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Sweetest Devotions #1

Love

Love is delightful

God’s love is most delightful.

To experience God’s love in Christ is the sweetest experience ever and I would like to share that experience with you by blogging my devotions.  Most particularly my devotions on God’s love illustrated in the marriage of Israel’s Messiah and king and his Gentile bride.

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Solomon, Israel’s anointed king, Christ or Messiah loved his bride.  We see him loving her in the Song of Songs.  When we get an idea of love by seeing it illustrated in marriage we get an idea of God for God is love.

I can think of no other more profitable study for the good of our souls than to know in our minds and sense in my hearts the love of God.

Love or what it feels like to be loved by God can’t be described and then you understand and sense it, for love is not only based on the objective truths about God’s special saving love in the person and work of Jesus Christ must be felt by the believer in order to know it or know what it feels like for a non believer doesn’t know what it feels like to be in a love relationship with God through Christ because they aren’t in a love relationship with Him but they love their sin.

Today I woke up thinking of Jesus Christ.

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I desire greatly to worship and exult Him, especially my first thoughts in the morning after shutting my alarm off.  Then I have my mind on Him most of the day with varying thoughts causing various emotions having varying degree’s of intensity and duration.  All day at work I can’t wait to have some alone time with God in His Word or prayer.  Today was a very busy day.  I could only find 10 minutes here and there for alone time.  For my this is like starvation.  My soul seemed to pant for the Living God most of the day and I couldn’t wait to get home to learn of God’s love.  So here I am diving into His Word to get to know Him more.

I tend to think ahead and watch and pray lest I fall into temptation and walk by the Spirit as best I can.  Meaning that what my conscience convicts me of then that I do.  In my time alone I reflect on the Goodness of God to me and thank Him.  I struggle trying to meditate on the glorious splendor of His Majesty in order to a higher view of Him and a clearer view of myself so that I walk humbly before Him.

So here I am wanting to experience the Love of God.  Lively idea’s of His love must be in my mind and heart.  It seems best for me to have my heart cleansed at the foot of the cross before I draw near to Him and He draws near to me.  The Lord is close to the broken hearted therefore I think of my sin.  Past sins I committed before becoming a Christian and sins I committed as a Christian and sins I committed today.

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The more sin I can think of without having fear of Hell, punishment or God’s Wrath the better for he who has been forgiven much will love much.  Luke 7:47

I have many verses memorized that help me to think of God’s love.  I have often meditated on these verses therefore my idea of the Truth in them are more lively then other verses, so when I desire to have my heart filled with thoughts of God’s love to His Son and the Son’s love to the Father and their love to me I first confess my sin, then beg God in Christ Name and for His sake to fill me with His Spirit of Love, holiness and truth. May He do this above and beyond all we can think or imagine.

Here is a list a verses I have memorized and meditated much on that help me to get my heart filled with the Love of God.

Song of Songs 1:2-4

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—

    for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
    your name is like perfume poured out.
    No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
    Let the king bring me into his chambers.

All those who love the king make promises saying..

“We rejoice and delight in you;
    we will praise your love more than wine.”

The bride pondering their adoration of Israel’s Messiah and king says..

“How right they are to adore you!”

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Tears of grief over my sin and tears of joy both flow mingled as I think of the truths in this verse.  I call it “mixed wine”  that I offer as a sacrifice to my Lord and Savior.

I have a job where I blessed to travel at least 2 hours a day and sometimes 4 so I get lots of time to memorize and meditate on Scripture.  Song 1:2-4 has been my spiritual food day after day.  I must have mediated on this verse and it’s meaning and application for well over 1,000 hours over the past 18 years.  So provided I’m not living in known sin, these verses will give light to my eyes, joy to my heart and refresh my soul more than any other.  Im not saying you should do the same but this is the path I believe God desires for me which is also my desire for my delight is in Him.

Now these verses trigger other verses and truths to dance in my heart.  Usually the following verse, Song 1:5  “Dark am I, yet lovely”  comes to mind.  I love this verse for it balances my religious emotions.  Balanced emotions are essential to drawing near to God for if you know you are dark with sin and fear punishment then you will not draw near to a God you believe is angry with you.  On the flip side if you believe you are holy and lovely in Christ and think to much on that side then you will abuse His Grace Rom. 6:1.

I have written much on Song 1:5 here for you to check out so I won’t say anything more about it.

Usually by now I’m running a definition of Love in my mind over and over again.  Though Scripture does not define love and Jonathan Edwards says love is better felt than defined and any definition will fall short of the truth, he does have a definition in order to somewhat of a better understanding of it and so he defines love as it has God for its object as…

“The soul’s relish of the supreme excellency of the Divine Nature inclining the heart toward God as it’s chief good.”

I usually repeat this a few times stopping at various words or phrases in this definition and meditating on them and comparing them with what Scripture says about Love.  Here are some other verses I have memorized that help in filling my heart with the height depth, breath and width of the love of God in Christ.

1 John 4:7-19

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Song of Songs 8:6, 2:16

Ephesians 3:14-21

John 3:16

Romans 5:5

1 Cor. 13:4-8

Remember, this is all in preparation before I study.  I don’t always go through all the verses, but the idea of each is usually in my mind.  Then I start to put my mind more on the Poem itself.

The purpose= For the reader to see or rather to taste God’s love.  For me to get to know God for God is love.  Love is the key word showing up more than 60x in various forms.

Love is a principle.  A moral excellency.  God’s love in marriage manifests itself in various ways.

Love desires the strictest union with the object of its affection, so you will see this principle at work in the Song all over the place.

Love rejoices in the holy happiness of the object of its affection.

Love highly values the one it loves.

Love hates feeling separation.

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Love desires this union and hates the feeling of separation

Love does whatever possible to keep the bond of peace in the relationship.

Some idea of love is illustrated in the text, therefore we get some idea of God for God is love, then we get to know God and love Him more.  What else could you ever want or ask for but to delightfully behold the love of God.

Now love is marriage is but a shadow of the Love of God in Christ.  Solomon most skillfully loved his wife because God gave him unmeasurable wisdom and even though Solomon, Israel’s Messiah loved his wife perfectly in the Song, his love is but a spark compared to the infinite flame of Love in the heart of Jesus Christ for His Bride.  Therefore once you get some sort of grasp of the Love they have for each other in the Song you argue from the lesser lover to the Greater Lover Jesus Christ in order for a higher or clearer view of God’s love.  Matt. 12:42

For example.  Israel’s Messiah the king of peace desired to have his bride as close to his heart as possible and as near to him as possible because he loved her.  Now argue from the lesser to the greater by using words like “how much more so”.

So how much more so does Jesus Christ love His Bride and desire for her to be where He is.  Can you see and feel the greater love Christ has for you in the words Jesus prayed from the infinite depth of love in his heart when he desired for those whom the Father gave Him to be with Him where He is in heaven to behold His moral Beauty and Glory.

John 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

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Okay now God has answered my prayer and the tears won’t stop flowing and Im lost in awe and wonder at the love Christ has for me in his prayer.  I was at work all day praying for God to open my eyes so that I may see wonderful things about Jesus Christ and now Im fully satisfied yet still desiring more.  Love sick and enjoying Him every minute of it.

I’m working on a commentary on the Song of Songs and this blog is a result of it.  But also I do my devotions in it quite often.  My devotions will be much more applicable to the believer rather than to a husband and wife but I plan on blogging each devotion from here on out.  This post gives you an idea of how the first 15-20 minutes of my devotion starts off.  I usually desire to be filled with the Spirit before starting my devotion and this post gives you an idea of how I hope to be being filled before I study.
Often think about the idea that Jesus wants you near Him where He is.  Jesus wants you to be with Him where He is because He loves you and died for you to be near and nearer to Him forever!

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Saved in 2000 at age 27. Nearly immediately I fell in love with the Song and grew very fast the first two years memorizing large portions of scripture purifying my mind the started chewing on meat to soon and struggled for 12 years and Christ has me on track like always but I just took the long way around and now I love leading others closer to Christ by seeing His love reflected in Solomons love for an enemy slave girl.

I have experienced God's love to me in the Song in ways that words can't express. There are many portion of the Word where she experiences extra ordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God. If you have a burning desire for a close intimate relationship with God by experiencing His Love to you over and over again at greater and greater heights, depths, lengths and breaths then The Song of Songs is where you need to be.

I can help you with this process of Growing in the experience of God's love. As of 7-23-16 I have experienced everything prior to chapter 8. The Song of Song is progressive in experience. Meaning that if you are mature then you can experience the joys and extraordinary outpourings of God's Love shed abroad in your heart.

If you are not so mature then the delights in the first chapter of the Song will satisfy your thirst for experiencing the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Many Christian are living in sin because they do not know how to experience God's love and get hooked on Loving Him. It feels good to be loved and to love Him. His burden is not heavy and His yoke is light, Jesus said in Matt. 10:28

I believe God wants to use me to help beautify His Bride through the Song of Solomon.

If you see the book literally you will not understand nor grasp the Love God has for you. If you see the book and the verses in it relating to Christ's love to you then I would love to show you how to experience this Love to the fullest. I will pray for you daily and guide you every step of the way.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I grew up going to church but was a hypocrite. I lived my life how I chose but went to church on Sunday because my family went.

Mom and Dad divorced when I was about 5.

About this time I was sexually abused by "Bob" a made up name. This incident changed my life for the worst. I had no clue how to deal with it.

As I got older I grew in my hatred for Bob. I didn't blame anyone of my family because I was to young to know any better. Some of what happened during the abuse was in a bathroom. So overtime I would use the bathroom and look at my private parts that night would replay in my mind. My hatred for Bob would continue to grow each time.

Now I know this only happened to me one night. I can't image the pain other's go through who have had this happen to them over and over. Even as I write this now I cry with many tears for those hurting. God love you even though you may not know it or feel it. Go to Him in your time of need.

I was a really bad teenager. I only cared about myself and not even my family. I always came first in my mind. Even at the expense of hurting others. I was growing in my hatred for God by now.

I was going to church and was learned that God was in control. I thought well, if God was in control then He must have let me be sexually abused. I didn't understand this, How could a good and loving God allow this. I hated Him for it. My hatred for Bob grew as well. I was still using the bathroom and memories kept coming back. My heart grew even harder for Bob and God. As far as I was concerned God would have nothing to do with my life so I lived even worse. I thought I would be in jail or dead and I really didn't care, I thought it could be much worse than reliving your painful past over and over again. Little did I know that God's plan later would be to use these events to give me a burning passion for the closest most intimate love relationship with Himself through Christ mainly through the love poem in the Song of Songs in the Bible.

I remember hating Bob so much that the only thing that would relieve my pain was actually thinking he would suffer forever for what he did. I grew so much in my hatred for him that I had to continue to think that he would get even worse than what I imaged before. After some time I would only be relieved of hatred for him unless I thought he would burn in a hotter and hotter hell for all the suffering he put me through.

I never told my mom or family what happened, although I think some of them knew something had happened.

I grew up quite rebellious and even went to jail at the age of 20. I was living the fast life pursuing all my sinful desires and wanting more. It never seemed to be enough. I was quite happy in my sin but I just wanted more of it.

I lived life thinking I would die at a young age, riding motorcycle and living on the edge put me in the hospital many times and I should have been dead.

California at age 26.

I moved to California for a job opportunity at the age of 27. While trying to figure out what radio stations to program in my car, I ran across a RC Sproul talking about "people who have the faith that saves and people who only say that have faith" only the people who have the faith that saves will go to heaven. I thought "I don't think I have the faith that saves because my life was so bad." I searched the scriptures to try to get this faith. I found a church and thought people there could help me get this faith that saves. All along God kept showing me how sinful I was and that I deserved punishment from Him for living my life hating Him.

One weekend I read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John desperately trying to find out how to get this faith that saves. By now I knew that if you had the faith that saves that Jesus would be saving you from a life of sin. I still liked my sin and Jesus sure wasn't saving me from a life of sin, so I rightly concluded that I didn't have the faith that saves.

By the time I got to John, I saw "believe" everywhere. John 3:16 and other verses and wow the whole book was written so that you may believe. John 20:31 "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." So at night I would pray "I believe Jesus died for me, I believe, I believe. This was just an intellectual belief. I knew that in history and the Bible that Jesus died for everyone, so I believed it. But this belief did not change my life.

I would go on night after night saying the same prayer only to wake up the next day wanting to fulfill my sinful desires. The prayer wasn't working so I started to word it different each time hoping some prayer would work. After about 2 weeks of this I was fed up with it all, nothing was happening. I still was living in my sin and wanted more of it. A Christian hates their sin and does something about it, and certainly they don't continue to make plans to sin. The prayers weren't working so I gave up. I thought to myself "God, I tried with all my might, I searched the Scriptures, went to church, read the Bible and prayed all to no avail. If Im going to be saved your going to have to do it because I tried."

So I quit praying but still the Bible kept calling me so I read more. 3 Days later I was laying in a tanning bed and God convicted me really hard that I had offended Him by the life I was living. I was so scared of God, where could I run. You can't hide from God. It seemed like forever that I was under these terrors of being punished by a Holy Angry God. This lasted about 10 minutes then this is how I understood it. God let me understand that all that anger that He had for me for all my sin should come my way but He had poured that anger out on Jesus 2,000 years ago. I immediately started weeping an couldn't stop for about 20 minutes. All the sins that I could think of I confessed for that 20 minutes one after another after another, I was so sorrowful and grieved it physically hurt inside.

After I stopped crying I thought that was the weirdest thing that ever happened. I walked out of the tanning salon and stood outside and everything seemed so beautiful, the tree's, the birds, even the air seemed pleasant. Now I was really wondering what was going on.

I pondered all of this as I drove to work that day. I brought my Bible to work and was thinking what am I doing, I want to take my Bible to work so I can read it. As soon as I got to work I started reading my Bible. I couldn't believe what I was reading!! It all was so wonderful. It felt so good to just read my Bible. My client showed up and as I was training them the only thing I could think about was getting back to my Bible. I read all night and slept about 2 hours and was reading again.

I had sinful things in my apartment and I rounded everything evil up and threw it in the garbage. It was weird I was thinking but it felt good so I left it all in the garbage. I called my girlfriend to break it up and she thought I had another girl, I said no, I just think this is wrong we shouldn't be sleeping together. She didn't understand so I told her I was a Christian now and she still thought I had another girlfriend. She said "Im glad your a Christian, so am I" I thought to myself, "I have a strong conviction that sleeping together is wrong and she thought it was okay" I wondered how she could think that. Anyway we broke up.

I kept reading my bible and repenting, there was so much to repent of and I had lived a very sinful life. I was a thief for some part of my life and all the people I stole from kept coming to mind. I owed so much money. I was instantly in debt about $80,000. As I could I paid them back. As of 7-18-2016 I still owe about $25,000 but it sure is a joy to be paying them back.

The first week of being saved a car just about ran me over, they hit me but I wasn't hurt at all. The guy in the car felt so bad. I just looked at him and said "God bless you and have a great day, I am okay" smiled at him and moved on. Now I was really wondering what was going on because I normally would have cussed him out left and right and instead of cussing I blessed him. That was so weird. But again it felt good. I learned to do good by what my conscience told me was good and that it felt good. I got hooked on this feeling good by doing good and did it more often.

About two weeks after being saved I thought of Bob. I immediately prayed for him, something like "Lord help him.." then I stopped praying and said out loud "What am I doing?" I'm praying for a man that I hated my whole life, but it feels good and right, so I did it again. I stopped again midway in the prayer and started pacing around. I was trying to make sense of what was going on and couldn't figure it out. But again it made me happy to pray for him so I did. Bob would often come to mind when I went to the bathroom and each time I would pray for Him. The more I did this the less weird it got. And the greater my love grew for him.

I started memorizing large portions of scripture and this was wonderful because it felt like the words were cleaning my mind and as Proverbs 2:10 "For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." I wanted more and more of this pleasantness. So I memorized even more and the joy got more and more.

Then this life changing advice came:

A friend from church told me to find a book of the Bible and really understand it. Read through the Bible and pick one and read it over and over and study it and really get it. So I started in Genesis and read through. When I got to Proverbs I really liked it so I thought that would be the book. I started by memorizing all of Proverbs chapter 3. After that I thought maybe there is a better book than Proverbs. So I read on. Then I came to Song of Solomon. I read it with quite some confusion. It wasn't as good as the other books, I didn't know why. So I bought a commentary on it. George Burrowes commentary on the Song of Solomon.

In the commentary I found that George and other saw the book as illustrating God's love to the Church. And not only illustrating it but displaying the Love of Christ better than any other book. This caught my attention big time, because I was having a burning desire for a closer relationship with God and desperately learning about His Love so that I could Love God. You see I had hated Him for so long that God used that old hard heart to spur me on in loving Him. I so much did not want to hate God anymore that I was on fire to learn to Love Him as much and as fast as possible. So here was a book that would help me do that. So I landed on the Song of Solomon. I committed to learning as much of this book as possible.

I memorized the first chapter and would repeat it often throughout the day. I didn't know much of what I was repeating but it sure made me happier and on fire for God. I grew so fast repeating the first chapter over and over again all day, like a dozen times a day at least. It felt so good and I never found any other book that caused me to weep so much. I would often weep everyday just reading it. I was to immature to know what was going on. Even though it hurt to weep so much, I felt like my heart was being cleansed from the filth that was in it by repeating it over and over again so I did. As I read the commentary I understood more and more. What God was doing in me through the Song was greater and faster than any other portion of Scripture so I tended to stay there often. I was so excited about God that I thought it funny that other's in church weren't the same way. Some where happy but it seemed most of them didn't seem to care much about God. They would talk about work, football the weather. The only thing I wanted to talk about was Jesus and God and how can I grow closer to Him.

About this time there was a mission trip to Ireland.

I started to have convictions that I should try to find Bob and witness to him. I kept praying for him but how could he be saved if he hadn't heard the Gospel that has power unto salvation. So I asked family if they had any information. Like me before, my family hated him and thought he deserved hell. After some time I got his name but no location or phone number. Either they didn't know where he was or didn't want to tell me. I prayed some more and then started to get stronger convictions to do something about finding Bob.

So I went on the internet and typed in "his name and child molestation sex offender court" thinking that some court record would have some info leading to where I may find him" I even talked to a private eye and he couldn't help. So I googled some key words and spent hours each day looking through each page. I believed it was God's will for me to witness to Bob. I wanted him to be saved. Really bad. So much so that I thought God would save Bob if I were to witness to him. So I didn't stop searching for him. I kept my computer on each day and went page by page. It took two years to go through about 15,000 pages but I found someone who matched his name in a prison for molesting his grandchildren. I wrote the prison and he wrote back. All kinds of emotions went through my body when I saw his letter from the jail. I didn't open it right away but two hours later God gave me enough courage to face my fears again and I opened the letter. He admitted to being the one who molested me. We wrote back and forth I told him I was angry before but now I was saved and that I loved him and believed God wanted me to talk to him. He read my letters over and over again. I shared the gospel in each one.

I got mad at Bob 2x. Once he said that he love me. I got really angry with him. He didn't love me. That night it was hard to love Bob, I had to call a friend to pray for me to repent, after he prayed I felt greater love for Bob. Then I wrote him back saying "I'm sorry but you can't say that you loved me. You did not love me you lusted after me." He admitted he didn't love as he should have and admitted that it was lust and sinful. Finally some conviction. Yet I only thought he was saying that because I was being nice to him. All his family had left him and he said I was the only "friend" he had.

Wether or not it was true Bob said that he had cancer in his arm and that the help the prison gives was not enough and if he had money he could see a different doctor and get help. I sent him some money and since I was in jail before I knew what it was like to be in there without money, so I sent him money.

About 4-5 months in the economy went down, it was 2008. Work was hard. I still sent him money and I had to work harder. This was a really good lesson for me because I had to "work hard for the benefit of someone who did not deserve it." This was one of the greatest blessing ever because I realized with great certainty that Jesus was in me. This is what Jesus did. Jesus worked his whole life for me and I didn't deserve it!! Christ was in me! This was one of the best feelings ever and it put me in worship for months.

Then a mission trip to Croatia.

Each time I had to leave my business and amazing as it is I was completely okay each time. I am a self employed personal trainer and it is normally absurd to just leave and start over, but each time I had enough work within 2 weeks of coming back. This is a flat out miracle. I trusted God to provide and he did. How many people can start up a business in 2 weeks. Only with the help of God. God was teaching me early on in my walk that as long as I did what He wanted me to do then I had nothing to worry about.

About 3 years saved now.

I Taught the 4 year old's at church Sunday morning for 10 years.

Left my business 2x for mission trips and God miraculously provided when I came back.

I taught 5 x a week plus held a job.

Sunday morning to the kids.
Sunday night with the 5th graders
Friday afternoons at Good News Clubs. Sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Friday Nights with the Kids teaching through Pilgrims Progress, I did this 2x
Teaching Monday afternoons at a nursing home. I taught through the Song of Songs once then John, then Romans then back to the Song again! I love the Song of Songs.
I grew up hating God for what happened to me, and now I love Him because He first loved me. My passion is for children to grow up loving God and not hating Him.

My other passion which has become ever greater is to help others see the Love of Christ to His Church in the Song of Songs!!

I would love to help you, just let me know and I will lead you and pray for you.

God demonstrates His love to us in sending His one and only Son to suffer in our place, taking our sins upon Himself so that whoever believes they get to heaven because of what He did for us will not perish but have everlasting life.

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