Posts tagged ‘Song of Solomon’

May 2, 2014

843 Acres: Enduring When We Continue to Sin

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Song 7 (txt | aud, 1:58 min)
Heb 7 (txt | aud, 3:51 min)
Highlighted: Heb 7:25

Problem: Hebrews is a letter written to a group of Christians struggling to endure. After coming to faith several years ago, these Christians are beginning to realize that their confession of faith did not put an end to their troubles. Not only are they still being persecuted, they are also facing another problem—they are continuing to sin. Is there any hope?

Intercession: Priests in ancient Israel acted on behalf of the people by offering sacrifices and intercessory prayers. As the final high priest, Jesus offers prayers of intercession for his people: “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Like the Christians who received this letter, we continue to sin, too. Therefore, we need Jesus to “always” intercede for us in the presence of God. He is our hope.

Friends: “To use a workplace metaphor,” comments the Theology of Work Project, “imagine the fear a young engineer might feel when he is called to meet the chief of the state highway department. What will he possibly say to her? Recognizing that the project he is working on is running late and over budget makes him more afraid. But then he learns that his supervisor, a beloved mentor, will also be at the meeting. And it turns out she is great friends with the chief of the highway department from their days back at university. ‘Don’t worry,’ the mentor assures the engineer, ‘I’ll take care of things.’ Won’t the young engineer have much greater confidence to approach the chief in the presence of her friend?”

Prayer: Lord, We confess that our works do not commend us to you—for we are always “running late and over budget”. Do not forgive us on the basis of our righteousness or goodness, but on the basis of Jesus, who always lives to make intercession for us. May our confessions be a sweet aroma to you—for his words about us are words of love before your throne. Amen.

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M’Cheyne Weekend Readings:

Saturday, May 3: Song 8 (txt | aud, 2:22 min) & Heb 8 (txt | aud, 2:09 min)
Sunday, May 4: Is 1 (txt | aud, 4:48 min) & Heb 9 (txt | aud, 4:20 min)

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May 1, 2014

843 Acres TBT: Longings After God

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Song 6 (txt | aud, 1:46 min)
Heb 6 (txt | aud, 2:37 min)

Song of Songs 6:1-3 

Others: Where has your beloved gone, O most beautiful women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?

She: My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies.

Longings After God from The Valley of Vision

My Dear Lord,

I can but tell thee that thou knowest I long for nothing but thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with thy will. Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired. My soul longs for communion with thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. How precious it is to have a tender sense and clear apprehension of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness! What a blessedness to be like thee as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its Creator!

Lord, give me more of thy likeness; Enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; Engage me to live more for thee. Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences, and when I feel at ease after sweet communings, teach me it is far too little I know and do. Blessed Lord, let me climb up near to thee, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle with thee, and pant for deliverance from the body of sin, for my heart is wandering and lifeless, and my soul mourns to think it should ever lose sight of its Beloved.

Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me ever desiring thee, always humble and resigned to thy will, more fixed on thyself, that I may be more fitted for doing and suffering.

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April 30, 2014

843 Acres: Redeeming our Commute

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Song 5 (txt | aud, 2:38 min)
Heb 5 (txt | aud, 1:41 min)
Highlighted: Heb 5:8-9

Commuting: There are certain unwritten rules about taking the subway—do not talk to anyone, avoid eye contact, keep to yourself, do not touch anyone. It’s no wonder, then, why “commuting is associated with fewer positive emotions than any other common daily activity”—after all, we’re told to be alone when we’re smack dab in the middle of community. Can commuting be redeemed?

Guide: Jesus learned obedience—not because he disobeyed, but because he needed to experience suffering and temptation first-hand to qualify as our sympathetic high priest. [1] He needed to suffer in order to be made “perfect” for the job. As Hebrews says, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” [2] His learning, however, took place in an incarnate life, not a classroom. Jesus did not come as an anthropologist to learn about us in a detached way. He came into the fabric of our everyday lives, in the commonness of our humanity. [3]

Choice: Commuting is part of our ordinary, daily lives. When we commute, however, we get to choose whether we will see people or see through them. Recently, Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton reported in the New York Times Magazine on a study showing that those who talked with strangers had a more positive commuting experience than those who sat in solitude. They concluded,  “Rather than fall back on our erroneous belief in the pleasures of solitude, we could reach out to other people. At least, when we walk down the street, we can refuse to accept a world where people look at one another as though through air. When we talk to strangers, we stand to gain much more than the ‘me time’ we might lose.”

Prayer: Lord, In becoming incarnate, Jesus broke down the wall of solitude between us and you. He saw into us, not through us—becoming our high priest and sympathizing with us in our weaknesses. Although we often fear engaging with strangers, may we not fall back on the erroneous belief in the pleasures of solitude. May we smile at others, reaching out to them as you have reached out to us. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] The full meaning of “perfect” is not only “flawless,” but also “complete”. | [2] Hebrews 5:8-9 ESV | [3] Theology of Work. “Hebrews.”

April 29, 2014

843 Acres: Tuesday Tweetables: Work and Rest

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Song 4 (txt | aud, 2:27 min)
Heb 4 (txt | aud, 2:16 min)
Highlighted: Heb 4:9,11

Discerning Brokenness

As we saw yesterday, we are like the Israelites – prone to wander and be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. goo.gl/6kWnl9

We hear the word, but “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and it proves unfruitful.” #busy goo.gl/hWvoAh

When we rest, we experience our unsettling humanity. The hilarious, irreverent, philosopher-of-the-people @louisck explains: goo.gl/CLulhO

Imagining Redemption

God calls us to work and to rest: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.”

Our weekly rest points to our heavenly one: “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God … Let us therefore strive to enter.” #Heb4

Our rest reminds us that our labor is not an endless cycle of drudgery leading nowhere but a purposeful activity marked by worship and rest.

Praying ACTS 

Lord, We #adore you that our work is not in vain and that you have given us the Sabbath as a signpost of your faithful work for us.

Yet we #confess that life in the present world involved difficult work. As Hebrews teaches, it is an arduous journey with joys and sorrows.

#Thank you for setting aside a weekly routine – six days of work and one day of rest – as an exercise in spiritual awareness.

When work is frustrating, remind us of brokenness and restoration. When it goes well, remind us of your work through us. #supplication

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April 28, 2014

843 Acres: Prone to Wander, Lord, We Feel It | 843 acres

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Song 3 (txt | aud, 1:40 )
Heb 3 (txt | aud, 2:10)

Exodus: When God rescued the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and led them through the Red Sea, they were full of celebration. With one voice, they sang, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously … The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” [1]Three days later, however, they complained about the way He gave them food and water. They said that they would rather be slaves again than depend on Him. Then, a few weeks later, they worshipped handmade idols, saying, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” [2] How did they fall away from the Lord so quickly?

Caution: Looking back on these events, the Psalmist warned, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts … when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, ‘They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” [3]Hundreds of years later, the writer of Hebrews quoted the Psalmist and expanded the message: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called, ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence to the end.” [4]

Gospel: The Hebrews were slaves to Egypt; we are slaves to sin. They were released by the plague of the firstborn son; we are released by the death of the firstborn son of God. On the cross, the work of God is on display far greater than during the Exodus. How much more, then, must we cling to belief!

Prayer: Lord, We confess that, like the Hebrews, we can turn quickly from celebration to sin. Yet we do not have the strength to endure in faith. Therefore, we beg you to increase our faith. As we look to the cross, help us to remember your work and to exhort one another daily so that we will not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we admit that we are prone to wander. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Exodus 15:1, 2 ESV | [2] Exodus 32:4 ESV | [3] Psalm 95:7-11 ESV | [4] Hebrews 3:12-14 ESV

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