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Archive for the ‘Lover of my soul’ Category

Two mountains which figure prominently in the Bible when taken together, represent the character of God.  One mountain is characterized  by a consuming fire.  On that mountain, God displayed His judgment and His holiness.  The other mountain is characterized by blood and sacrifice.  On that mountain, God displayed His consuming love and mercy.

Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai is the backdrop for Israel’s receipt of the Law.  The mountain is where God met Moses and is primarily characterized by fire:

  • Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.  Exodus 19:18
  •  The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.  Exodus 24:17
  • Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.  Deuteronomy 4:11
  •  The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.  Deuteronomy 5:4
  •  Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.  Deuteronomy 9:10
Mount Zion
The other mountain is Mount Zion (found within the land given to the tribe of Judah).   Mt. Zion was sometimes called The City of David, and descriptions of Mt. Zion paint a very different picture from those describing Mt. Sinai:
  • Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed-This Mount Zion where You have dwelt.  Psalm 74:2
  • But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.  Psalm 78:68
  •  Those who trust in the LORD Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.  Psalm 125:1
  • And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.  Joel 2:32
  • Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.  Revelation 14:1

Paul makes the case for the two mountains in his letter to the Hebrews:

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. . . . And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.  

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.   Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:18-29

It is the same God of both mountains, so we should keep both mountains in view:

  • one where God laid down His law, a place of judgment.
  • one where God laid down His life, a perfect sacrifice, a place of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.
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It is wonderful to study and meditate on the love of God.  It is a subject that never grows old and is found on every page of the Bible and in every encounter with the living God.  As we walk with God, we find evidences of His love in our own lives, like those in the Bible.

But one might ask, “What is the take away?”

Here are some of the many things that we learn and “take away” from meditating on and living in the knowledge of God’s love:

  • We gain personal relationship with God.  When we understand the offer (John 3:16) and accept it (Romans 10:13), we become sons of God.
  • We gain eternal life.  God promises eternal life to those who believe. (Romans 6:23)
  • We gain factual knowledge to draw us toward God as we consider what He has done.
  • We gain experiential knowledge by our time spent with God, by watching how He changes us and moves in our lives.
  • We receive love, so we are able to be better givers of love.
  • We receive strength to accept difficult things from God’s hand when we know and understand and receive as truth the love of God for us.

Beloved, take time to consider, to meditate, to live in the knowledge of the love of God for you.  He loved, loves and will love you for eternity.  That should transform your life.

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When I think of God’s love for me (for us), I want to sing . . .  mostly because there are some great songs today about God’s love for us that capture some of the essence of it.

One song we sing at church and is on the radio has the refrain, “Amazing love, how can it be that my King would die for me?  Another has a repeating refrain, “He love us, oh how He loves us.”  The repetition of the phrase over and over starts to really speak of the limitlessness of God’s love.  Another song puts it this way, “Your love is amazing, steady and unchanging.  Your love is a mountain firm beneath my feet.”  I don’t think there is much better to sing about than the love of God for us and the manifestation of that love in the person and death of Jesus.

Of course, we learn of the great love of God for us (that causes us to sing) from the words of scripture:

  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)
  • In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  in this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
  • For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  (Rom. 5:6)
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Rom. 5:8)
  • But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.  (Eph. 2:4-9)

This love is like an avalanche that crashes over us.  It is no small thing, this love of Jesus, to be discarded as mere philosophy or self-sacrifice of one good teacher.  No, this act of love is so great that mere words cannot describe it, songs only hint at it, and pictures fall short of portraying it.  This love is an endless sea into which we pitch ourselves in desperation when we have nothing else, and there we find our Savior-God, our Kinsman Redeemer, has provided us a great yacht on which to travel in safety under His direction to see the greatest wonders of the universe, a life filled with adventure and purposeful challenges to make us like Him.  What other lover offers so much and has the resources and desire to deliver and never take back what He has given.

This is God . . . these are the mere edges of His ways.

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Matthew 11:28-30   (Jesus Speaking) says,  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

This scripture speaks to us of 2 aspects of the promise of rest in this scripture.
1. Eternal aspect of the promise of Rest:  Salvation and Eternal life with God
  • The Bible, teaches that it is appointed man once to die and then the judgment.  You will not be able to take your “protections” with you.  Things will not keep you safe from the judgment of God. One day, you will stand totally exposed before the Holiness of God to answer for your life, to answer the questions, “What have you done with my Son, Jesus?”  What will you say?  Not knowing for sure or trying to earn your way can leave your weary and in need of rest.  This is the rest that Jesus is offering.
  • If you haven’t dealt with the issue of eternity, it is likely you have not dealt with your sin.  The older we get, the more are failures and mistakes seem to increase.    Are you weary and heavy laden from carrying the burden of failed marriages?  Failed relationships with family?   Failed parenting?  Failed careers?  Failed attempts to overcome self-destructive addictions or behaviors?  Failed religious experiences?  Despite all your bravado, your jokes, your defenses, do you know deep down that you have fallen short of God’s perfection and there is nothing you can do to bridge that gap?  Does sin weigh on you?  Are your failures heavy?  Have you gone too far?  Have you been too bad, hurt too many, fallen to far?  Even for God?
  • Do you long for rest – to settle with God the issue of your sin – to accept the gift of His Son – the perfect sacrifice – the atonement for your sin?   There is good news!   Jesus offers hope.
  • Jesus will take all you have – all the evil, the sin, failures, pride, self-reliance, arrogance, rage, revenge, abuse.   He’ll trade all your garbage – and for that, He’ll give you rest.
2. A life of rest is characterized by walking by the power and under the direction of the Holy Spirit  There are 6 places you can find rest (6 essential truths – when understood and incorporated into our life, will allow rest)
  • At the cross
  • In the acceptance of God’s Grace
  • In Surrender to Lordship of Jesus
  • In obedience to God
  • In fellowship with God (knowing Him and His promises – spending time with Him)
  • In walking yoked with the Holy Spirit

May you find the rest today that is available through Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.  There is much to be busy about, but Jesus told us that the “good part” was sitting at His feet.

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