A Song of Songs 2:8 Valentine

When we depart from the wilderness, we emerge more ascended, anointed, transformed—stronger in The Lord to re-meet the world in new ways (Song of Songs 3:6).

As wildernesses go, we often think of the Israelites’ forty-year journey out of Egypt. But I submit to you the Shulamite woman in King Solomon’s “Song of Songs:”

Having met her Bridegroom-King’s loving grace in her wilderness, this Shulamite woman, who didn’t feel radiant at all at the outset, came to know The Lord more in the deep places of her heart before she met Him on the mountaintop of her high calling.

What we can easily miss in her journey (and in the Israelites’), however, is that God’s promises were available to her all along, since He was her first place of promise. In His Presence are His promises.

He responded to her invitations.

He knew her heart.

He did not give up on her.

He believed in her.

As with the Shulamite woman, God believes in us and comes to us joyfully, desiring we receive Him and His abundant blessings more (Song of Songs 2:8).

As believers, His promises are inside of us.

As followers, His promises are not a far off land.

Past her reticent fear, even through the dark night of the Shulamite woman’s soul, all the way into the increased establishment of her high calling, God worked with her to fulfill His promises to her—first inwardly then outwardly.

Incrementally.

Across her mountain of hindrance awaited her greatest realization of this. But, until then, just like with the Israelites, God’s glory and promises showed up for the Shulamite woman, inviting her to grow in His greater fruitfulness as she yielded her heart to His.

I’ve come to know Him in this process.

I hope you have, too.

Our truest dreams are His promises revealed (Gen. 28:15-16).

“So now wrap your heart tightly around the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises!” (Heb. 10:23, TPT)

This Valentine’s Day, may we be reminded of our Bridegroom-King’s everlasting love for us by experiencing a profoundly intimate touch of His truth in a new way.

May He deliver us from the common things into the uncommon, the promises fulfilled that require our action of His great faith in us to meet His loving grace for us … in His best plan.

May we say “yes” to our Lord’s invitation to follow Him into His tangible promises … unafraid.

Are you willing to venture with Him?

“Listen! I hear my lover’s voice. I know it’s Him coming to me—leaping with joy over mountains, skipping in love over the hills that separate us, to come to me.” (Song of Songs 2:8, TPT)

This article appeared online at Charisma’s SpiritLed Woman magazine February 12, 2019 under the title,”Your Valentine’s Reminder of God’s Promise-Keeping Love.”

The Goodness of God

Preparation

Before preparing for our recent beach vacay, I had been praying, “Lord, I want to see Your light, Your goodness.” 

It wasn’t that I hadn’t seen His goodness ever, or for a long time, or even for a short period of time. In fact, I had been seeing it daily for a long time, as I had been entrenched for years in deep Bible study, deep truths, and deep personal transformation.

I just wanted to experience His goodness in a lighter way.

Vacay

I loved these yellow flowers. They caught my eye every time I passed by.

So off we went—my husband, Glynn, and I—on our first real vacation in two years. 

Exhausted on arrival, we dropped our bags and headed out to dinner at a resort restaurant. Already, I was feeling lighter—dressed in lighter clothes with warm evening sunlight and smiles everywhere. 

Messenger

On this first day at the resort, and most every day thereafter, one thing in particular stood out:

A mature gentleman, who worked as a traffic guard at a certain crossroad. 

Each time we passed by him, he seemed to rejoice in The Lord. And, he seemed to do it only when he saw us. 

Glynn with our beloved special guard.

Bueno!

This guard would blow his whistle, look up at the beautiful sky, lift his hands to Heaven, and shout uninhibitedly and melodically in a rich voice, “Bueno! Bueno! Bueno!”

Glynn and I would smile big, wave back to him and shout, “Bueno!”  

Answer to Prayer

After a couple of days, Holy Spirit gave me a revelation that this guard was on divine assignment to EXPRESS THE GOODNESS OF GOD to me in a light-filled, profound way.

This was God’s answer to my prayer!

Such a Delight

Each day thereafter, Glynn and I looked more forward to seeing our special guard. We would wave, lift our hands, and rejoice with him even more dramatically as we drove by. All three of us would shout in unison, as loud as we could, “Bueno! Bueno! Bueno! 

We loved our special guard God sent to us . . . to help us lighten up and simply rejoice in The Lord without burden or distraction.

Adiós Amigo

When it was time to go, we were sad to leave our new, wise friend.

Of all our memories from our beach vacation, this one (and a few more) remains close to our hearts.

Contemplating God’s beauty on our last day at the resort.

My Prayer for You

Praise be to God on high!

I pray God sends you your own special guard to watch over you, to safeguard you, to rejoice over you and with you, and to remind you of His light to the point of refreshing. Amen.

Scriptures

“The Lord is my revelation-light to guide me along the way;”  -Psalm 27:1 TPT

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  -Psalm 34:8 NIV

“Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One!” -Philippians 4:4 TPT


Jesus is the door, the gate, the light, the true path. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4 NIV)

Bitter or Sweet

Recently, I cozied in on this season’s first cold day with a cup of tea and a favorite gingerbread cookie from a local specialty store. As I bit into the soft decadent dessert, the flavors of bitter and sweet seemed more pronounced than when I had eaten them before.

The molasses was sweet. The baking soda or powder was bitter.

I did not like the bitter.

I had a distinct sense that God was expressing something to me.

I flipped on the TV to watch Pastor Jentezen Franklin. No accident, he shared a message about how the Israelites had eaten bitter herbs in Egypt and, as a result, they were difficult to be around.

He described their words as having “stunk bitterly.”

Later, I flipped through a stack of books a friend had borrowed and returned to me. One of them was John Eckhardt’s Destroying the Spirit of Rejection: Receive Love and Acceptance and Find Healing. A nugget on one of the pages leapt out at me: Provoke is rooted in bitterness.

This brought to mind someone I know who, from a very young age, seemed to have made an art of controlling others through antagonistic provoke–stirring up trouble (instead of Holy Spirit). It reminded me of the deep “unprovokable” work The Lord did in me over the years and continues to do.

The next day, I picked up my Bible reading in the book of “Proverbs,” where I had left off. I discovered even more clues to this message The Lord was building . . .

“There’s only one kind of person who is worse than a fool: the impetuous one who speaks without thinking first” (Proverbs 29:20 TPT).

I felt led to look up “impetuous.” Webster’s defines it as “marked by impulsive vehemence or passion (temperament).”

I felt led to look up “vehemence.” Webster’s defines it as “forceful energy, powerful wind, intensely emotional, fervid, deeply felt (suspicion), forceably expressed (denunciations), bitterly antagonistic (debate).”

I noticed that on page (267) of my TPT Bible is the study note: “Wind is an emblem of the Holy Spirit bringing new life” (John 3:6-8).

Then the Word of The Lord was made clear:

Bitterness can be a false establishment of a driving force behind provoke, antagonism, intensely emotional temperaments. Do not tolerate the false shield of provoke (rooted in bitterness) from others or yourself. Extend the true shield of faith for grace to come to know the Presence of God more than any familiar spirit of provoke. Remain in faith.

Bitterness works against the Holy Spirit on your behalf. It can hinder new life through Christ. Do not accept the false wind of bitterness over the Holy Spirit’s wind of change for new life. A sweet countenance is required for where God desires to lead you and with whom He desires to align you in His promised land. Choose to receive His big fruit (abundant) blessings. Remain in His Word.

 I prayed . . .

Dear Lord, Regarding bitterness, please pluck up any root and rid me of all residue. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit of light, life and truth, in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Let me be a flourishing branch, a good tree with flourishing branches. Let my heart be Your beautiful garden that produces and attracts a sweet harvest of good fruit—Your goodness demonstrated—as I abide in You at the root level. As You water me with Your Word, continue to make me “a woman of strength and mighty valor, a radiant woman” (Proverbs 31:10, 31). One who “lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of The Lord” (Proverbs 31:30). An anointed cloud “carried by the wind of the Holy Spirit [to] bring refreshing truths to [Your] people” (Proverbs 25:14 TPT Note).

Funny thing, I don’t think I like those gingerbread cookies as much as I used to. God offered me something better: more authenticity in my relationship with Him.

He enabled me to receive more gratitude and true intimacy.

“For the natural realm can only give birth to things that are natural, but the spiritual realm gives birth to supernatural life! You shouldn’t be amazed by my statement, ‘You all must be born from above!’ For the Spirit-wind blows as it chooses. You can hear its sound, but you don’t know where it came from or where it’s going. So it is within the hearts of those who are Spirit-born” (John 3:6-8 TPT)!

“But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, he will unveil the reality of every truth within you. He won’t speak on his own, but only what he hears from the Father, and he will reveal prophetically to you what is to come” (John 16:13 TPT).

“As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us” (Hebrews 12:1 TPT).

“You must catch the troubling foxes, those sly little foxes that hinder our relationship. For they raid our budding vineyard of love to ruin what I’ve planted within you. Will you catch them and remove them for me? We will do it together” (Song of Songs 2:15 TPT).

“These ‘foxes’ are the compromises that are hidden deep in our hearts. These are areas of our lives where we have not yet allowed the victory of Christ to shine into. The foxes keep the fruit of his Spirit from growing within us” (TPT Bible note for Song of Songs 2:15).

“And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power” (Ephesians 3:16 TPT).

“Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you” (Ephesians 6:10 TPT).

Never Give Up

I am loving hearing so many preachers share fresh messages of transformation, over inspiration these days: revealing the “how to,” not solely the precepts that help us along our path of righteousness.

I have long awaited. Maybe you have, too.

Surely, we are in a “suddenly” mode of breakthroughs for our lives, having experienced incremental advances for a long time. I see points of breakthrough converging in my life in five major areas, which I will share in later posts.

For now, I feel led to share a story about John

John was someone my husband, Glynn, worked with for a few years. During their first year, Glynn would occasionally share nuggets of concern with me about John and ask me to pray for his salvation.

I did.

John became even more personal to me the following year, when he transferred to a different job site and invited Glynn to join him.

Glynn did join him, and I followed to make a temporary home for us.

Newly positioned, I was able to finally meet John in person. A bar was the only place John was willing to semi-socialize. So, while he hid away in a few different dark bars in-between hospital visits, Glynn and I met him twice.

Since no place is too dark for Jesus to shine His light, it’s what Jesus would have done.

John had been diagnosed with cancer, and his prognosis wasn’t good.

I saw John in passing at the new job site occasionally.

From the first moment I met him, God showed me a lot for the purpose of knowing better what to pray. Each time thereafter, my heart felt more ignited to press in for John.

Because I KNEW IN MY SPIRIT I was on divine assignment, no matter how resistant John was outwardly toward God (or my outreach), I was determined to not give up praying for him.

Stay on the path of your divine assignment.

No. Matter. What.

God had set my heart on Him in this regard.

I soon met John’s wife Stacy, who was a believer with a few serious health issues of her own.

I prayerfully and secretly met with Stacy. She didn’t have anyone else, locally, to help her. We were all new in town, and God had opened a door for me to reach out.

Over time, I saw incremental improvements in both John and Stacy. John even allowed Glynn to pray over him in the hospital a couple of times. We did the same for Stacy, who was greatly willing.

Sadly, within a couple of years, both John and Stacy passed into eternity. First Stacy, then John months later.

Just before John passed, I felt an urgency to press into God for him like never before. I would ask Glynn for updates on John’s health and his willingness toward salvation. But the reports were mostly negative. Still, I held onto hope that God would turn John’s heart, even if it was in his final moments on earth, alone with God.

Only God knows what people say to Him during their final breaths.

When we received word that John had passed, we wept. Glynn and I both loved John, as God had graciously put compassion in our hearts for him.

I felt a great desire for resolve rise up in my heart concerning John’s salvation. I had to hear from my Lord on the matter. I needed a confirmation directly from Him. I believed in my spirit all the prayer God had me pray would not return void, that God would never disappoint.

Still . . .

I NEEDED IT TO BE SETTLED IN MY SOUL ON A LEVEL THAT ONLY GOD HIMSELF COULD SATISFY, SPECIFICALLY REGARDING JOHN. I NEEDED CLOSURE.

So, for privacy sake, Glynn and I drove to a nearby park in an open field. We sat in our vehicle and prayed. I asked The Lord to show us a sign that John had been saved. I asked God to show me a rainbow RIGHT NOW as a sign that our beloved John made it to Heaven.

God’s revealed promise.

IMMEDIATELY AND SUDDENLY, through our windshield, we looked up to see the gray rainclouds above us break open. TWO RAINBOWS appeared!

Our hearts wept as we thanked God and rejoiced over John’s salvation!

It has been a couple of years since John’s passing. Every time I think of him now, I feel elated for him, for where he is, and for what God did for him. I know in my spirit and in my heart that John is rejoicing in Heaven, too.

I hope this story encourages you to willingly and eagerly agree with God when He puts someone on your heart to pray in their salvation. I hope you will willingly and eagerly set your heart on God and never give up, believing and pressing in for them until God’s time to release you.

We can trust God to bring to fruition the seeds of prayer He moves us to pray, even for the most impossible people.

His mercy triumphs over judgment to everlasting.

Be encouraged!

To God be the glory!

“Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!” -Psalm 27:14 TPT

“Everyone who believes in Him will never be disappointed.”  -Romans 10:11 TPT

“Go and rescue the perishing! Be their savior! Why would you stand back and watch them stagger to their death? And why would you say, “But it’s none of my business’? The One who knows you completely and judges your every motive is also the keeper of souls—and not just yours! He sees through your excuses and holds you responsible for failing to help those whose lives are threatened.” -Proverbs 24:11-12 TPT

Beacon of Light

The Move

When I was a tween, my family and I moved one block over from our previous home into a late 1960s split foyer up on a hill. It was situated directly in the landing pattern of what was then Friendship International Airport (now BWI).

I loved this new house!

One of the things that intrigued me most was that, when I stood at the picture window in the living room, I could see the airport beacon across the treetops in the distance. Spinning green, then white, I would pause and look for it nightly. I felt a deep and unexplainable draw.

Eventually, I explored.

Sample Beacon: Morristown, TN Airport

About six years later, when I was nearing high school graduation, my two best friends and I discussed our career plans. Both of them mentioned working as a flight attendant. I had never thought about it, but I listened. (I had been on an airplane only once before.)

All of us applied to various airlines.

The Outcome

One friend was hired by American Airlines and was soon furloughed twice. (It was the beginning of the industry’s deregulation.) She resigned to work a steady job. My other friend interviewed at TWA but didn’t meet their strict height requirement. She moved on to work toward starting a very successful business.

I was interviewed by American Airlines and United Airlines. I passed onto the required physical at United, but I didn’t pass the physical. I had an inner ear infection and didn’t know it. Their company doctor instructed me to go home, get it cleared up and come back.

But I never went back.

When I returned home from that physical, an authority figure close to me expressed her disapproval of me flying. She felt it was unsafe, as hijackings were all too common back then. She suggested I get a nice desk job.

I pondered what she said. But I didn’t pray about it at all (because I didn’t know better at the time). Instead, I considered the circumstances before me: an unpredictable flight schedule that would prevent my attending college, and the emergency landing I had experienced on the DC-10 that flew me to my United interview.

So I took a desk job.

And I hated it, because God did not call or assign me to be there. (I didn’t understand this back then.)

About ten years later, I applied to Piedmont Airlines and was quickly hired. This airline soon became US Airways, then later American Airlines. I worked there for over fifteen years, when God clearly called me out.

Full-Circle Lesson

If I had begun to fly right out of high school, my life would have been better sooner and later in many ways. The advice I was initially given by the authority figure was not wise counsel. It was fear-based, not faith-based. I rationalized my circumstances, where I should have given it all to The Lord in prayer and received His gracious Word on the matter.

I missed the mark, and it costed me more than anyone knows.

God’s gracious plan is to prosper us (Jer 29:11, Jn 10:10). Our plan will always lead to disappointment (Ro 10:11).

God used that airport beacon all those years ago to draw me near to Him in what He called and assigned me to navigate from a young age.

Margaret (R) finally at BWI.

I learned:

  1. Always pray and ask God to reveal HIS callings and assignments to you at the outset.
  2. Be sensitive to Holy Spirit. Follow through with what HE reveals above what others suggest, including those closest to you, no matter what. Even if others mean well, they do not know or understand the fullness of God’s unique vision and plan for you.
  3. When a storm of confusion or opposition presents itself, keep your eyes fixed on the light and stay the course. Your path is lit by the One who is greater. (The enemy of your soul may try to close the door of opportunity, in more ways than one, to detour you off your destiny. Don’t fall for this hoax. Choose to believe God’s truth and grace for you in His plan, and press through His open door based on what He revealed to you at the outset.)
  4. If you miss God’s callings, they remain; but if you don’t step into them in His timing, it will cost you. You will experience limited operations until your visibility improves. It will take time to recover, sometimes years. So quickly confess areas of dis-alignment with God, forgive yourself, ask Him to help you and move forward. His grace will meet your faith to bring it to pass.

We are all tested in choosing God’s way for His glory and our own personal wellbeing.

Pass the test as soon as possible. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and resources. God will enable you to reach out to others as you go forward.

Sample Beacon: Morristown, TN Airport

Beacon Scriptures

“O LORD, you are my lamp. The LORD lights up my darkness.”  -2 Samuel 22:29 NLT

“Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”  -Daniel 12:3 NLT

“When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;”  -Job 29:3 KJB