31-37 June 02, 2013
Jesus as Deliverer (Part 5) Luke 4:38-41 June 09, 2013
Staying on Task (Part 6) Luke 4:42-44 June 16, 2013

For more great series and discussions visit Focal Point Ministries.

Monday Modern Parable ~ The Vase

A young boy and his family ventured into an antique store. Somehow in the midst of the beautiful trappings the boy got separated from his parents. It was too quite for too long and the parents got nervous. They started looking for their child. They found him, to their despair, in the back of the store with his had and arm reaching into a very expensive and very old vase. They hurried over to the child and calmly asked him to remove his hand and to stop messing around as they did not want him to break anything. To their horror, the child could not remove his hand. They tried everything while trying to avoid the shop owner’s scanning eyes. What would they do? They finally gave up and decided to tell the owner. He went to the back to get some liquid soap and water. They tried everything. They finally decided there was no hope. They would have to break the vase and pay for it too. The owner went back to his desk to find a hammer. When he returned and just before he was going to smash the antique into pieces the child’s father asked him, “Son, is there anything you would like to say before we do this?” and he replied in a sheepish tone, “Dad?… Would it help if I let go of the quarter?”

How often do we hold onto the trappings of this life. While it is our only perspective, it is not the ONLY perspective. God has something far better for us waiting in Heaven. The angels must pity us knowing what they know. Let go of all those things in your life that really do not mean anything.

(Parable derived from Pastor Mike Fabarez)