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A1 Life

This site shares one definition of and paths to achieving a full, rich life.

An Excerpt from My Novel

I have written and published 2 novels, A River Bend and Through the Valley of the Shadow. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 10, “Help!”, Through the Valley of the Shadow. If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can email me at douglasknight85@gmail.com or through Amazon.com. If you live in Evansville, Indiana, it can be purchased at River City Mercantile or Outside the Gift Box, both on Main Street.

 

 

Poor Missy Beat Up By the World

On the way to work each day

Drivers get in Missy’s way

Slow her down or speed her up

Make her spill her coffee cup

It ain’t fair

It ain’t right

Make her cuss

Make her fight

Poor Missy, poor Missy beat

Up by the World

Poor Missy, poor Missy’s life

Full of trouble

Full of strife

 

 

Her bosses don’t appreciate

All she does in her paid eight

Programs down, Desktop not up

“No matter, not keeping up”

She does try

All her might

Makes her cry

Gives her fright

Poor Missy, poor Missy beat

Up by the World

Poor Missy, poor Missy’s life

Full of worry

Full of strife

 

 

The One Who loves her anyway

If she cusses, if she prays

If she cannot keep it up 

When it’s emptied, fills her cup

God is there

With all might

Standing with

In the fight

Poor Missy, poor Missy beats

Up the harsh World

Filled with Promise

Of full Life 

Boxing or Sparring or War?

Image result for sparring partners  Image result for boxing

Definition
“Sparring is a form of training common to many combat sports. Although the precise form varies, it is essentially relatively ‘free-form’ fighting, with enough rules, customs, or agreements to make injuries unlikely. By extension, argumentative debate is sometimes called ‘verbal sparring’.
I start with the definition from Wikipedia because I checked it to make sure the definition hadn’t changed and left me in the past (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparring). So, if sparring and argumentative debate still includes “enough rules, customs or agreements to make injuries unlikely,” then what I see on Facebook and arguments with people who value their opinion over mine  isn’t really sparring. The gloves are off and the only rule is to win by making me wrong or changing my mind.
Effective Argument is beneficial for all when viewed as sparring, not war
Arguing your opinion is good. It is good for you because it can solidify your position or reveal weaknesses in the facts you have used to make your conclusions. It can also help the other person in much the same manner. It seldom causes an immediate change in one’s position, but it can. To be effective, though, argument must be seen as sparring, not war.
In teaching argument years ago to college students on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana, I learned that I did not often argue well. I also noticed that I was in the majority. What I learned and hoped to pass on to the students was that often my opinions were based on mostly circumstantial evidence and not always on proven fact. I found, too, that we often argue to convince ourselves or to avoid admitting that we might have been wrong for a long time. When that occurs, often subconsciously or unconsciously, the argument turns into a battle or a fight. We stop sparring for training purposes and fight to keep from getting hurt. To keep from getting hurt, we often have to hurt the other. That’s when argument is least effective.
Listening or trying to understand the other person and how they arrived at their conclusions is an important component to effective argument.
The ineffective argument generally stems from someone doing more talking and very little or no listening. Listening or trying to understand the other person and how they arrived at their conclusions is an important component to effective argument. Understanding the other person and the facts behind their conclusions can help you establish some common ground. Finding the common ground can lead to all parties benefit. If compromise is possible, it can lead to compromise. When compromise is not beneficial and it is sometimes not beneficial, establishing common ground can change another’s opinion or at least provide them with unknown facts to consider moving forward. Even if it doesn’t accomplish a change in one or the other’s opinion or a compromise, it seldom leads to injury.
Arguing your opinion coupled with listening help assess your own opinions
Another obstacle to effective argument is that too often our opinions are formed by very little thought or consideration. We have based our opinions from propaganda, from the opinions of significant others or the strength in numbers provided by being surrounded by like-minded people. We haven’t really heard the facts of those different than ourselves and weighed them with those that helped us form our opinions. Good argument with others gives us the facts behind their assessment and we can weigh them against our own and weigh their facts against reality. This usually strengthens your own stand, because now you have more facts on which to base it. You might even help the other by pointing out apparent weaknesses in their facts.
Toughest when it’s loved ones
When you know through experience, often trial and error, that your opinion is true and to follow some other course is harmful and will lead to injury, and the other person(s) in the argument are loved ones, it can lead to heartbreak. There are no guarantees that even arguing effectively will change the other’s opinion. It is difficult to watch them get hurt. Maybe you were hurt doing what they plan to do and that is why you formed the opinion you formed. Remember, you argued to help them, so don’t let your argument inflict pain. Show respect and don’t make the other person feel disrespected. It is real important to find that common ground by listening to what made them “know” they’re right and you are wrong. Also, remember that you don’t control their reactions and you cannot make them listen and heed. Finally, especially when family is involved, continue to love them through the mistake. They will need you on the other side if they survive.  This is, of course, my opinion.
Effective verbal sparring is more beneficial
Make sure your opinions are based on solid evidence by continually assessing them. Listen when arguing with another. Argue to help, not hurt. This will not mean you will “win” every argument, but you can win from an effective argument. You not only can strengthen your opinion, grow as a person, but you will provide facts to another and begin to understand others better through effective verbal sparring.

I Needed It

THE INCIDENT 

“You don’t know me,” he says.

His words cut like a knife. His face displays the pain and anguish behind the words causing my heart that I thought could not hurt any more to ache deeper.

I can’t cry. We’re in a public place and I don’t like to draw too much attention to myself – at least not more than I already have raising my voice to be heard over his hurting and hurtful words.

His countenance portrays the fact that this has been marinating inside him for some time. His words betray the truth that he has rehearsed them in his mind for some time. His wry grin says he is relieved to finally get this out into the open and wound the one who wounds him.

He refuses to hear apologies or explanations calling them excuses. I realize there is no forgiveness in his heart today. I realize it is not one incident that causes this pain. This is someone I have failed. I failed and am failing to live up to his expectations.

It hurts because I thought I knew what those expectations are and thought I was doing better. Maybe I am doing better, but better is not enough. Maybe the expectations are too high. If they are unreal, they are real to him and my failure to meet them causes real hurt.

We finally end this session and go out to our cars. He reminds me that he has my birthday present and he brings it to me. He brings me coffee. It is the coffee from the store in his town that my wife really likes.

He leaves. We exchange pain-ridden “I love you.”  I rest my head on my steering wheel and weep.

IT’S REALITY

This is not fictional. It is not an excerpt from my novels. It happened between me and my son. It happened one day after I observed the funeral of a young man who committed suicide. I heard hurting teens talk about their pain, not only from the loss of their friend, but from bullying and hurtful comments because they do not meet someone else’s expectations of who they should be.

I was moved and bewildered by their description of their friend who was kind, caring and compassionate. He always wore a smile and often encouraged his friends when they were down. Then, he got down from what his family believes were incidents of bullying. He dropped out of school and went into counseling.  After that, he determined there was no hope and ended the suffering violently and permanently.

Courageous people shared their pain and experiences with expressions of love and respect. But underneath, you could hear the one big question, “Why didn’t we know?” No one admitted it, but you could feel it from a few as it is always a part of grieving, “I failed to do enough or this wouldn’t have happened.” It’s too late to save him, now. But for those hurting young men and women, it’s not too late. We heard what they need and we know from their own words that they need someone to listen and care.

MOVING FORWARD

The truth is I haven’t done enough for my son.  I have fallen short of his expectations.  I believe I could have done more, but have no assurance it would be enough. It’s too late to explain or apology to “fix” the hurt, just like it is too late to save the young man who took his life. But I heard what he needs.

What I do know is that he needs me. He said so. I have failed to make him feel respected. I haven’t spent enough time with him. I know this because he told me.  I know that for him, texting him or calling him will help, but it will not be enough if personal contact does not accompany the calls and texts.

Even though it hurt, the timing corrupt, and the method and tone inappropriate, I needed it. I fell short of the glory of God and hurt one of God’s creations.  I will need God’s help and God’s love to try. I have no guarantees it will be enough, but that assessment is out of my control. I can take what I know and show more love and respect. By doing this, not only will I be helping my hurting son, but I will also be honoring God.

It’s too late to change the past, but hopefully, it’s not too late to act on what we heard.

Swallowing Pride

In the last several blog posts, I used Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) to help us see and understand God’s character, especially His love for Creation. My fascination with the Biblical love story influences more research and study, because I truly want to know more about God and know Him better.

Through that research, I discovered a book that I purchased and began to read entitled Song of Solomon: A Love Story with a Hidden Message, Stephen F. Shober. If my posts have heightened your interest in Song of Solomon, I recommend this book. I haven’t completed reading it, but what I have read, I enjoyed and profited.

Product DetailsSong of Solomon: A Love Story with a Hidden Message by Stephen F. Shober

 

 

 

This post is not intended to be a review or endorsement of the above mentioned book. The post is also not a continuation of my Song of Solomon series of posts. What this post as morphed into is an apology. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am not a theologian and even though I have a Masters degree in English and taught English, writing and literature as well as grammar, I believe I may have violated an important rule about studying literature. I let my own personal philosophy keep me from considering the background and audience when interpreting the deeper meaning of the Biblical book.

Image result for oops meme face

I state that the Bride and the King may represent Christ and His Church. Although that idea did not originate with me and is held by more scholarly people than myself, Mr. Shober makes a very good argument declaring that interpretation as not “rightly dividing the Word.” Which when I read his admonition, I admit it stung a bit. My wife can tell you that I am capable of admitting I’m wrong, but usually not without a fight. In this case, after the struggle, I do believe I am wrong. It appears in the Old Testament, positioned between Wisdom and Prophetic books, written by an Israeli king who wrote to an Israeli audience. Mr. Shober provides other strong argument for the book being about God and Israel, not Christ and the Church which I will not discuss on this post.

heart-in-book

This admission does not deter us from studying this wonderful love story as a means to understand God and how much he loves us. As Mr.Shober points out also in his book about the Song of Solomon (SOS).

“One has to read the Church into SOS because it is not there. That said, we must not error in the opposite extreme. We must humbly recall that all Scripture is written for us and is profitable for us. As we search SOS, we find eternal principles for us to treasure and passages that clearly teach of our Savior’s love and faithfulness.”

I hope to continue to share with you those “eternal principles” that I find in this love story as it helps us tell our spiritual love story with the Creator that loves us more than we have ever been loved or ever will be loved.

Arousing Love

Sexual desires are hard to control. Intimacy with another is how we are made. Those under forty or maybe fifty years old may find this tough to fathom, but there was a time when abstinence before marriage was not only the right thing to do, but it was a sign of respect for the object of your desire and accomplishing abstinence meant you were strong, not weird. Waiting was just as challenging as ever, but more socially acceptable.

Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires. Song of Songs 2:7; 3:5 and 8:4

The passage above was often used in lessons to church teens and sermons to encourage waiting until after marriage to have sexual intercourse. But using the passage for that purpose does not align with my treatment of the Song of Songs as an allegory for the love between Christ and his followers. Yet, if you look again at the phrase, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires,” you will see that it must be important, because it appears three (3) times in the book.

As in earlier posts, I admit that I am NOT a Biblical scholar. I admit that I considered skipping over the passage until I realized it appears more than once. You do not have to be a Biblical scholar to know that any phrase a writer uses more than once must be important. So, what does this have to do with Christ and his Church? Continue reading “Arousing Love”

Alone, But Not Alone

“Good night, Marcy,” Josh says as Marcy enters the elevator.

Marcy glances toward the other passenger and smiles. The elevator door begins to close.

“I love you, Marcy James,” Josh states through the ever-narrowing opening.

Marcy starts to reply, but the door is shut tight and the elevator begins its ascent. She flashes a smile back at the elderly woman who returns one back at Marcy.

“He seems nice,” the elderly woman observes.

“Yes,” Marcy declares, “he is very nice.”

Just then, the elevator opens on the third floor. The elderly woman gets off.

Marcy rides alone to her penthouse apartment. She doesn’t feel alone.

The above is an excerpt from my latest romantic, dramatic novel, Through the Valley of the Shadow.  Marcy finds herself alone in the elevator at the end of a very traumatic day. Yet, as the narration declares, Marcy does not feel alone. Why does she not feel alone? Because through the trauma, Josh, who loves and even risks his life for her was there with her through the difficulty. Today’s portion of Song of Songs 2, also helps us realize that we never need to feel alone or afraid for long.

“Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
 Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.
Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.
 His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me.” Song of Songs 2: 3-6.

I remind the reader that the King in this marriage song is Christ and the woman is Christ followers. In the last blog post, we talked about the banner in “and let his banner over me be love” and how this means that an association with the King encourages us as loved and to love.  A broader focus of the context reveals so much more. A relationship with the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, means satisfaction, strength and renewal, and comfort and contentment as well as unconditional love.

The idea of unconditional love is joined with the idea of being escorted to the celebration by the King of Kings: “Let him lead me to the banquet hall.” I know most of you have seen movies and read stories of the rich and powerful partying in a huge ballroom, highly decorated for the occasion. There is everything in the way of food and beverage. In my scenario, there is live entertainment – special music, acrobats, dancers and maybe even a comedian or two. Anybody who is anybody, high society, rich and powerful, are all invited to the celebration, in this instance, the wedding reception of the most powerful and influential among us.  The invitation asked for formal attire, so everyone has their very best suits and gowns on, because the couple are truly deserving of that honor and respect. Guess what happens to those who wear the wrong outfits, disrespecting the King? They are lead out of the ballroom and banned.

Jesus tells a story, a parable, of such a wedding feast. The king managed a wedding feast for his son. He invited his closest associates who refused to come. He invited some of his other acquaintances, but they had other engagements. Then, he invited anyone who wished to come and many accepted his invitation, but one was found wearing inappropriate attire and he was immediately cast out of the ballroom.

Now, in our age of individualism, this type of behavior is hard to swallow. If you think the parable is God instructing us on how we should conduct ourselves at parties or how we should dress for church each Sunday, then you are way off base.

The king in the story is God. His son is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. There are some who reject God’s invitation to celebrate his Son, because they just don’t care or cannot trust God or his Son. There are those who don’t have anything against God, His Son or the Bride, but they have other ideas, philosophies and plans for their life. Then, there are those who accept God’s invitation to join him and his Son. Of those who accept the invitation, there are a few who come out of fear -the wrong attire. Those who do not come in love and respect for the King, those who mistrust the King and those who want  to do their own thing and reject the invitation will miss having the time of their lives.

Look at the language of today’s passage and see what is in store for those who accept the invitation to the party and wear the proper attire (love and respect).

  • “delight to sit in his shade”
    • Delight: a high degree of gratification: joy, extreme satisfaction
    • Shade: a place sheltered by the sun
  • “his fruit is sweet to my taste”
    • Fruit: the effect or consequence of an action or operation
    • Sweet: pleasing to the mind or feelings:  agreeable, gratifying
    • My taste: not someone else’s; not just pleasing to God, but also me

Here is how the Message interprets verse 5, “Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.”

“Oh! Give me something refreshing to eat—and quickly!
Apricots, raisins—anything. I’m about to faint with love!” (The Message)

Doesn’t that sound like the time of your life?

Have you ever felt so loved that you swooned or fainted? Sometimes, when I think about who I am truly deep inside, my true spirit, or my gut reactions which indicate the real color of my heart, I realize I am selfish, unkind, undevoted as anyone. Yet, God loves me enough to not only invite me as a special guest, but wants me to be part of the Bride for His Son. That kind of love makes me swoon.

I know the ugliness of this world, but I know it is not what God wants for this world. This Hippy wannabe realized one day that peace, love, and harmony does not come from the best intentions of man. Wars, hate and prejudice are often the results of people who want the best life, but someone else stands in their way or someone else seems to be getting an unfair portion of it.

Then there are those times that we feel we are undeserving of the circumstances we face and left in this state, we just cannot handle it anymore. We lash out at whatever we thought causes it or we are confused and troubled because we just don’t know why this happened to us. We ask the wrong question – “why” or “when”, instead of “how”, “where” or “Who.” God, in the human form of Jesus, experienced the effects of human trauma, but responded by turning to God, the Father and submitting to God’s will. He found strength, renewal and resurrection as well as purpose and power.

“He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done’” Matthew 26:42, New International version.

During those times when all seems lost or life seems so unfair and we feel we are all alone as the only one who struggles, we can find comfort.

His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me.” Verse 6

Jesus comforted a crowd who must have felt the sting of the worst of life’s offerings with words similar.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11: 28, New International Version.

I am writing this during the Christmas season in 2016. I have lost loved ones and one loved this time of year almost as much as she loved Halloween. I have a daughter-in-law who lost her mom just over a year ago, and I lost a dear friend eight years ago. I know I am not the only one who experiences pain along with the joys of this season because of circumstances.  I find solace when the sting gets too great in the King’s left arm under my head and his right arm embracing me. He promises you can, too.

What a life we can enjoy in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ – satisfaction, strength and renewal, and comfort and contentment as well as unconditional love. Like Marcy James, we may be physically alone, but we are not alone no matter what the circumstance.

Thanks to https://www.merriam-webster.com and biblegateway.com for their website’s help in delivering this post.

Thanks to Kari Jobe and youtube for the song and video, “I Am Not Alone.”

His Banner Over Me Is Love

Once upon a time, I worked with children. As I read the New International Version of Song of Solomon, I am reminded of the above attached song. With so much sin, pain and hate in this life, it is easy to lose sight of this fact. It is so easy that many do not believe God loves them, because they don’t feel that love from God’s representatives. As far as that goes, some do not believe he loves at all. Some pridefully foolish individuals who claim God as Lord seem to believe God loves them, but cannot love someone of a different race, religion or lifestyle than they adhere to. With this post, especially as it is written during this Christmas Holiday season, I will use Song of Songs to remind us of God’s love.

Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
    and let his banner over me be love”

Song of Songs 2:4 

Banners

If God’s people represent the Woman in this love story and the Man is God, then this writer is saying God’s banner over us is love. Join me in taking a closer look at what is meant by the banner.

John Gill in his exposition on Song of Solomon 2:4, explains that the banner alludes to a king’s banner or flag bearing the name, colors and or crest of the king. Christ’s kingdom bears the banner of “Love.” Jesus told his disciples, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:35. His banner which helps others recognize which kingdom we belong to has “LOVE” written on it. That’s the picture here. When we make God our King, we are serving under his banner. Not only do we benefit from God’s love, we are represent that love to those around us.

Love Whom?

I submit my opinion based on all the scriptures and using Christ’s own words to argue that “loving one another” includes all people, not just those like me. My first argument for believing in a loving God, His love for me has always been constant. I haven’t always felt His love at every moment, but experience shows me that God has always loved me and continues to love me.

I believe two of the Gospels – the written testimonies of those who spent each day with Christ – quotes him as saying that anyone can love someone who is good and/or good to them, but he encouraged the audience to love even enemies (Matthew 5:43, Luke 6:27). Matthew, Mark and Luke record Christ saying that the whole of the Commandments have their roots in the first two which is to love God with every fiber of your being and to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.

 

To love one another, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to love our enemies, all are God’s commandments. In John 14:15, John records Jesus to say,  “If you love me, keep my commands.” If I love God, I will show love for everyone else. It’s not to be a hypocritical love or contrived love, but real love. How do I accomplish that, especially for those who hate me? For me to pull that off, I need to experience God’s love and allow His love to express true love through me to all others.

Some people are more loving by nature than I am. It doesn’t come so easy and natural for me. To respond more lovingly to others, I have to remind myself that whatever has been done to me, I have done to others or that I am very capable of it because I’m made of the same human stuff – greed, selfishness, pride and lust. But God loves me and you so much that He came down to Earth in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ to be the punishment we deserve, so we can be the conduit for His love and experience the fulfillment that brings in this life and the next. Life is no longer dead spiritually and incapable of true love, but alive and full of love.

It’s like falling in love each every time I think about God’s love for me. When you’re in love, you love more easily.

Romance and Flowers in the Song of Songs

WARNING:

I may be reading a lot more into this than the author intended. One, I am not a theologian and two, I am a romantic.

Feel Like a Third Wheel

Song of Songs is mostly the conversation between the Woman and the Man. A surface reading of the short book is like being the third wheel at an event and the two lovers, so madly in love, don’t even notice you are there.

The passage I highlight in this post fits that description to a tee, so accept this as another warning. Beginning at Chapter 1 and pretty much the whole book is this type of conversation, sometimes with the feel of one lover trying to out-compliment the other lover. It can also be pretty TMI (too much information) at times. It helps me to put myself in the place of the Woman and God is bragging on me and then I don’t feel like the third wheel.

Chapter 1, verse 9 through Chapter 2, verse 2 is what I want to look at in this post. My familiarity with the phrases “rose of Sharon” and “lily of the valley” is probably the reason I stopped with verse 2 for this post.  Chapter 1:9 begins the compliment contest I referenced earlier.  It doesn’t end at 2:2, but I did.

A Pause in the Cause

The New International Version (NIV) and the Message version (TMV) of the Bible in biblegateway.com have the conversation subtitled to help the reader know when the woman speaks or the man speaks or a third party speaks. They don’t always agree, but this one they agree on. Of course, that doesn’t explain why I stopped at 2:2, but it helps to explain, I hope.

Both the NIV and TMV have rose of Sharon and lily of the valley attributed to the Woman. My familiarity with the phrases are always attributed to Christ.  At first, this messed with my interpretation of the whole book.  If the whole book is about Christ and the body of believers in Christ, then the woman cannot call herself the rose of Sharon nor the lily of the valley. Christ is supposed to be the Man in my analogy. I nearly scrapped my whole series and used this post to apologize for my ignorance and forcing you to think about it in this erroneous way. Of course, I am too proud and stubborn to do that.

This pause in my cause encouraged research into theological and scholarly interpretations of the Song of Songs. This research reveals that Song of Songs is very controversial and a controversy at multiple levels that spans centuries and religious beliefs. The true author, to interpret the book literally or allegorically and if allegorically, who is the Man and who is the Woman are some of the debate surrounding this book. That is why I began the post with a warning. I don’t want to be deceitful. This blog is written by a man who admits to having made a mistake or two (or more).What you get with this blogger is a man falling in love with God because of the love and sacrifice of that God through his personification in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Flowers For Her Lover

The Song of Songs is allegorical to me. It does contain a very sensual and erotic description of love between two people. I am not trying to censor that nor do I want to.  I like the allegory and I even utilize in the two novels I have written. The love interests in those novels symbolize for me and hopefully my readers, Christ and the Church, the body of believers in Christ.

I find no other passage in the Bible concerning the rose of Sharon or the lily of the valley being Christ. So, I am not discouraged from interpreting the Woman as the Church. I researched the symbolism of the flowers presented in Chapter 2, verses 1 and 2. To me, the type of flowers enhance my interpretation.

The NIV side note for rose of Sharon explains rose as of the crocus species and the lily probably is more akin to the lotus species. Now, not only am I not a theologian, but I also am not a botanist. So, again researching the difference is warranted. What I found is quite interesting and helpful for perpetuating my romanticizing of the passage.

A crocus originates from a bud. The bud is dormant under certain conditions and its life is dependent on other conditions. In the favorable conditions, it produces a beautiful flower like the rose of Sharon. There are some lilies which are of the crocus nature. I have some growing in my front yard. The crocus genus (genus makes me sound more botanist) is perennial.

In contrast, the lotus grows on the surface of marshes and creeks on the water. Many Eastern religions associate it with the divine and the eternal. To Hindus and Buddhists, the lotus flower represents restoration and creation and development of spiritual essence.

The NIV translates Song of Songs, Chapter 2, verses 1 and 2:

SHE: I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.

HE: Like a lily among thorns
is my darling among the young women.

The Woman representing the sinful believer calls herself both a crocus and a lotus.  Born from the ground and born from the Spirit because of her love and devotion to the King. He distinguishes her as the most beautiful among the others. Our love for God brings out our beauty more radiantly than we can on our own.

In the Message version, the Woman calls herself a wildflower and a lotus flower. I like that as well. On our own like some wildflowers, we can be beautiful and strong, but planted and nurtured by God, we can be so much more. Obviously, spiritually, we develop better with God’s Spirit, but I believe emotionally, physically, and mentally our lives are richer with God than without Him. I know without a doubt that is true for me

Money Can’t Buy You This Love

Dependency on God is not weakness. My hope is to show that our relationships, our faith and our lives are fuller with God than separate from Him. The Song of Songs helps us visualize how much God loves us and what our worship is to look like.

To me, life in the unseen spiritual realm is a romance. God wooing us and hopefully winning our love. But there are so many things wooing us today and most of them very appealing from a material stand point. The material is what we know and understand best- things that satisfy our immediate needs and wants.

Yet, there is a longing for spiritual and emotional satisfaction. We often fill that void with religion, philosophy, power and lust. Usually, this doesn’t stop after God has won our hearts over. The wooing of other things still tempts us – the things we are accustomed to and think we know and understand.

In my research, I learned that the Song of Songs is one of the most popular books of the Bible. It does have sex appeal. But I think it also shares a mutual love and devotion that we all long for -the one thing money, power and brilliance cannot purchase for us.  We are right when we think there is such a relationship. My hope through a look at the allegory is to show that a loving relationship with God is that kind of relationship and it can make the rest of our lives fuller.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelumbo_nucifera

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song%20of%20Solomon%202&version=NIV;MSG

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/9987-lily

YouTube:

“Just An Old Fashioned Love Song” by Three Dog Night

“Love Song” by Hillsong

 

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