Rewarded

Jeremiah 31: 16

Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord.

Have you ever labored in vain, or at least what seemed in vain? Are you spending time and energy right now that doesn’t seem to be bearing fruit for you? Well, God has a good word for you today. Your labor is not in vain. Your work will be rewarded.

I have to believe that God’s word is true and that as you sow, you shall reap. If you are sowing seeds with your effort, then God will produce a harvest. Right now, it may look like all hope is lost, that none appreciate the hard work you have been putting in. Maybe you have been working for a while now without the fruit of you labor showing. God is not a man that He should lie. Your seed must bear fruit. It is the way the universe was created. Maybe you don’t think your boss appreciates you or that anyone even notices how hard you have been working. Maybe not even your spouse knows about the sleepless nights you have had because of thinking about a project and how you can improve it. There is one, however, who sees all you have done, all you are doing. God is a witness to your hard work and dreams.

When God gives us a dream and a vision, we are propelled into a state which almost feels like a parallel dimension. We see so clearly what could be and throw the full force of our dreams and our energy into following God’s plan. We must pray and stay on His track. We must partner with Him, letting Him guide us. Then, no matter what happens, keep your faith in your vision and your God. Don’t be sidetracked by what mere men do. This is between you and Yahweh. Leave the results to him. Just focus your eyes on him and do all that is in your heart to do. Let the Lord, your God be your rewarder. He promises, “Your work will be rewarded.”

Banner of Love

Song of Solomon 2: 4

He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Have you ever read the Song of Solomon? Would you believe that in the 2500 Word of the Day devotionals I have written, this is the first time I have chosen a passage from this book? Do you wonder why this is the first time? Me too! Well, frankly, it is a little bit of an awkward book. If you have read it you might have felt the same way. The book is a very intimate dialogue between two lovers. As you read it you may feel that you are violating the lovers’ privacy. I think there may be an additional and deeper reason this book disquiets some of us. As I said, it is very intimate and many of us are uncomfortable with intimacy. Ultimately, this underlies a hindrance we have in developing our relationship with the Father.

Let’s go one step further. Why do you suppose this book is in the Bible? Why did Father choose to include it? This book is a love letter from the Father to you, from Jesus to his bride. It is an expression of God’s deep, deep affection for you. Knowing that may make the book harder to read instead of easier. All of the expressions of adoration, affection and longing are the Father’s feelings towards you. He sees you as beautiful and flawless. Sometimes I wonder why He loves us so but reading this book moves you beyond denial.

As I said, many of us are uncomfortable with such outspoken endearments. We are challenged by such intimacy. It embarrasses us. Because intimate thoughts, feelings and expressions are awkward for us, we find it very arduous to allow our heavenly Father to express the intensity of his devotion to us. Subsequently, we never really develop a true love relationship with Him. Most of us just walk in some sort of religious construct with Him. We are lost somewhere between God and Father. We know He is more than a far removed deity and thus we move our thoughts towards relating to Him in a more personal manner. However, most of us cannot reach into our hearts and receive the relationship He has designed for us. We labor to believe we are worthy of His love and so we stretch our minds to a picture of us in a close, personal relationship with Him. We reach longingly but reluctantly for the love our hearts crave. Here is where we enter into limbo. We are caught between service to our God and loving our intimate friend. Should we dare engage with this book of Solomon then we are forced to see ourselves so beloved that we shy away like a spooked horse.

In July of 2005 Yahweh interrupted my life with what I call a prophetic dream. This dream was clearly the Father speaking to me. I now find it interesting to note the topic of this dream. If God is going to completely arrest your life for a day what would you expect Him to want to show you or talk with you about. I would think perhaps His plan for our lives or a new calling on your life. Interestingly, He used that whole dream, which was pages long when I wrote it out, to show me how I resist intimacy with Him. All I wanted to do was serve Him but He wanted to bless and honor me. In the dream, I couldn’t and wouldn’t let Him. He commandeered my sleep to communicate with me because I could not hear Him in my waking life. This message was so important to Him that He insinuated Himself into my dream so we could connect on a level which I was consistently foreclosing to Him. Now He wants to speak to you.

He has brought you to His banquet hall so He can honor you. The sign hanging above the head table has your name on it and the message is love. You have been designated as the one He loves. What will you do with His outpouring of affection? What will you say in return? Will you receive the adoration from His heart? I hope so.