A Time to Love
Early one morning, a few weeks ago, while the world was reeling from the coronavirus, and we awoke each day to rising numbers of fatalities, I suddenly began to cry. I was surprised to hear the Lord speak to my spirit the following words: “This is the hour to love Me.” He meant to love Him, now, at this moment in history, not just during morning devotions. Ecclesiastes 3:8 says, “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” I thought: “That makes sense. People’s hearts are failing them from fear and the expectation of things which are coming on the earth.” (See Luke 21:25- 26.) What conquers fear? Love. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
Time for the Umbrella
When I wrote my second book on the Song of Songs, Kiss Me Again, in 2017, I mentioned in the introduction that God was singing His love song over us—a song of our Heavenly Bridegroom’s deep, all-conquering, unconditional love. I wrote: “This will be what enables us to go through any storm that may come upon the earth in the final days before our Messiah’s return.”
The storm has come. It is called COVID-19. God’s love, the greatest power in the world, is our protection, our shelter, our secure hiding place—our umbrella. The coronavirus came upon our country as quickly as storm clouds that gather without warning on a sunny Florida day.
But God, who is Lord of every storm, has not left us alone nor abandoned us. He is with us! His love is the only thing that the Bible says never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). God loves us, and He longs for us to return His love. We were created to have an intimate relationship with the One who wants to comfort us as a mother comforts her child. He is, in fact, El Shaddai, the Nourishing One.
Yeshua’s Love for Us
We can love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He sent His only Son who is “Chief among 10,000” (Song 5:10) to be the Atoning Sacrifice for our sin. I share about this sacrificial love, a secure umbrella, in Day 64 of Kiss Me Again.
Yeshua’s love is greater than the love of man. He is the only one who can satisfy the deepest longings of the heart—of your heart. “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Col. 1:17). The very Creator of the human heart, our Yeshua, Chief among ten thousand, went to the cross for the joy set before Him: His bride. Unfathomable love.
There is no one but Yeshua who can give hope to the hopeless. He is Mighty to save—from the deepest pit, the greatest danger, the strongest fear, or the vilest sin. Our chatan is Tikvah Yisrael (Hope of Israel), the hope of all who call upon His name. He gives us songs in the night, shelter in the midst of the storm, and a hope and a future when all seems hopelessly impossible. But nothing is impossible for the Chief among ten thousand!
We see Yeshua in the Book of Revelation as “One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band” (Rev. 1:13), “His eyes like a flame of fire” (Rev. 1:14), “His voice as the sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:15), and “His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev. 1:16). When the Apostle John saw this Chief among ten thousand, He was so glorious that John “fell at His feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17). May we fall at our Beloved’s feet in worship. He is the only One worthy of all our love, all our praise, and all our devotion. [This is the time to play worship music in your home!]
More Love for God
While I often find that my love for God is limited, I also realize that if I ask Him, He will give me more love because He is love (1 John 4:8). I expressed this need and desire for greater holy passion in Day 39 of Kiss Me Again. In the midst of this worldwide pandemic, so many people are in desperate need of God’s love. As we receive it, we can share it. My thoughts from Day 39:
I believe that there is a place in God where we have such confidence in His love for us that we don’t question Him at all. We are so hidden in the Beloved, that the trials of this life don’t move us. We have a deep knowledge that our God is holding us in His loving arms just as a mother holds her infant child. This kind of faith and trust only works through love. That is why I need more love. I want my first response in any trial to be: “I love You, Abba, and You know what is best for me. I choose to praise You, trust You, and abide in Your perfect love.”
We all need more of God’s kind of love. It is the most pleasant of fruits. It is boundless. He is not angry with us when our love for Him is limited, since He understands our human frailties. But I believe we touch God’s heart when we desire to return love to the One whose love for us is limitless. I have said it before and I say it again: Make love your greatest aim! It is what makes a bride glow. It is the most important fruit in the preparation of Yeshua’s bride.
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). How can we make ourselves ready? How do we become more loving to God and others? How can we grow in the fruit of the Spirit, which is love? First, we must desire it! “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6). Then, we must ask God for more love. “Ask, and it shall be given to you…” (Matt. 7:7). Finally, we must yield to the Holy Spirit, for love is His gift to give!
Something I said in A Kiss A Day bears repeating: If I fear anything, it is that my love for the Lord might grow cold. I always tremble at Matthew 24:12, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” The Amplified Bible says it this way: “And the love of the great body of people will grow cold, because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity.” The next verse is marked in my Bible: “But he who endures [loves fervently with bridal love] to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13 AMP).
I don’t think that anyone would disagree that lawlessness is abounding in our country, and in our world, today. It appears on the Internet daily. This was not the case a few years ago. We must ask the Lord to give us holy passion and let us see how much He loves us. If we spend time with Him and receive more of His love, we will have more love to give. I believe that the Lord will pour out on us as much as we are willing to receive, but we must get desperate to hear from Him, to be touched by Him, and to know what we can do to please Him.
A Special Umbrella for Mothers
Many mothers, and actually all women, tend to be hard on ourselves. We are often our own worst enemies. We might expect perfection of ourselves (not possible), focus unduly on our weaknesses or have a hard time forgiving ourselves for past sins. But God does not see all of that. He sees us through the blood of His Son. He looks at us with eyes of love. Song 4:7, Day 31, is a special Mother’s Day kiss for all my sisters in Yeshua: “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.”
“All fair.” This is the first time that the Beloved says His bride is all fair. Do you ever struggle with a low self image? Here is your answer: In the eyes of your Heavenly Bridegroom, you are “kullak yafah,” all fair, and there is NO SPOT IN YOU! The Hebrew word kullak is related to the word for bride, kallah, creating bridal overtones in the first part of the sentence, e.g., “You are a beautiful bride, my love…” Implied in the Hebrew is also the idea of the bride being entirely beautiful, with every inch of her being lovely. Every inch? Even the inches on my thighs or around my waist? Yes, even those—because the beauty that our Beloved sees in us is His own beauty being formed in us. He sees us, even now, as we shall be—perfect and spotless, because of the redemption purchased for us with His life’s blood.
Yielding to the myrrh anointing and going daily to the hill of frankincense help conform us to the image of our Messiah. As we walk with the Beloved, how He sees us begins to become a reality in our lives. We believe—and then we become. Your Bridegroom thinks you’re beautiful. He does not remember your past sins. He looks beyond your faults and sees the best in you.
The Bridegroom now calls His bride “My love,” literally “my companion.” The Hebrew rayati implies wife, friend for life. This is a love that won’t let go. Faithful. Forever. True.
Yeshua has cleansed us and washed away our sin. He tells us that we are clean because of the word that He has spoken to us (John 15:3). And even when we sin, He stands ever ready to forgive us: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Never underestimate the cleansing power of Yeshua’s Love—or His blood. He loves us with the same love that He had for His disciples, and that the Father has for Him, as expressed in John 15:9, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”
While our Bridegroom sees us flawless and without spots, there is someone whose mission is to point out every real or imagined spot in Messiah’s bride. He is haSatan, the adversary. The Bible calls him the “accuser of the brethren” and says that he accuses God’s people day and night (Rev. 12:10). He will one day, according to this verse, be cast down. But until then, he is very busy accusing Yeshua’s bride.
Throughout our boys’ childhood years, the enemy accused me: “You’re not a good mother. If you were, you would (wouldn’t) do this or that.” “God is disappointed in you.” “You’re not praying enough.” He knows where to get each one of us. Sometimes he comes with a little bit of truth, and we agree with him. However, we must remember that the adversary is a liar, and the father of lies. If Yeshua says you have no spot, the devil will call you a leopard!
I learned a strategy that may help you stand in the truth of who you are in the Beloved. “Agree with your adversary quickly…” (Matt. 5:25) and put your BUT in the right place. Instead of “I know God loves me a lot, BUT I’m sure He is disappointed in me because I haven’t read my Bible in three days,” confess, “I know I haven’t read my Bible in three days, BUT God loves me unconditionally, forgives me, and will help me do better this week.”
The enemy is seeking to discourage us, to keep Messiah’s bride from being all that He has destined her to be in this final hour of history. We must keep our eyes on Yeshua, and be quick to resist the accuser. We are told in James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Remember the order! Submit to God before you resist the enemy. Then, you are resisting in His power, not your own. God wins over Satan every time.
Bride of Messiah, choose to accept what Your Bridegroom says about you. He is truth, and His opinion of you is the one that matters. The accuser will always point out your faults and your failings. He will condemn you, but Yeshua will affirm you and encourage you.
See yourself dressed in white. No spots.
Our Love: Better Than Wine
Song 4:10, in Day 34’s devotion, contains an encouraging word for both men and women about our love for God. Our Lord is not hard to please. He is delighted with our efforts to spend alone time with Him. I trust that social isolation has helped you have more time with the Lord. It has sent me back to the piano. God loves our company! “How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices!” Song of Songs 4:10
At the beginning of Shir HaShirim (Song 1:2), the bride tells the Bridegroom that His love is better than wine—better than anything the world has to offer. She has now progressed spiritually to the point where He can say the same thing to her! In the case of the Bridegroom, His pleasure is derived from seeing the fruit of love in His bride, who no longer finds her pleasures in the kingdoms of this world.
God is complimenting the bride on her love. It delights Him! We must consider the two greatest commandments as we contemplate the meaning of this verse. What would God most value in a loving bride? 1. Loving Him with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and 2. Loving one’s neighbor as oneself. His “spouse” fulfills commandment number one. His “sister” fulfills commandment number two.
Love is our greatest calling. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three: but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). The following verse (and chapter) begins with these words, “Pursue love…” (1 Cor. 14:1). We must actively seek to become more loving, to make love our greatest aim. Love is the true adorning of the bride. We need more love, more passion, and a greater desire to be with the Lover of our soul—to esteem Him, delight in Him, and be zealous to please Him. We also need more love and compassion for others, especially for the unlovely. Our Bridegroom is very generous with His praise; He sees love forming in us, and transforming us. We do not see it yet, but He does.
When the Bridegroom says that our love is better than wine, an association is also being made between wine and sacrifice (wine symbolizing blood when it is involved in both sacrifice and covenant). While any sacrifices we make in serving the Lord may be good and valuable, our love relationship with Him is far more precious. He values our “being” much more than our “doing,” our love more than our good works. A bride who loves delights the heart of God.
If we sense that our love is inadequate, we can ask God to pour more love into our hearts. He is love, and the source of it. “…The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5).
Before closing, there is an aspect of loving God that I must mention: obedience. The Messiah said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” As we pursue love in these trying times, let us ask God what His will is for our lives, and then obey Him. That is tangible proof of our love.
Pursuing love, practicing obedience, and praying for you!