- Houston4JESUS team
DAY 11 - SUPERIOR LOVE
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Read the Bible verses related to each devotion.
Then follow the actions and prayers for yourself and a nonbeliever at the bottom of the page.
READ Song of Solomon 1
GOAL: Encounter the Superior LOVE of God and let this become a part of our language when speaking about yourself, those around you, and your enemies.
Today, we will begin searching out God’s love as written (and sung) in the Song of Solomon. But before we do, let’s take a moment to grow in some deeper truth. Remember your greatest calling is to love God and be loved by Him. He said the first commandment was to love Him with your whole heart, soul, and mind. Below is another crucial step in that journey. You are a son or daughter—a child of God—and you are the Bride of Christ. God’s ultimate eternal purpose for creation is to provide a family for Himself that includes faithful children for Himself (the Father) and an equally yoked Bride, the eternal companion for His Son (Jesus). The Holy Spirit’s job is to joyfully share God’s heart of Love with you while releasing measures of grace for you to walk fully obedient unto the Lord. Your job is to not just be the Bride, but also to be a Friend of the Bridegroom, just like John the Baptist (Jn. 3:29). John wholeheartedly loved God and prepared the way for Jesus to come by loving people out of their sinful lifestyles. You can do this by living like John: holy and set apart unto God. I know what you're thinking, “Seriously, I can’t live holy, and I don’t want to wear camel skin, eat locust and honey, while screaming in the desert, ‘REPENT!’” Hold on, just because you don’t think you can live holy doesn’t mean God can’t make you holy. Magnificent and holy is His nature. He is holy, and that is the invitation for your life (1 Peter 1:16). You are made for greatness; you are an ordinary person called to do extraordinary things. You may think, “I don’t feel so amazing. So why do you think I was made for greatness?” Because God heartily promised to give Jesus an inheritance consisting of a people whom He fully possesses in love. “I (the Father) will give You (Jesus) the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (Ps. 2:8). Today, we must constantly search out a deeper view of who Jesus is in order for us to continue growing mature in love. Remember, the Father loves you as a child, and Jesus loves you as His Bride. Let’s look at four very important realities of the knowledge of Jesus as a starting point for our maturing in love.
First, Jesus is our Savior; He willingly pays the debt of your sin. He loves you enough to lay down His life that you might live.
Second, He is also the Bridegroom that loves you with tender affections (Matt. 22:34-40; Rev. 22:17). The Bible begins and ends with a wedding.
Third, He is the Just Judge that will judge all the earth (Isa. 2:1-5). He will perfectly pass judgment on all that is wrong. As the Just Judge, He loves you and is always just and righteous in His ways (Rev. 19:11). He is always on your side fighting against injustice.
Fourth, He is the Heavenly King that will rule all the earth (Ps. 2). As the King, He loves you and has made a place for you to rule and reign in the Kingdom forever (Rev. 1:5-6), because God has so much more for you. So, let’s look at four ways His amazing love is for us. The first important revelation is that Jesus has intense affections and deep enjoyment of His people. You are made for LOVE. As a child, you want to be loved by your mother. And a good mother would cradle you as a newborn and tend your scraped knee from learning to walk. Also, she cheers you on with “well done” when you learn to ride a bike. In like manner, you want the love of a good father. A father that will protect, provide, nurture, and guide you in the path that you should go, while speaking firmly and tenderly all at the same time. Next, you want to be loved by siblings, family members, and eventually a spouse. But did you know Jesus has tender affections for you? He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Rom. 8:34), listening to the Father’s immeasurable thoughts and desires for you, and Jesus is enthusiastically willing to illuminate them to you. (Just ask Him). You will mature in the affections of God by diligently studying the Word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to position these truths in your heart. Second, the revelation of the overwhelming majesty and beauty of Jesus, especially as the Bridegroom King. You will become what you behold. When you gaze at something genuinely beautiful your insides exploded, and are powerfully moved with awe and wonder. As you purposefully search for the majesty and beauty of the essence and character of Jesus, you will behold the grandeur of God the Father—significantly altering your life one gaze at a time. Third, the revelation of the unique beauty of the individual believer to Jesus, even in our weakness. In your weakness, brokenness, and pain, you are infinitely beautiful to God. He enjoys you even in your weakness. But if you want to know what you look like to God, study the Song of Solomon; believe the Son, and sing about the Song of Solomon. Fourth, we understand His love is for us as we study the principles needed to grow in love and mature partnership with Jesus—walking forth holy as He is holy. As you study the Song you will see that God has invited you into a lifestyle of happy holiness. SONG OF SOLOMON Now let’s take a look at God’s love as spoken through the Song of Solomon. Let Him (JESUS) kiss me (your heart; Bride of Christ) with the kisses of His mouth (God's words of intimate love)—for your love is better than wine. (SofS 1:2) The Song of Solomon is a love story between a man and a woman. But Solomon was given Godly wisdom, and this is also a story of God’s love for humanity. He is the Bridegroom, and you are the Bride. In Song of Solomon 1:2a, the Bride is declaring that she would desire a kiss from the lips of Solomon. The kiss of the mouth speaks of holy, married love—intimacy. In the natural she desires a kiss of intimacy. However, the Word of God proceeds from God’s mouth, and we need the kisses of His word (Intimacy with His word). Our heart can only live by that which comes from the mouth of God and not bread alone (Matt. 4:4). This is a crucial understanding. (actually, CRUCIAL is not a big enough word). Just as you need air to breathe, you need the intimacy found in His word. God’s word is full of POWER to transform our lives. Therefore, we must ask for His words to touch our hearts in an intimate way. Today, a passionate praying generation is arising that knows they are loved by God (Rev. 22:17). Rest secure in God’s love or you will seek to find security in lesser loves that hopelessly lead down a path of unfulfilled regret. Next, it is important to know that God’s love is “better than wine” (Song of Solomon 1:2b). Or, “Your love (God’s tender affection) is better than wine.” Wine speaks of earthly pleasure. She is declaring that the king's love is greater, or superior than earthly pleasure. Likewise, the pleasures of the words of God are better than legitimate earthly pleasure and the fleeting fleshly feelings of sin. This does not mean that God does not like legitimate earthly pleasure. He created pleasure; you are made for LOVE. Instead, He is affirming that His love is greater than all forms of earthly pleasure. You should sincerely enjoy God’s love, while enjoying the legitimate earthly pleasures that He provides (of course within reason 1 Cor. 6:11-13). But we should not engage in illegitimate pleasure. His LOVE is superior, and therefore should ultimately be enjoyed. How do we encounter this love that is better than wine? Through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. When we read the Word of God, we are asking for His tender affections to come alive and transforms our hearts and minds. Second, when we pray and worship, the Holy Spirit will encounter us with God’s affections. Each time this happens our hearts grow more and more with His gentle love. And, God’s light dispels darkness. When we cooperate with His love, the pain, brokenness, and misguided affections are gone, and our hearts can burn with fiery affection for Him. Let’s look closer at God’s Word, His Spirit, and how we can grow in understanding. WORD + SPIRIT = UNDERSTANDING WORD: The Word of God is sacred (holy). The writer of Hebrews taught that God’s Word was alive and active (Heb. 4:12). This means that His Word is truth that will transform you, and that it is the light to your path (Ps. 119:105) (today and in the age to come). The Word also reveals the heart, longing, and loving affections of God, teaching you who He is and what He thinks about you. We provide rich, biblically sound teachings, so that your soul will flourish in the safety of the Scriptures! HOLY SPIRIT: The Spirit of God is a Counselor, Guide (John 16:13), Friend, and Teacher (John 14:26). Also, the Holy Spirit has creative power, bringing living and fresh revelation to your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Eph. 1:17). The Holy Spirit searches the deep things of the Father (1 Cor. 2:10) and we provide the opportunity for you to enjoy and cultivate a fresh, vibrant, deep, and loving relationship with Him. UNDERSTANDING: WORD + SPIRIT = UNDERSTANDING. As you combine the Word (lamp) with the Spirit (guide) you will grow in Divine Understanding (powerful revelation). Divine Understanding is like a rushing, life-giving waterfall in your life. Imagine a river flowing along a stream bed, quickly picking up speed and then cascading over the edge, plummeting down, crashing upon the rocks below. The river bed is the Word, which provides firm foundations and boundaries, while the water is the Spirit of God, which flows along powerfully. The waterfall is the moment when the Word and the Spirit combine, and LIFE explodes forth, taking everything from one level to the next! Prayer, worship, and meditation on God’s word provides the tools you need to go from one level to the next, so that Divine Understanding bursts forth, out of your innermost being like a waterfall of living water (John 7:38), touching even to the ends of the earth. So, what about you? WHAT ARE YOU BURNING FOR? What are you burning for? What is the “wine” in your life? What is the earthly pleasure that you are reaching for? (usually, a little voice comes inside your head to do one of two things right now.
First, it defends your actions, shares how you are really in control, and justifies you. Next, it may say well at least you are not like that other person. Oh really? If not, then why defend yourself? We are not responsible for other people’s actions, just our personal response to God's beckoning call in our lives). Are you fueled by the passionate love of Christ on the inside of you? Or is your flesh burning from a love that will never satisfy? Today, just turn it over to God. Turn your broken passions over to Him and ask Him to set His fiery love in your heart. So, what is it gonna be? What is holding you back? God’s love is the only thing that can fill the hole in your heart. Every other, lesser love, cannot fill the hole inside of you. So what are you burning for? ACTION4U Stand up. Take whatever lesser loves you are burning for and give it to God. Just give it to Him. Name them off. Name them off one by one and then pray the prayer below. PRAYER4U “God, You are a good Father, I am your child, and You love me. I am sorry I have been burning for lesser loves. I am struggling with __________ (list them off). I know that is not my identity. I am Your child; I am the bride of Christ. So today I give You my struggle. Take it. And kiss my heart with the tender Word of God. When I read the Bible, lets Your tender affections come alive and transform my heart.” ACTION4ONE Write down a list of things you think they struggle with. Then on your knees, give the list to God. Ask Him to take their struggles away. PRAYER4ONE “Father, I know You love __________. Today, I ask that you would take their struggles (name them off). God, I intercede. I know I am guilty of sin, but You are not. You are rich in Mercy and filled with Grace. So, come and help this one today. Let Your fiery passion burn in their heart.”
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