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Tag Archives: Song of Solomon

  • Absence Makes the Heart Grow Colder

    Posted on February 24, 2014 by ShauntiFeldhahn

    Shaunti Feldhahn

    Most couples call each other "beloved" and "friend" when they stand at the altar. But as the years roll along, it's easy to take each other for granted. A joy of marriage is being able to relax and not be "on" all the time. But problems arise when one day we realize our marriage relationships aren't as close as they used to be.

    This change can happen in any of our relationships — including with the Lord. It's so easy to wake up and discover we still love God, still love our spouse, our relative or our friend ... but there's a little distance there.

    Thankfully the rest of Song of Solomon provides a hint to the solution: This couple spent a lot of time together. And a lot of intimate time together, at that! When I was doing the research for my book The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, I learned the primary factor in creating close friendships isn't shared values, similar interests or compatible personalities: it's geographic proximity. You are closest to those you spend the most time with.

    If you've ever had a dear friend move away, you've discovered that truth. No matter how much you want to stay close, it just isn't the same. It works the same way in all our relationships. In my interviews with the happiest couples, I kept hearing the same thing: these folks were simply hanging out a lot. Not just formal date nights, but going to kids' activities, sharing a hobby or even watching their favorite TV series together.

    These happy couples acted as if their marriages were first and foremost friendships. Friendships they wanted to keep vibrant no matter what.

    One husband told me, "For me, getting married was because I wanted a lifelong companion. It wasn't about the sex or the tax write-off. I wanted a built-in best friend for the rest of my life. Most people probably do. So you need to look at the reasons you want to be in a relationship in the first place, and be intentional to make it happen."

    And that is what suffers when we begin to take God, our spouse, a friend or relative for granted — we stop being intentional. We stop spending as much time together. We get so busy with other priorities and don't make room for our main priority. Then as we become more distant, little irritations become bigger frustrations.

    And what do we do next? We spend even less time together. Our parents irritate us so it seems better not to have dinner together for a while. We're tired of marital conflict so we avoid our spouse. Or we are mad at God because a desperate prayer wasn't answered the way we wanted, so we stick our prayer journal in a drawer.

    All of those solutions are tempting, but they ensure that while we may still call the other "beloved," we will no longer feel like "friends." And after a while, "beloved" may become a casualty too.

    Do you want to be closer to your spouse? Are you irritated with a friend or relative? Feeling distant from God? Emulate those who enjoy their relationships the most — by hanging out more, not less. You may just find enjoyment welling up again in your relationships too.

    Lord, thank You for the special gift of these relationships: (mention by name). Forgive me for taking them for granted. Most of all, forgive me for taking You for granted. I am so grateful that even when I pull away, You are the friend that sticks closer than a brother. Help me to be intentional about investing more time where it is needed, especially with You, and [if married] with my beloved, my best friend. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you and your spouse (or other close relationship) haven't been spending enough time hanging out, what are some of the reasons? What can you do differently?

    What obstacles get in the way of hanging out with the Lord? What steps can you take to make more time together with God a reality?

    Power Verses:
    Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Shaunti Feldhahn. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Song of Solomon

  • It's Over

    Posted on March 18, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "My beloved spoke and said to me, 'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.'" Song of Songs 2:10-11 (NIV)

    These lyrics caught in my throat the first time I sang them: "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the cross."* I cried as I stared at my circumstances, ashamed.

    I'd compromised big time in some areas and, until the warm truth of that song caught me off guard, I had turned a cold shoulder to the hope of forgiveness. Shame convinced me I wasn't worthy of another chance.

    Last summer, I met a young woman who needed one other chance too, maybe more. On a 75 degree, gorgeous-in-every-way L.A. day, I served a meal on Skid Row with The Dream Center team. There I was, navigating my way around pain and hypodermic needles. There she was, fidgeting outside the women's shelter.

    She melded into the gray of her tattered sweatpants. Washed out and muted, buried under the debris of a dark world, away from the Light for too long. Inching toward me, she stepped over others hibernating beneath cardboard boxes and frigid despair.

    Try as I might, I couldn't catch her eyes as she asked for help. Shame from past deeds had beaten her down. It made her doubt she was worthy of anything, much less another chance for a hot meal and cold drink. This timid woman had been pushed out of the food line. Unable to defend herself and in too much physical pain to stand in line again, she needed someone to make a way for her.

    Together, we walked to the front of the food truck (not gonna lie, it was fun breezing past her bullies). But I felt helpless handing her only scrambled eggs and water. Surely, she needed so much more.

    We all need more at some point, don't we?

    This frail woman needed to know God had more for her than this. That what she'd done to land on Skid Row could be forgiven—forgotten, even. This cold season could turn into a warmer one. I wanted to share this truth: "See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone" (Song of Songs 2:11 NIV).

    Winter, that gloomy season that should pass. But what if it lingers? What if one bad-for-us choice turns into 100 that beat us to our own Skid Row? What if mistakes convince us we don't deserve another shot?

    Been there? Me too. But letting the Light of truth in to our hearts turns our winter of doubt into a spring of hope.

    What we've done doesn't dictate who we are. The truth is, what He's done makes us who we are: forgiven, hopeful and worthy of another chance. We may not believe we deserve a second shot. But Christ's sacrifice on the cross and our gift of a new life through His death gives us one. When we ask for forgiveness and turn from our sins, our past is covered by God's mercy and grace.

    Never doubt, He'll always lead us past the bully of shame to the front of the line for so much more than eggs and water.

    God, it's hard to believe I'm worthy of another chance. But I'm taking a step of faith, choosing to accept that Your death means a new chance for me. I'll never know how much it cost, but I'm forever grateful. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    We'd love to help you find your second chance by reading this truth in God's Word! Our team has tucked hope-filled, encouraging devotions throughout the pages of the brand new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women to unpack Scripture with you. Pick up your copy here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it difficult for you to believe you're worthy of another chance?

    Write down every reason you feel you're not worthy of Christ's love and forgiveness. Now, read them out loud and say after them, "But Christ died on the cross to forgive me once and for all. I've repented and I'm forgiven."

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 12:1-2, "You will say in that day: 'I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.'" (ESV)

    John 3:17-18b, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned ..." (ESV)

    *Light of the World (Here I am to Worship) by Tim Hughes. © 2000 Thankyou Music.

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Song of Solomon

  • Date Weekly

    Posted on February 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Song of Songs 2:3

    Couples who calendar weekly dates subscribe to not taking themselves and life too serious. A night of romance and fun is a sure fire way to keep the flames of marriage burning brightly. Work and children are put on pause during this window of intimacy, so emotions can lovingly engage. A date is meant to be free from distractions (no electronics) and mental clutter. Indeed, weekly dates recalibrate a husband and wife’s relationship around love and laughter.

    When you sit in the shade of your spouse’s tree of trust, you find acceptance and affirmation. No one can give you more meaningful approval than your best friend. If he or she seeks approval elsewhere, you are in danger of emotional estrangement. Yes, dating gives you an excuse to pursue your precious marriage partner with romantic anticipation. You clean up and dress up just for them. Perhaps you take turns planning the date experience, so it stays fresh and exciting.

    Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women. Song of Songs 2:2

    Date night can require a financial commitment, so budget accordingly. There is a cost, but you can’t afford not to invest in your most important relationship. It’s less expensivethan a counselor or divorce. Be creative: a coffee shop, bookstore, walk in the park or park the car and quietly watch a sunset. Use date night as an excuse to buy new shoes or get a haircut. Do something special just for your special friend. Conversation and connection can lead to physical intimacy.

     

    Lastly use your weekly time together to reminisce about fun times from the past. Ask questions like: What was your favorite trip we had together? What getaway would you like to do together going forward? What past answered prayers are you grateful to God for answering? Your weekly date night is a remedy for getting stuck in the crazy cycle of no conversation and growing apart. Focused time with your sweetheart honors them and honors the Lord. Plan to date weekly.

     

    Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me. Song of Songs 2:13

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give us conviction and creativity to calendar a weekly date night.

     

    Related Readings: Song of Songs 1:4; 1 Samuel 1:19; 1 Corinthians 7:3; 1 Peter 3:7

     

    Post/Tweet today: Couples who calendar weekly dates subscribe to not taking themselves and life too serious. #datenight

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Dating, Song of Solomon

  • Affective Affirmation

    Posted on November 27, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “The LORD bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.” Ruth 3:10

     

    Affective affirmation engages the heart and soothes the soul. There is an emotional tipping point that takes place when someone brings acceptance, approval and comfort to a conversation. It builds trust in relationships and moves friendships toward vulnerability. Men long for approval from their wives and women desire attention from their husbands. Affirmation from those who know us the most—means the most. Their support provides security for us.

    We all want to feel special—we want to be the most important person to the one we love the most. This position of significance positions a relationship for success. The effect of affective affirmation is a healthy environment at home and at work. Negative brow beating and intimidation may get a short-term result at the expense of long-term commitment. We need affirmation like a tender plant needs nurturing. Affirmation grows relationships.

    “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.” Song of Songs 1:15-16

    Do you intentionally affirm another’s value to you? Do you treat them how you want to be treated and do you grace them with words of significant meaning? The Lord has you in a seat of influence during good and bad times. Therefore, use your role of supervisor, peer, parent, spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister or friend to free others with your approval. Speak into their lives by admitting your struggles and airing your concerns. Affirm them.

    Most of all seek effective affirmation from your heavenly Father. When you stumble and fall—He picks you up. When you sin—He forgives. When you forget—He remembers. When you lose hope—He gives hope. When you are weak—He is strong. When you are unsure—He is sure. When you are afraid—He is your peace. Your Father in heaven cares about you. When He sees you, He sees His son Jesus—you are 100% affirmed in Him!

    “I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.” Psalm 85:8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your affirmation in Your son Jesus.

    Related Readings: Numbers 22:38; Micah 6:9; Luke 10:39; Ephesians 4:29

    Post/Tweet this today: Affirmation from those who know us the most—means the most. Support gives security. #affirmation

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, Ruth, Song of Solomon

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