The true beauty of the bride is seen in the beholding of the groom.
So long we have had our eyes looking in the wrong places for affirmation and assurance. We have forgotten the groom and are desperate to be acknowledged by the guests, by the street goers, by the world.
We have seen flows in their eyes and have stepped back to hide in the cave of insecurity. The groom is waiting. He has made his choice, it’s us, the people he redeemed and chose.
He pursued us and poured the greatest sacrifice to have us in his union.
Arise, bride, arise. Leave your people and the world behind.
The King is wild for you. Gaze into his eyes and see yourself dressed in gold and righteousness, meekness and truth. Let the joy of salvation radiate your face and the light of his smile your eternal life.
Arise, bride of the Lord, arise in his strength and beauty.
We were at the wedding of a dear friend in Saint Tropez the other day and our hearts could feel the fire of their shared love for one another.
French weddings are a bit different from the Albanian or British ones and I love how each culture celebrates love. The groom in the French wedding ceremony enters like the bride, in a majestic procession. All the guest stand up and welcome him as he heads towards the altar where he waits for the bride’s turn.
I was reminded right there how Lord Jesus entered the earth to save his bride and is waiting now for the greatest wedding celebration ever.
He is ready and his heart full of fire awaits for the right time to come and take his bride in his arms. What a day that will be! The heaven host likes all us guest at the wedding will clap and dance and celebrate the forever union of the Lord.
It often feels like: When the need is great, God seems to hide.
There is this unpleasant delay that can be baffling during trying times when we don’t understand how a powerful God doesn’t land us a hand.
But God never hides, he is with us in the storm.
We might feel like he is not with us and that he is sleeping ( see Matthew 8:23-27) but the truth is very different.
He knows the right time to calm the storm, the perfect moment to speak the miracle, the best place to display his glory.
It might be bewildering to us, but it’s not to him.
God might feel like he is hiding but perhaps he is waiting for us to humble ourselves.
Sometimes, when my children are doing something silly or dangerous I like to cover my eyes, I cant see them hurting themselves, but my body, mind and heart is standing right next to them, near and dear.
“God waits to be wanted.” This may demand more of us than a historical investigation, doing church, or theological reflections, as great as those things are. But you will come to discover this clarity only through a living relationship with him.
Oftentimes we think that if we are not coming before God with adoration or thanksgiving our prayers might not have the same attention then when we do.
But God is a great listener. His ear is tuned towards us and whether we start with praise or problems he listens.
He listens because we go in the name and authority of Jesus his son, not because we choose the right words.
Complaining is ok because in complaining we ask questions and God is very good at answering to us even in our groaning.
We live in a broken and fractured world. Problems and trouble are part of our daily lives. We all struggle to cope with and understand the pain we go through. Prayer, be that in the form of lament, praise, thanksgiving, complaining, struggle, wordless, through our tears helps us to enter in the presence of God and listen to his voice and view.
It’s the way to ’take heart’ ( see John 16:33) and carry on with strength and hope.
Our children are forever accumulating stories from us. What we tell them about God, ourselves and themselves become the blueprint for their lives.
A very well know model was saying recently in one of her social media clips how all her designer and vintage clothes, bags and shoes are in storage for her daughter to use when she grows up.
Our kids inherit what we value the most.
What that will be for your children?
All the clothes and bags in the world, although beautiful and with value will decay and deteriorate with time, but the stories we share with them will go from one generation to the other.
What they hear when we go through difficult times, what they see when we walk through suffering and what they witness when we have some joy to share and times of celebration pave a familiar path for them to walk in.
What we give glory, what we see as our ultimate goal and meaning to our lives creates an altar for them to come and find directions and wisdom in different seasons of their lives.
How we speak of God, mission, church, money, work, friends, each other and how all are related gives them the primary flavour of what to expect and cultivate in life.
Dear God, the stories I share with my children will be passed on to the next generation and the next generation. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you and nourishment to my family until the end of times.
What if, after we have done all the listening to our hearts and speaking to our hearts, nothing changes?
What to do when we have tried to keep the hope in God but we remain in the same dilemma?
What God often does is that before he changes the situation he changes our attitude towards that situation, which makes a big difference. You see, we forget God. We forget his goodness, his guidance and his gentleness. We forget his presence and his glory.
When we are in darkness we think that we are by ourselves and that none is standing with and for us.
God likes to change our attitude before he chages ous circumstatnces, because a changed attitute can face any circumstance.
The understanding and that awakening in us about God is far greater than a change in our situation can bring. For our eyes of understanding are opened to see that the real protector, provider, purpose giver and vindicator which is God. He is the source of all delight and joy.
There was a great song by Roxette released in 1988 called ’Listen to your heart’ that I loved to listen over and over again.
When that song reached post-communism Albania I was in my early teens and all my identity was wrapped aroun the ’listening to my heart.’
My emotions were all over the place and to be honest, they were my life.
When I become a follower of Chris I noticed that in the church ( traditional and modern), heart and emotions were seen as something to hide and keep locked up. There is a ’fear’ surrounding the being ’too emotional’ as being out of control, so the expression of emotions was not encouraged.
What I have learned is that the message of the gospel never says and teaches us to ignore our hearts and emotions, neither, as the world affirms, that we are our emotions. The Gospel way is this third way that invites us to guard our hearts, to listen to our hearts and then speak to our hearts together with our emotions.
If we don’t listen too our hearts we can’t understand why we feel the way we feel. But if all we do is listening to our hearts, we soon will end up in depression or delusion.
Combining listening to our hearts with speaking to our hearts is the way forward. We speak the words of hope that the gospel bestows upon us and we ’argue’ with our emotion with the truth and light of God.
Have you thought recently why you feel the way you feel? Have you spoken to your emotion, soul, heart with what is true and the hope we have in God?
It’s natural for people and us to ask ’where is God’ when life is disintegrating. The truth though remains the same though, God is present.
He is with us through deep waters, through disappointment, through loss and pain.
During this Covid-19 pandemic, many people have asked the question ’where is God and what God is doing during humanity crisis’ even more than before.
The answer that the sons of Korah give us through today’s psalm is that: God is with us, people might not see him, we might not sense him, but based on the Old and New Testament, based on Jesus’s life, God is always with us until the very end of this world.
Jesus said that pain will come, suffering will knock on our doors, crises will cover the earth, still, right in the middle of all that he would be with us and change people and the world through those very events.
Jesus was called a man of sorrow, we follow him in this world which is in the process of getting redeemed and healed through the path of suffering. Look at yourself and other believers when we walk through pain, that will tells us and the world who is watching where is God in the middle of suffering.
GOD is doing a new thing right now, oftentimes through some crisis